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Wolfgang Weileder: 'Atlas'

Exhibition dates: 6 December 2013 - 8 February 2014

'Atlas' is a monumental new body of photographic works created across the world over the last five years in cities from Tokyo to Turin. A series of 20 new large-scale prints have been created specially for this exhibition, which continues Weileder's interest in how we use and understand public spaces. The apparently abstract images are, in fact, vast compendiums of "data" about the civic spaces of major cities around the world.

Weileder uses a bespoke computer programme to create a portrait of each city's central square, piazza, or plaza over an extended duration. In contrast to orthodox long-exposure photographs, Weileder records an image a single pixel tall across the entire breadth of the square, minute upon minute, so that we encounter several hundred 'slices' of time stacked from top to bottom. We are primarily able to register the colours that define each space - whether buildings or people - and the degree of motion and movement through it, rather than being drawn into an illusionistic, or straightforward photographic image. Weileder's process is akin to that created by Picasso and Braque in Cubism - except that we encounter multiple timeframes within the same picture rather than multiple spatial viewpoints. Where there are clear vertical 'stripes', we register the static structures that are immobile over time. Where there are horizontal patterns, we recognise the activity that animates the square, as his camera has registered motion and flux.

Weileder notes that, in contrast to traditional maps or topographical photographs, he presents raw 'data' that nevertheless tells us more about the life and activity of the cities than any single image, or any graphical or cartographical representation ever could. We perceive, over the course of an entire morning or afternoon, the texture of life lived in public. Weileder argues that our understanding of space remains trapped in twentieth-century habits, and that a revolution in our ways of thinking about space is required.

The exhibition is accompanied by a major new monograph titled 'Continuum', published by Kerber, and featuring new essays by Alistair Robinson, Dr Ludwig Seyfarth and Dr Rachel Wells. In 2014 Weileder will exhibit 'Atlas' in Kunsthalle Recklinghausen, Germany. 



Wolfgang Weileder, Place des Vosges, Paris

'Atlas' install image, courtesy of Stephen Mincher

'Atlas' install image, courtesy of Stephen Mincher

'Atlas' install image, courtesy of Stephen Mincher