Vera Lutter investigates the camera obscura and its process of recording light on photographic paper. She draws inspiration from architecture and her works explore urban landscapes, industrial sites, mythical landscapes, and the views from her artist studio. These are a selection of the many places where she reframes images to reveal different layers of spatial perception.
Her large-scale photographs often require several hours or days of light exposure. She chooses to work with room-sized cameras allowing the size of the resulting image to reflect the architecture in which it was made. The prolonged exposure allows her to record images that give evidence to time passed. The resulting ephemera and movement dissolve time into the image, sometimes enabling ghostly forms to surface. These photographs don’t simply translate the real; they also reveal an intermediate world, a space of corresponding apparitions. The images radiate a fluid and otherworldly feeling that allows the gaze to drift and linger on certain details captured with startling precision.
For her second solo exhibition at Xippas Gallery, Vera Lutter shows a selection of photographs from her series Clock Tower and Albescent.
The building at 1 Main Street in Brooklyn, New York, is topped by a monumental clock tower. Constructed in 1914 on a rectangular footprint, each side of the building points to one of the four cardinal directions of the compass. The clock tower is perfectly square, and each of the four sides houses a gigantic clockface. Backed with clear glass, the clocks allow for an exchange of light. During the day the large clock-windows illuminate the space within, and at night the interior space illuminates the clock faces. Through the clocks, views of four different New York neighborhoods are visible. The spinning indicators of the clocks interrupt each view and give evidence to the passage of time. In this space, Lutter recorded the four different vistas framed by the spinning indicators using a room-sizedcamera obscura.
In Albescent, an ongoing project that began in 2010, Lutter has taken analog and digital photographs of the moon from various locations around the world. The resulting body of work functions as a travel diary that contemplates the ubiquitous presence of celestial bodies. Although a departure from Lutter’s earlier practices in pinhole photography, this project continues her exploration into the origins of light and its essential role in conceptualizing vision and time. She captures the moon as it emerges from the darkness of the night sky, recalling the way in which the artist’s pinhole subjects materialize with intense luminosity from the darkness of their surroundings. While Lutter presents two seemingly disparate worlds throughAlbescent and her camera obscura images, they both appear uncannily terrestrial and reinforce one another through their immediate reference to and reverence for light.
Vera Lutter was born in Germany, near Düsseldorf. She studied sculpture in Munich, then received her MFA in Photography and Related Media in 1995 at the School for Visual Arts in New York, where she lives today. Her work has been the focus of large museum exhibitions at the Kunsthalle in Basel, the Kunsthaus Graz, the Dia:Beacon in New York, and recently at Le Carré d’Art in Nîmes.
Vera Lutter is represented by the Max Hetzler Gallery in Berlin and the Gagosian Gallery in New York and Los Angeles.