401contemporary/LONDONprojects is pleased to present SKY WITH CLOUDS AND WATER, the first solo exhibition in London by Bianca Brunner.

This exhibition explores the illusionary qualities that underlie common conceptions of perceived truth and the mise-en-scene in the medium of photography. Focusing on the (im)materiality of the surface of an image, Brunner’s works highlight the potential for abstraction that an object holds. Like the title SKY WITH CLOUDS AND WATER, whilst on the one hand descriptive, remain elusive, stirring the viewer’s imagination.

Brunner’s compositions in their austere and elegant appearance, seduce the eye with their disguises. The photographs are carefully constructed environments, that while necessarily having existed, at the same time propose a disruption from the real. Roland Barthes writes that ‘If the photograph cannot be penetrated, it is because of its evidential power’ and it is precisely this lapse between truth and the visible that finds intrigue in Brunner’s work.

The modest choice of materials is integral to the artist’s compositions. In the Welcome diptych, one is presented with a flat monochrome rectangle, hovering at the center of the photograph, but in its juxtaposing image, the three dimensionality of what is in fact a found object is revealed. Stripped of utilitarian value, the object’s formal potential emerges, drawing attention to minimal variations of its physical state and its contribution to the creation of a temporal and spatial language within the image. Brunner’s visual play continues in Harlequin and the series, Spill, where the brilliance of a checkered pattern is in fact a composition made-up of used grocery bags and the familiar colours of an oil spill reflect the process of manipulation in the artist’s studio. In Sky, the placid reflection on water of trees and sky is literally disrupted by a gap, a hole at the bottom of the frame. The blank square breaks the two-dimensional surface, proposing a third dimension, an ’outside’ of the image. This ‘outside’ is documented in the series, Sceneries which while providing hints into the constructed worlds that lie behind Brunner’s images, at the same time through their sculptural form, become contained environments, like gaps in the real world.

Brunner’s photographs literally and conceptually explore the gaps, voids and disruptions that confound the association between photography and reality creating illusionary experiences of texture, material, depth and dimension for her audience.

Bianca Brunner (b. 1974) has exhibited in Europe and USA including Bündner Kunstmuseum, Chur and Musee de l’Elysee, Lausanne, Switzerland, Fotofestival, Leipzig and Aperture Foundation, New York. Her work has been collected by National Media Museum, Bradford, and Wilson Centre for Photography, London, Aperture Foundation, NY and other public and private collections in Europe and USA. Brunner completed her MA in Photography at Royal College of Art.

The artist lives and works in London.