Down the Rabbit Hole and up the Mountain

Nico Anklam, extract from the catalogue essay “Kraft, Lang, Hast & Altmann, Munich 2011

Andréas Lang’s works not only take us along on imaginary journeys, but in photographs such as Jungle, USA (2007) and Nightclub, Damascus (2010), he centers our attention on colonialism: its voyages of discovery, appropriation of landscapes, and its particular photographic slant. In his works, Lang understands how to condense various layers of history and their visual narratives within photographic snapshots of the present. The very concrete political reality behind his photography of a nightclub in Syria appears as a palimpsestic layering of portrayals that appeals to our cineast’s memory, too. As the exhibition unfolds, the constant flicker between fiction and reality, narrative and reference to reality, shifts toward a cinematic aesthetic. We move backward along a timeline of cinematographic references: with Andréas Lang’s image of a nightclub entrance in Damascus, we seem to be witnessing a film still from David Lynch. An unreal green envelops the door to the underworld in a reptilian embrace, menacing red shines from the crocodile’s mouth, while the fiction simultaneously shatters on sacks of sand and concrete in the foreground, remnants of a construction site. Lang shows us, at this moment quite literally, that he layers and builds his fantastic worlds of images from the material of the here and now.