Art Review: Florian Maier-Aichen at Blum & Poe
By: Sharon Mizota
In his latest show at Blum & Poe, Florian Maier-Aichen continues his exploration of landscape, creating a poetic meditation on the line between painting and photography, abstraction and representation. Despite its highly restrained and formal presentation, the show is ultimately about the wonder of visual creation and the ways in which we interpret and understand images.
This effect is achieved chiefly through comparison. Although all of the works in the show are photographs, some are subtly altered, while others are images of paintings or drawings. A view of the Hollywood Hills dotted with brightly colored balloons is installed across from an image of a reductive painting of similarly colored balloons floating above mountains in a night sky. Two photographs of islands also face off: one is misty black and white, the other sharp and intensely colored. They could be two different views of the same island, or the resemblance could be completely fabricated.
“Östersjön II” is a photograph of an abstract painting — a triangle of rainbow stripes whose base is at the edge of a piece of paper soaking in some dark liquid. Across the room is an image of a scenic fjord in Norway, shot from a popular postcard vista using a tricolor photographic technique that creates an intense, prismatic effect. The deep “V” shape of the fjord is the inverse of the upward pointing, abstract triangle, creating a kind of visual counterpoint between a highly conventional representation and pure abstraction. Both images also emphasize the horizon — the place where land and water meet, which seems to be an analogue for the ever-receding horizon between representation and abstraction, documentary and fiction.