Nailya Alexander Gallery is pleased to present Ingar Krauss: Fragile, the gallery’s first solo exhibition for the artist, on view online from Tuesday 12 May through Saturday 30 May. Please direct all inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Born in East Berlin in 1965, Ingar Krauss worked as a psychiatric caregiver before turning to photography in the mid-1990s. From the start, Krauss was drawn to portraiture. His subjects have included his daughter and her friends in the Oderbruch countryside in eastern Germany; children living in state-run orphanages and juvenile prisons in the former Soviet Union; and the Eastern European migrant workers who travel hundreds of miles to Germany every year for seasonal fruit and vegetable harvests. In the introduction to Krauss’s first book, Portraits (Hatje Cantz, 2006), Vince Aletti writes that Krauss “has produced a remarkable group of images that balance historical resonance with contemporary relevance…The portraits are understated, unsentimental, and as straightforward as official documents, but they also have an extraordinary emotional weight and clarity.”
In 2010, Krauss began working on a series of still lifes – embarking, in effect, on a new form of portraiture, one in which his subjects were not human faces and personalities but the flora and fauna of the natural world. Krauss carefully arranges his pears, quinces, lilacs, and taxidermied animals in stage-like boxes of his own construction, then shoots the composition under natural light and creates a gelatin-silver print to which he applies a delicate glaze of oil paint. Some subjects are suspended from a string at the top of the box, while others are positioned in the foreground against a deep, darkening depth of field, echoing the work of the dramatic Baroque Spanish still-life painter Juan Sánchez Cotán (1560-1627) and placing the natural world, both literally and metaphorically, on a pedestal.
Ingar Krauss: Fragile brings together the artist’s recent still lifes with earlier portraits created in the Oderbruch. Both bodies of work capture and isolate life in a moment of mystery, fragility, and change – whether the subject is a young girl on the cusp of adolescence, a freshly cut flower, or a ripening fruit. The dreamlike world of childhood is presented alongside the primal, sensory natural world, both fleeting and impermanent, but made available to us through these masterful artworks.
Ingar Krauss’s work has been shown in numerous solo and group exhibitions worldwide, including shows at the Musée de l’Elysée in Lausanne, the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, and the International Center of Photography in New York. In 2004, he received the Leica Prize of the Grand Prix International de Photographie in Vevey, Switzerland. His books include Portraits (Hatje Cantz, 2005), 39 Pictures (Hartmann Books, 2016), and Huts Hedges Heaps (Hartmann Books, 2019). Krauss lives and works in Berlin and Zechin, Germany.