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German photographer Sonja Braas's Forces series is the product of several years of work, exploring the essence of photographic representation through the medium of the natural world. Six images from the series are being shown at Galerie TH13, in Bern.
'Forces transports us to the heart of a seemingly primordial world. The depiction of nature untouched by human society – a kind of hyper-real lost paradise – is achieved through a subtle mix of pictures taken in real conditions, and images reconstructed by the artist,' explains the exhibition curator Paul Cottin.
Sonja Braas's distinctive, powerfully evocative images enshrine the viewer as a privileged witness to the all-powerful forces of nature at work; in reality, however, we are frequently in the presence of mock-ups and models, created or made and photographed by the artist.
Other photographs taken 'from life' feature unusual and unexpected viewpoints, making it difficult to apprehend their scale and evoking a sense of confusion, distance and questioning. The series as a whole is characterized by a subtle, innovative use of colour.
Sonja Braas's work explores the status of the photograph and its creator. Far from holding up the mirror to nature, photography is seen as a decoy, a mystification of reality, exploiting and misleading the viewer with the beauty of the images created, inciting us to believe what we see as fact.
Curator: Paul Cottin