|Abendsonne, Photographs by Misha de Ridder. |
Published by Schaden.com, 2011.
Reviewed by Adam Bell
Misha de Ridder Abendsonne
Photographs by Misha de Ridder
Schaden.com, 2011. Hardbound. 14 pp., 8 color illustrations, 11-3/4x14-1/4".
The horizon [is] a kind of temporal hinge between immediate apprehension and a constant postponement of closure...The very fact of the horizon is what is immutable; it is an infinite dividing line between infinite entities, a place toward which the mind journeys and yet a place that appears as a continuous, productive, deferral of place.Rooted in 19th century Romantic notions of the sublime, Misha De Ridder's images are subtle and beautiful, but also utterly contemporary. Abendsonne is a narrowly focused book that contains a mere eight large images (seven inside and one on the cover) printed on a heavy card stock, but is full of nuance and visual sophistication. The title, translated from German, means "setting sun" or "evening sun," but more specifically refers to a phenomenon in northern Europe during late autumn and early spring where the sun barely rises in the sky. In the mountainous Swiss towns where these images were made, the sun hovers briefly above the peaks before sinking back and shrouding the landscape in darkness - the cool otherworldly light, temporally transforming the landscape and shifting our perception.
-Susan Stewart, "What Thought Is Like" from The Open Studio Essays on Art and Aesthetics
As an artist, De Ridder makes images that could easily become saccharine calendar art or empty exercises in sublime kitsch. Arctic sunsets, verdant dunes and dense forests have all been De Ridder's subjects, but he has always succeeded in pushing them to a new level and forced us to look again - either through inventive design in the case of Wilderness or editorial restraint and focus, as in the case of Dune. In some ways, De Ridder's works are so forcefully anachronistic that they are contemporary. It takes a brave and talented soul to tackle the sublime landscape and succeed like De Ridder.
Please note: All quotes from Susan Stewart, "What Is Thought: The Sea and The Sky," originally printed as a pamphlet to accompany the exhibition The Sea & The Sky, Beaver College Art Gallery, 2000; reprinted in Susan Stewart, The Open Studio: Essays on Art and Aesthetics (University of Chicago Press, 2005) p. 99-110.—Adam Bell
Adam Bell is a photographer and writer based in Brooklyn, NY. He received his MFA from the School of Visual Arts, and his work has been exhibited and published internationally. He is the co-editor and co-author, with Charles H. Traub and Steve Heller, of The Education of a Photographer (Allworth Press, 2006). His writing has appeared in Foam Magazine, Lay Flat and Ahorn Magazine. He is currently on staff and faculty at the School of Visual Arts' MFA Photography, Video and Related Media Department.