I recently revisited an art museum in southern Germany, in which I haven’t been for 4 years. The collection was basically the same, yet I was surprised by how beautiful the interior architecture went together with the paintings and sculptures, something I hadn’t noticed back then. The place had a sense of cleaness and homogenity, particularly in terms of lightning, such as I had never noticed anywhere elsed. A week later I went there again, this time alone, to capture the marvelous compositions that this “artificial” place had to offer.
The composition above strongly caught my attention. In a gallery, artworks are usually presented in a very pure environment, making it easy for a photographer to get clean shots. This picture made me finally understand what some artists, Kandinsky in particular, mean when they say “tension”.
Each element in a photographic frame (line, curve, surface, object, human, building, etc.) stands in a relation to all the others. If strong enough, this relation is called tension (Spannung). The less elements you have, the stronger the tension becomes. The tension comes to a peak, if you have very few, clearly distinguishable, elements and a minimum of things that distract your attention from those tensions.
For me, there is a strong tension between
- The statue and the painting
- The floor and the wall
- The pedestal the statue stands on with the white wood that protects the lower part of the wall, which gives it a little surreal touch (trompe oeuil).
In my opinion, a major aspect of artistic photography, is composing objects in order to reveal omething new. It’s a quest to find the new between what you believe to know.