When Fabian Schröder and I first met incidentally in a Viennese gallery last year, we would have never guessed to get together again, but there we were in a café right opposite the C/O in Berlin (a very decent museum for photography).
Having studied photography at the academy of Antwerp and Brussels in the last couple of years, Fabian Schröder has now returned to Berlin, where he is finally able to explore his hometown and delve into Berlin’s buzzing art scene. So, in this vibrant artistic atmosphere we started talking about Fabian’s approach to photography, why he is creating artificial realities and how he would describe his art to people who are lacking one of photography’s most basic elements.
In his “Holiday Park” series, Fabian Schröder depicts rows of neat houses and gardens in a clean and safe environment. Fabian explains: “I am generally interested in everything which is artificial. These tourist parks fascinate me as they are increasingly themed environments and only decorated so as to look authentic. On site, I was focusing on the geometry of serial architecture and constructed landscape, which link to standardization and uniformity.” Fabian has been fascinated by these theme parks ever since his family vacation, today he travels there alone and by night though, shooting with exposures of up to ten minutes and only as little post-processing as needed. It’s the bizarreness and absurdity of these places where people escape from reality and immerse into a totally anonymous and uniform world that fascinate him.
But back into the real world, where Fabian and I were deepening our conversation about his art and why the concept of this series deals with fanciful worlds, in which sterility, superficiality and uniformity are residing. In his own words: “The idea was to depict the reality, bizarre and absurd, in a way like Disney Land. I asked myself if I can create a model out of reality.” In a way it can be seen as a documentation of the dream of escaping reality/imperfection, entering into fiction/perfection temporarily. “I am trying to abstract reality by creating
worlds that seem super-real and artificial, exploring the boundaries between fiction and non-fiction.”
Also in another of his series, “White”, Fabian knows how to puzzle his viewers by shooting landscapes that look photoshopped or studio-made, but are once again solely making us believe to be unreal. Fabian Schröder’s intention is not to create images on the computer, but to show the original by detaching them from their initial meaning and by simplifying reality. “In order to plausibly convey the message of a photographic representation, which is seemingly unreal but actually depicts reality, manipulation should be avoided as a matter of fact. The project would be trivial, if the effect of the unreal is created in postproduction.”
Again back in the café, where we have finished our drinks after an hour of discussing Fabian’s works. What strikes me most is how he depicts reality in such a way that it looks super-real, sterile and modeled and how his settings can delude us in our perception, when in fact he is plainly presenting us an image of reality.
So, after an hour and a half of vivid conversation, I was nearly ready to release Fabian…there was still one more question on my mind, though: “As eyesight being the most important element to perceive photography, how would you describe your art to a blind person?”
Silence, plasticity, and Hubba Bubba.