The earliest work in the exhibition shows a spectacular and powerful landscape; a great waterfall with a hand-full of tiny figures at the very outskirts of the scene. Condensation rises from the foaming mass of water to create a thick fog. The scene and the way in which it is photographed has a distinct painterly feel, which brings together the two media - photography and painting – an approach already in evidence in her earlier work. In Untitled (Wave), a detail of a Gustave Courbet painting is photographed in such a way that the surface resin reflects the light-source. What seems amateurish at first glance is transformed in this enlarged format into an aesthetic reflection which forms a vital component of the composition as a whole. The reflection of the flash erases the original citation, illuminates the painted ocean and emphasizes the fragmented surface.
The reflective surface lets Courbet’s ocean take on a synthetic intensity, but does not allow it to completely dissolve: “The view caught in reflection is an expression of its own twofold desire: to reach the image through the photograph and at the same time turn the photograph itself into an image.”(2) The above mentioned works form part of a group in which details of naturalistic landscape paintings are appropriated by Pohl’s camera. Whilst still retaining the connotations of a painting, the medium of photography embraces the canvas and turns it into something new.
In two recent compositions, Nina Pohl extends the sense of construction and sculpture in her work. In ‘DK’ she presents an outsider’s fantasy world where an elaborate assembly of tree huts and boards covered in grafitti reach up to the sky.
The synthesis of painting and photography is at the core of Pohl's practice and this, coupled with the utopian scenes she depicts, serve to question our understanding of the concept of reality within the photographic image.
1. Vorwoert, Jan: dass es geschieht. Über die Arbeiten von Nina Pohl, in: Nina Pohl, Kunstverein Oldenburg, 2007, Snoek Verlag