i confront the viewer with the perennial question of what photography actually is.
“Permeation III” 2020, 82” x 78”
Holger Obenaus (*1964) is a German photographer, musician and songwriter. Holger begins his artistic career as a young punk guitar player, feeding off the ebullient and fertile environs of the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf and the Kölner. Werkschule in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. Electronic Music. German Pop., Punk. ZERO. Fluxus. Erweiterter Kunstbegriff. At night artists and musicians morph underground bars into canvasses and studio spaces into nightclubs.
“It was a never-ending Artistic Discourse of new ideas and concepts.”
Obenaus soaks up this dynamic environment. Producer Conny Plank, Kraftwerk, artists like Jürgen Klauke, Gerhard Richter, and Boris Becker highly influence and still define Obenaus’ work to this day.
In the 1990’s and early 2000’s Obenaus becomes one of the most successful songwriters in Germany and earns numerous Gold & Multi-Platinum awards from the German music industry.
Despite this commercial success, Obenaus feels he has reached an impasse in his artistic expression.
“A simple shift of frequency was the inevitable step to expand my artistic vocabulary. A change of location was a logical consequence.”
“Radical change requires bold action. From Music to Photography. From Europe to the United States. All I wanted was: Back to the future. Back to the roots.” Photography proves to be the perfect tool. Obenaus’ commercial body of work, his distinctive, dispassionate perspective and his idealistic point of view, is highly influenced and starkly aligned with the Düsseldorfer School of Photography and the teachings of Bernd and Hilla Becher.
In the 2010’s Obenaus’ unique signature look is widely regarded by publishers, architects and clients, as the epitome of German photography and has led to an impressive body of commercial work that includes over 50 national covers.
Commercial success does not necessarily breed artistic freedom, and again Obenaus’ creative spirit demands more space for self expression, a need to expand from reproduction to production. In 2020 Obenaus perfects a revolutionary symbiosis. Large Format Cameras. Radioactive Lenses. Digital Technology.
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