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Thomas Wunsch – Heart of Darkness

Thomas Wunsch – Heart of Darkness

Location: EMDE GALLERY - Mainz

Thomas Wunsch – Heart of Darkness


Emde Gallery is very pleased to present a solo exhibition by the internationally renowned artist Thomas Wunsch entitled "Heart of Darkness".
In his exhibition, Thomas Wunsch shows both new and selected existing works, offering a cross-section of his now over two decades long exploration of the abstract photographic image.
The title "Heart of Darkness", which is to be thought of associatively, refers to the mysterious and mystical atmosphere of his works, with which the artist abducts the viewer into his enigmatic pictorial worlds.

Opening: Friday, May 12th, 6:30-9 pm
Introductory words: Dr. Peter Forster, Museum Wiesbaden

As a starting point for his works, Thomas Wunsch uses motifs that he finds while traveling in urban areas, such as reflections on glass surfaces, scratched aluminum surfaces, special light reflections or textures from weathered facades. With special attention to detail, the artist first photographs abstract patterns in our everyday environment. In the subsequent digital image processing, the source material is changed considerably until the resulting image matches the artist's idea. The original object can then no longer be identified.

In doing so, he follows his own visual language, characterized by dark, monochrome tones and strong light-dark contrasts, which spark an effect that is as aesthetically pleasing as it is suggestive. The works are more reminiscent of paintings rather than classic photography and create connections to art historical theories. In particular, the reduction to mainly dark tones in many of his works reveals parallels to the abstract paintings of artists such as Pierre Soulages.
His photographs leave plenty of room for interpretation. At the same time, they pose the question of what constitutes an image and how it is composed.

The exhibition "Heart of Darkness" in the Emde Gallery shows, among other things, a new body of work called "Typobilder", which has been growing continuously since 2015, and in which an extended strategy is indicated: In these works - such as in the picture "UNTITLED" from 2020, which is shown on the invitation card and the cover of the catalog - one can see, in addition to the abstract patterns, also fragments of typography, such as letters, numbers or other characters, which are often used as part of graffiti or scrawls in urban areas around the world. Their original meaning has been lost over time.

They give the impression that it is a secret code or an encrypted sign language. This intensifies the enigmatic nature of these abstract photographs. Different levels of meaning overlap and penetrate one another in these photographs. But also the different optical image layers, which affect each other and partially blur the boundaries between foreground and background and achieve a great depth of field effect, contribute to the mystical character of these works.

A particular ambivalence is inherent in the photographs of Thomas Wunsch: on the one hand, they are the result of a conscious artistic process in which every element in the picture is placed with care and nothing is left to chance. On the other hand, the arrangement in his pictures seems very spontaneous and authentic at first glance - the typography pictures in particular appear like excerpts from the reality he encounters. In other words: Behind his photographs, which seem as spontaneous as a free jazz piece of music that liberates itself from all musical parameters, there is in fact a strict compositional order.


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