»Unter Wasser« is both a radical break and a consistent continuation of Hans-Christian Schink’s previous work. Known for his precisely composed large-format photographs, his new body of work constitutes a radical change in his photographic method because he accepts chance as a factor in the image making process. The photos were made in different biotopes of Germany’s most water-rich state, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern: lakes, ditches, and so-called kettles. These bodies of water were mostly created when the ice sheet receded at the end of the last ice age and thus mark the beginning of the very civilization that Schink dissects in his photography. Schink worked with an underwater camera, yet he did not dive. Thus he could merely guess what was visible through the viewfinder. In a very confined space, he reveals unknown and almost archaic landscapes. His pictures distort the actual proportions, creating a mysterious miniature world with sculptural character. The subject of »Unter Wasser« is also bigger than the small biotopes initially suggest: the relationship between man and nature. The worlds under water cannot be separated from those above ground since they are also shaped by agriculture and climate change. Schink thus reconnects with one of the major themes in his work, namely that of socially determined topographies.
Hans-Christian Schink (*1961) studied at the Academy of Fine Arts Leipzig. His landscape and architectural photography, probing the relationship between nature and civilization, have gathered much critical acclaim. He is considered one of the most important contemporary German photographers. Schink lives and works in Plath, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.
Von der Heydt-Museum Wuppertal, 27.2. – 10.7.2022