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Jonas Gerhard, Installation view, Bonner Kunstverein, 2010. Photo: n.a.

Peter Mertes Stipendium 2009: Jonas Gerhard

In the beginning of 2010 Jonas Gerhard (*1980 in Soest) completed his degree at the Düsseldorf Academy of Art in photography under Prof. Thomas Ruff and Prof. Christopher Williams. Within the framework of the Peter Mertes Scholarship, which is aimed at the up-and-coming generation of artists from the Rhineland, the 29-year old artist will have the first opportunity to show his work in a solo exhibition. Gerhard has devoted his art to researching the formal and aesthetic phenomena found in the physical world. The comprehension of visible phenomena is hereby at the center of his interest as regards formal systems such as structures, contours, surface areas and material properties. Similar to a chemical analysis, Gerhard filters and sorts out single ingredients of the perceptible world of images and presents the transformed pictorial constancy for renewed discussion.
Gerhard does not tie himself down to a specific canon of motifs, nor to a specific formal pictorial solution. Diary-like photo series in notebook form stand coequally next to classical large-format frontal portraits, paper containers or paper baskets next to anonymized group shots.
The approach to a motif can take place in quite different ways. While some shots come intuitively from the situation itself (Paradise, 2009), Gerhard, above all in his more recent works (e.g. Papierkorb #1 (schwarz), Moka Express #1 (gebraucht), seeks a suitable strategy so as to extract a component of visual reality to use for his photographic material. The object of his recovering work can also be the artist’s ever growing archive of photographs. By applying digital-technical procedures—such as detail enlargement, inversion, fade-out or other image processing programmes—Jonas Gerhard succeeds in eliciting information from already existing photographs that, before his active manipulation, were concealed or subverted. Gerhard mates rational methods with the spirit of experimental discovery. And without firmly disclosing the actual method, he allows the viewer to experience the moment of surprise and the serendipity of his works.

A catalogue on the exhibition will be published with a text by Vanessa Sondermann and Anna Dietz.