The vast sky over the deep horizon seems endless. Huge masses of clouds in the firmament. The sea, pastures, fields, and lakes are granted only a sliver of space along the wide image’s bottom edge. The tension in these horizontally aligned images lies in the contrast between the luxurious heavens above and the landscape below, visible only as though through a haze. However, the horizon line not only compositionally holds the balance. For Wulf Winckelmann it also refers to the possibility of something beyond what is visible.
His paintings and photographic works develop out of the steadfast question “if something and, if so, what, can be perceived beyond the visible?” The horizon doubles as a demarcation along which the photographer’s eye and the painter’s hand search for orientation and certainty. Winckelmann interprets and understands the horizon not as a dividing line or border but rather as a challenge and invitation. When he photographs and paints a landscape then it is, in the process of remembering, in order to condense and intensify what he has seen. This moment of remembering, paired with a different interaction with time, marks for Winckelmann the essential difference between painting and photography, which alternately define one another in his completed work and emerge from one another. The photographer translates his large-format images, painted pastosely with palette-knife and brush, acrylic paints, pigments, and inks, into another medium: Winckelmann photographs his paintings in order to be able to digitally edit them.
During this process the physicality of the painting retreats more and more, yielding a more illusionary vision more focused only on the essentials. The tightrope walk across the landscape – from sharp to blurry, from concrete to abstract – engenders a strong force of attraction. The painter and photo artist looks beyond superficial perception and supposedly explicit realities. His landscape paintings, translated into photography, plumb the difference between what we see and what is actually there. Objects’ gradual dissolving into abstraction is the next consequential step on Wulf Winckelmann’s journey to answering his question.
Written by Almut Andreae / Lumas Editions