Wolfgang Zurborn


Terra Incognita


Terra Incognita #01, Bielefeld 2002


Wolfgang Zurborn: Terra Incognita
by Peter V. Brinkemper

In his exhibition "Terra Incognita" Wolfgang Zurborn tracks down the staging of public places which are the setting of the “Stadttheater”, Bielefeld’s municipal theatre and opera house. He deliberately does not make a distinction between historic sites and places of cultural interest, like the Old Town, on the one hand, and the bareness of a multi-storey car park on the university grounds on the other hand.

Zurborn‘s compositions of harsh and sometimes glowing colours make us see everyday life with different eyes. Details photographed from obliques angles and paradoxical reflections of interiors and exteriors highlight the platforms of public life. The curtain is up and we are guided onto the stage and behind the backdrop, where the stage machinery of the city is only partially hidden from view.


Terra Incognita #01, Bielefeld 2002

Zurborn has been working as a professional photographer for the Bielefeld City Theatre since many years. He is a constant companion to their rehearsals and performances, casting an expert eye over the interplay between light and shadow, facial expression and make-up, all so vital to capture our imagination and create illusion. With Zurborn‘s guidance, we may literally explore Bielefeld as unknown territory. How is that achieved? The visual artist and photographer Wolfgang Zurborn puts a surprisingly ambivalent perspective on what we thought we knew already, thus uncovering, exaggerating and disintegrating the stereotypes in everyday life – the trifles which make the sum of life. Zurborn speaks of the “Dressur Real” of the ordinary things. He is a master of productive alienation (cf. Brecht’s Galilei) and experimental viewing – stylistic devices which, in many respects, resemble the dramatic tricks in a stunning production of a play.

The picture itself works as an interface for the active viewer, who must make up their mind how to react to the photographer’s choice of perspective and subject. The photograph puts the viewer (and the world) to the test: the drama of everyday life is condensed into a concrete and changeable picture, in which the stage directions, however, remain to be decoded.






Slide show
overview of the photographic work



Mitten im Westen

China! Which China?




Terra Incognita

dressur real

Missing Pictures

In the Middle of the Speed

In the Labyrinth of Signs

Photo Walls Neumarkt

People Pictures - Picture People

Front Garden of Illusions



list of all exhibitions