Sebastian Wehrle "Von alten Hüten und neuen Wegen" GALERIE SUPPER 2021
At the beginning of 2020, GALERIE SUPPER presents an extensive solo exhibition of SEBASTIAN WEHRLE after showcasing the photographer as part of a collective exhibition in summer last year. During this time, WEHRLE’s portraits, depicting historical Black Forest garbs as Haute Couture, were exhibited alongside the works of internationally renowned fashion photographers.
Not only do Sebastian Wehrle’s portraits composing the “Facing Tradition” series revive the image of the Black Forest which has developed into a brand in its own right and dress its nostalgic charm in bright new colours. They are also part of the contemporary discourse of questions concerning homeland, tradition and ancestry as well as affiliation, identity and emancipation. Because art can help us understand and be understood by one another, as one universal language. Where interests, life designs and ideologies may seem to have a separating effect, art can foreground that which connects. And it’s not just that Wehrle demonstrates in his portraits how young, fresh and innovative the image of “Schwarzwald 2.0” is, but he also displays the diverse, colorful and inclusive ways in which its cultural heritage is experienced and lived to this day.
In his series “Q”, WEHRLE continues to create portraits, but this time choses to adorn old breeds of cattle with traditional wreaths and floral headdresses. The photographer thus toys with the way in which the format of the portrait is art historically being taken for granted. Therefore he specifically selects the very same front view and dark backdrop as in his series “Facing Tradition”.
Furthermore, GALERIE SUPPER shows Wehrle’s less well known series “Heimat” comprising landscape photographs, which do not set man but nature into focus and shed light on the dark, mystic and enigmatic character of the Black Forest. They allow views of mysteriously shining chapels, solitary farmyards, mist-shrouded chains of hills and woods immersed in twilight. Because in the Black Forest, numerous locations are intertwined with myths and legends. Trees, cliffs, springs and lakes are said to be both habitats and gathering places for untamed spirits, forest fairies and witches. Those Black Forest stories, being passed on from generation to generation for centuries, seem to be inherent in the region like a mystifying spell and are woven into Wehrle’s images like delicate threads. Thereby, the artist shines a light on the continuous captivating and fascinating effect of the eerily beautiful fairytale forest’s descended essence.
Melanie Haab M.A.