30.05 – 23.06.2012
A Photographic Exhibition by Niklas Zimmer
Into the Night by Niklas Zimmer is a collection of long-exposure, film-based photographs taken at night in Cape Town. In this series of nudes, still lifes and cityscapes Niklas Zimmer has used the night and the process of photographing with long exposures as an allegorical backdrop for a politics of personal path-finding through ambivalent terrains of consciousness.
This is very difficult to ‘capture’, but it can be evoked. Long exposure film based photography documents periods of time, in Zimmer’s case anything between 30 seconds and 10 minutes per image. This process of holding still in space, for both the photographed and the photographer, produces poignant evocations. The effect of trading the abruptness of the digital snap-shot for these spaces, where only the inanimate elements remain sharp and anything that is living/ breathing/moving is blurred, evokes myriads of moments. With the implication of a state of existence and a depiction of what is here, now.
When night falls and the city changes shape, the whole world and the people in it appear to have changed forever. In Cape Town, the natural landscape and urban experience merge. This city’s built environment presents a loose patchwork of history unraveling against nature rather than entirely obscuring it. Night vision forces the easy daytime vistas to recede. While most elements are swallowed up by shadow, the living, breathing, moving things speak against a clear, environmental stillness. Night becomes a time for individuation, and this counterpoint vision informs the poetic aesthetic of Into the Night.
Using a deeply informed methodology of working and feeling, Into The Night addresses an existential un-knowingness and longing, which we all experience within and beyond our myriad of cultural and historical contexts. This invisible, dark matter that we touch upon every now and then inside ourselves, through countless personal journeys, through trauma, contemplation, healing work, somehow connects us to that large, energetic body that is called humanity. Perhaps one day we will know the shape of it, but so far we can only sense some of its limits. Both effortless and careful, balanced and whimsical, Into the Night plays a game of revealing and concealing, without intention to make sense of, or conclusively understand. Rather, Zimmer’s project is document to the human condition of searching, learning and working though something, in staring into the historical face of the night.
Exhibit Opening – Into the Night (Photos by Louise and Matthias Potgieter):