text on the exhibition at Literaturhaus Berlin from 6th – 25th may 2018
Being and Between
Andréas Lang: European Scenes 2009 – 2017
At any party, there’s always someone around whom the others gather: the one who knows how to hold your attention, to fire your imagination, the one who knows how to tell a story.
In Andréas Lang’s work, each piece is like such a person. Some are quietly moody, some loud but mysterious, some colourful yet coy – all catch your eye, start to talk – and hook you with tales at once old and new, straightforward and impenetrable, melancholic and romantic. And there’s something else, something you don’t realize immediately, but which might later explain your intrigue, your pleasure and maybe also your slight disquiet – the stories these artworks tell are yours.
Lang captures those moments between being settled and becoming something else, moments at once pregnant with futility and possibility. “In Castilla” (Spain 2009), the house seems lifeless – its doors shut, its windows barred. And yet the street outside bids you to cross over, while the portière – a fabulous, blue-gold flash of fantasy – beckons, daring you to lift the drape, to enter.
Europe, cramped between so many visions and versions of itself, has long been on the brink of becoming worse and better, more and less. A fait accompli, a work in progress, a dream, a disappointment – Europe is many things to many people. For Andréas Lang it is a study in the necessity of history. His lens, wherever it aims, finds focus through the past. His camera shutter flickers to the threnody of time, clicking it into a single, continuous moment. And, always, the future is in the frame: the future not as a destination, but as an impression rendered from our ability to look hard at ourselves. It’s historicity, Lang’s works suggest, that determines the pixel quality of any projection.
Being and Between is an encounter with realities vanished and returned, with relics of ruin, with nature’s enduring power to repair. It is a meeting with Europe, which stretches the bounds of time and place that too often constrict our notions of who and where we are. And it is a quiet hint of promise – because to be between means to hold unrealized potential – also for the better.