Wolfgang Zurborn


dressur real



1986 bis 2000

book project

In May 2001, the book dressur real with photographs from the past 14 years has been published by J. Strauss in Potsdam.

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Slide show





Preface of the book "dressur real"
by the editor Klaus Honnef
Translated from the German by Jeanne Haunschild

What a person sees is, to a great degree, the result of the power of his imagination. Some time ago neurobiologists had empirically proven how the brain, in the act of seeing, processes the passively received sensory data through active conceptualization. This fact has been known even longer by artists who understood this phenomenon intuitively and dealt with it in a poetic or sculptural-visual manner, until the emergence of photography and its claim of direct perception seemed to illustrate the opposite. The medium of photography, however, is the product of human imagination in a twofold sense: as a reflection of a specific technically and thus culturally determined mode of perception and - like each of its images - as the source of sensory data that, in turn, are calculated by the imaginative powers of the brain.

Wolfgang Zurborn with his workgroup “dressur real” puts this to the test and shows by photographic means that photography - no less than painting or digitalized images - represents, always and inevitably, a construction of the visibly Real in a twofold meaning of the word, irrespective of its indexical structure, i.e., the physical imprint of traces of what had once been. The make-up of his pictures is correspondingly complex, on the level of their appearance as well as their formal abstraction. Simultaneously on these levels, other levels of varying origin additionally cross-connect, which are of different intensity, space and time, nature and culture, human and material world, signifier and signified. In part they network here, in part the different event levels seem to come about on their own, thanks to perspective, cut and lighting.

Subliminally and against the background of the so-called information and scientific society, his photographic images continually pose the question as to the extent and the intensity with which the human imagination, e.g., the brain’s ability to poetize, is colored by the influence of advertising. Thus the photographer undermines the false naturalness that advertising is all the more forcefully propagating the more nature’s loss increases, and he does so by ironic breaks and a lighting that gives all his pictures the gloss of artificiality. In this sense they are multiply encoded and contradict any simplified perceptual logic. They force the imaginative capacity of their viewer to widen his/her horizon, upset the conventional course of things via unconventional visual challenges, provoke a crisis in orientation, thus developing their wit solely on an aesthetic level. Thanks to an elaborated montage technique, which is at once an aesthetic principle that unites the montage within and without in a bewildering exchange and a paradoxical relationship, the pictures on the level of experience turn into riddles without resolution.

Wolfgang Zurborn has consciously staged his workgroup “dressur real” - which is also a retrospective look at his photographic artwork - as a book that recalls a film, one, however, that possesses no obvious narrative structure, but many elements of the filmic. An encounter of film and photography on a level of the third kind.

Some photographs of the series "dressur real" are represented by photonica.





Slide Show of the complete work



Terra Incognita

book project "dressur real"

At the Centre of Speed

In the Labyrinth of Signs

People Pictures - Picture People



list of all exhibitions



untitled, Cologne 1998



untitled, Cologne 1998



untitled, Altenberg 1998