Inspired by direct, documentary photography, Georg Aerni developed his precise and controlled view of spatial structures. However, photographers with an architectural background do not understand spatial situations as mere visually perceptible phenomena. Thus, in his latest project, the architect’s eye is unmistakable. In his work cycle “territories”, Aerni examines the display of zoological gardens and determines their aesthetic as well as architectural basics. Georg Aerni is exhibiting for the first time at the Bob Gysin Gallery, where he presents a tightly hung show, depicting a picturesque yet analytic view of eleven European zoological gardens.
In the series “Territories”, Georg Aerni once again turns his attention to simple, unpretentious construction, to which the etiquette of “ masterpiece of architecture” is usually not attributed. Taking into account the two previous projects “Slopes and Houses” (Hong Kong, 2000) and “Insights” (Tokyo, 2003), in which the artist traces steep slopes or urban spaces, the focus of his new work can be clearly defined. Aerni’s focus is on functionalist buildings that are often reduced to the mere purpose of function.
In his latest project, Aerni experiences the materials and the construction of various zoo trails. In tectonic, scenographic and pictorial terms, with his connotations of the irregular and rough, his gaze remains fixed. Particular attention is paid to the artificially simulated rock formations, which with their surface design show an aestheticization of the zoo architecture.
With his “Territories”, the artist does not concern himself with ethical questions about the animal’s welfare. So to speak, his photographs of zoological gardens show different approaches of this practice but without any comment.
Aerni’s recordings are all characterized by the absence of any resident. This creates a peculiar distance, which directs attention to the formal characteristics of the represented spaces. Finally, Aerni’s zoological gardens convey the effect of something unusual, in which they are reduced to the mere facticity of the places. His photographs show how zoological gardens are, in fact, artificial. This artificiality emerges both through itself and through the imitation of nature.