In his artistic works, Bernhard Prinz (*1953) deals with the medium of photography and art historical canon formation, as well as the interplay between indexical depictiveness, fictional staging strategies and collective, visual memory. Constantly exploring the boundaries of the photographic, Prinz pursues experimental approaches to photography.
The status of the photographic image in art and everyday life is put into question with humour and subtlety. By exaggerating stagings, for example, Prinz makes the fictional parts within photographs visible. The aspect of staging shapes the creation of his photographs as well as their presentation in exhibitions. In his precisely composed works, these strategies always remain visible and thus open up meta-levels.
In this way, he negotiates questions about the possibilities and limits of photographic (re)presentation, whose yards of association he also extends to supra-individual themes and symbolism through the titling. He further crosses these staging strategies with metaphors or even allegories that his titles convey. Prinz creates new associations in combination with the depicted fictions of reality. Questions of temporality, attributions, iconisations and also decoding strategies of images are inextricably interwoven and constitute the strength of Bernhard Prinz's pictorial inventions.
While at the beginning of his artistic career Bernhard Prinz mostly staged in his studio, for some time now he has increasingly pursued site-specific approaches. He often explores architectures, monuments or public spaces and alienates them in a way that makes their historical, social and socio-political situatedness disappear. Decontextualised, these spaces, which are mostly in intermediate stages of construction or demolition, lose their specific location and thus also a clear legibility.
The artistic works of Bernhard Prinz celebrate an aesthetic oscillation of ambiguity and in this way examine fundamental parameters of pictoriality. While the medium of photography has long been perceived as seemingly particularly documentary, Prinz often emphasises the fictional elements that are inherent in every photographic image. In his works, he focuses on the specific potential of the perspectivisation and staging of photographic images.
The ambiguity of motifs that are not clearly recognisable or decipherable can evoke an uncertainty in the recipient that, in the best case, deepens the perception of the multi-layered interacting levels within the works. Prinz investigates not least the perceptual-psychological mechanisms of a visual memory, which increasingly shape his artistic work. He skilfully uses the interplay of form and content, including the use of colour, detail and perspective, as well as the use of light and shadow, to open up new spaces of thought and sensory experience. His pictorial inventions often convey a genuine ambiguity in fictional abstraction that enables a new view of things. He not infrequently places attributions and habits of artistic representation reflectively in space by ironically exaggerating or critically undermining aspects of aesthetic representation and perception.