Johannes Janusz DITTLOFF
"METAMORPHOSES - from the graphic cycle METROPOLIS BERLIN"
An exhibition at two exhibit locations - culmination points of the city: the Alexanderplatz ("art place berlin" at the Park Inn Berlin, Alexanderplatz - until January 8th, 2010) and on Friedrichstrasse (Art Center Berlin - until October 20th, 2009).
During the first half of the last century, artistic photography was associated with the more traditional areas of fine art, namely painting, sculpture, drawing, or graphics. One must bear in mind that since its invention an entire century had to pass before the first artists established their reputations with photographic oeuvre. Noteworthy in this regard are Alexander Rodtschenko and El Lissitzky from Russia, America's Man Ray, and Laszlo Maholy-Nagy from Hungary. Nonetheless, museums only began to take these developments into account in the late 1950's. Artists like Andy Warhol or Robert Rauschenberg significantly contributed to this change; the discovery of the media, advertising, and photography as art allowed photography itself to become a cornerstone of their work. From this perspective, Johannes J. Dittloff is in best company, particularly regarding the expanded possibilities of expression and innovative use of the medium photography.
Dittloff's background is shaped by six years of study in Graphic Arts at the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow, one of many institutes of higher learning in Poland renowned for its quality of education. His studies encompassed the entire repertoire of composition "from the bottom up", as Paul Klee would say, learning every trick in the book, or, in this case, portfolio. It goes without saying that he applies a respective high degree of graphic professio-nalism to his photographic work. He has dedicated the last two years to Germany's capital. "Berliner Metamor-phosen", shown here, are taken from the graphic cycle "Metropolis Berlin".
He took over 2000 photographs during his forays through the city on the Spree; this material shaped the starting point from which the graphics, presented in two formats, originated. The meticulously gathered richness of mostly uninhabited cityscapes astounds the viewer. It is reminiscent of Ansel Adams, the master of landscape photography, who noted: "Landscape photography is the supreme test of the photographer - and often the supreme disappointment." It requires of one inquisitive behaviour, a sense for influential factors, craftsmanship, patience and perseverance, and a great deal of experience. And: though Dittloff works exclusively with black and white photography, he always accentuates his graphics with the same dark red.
I recall how pop artists of the sixties utilised screen-printing in order to work with strong colours and put the essence of their photographic subjects into focus; an approach also applied to Edition Olympia 1972 in Munich for a striking sports series. Our artist attains similarly strong results, even if his path there is an entirely different one. After a careful selection and thematic composition of motifs, he dedicates himself masterfully to computer generated picture worlds that are new and powerful, and far beyond any previously captured photographic reality. He manages to create expressive, inspiring, and often secretive pictures that shape new relationships and provoke uncustomary interpretations.
"What I feel," he once said, "should be translated into aesthetic experience and honed with other mediums." AmpelmÃ¤nnchen (the walking figure seen in pedestrian traffic lights), logos in the city's landscape, pictograms on asphalt, or famous sights comprise this visual voyager's material for his Metamorphoses, and not filler for a tourist's glossy brochure. His subject is not composed of the pictured reality, but rather the virtual, the apparent reality. Dittloff invents suspenseful visual worlds that suit the impressions which come to mind when we think of the public, artistic vocabulary of this metropolis. His art often calls to mind a kaleidoscope of images from our contem-porary visual culture, which Dittloff has transformed into his unusual, impressive graphics."
Prof. Bernhard Schwichtenberg
The author, Prof. Bernhard Schwichtenberg, taught at the Muthesius Kunsthochschule in Kiel until the status of emeritus professor was conferred upon him. He was Chair of the BBK in Schleswig-Holstein for twelve years, until 2005.
The second part of the exhibit can be seen until October 20th at the Art Center Berlin, Friedrichstr. 134 (opposite the Friedrichstadtpalast). The Art Center Berlin is a forum for international art exhibits, presenting contemporary art on 2000 m² of exhibition space.
Cover and story in:
"Berlin vis à vis - Magazin für Stadt | Entwicklung" >>
Johannes J. Dittloff
Born in 1951 in Sosnowiec / Poland
1970-76 studied at the Art Academy in Krakow under Prof. G. Labus, MA
1977-85 working in the field of design, art and art education,
since 1985 Dittloff lives and works in Kiel, Hamburg and Berlin,
since 1986 member of the BBK.
Work areas: graphics, photography, architecture and media design, cooperation in the field of development and media design with the Christian Albrechts University of Kiel. Study tours worldwide and numerous exhibitions in Germany and abroad.