Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Karin Apollonia Müller

I only really know Karin Apollonia Müller's work from her monograph Angels in Fall (quite hard, to find see below). It isn't your usual photographic take on Los Angeles - at least not in my experience. Interestingly, although it's in colour - albeit generally very muted, veiled colour - it seems to have a certain afinity with Robert Adams black and white studies of the Los Angeles, such as Los Angeles Spring or California: Views of the Los Angeles Basin.

(Robert Adams)

On Müller: As a foreigner, Müller's "visitor" status in Los Angeles is expressed by a sense of alienation and beauty. The desolate beauty and latent sense of danger inform Müller's images, which reflect the fleeting and ephemeral movements of Los Angeles. People sleep on the ground, gather on the beach and go about seemingly ritualistic movements within the haze and smog of the Western sky- operating in a biscuit colored sublime. The figures are faceless, alone, sometimes appear homeless and often disengaged from the sprawling city scape that surrounds them: a traffic cop is still among stopped traffic, a homeless man carries his mattress near a freeway and surfers sit alone, submerged in the ocean, tiny toy soldiers engage in mock war games.

One thing I do like about many of here pictures is that the veiled nature of them causes me to be a bit more attentive and to give them the time and attention they seem to deserve. This is work I would certainly like to see first-hand hanging on a wall. I also think it's an interesting little twist on the Contemporary Colour approach to things (and also has something a bit in common with Paul Graham's American Night series, which came out about the same time - interestingly, the work of another exile).

(BTW, it's hard to find many good reproductions of her work online)

1 comment:

Mel Trittin said...

This is exactly my visual memory of Southern California. Not clean and washed and saturated, but veiled, beige and as you say somewhat threatening. Thank you for the post.