Magazine article Artforum International

Jorg Sasse

Magazine article Artforum International

Jorg Sasse

Article excerpt

Maupin, Lehmann

The first thing one notices about Jorg Sasse's new images is that they're gorgeous, then that they resemble everyday snapshots. Only somewhere down the line does one recognize - in the strange tonalities and heightened formal rhythms - that they have been digitally tweaked. Sasse collects casual photographs made by others, studies them, and then teases out their latent formal and conceptual properties. That he uses digital imaging to effect his changes is almost beside the point, since the resultant works are manifestly about photography - "practicing photography by other means," as Richter has described his paintings from photographs - and not about computer manipulation. The best of Sasse's images transform the unintentional visual effects of "bad" photographs (light leaks, unconventional focus and framing) through subtle and highly purposeful alterations of color, line, and light into coherent, interrelated compositions. His work probes the fertile border between photographic representation and autonomous abstraction.

The panoramic print 5334, 1998 (Sasse's titles all consist of random four-digit numbers followed by the year of completion) pictures three male bathers wading in the shallows of a lake. All three wear blue trunks and bend over to wash their legs. It is a pleasing horizontal composition - aquatic reeds in the foreground, blue-green trees on the far shore, scumble-clouded sky above - reminiscent of a painting by Millet or Corot. Though each figure in this idealized landscape strikes a slightly different pose, the three are too similar to come across as individuals. In fact, they are clones - a bit unnerving given the otherwise "naturalistic" setting.

Another kind of aesthetic shiver is produced by 7747, 1998, which presents a perfectly square, perfectly white house with a green-tile roof. A flawless wooden fence separates the house from a limpid line of water in which the lower portion of the scene is reflected. …

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