G. Roland BiermannConceptual Artist
Biermann's work depicts his ascetic rejection of the definite, the literal and the static. His enduring preoccupation is in fact to find a visual equivalent to the experiences of movement and mobility, in time and in space, and ultimately in society.
G. Roland Biermann was born in Bonn, Germany. He studied at New York University and works in London. Working with photography, film, sculpture and installation, his works are often hybrid, merging several media to a new form.
Sleek minimalism meets gritty reality. Two crash barriers slice through the air, narrowly missing each another before piercing the wall behind. Jesus’ fall finds a contemporary echo in the everyday tragedy of a car crash. Oil barrels suggest automobiles, but we might also think of olive oil, used in the Bible to anoint priests and cure the sick. Painted fourteen shades of red—suggesting blood that runs, congeals, and quickens anew—the barrels symbolize the Stations of the Cross. Some viewers might find consolation in the symbolism of Holy Blood and Holy Oil. Others will be reminded of blood spilt in the pursuit of fossil fuels. The tensions and binaries in Biermann’s installation—sacred and profane, ancient and modern—suit this site. During the Blitz, the area was devastated—including much of medieval St Giles' Cripplegate. Today it houses the Barbican, a symbol of postwar hope and utopian ambition.
The three series selected for Metamorphosis depict Biermann's rejection of the definite, the literal and the static. His enduring preoccupation is in fact to find a visual equivalent to the experiences of movement and mobility, in time and in space, and ultimately in society.
snow+concrete is a series of vanitas images in the form of triptychs and polyptychs, transparent black&white photographs, printed on fused glass, a unique combination of ancient craftsmanship and 21st century technology. In this project, Biermann arranges snow in organic and geometric forms in an underground car park and photographs distinct phases of the melting process. The finished polyptychs are deliberately incomplete or unsystematic, in the sense that they challenge preconceived ideas of how a chain reaction of cause and consequence should be subject to an algorithm or systematic occurence. The melting process is supposed to follow a predefined pattern, determined by concentration and speed of deterioration, through the exposure to the atmospheric conditions of an underground car park. The succession of episodes is however at times presented in what seems to be an arbitrary or even reversed order, questioning the source, the process and ultimately the result and the destination at once.
Aperture’s 2016 Summer Open was a call for contributions to the idea of photography as a magical form and featured G. Roland Biermann's snow+concrete XIV.
The photographic practices represented in the final selection for this year’s Summer Open were rich with vitality and deep curiosity for the magical medium of photography. They shared a fascination with and substantial knowledge of the historical roots and the contemporary state of photography. The artists actively played with the medium’s heritage—re-animating and re-contextualizing its alchemical properties—to render ideas about its contemporary material value. They are astutely aware of the viewers’ perceptions and trains of thought, grounded in our shared context of an ever-expanding image world. They invite us to pay attention to the thriving possibility of photography as an experimental platform, rich with materiality and visual sleight of hand.