Photographs from the Museum of Purgatory
Open to the public:
22nd - 30th May 2004
MICHAEL KRUGER’S PHOTOGRAPHIC PRACTICE brings together and develops two strands of interest: the use of symbolism and scale in 16th Century northern European painting in the production of highly theatricalized spaces, and the specificity of negative based photography as a modern medium that manifests a particular relation to time and memory. Although the surface of the image is worked upon with chemicals in a way that could be described as painterly, Kruger is fundamentally concerned with the photographic mutation of a particular scene into its own trace. He manipulates the surface of the image to suggest an illusionary light source, and by amplifying the artificiality of the photographed scene in this way, draws attention to the transformation of a real event into its representation.
Whilst on a fellowship in Rome, his work was influenced by the iconography of Catholicism in the context of the city’s churches where it is still charged with representing the unrepresentable, thereby referring to the limits of visibility and understanding. The Rome photographs aim to suggest ‘other worlds’ in which symbols and characters combine to evoke a kind of pictorial logic from which the viewer is excluded but to which s/he bears uncomprehending witness.