Luminous New York – Photography by Joergen Geerds
January 30 — February 21, 2012
German Consulate General—German House, 871 United Nations Plaza, New York, NY 10017
The German Consulate General is opening “Luminous New York — Photography by Joergen Geerds”, a series of large scale night panoramas of New York City in the lobby of the German House. The show opens on Monday, January 30, 6PM with a reception with the artist (RSVP to germanconsulatenyc[at]gmail.com) and is open to the public during normal consulate hours until February 21, 2012.
New York is a quilt of insides, outsides, and weird quasi-interiors—subway stations, train cars, the High Line, botanical gardens, zoos, and tower after tower of soaring light—sealed or half-finished towers of suddenly buoyant glass and metal, ascending into the darkly empty sky. These strange spaces trade the warmth of the inside for the mobility of the outside, or vice versa. Their moral: The inside protects us. The outside changes us. We exist (always) somewhere in between.
These truths arrive when we take the time to study our buildings, our parks, our streets. But most of us can’t find that time often enough. Thankfully we have Joergen Geerds, an artist who sees—in outsize panoramic format—the world’s premier quilt-city in terms of an unending series of bridges, stitching inside into out.
Geerds does not reduce a living, human city to an inhuman cage of steel—a figure associated with futurity and a particularly modern experience desolation. Instead, he shows us a warm emptiness—an outside that has the quality of an in, an outside peeking in to various private realms. In this way, Geerds tricks us into seeing our own world again: For the first time, New York City is itself, free of people—at least, imagistically—but touched by them, touching them; shaped by them, shaping them… A politics both empty and elaborately present, not to mention insistently real, occupies our vision.
There is a playfulness to these large city-portraits that defies not only their scale but also their lack of immediate human focus. His images of sites of power such as skyscrapers reveal outsides porous with the city’s fog of light, and (conversely) insides cooled and altered by outsides whose admission cannot be refused by any scheme of glassing-out or closing-off. In “West,” the building home to the offices of New York’s senators stands like any of us would in the middle of a crowded avenue, trying to reorient and move along…
Geerds’s outerscapes come to life, the longer we stand beside them. They fill in all around us a flattened, tamed, busy but immobile city—a city haunted by our presence, radiant for itself, without secrets or malice.
These urban vistas generate a colloquy, a noise—and noise is reassuring. We are, after all, a noisy species. Buildings and streets generate—are—a type of noise, or rather a music, and Geerds plays them superbly.
Joergen Geerds was born in Oberstreu, Germany, in 1969. He studied photography and design under Ernst Weckert and Nicolai Sarafov at the University for Applied Science, Würzburg. Since 2000 he has resided in in Astoria, New York. Inspired by the grandeur and grime of New York City, Geerds branched into panoramic photography in 2006 after a successful career as an art director in the advertising world.
Over the years, Geerds has continually refined his love of wide-angle photography. Finding the uncropped cityscapes revealed by his flattened photographs to be unique in the market, Geerds was led to develop his own distinct style—large-scale, hyper-wide night panoramas of New York City.
Since 2008, Geerds has been represented by 532 Gallery Thomas Jaeckel in Chelsea. His finished photography can be found at luminous-newyork.com, while he documents his ongoing work on his blog at newyorkpanorama.com. Geerds maintains a lively dialogue with fellow artists and photographers across the globe, and he loves to stay at the very front of photography and technological progress.
Text by Wythe Marschall