We look so beautiful from a distance. An incalculable distance. That is the doing of Karin Apollonia Müller whose blue and black abstract photographs represent her own remarkable view of our planet earth and the surrounding systems of stars. Transcendental, mysterious, captivating, this body of work is rooted in science yet goes way beyond photography of the galaxy.
She does not use her own camera. Instead, she alters data from NASA/JPL, imagery recorded by the Hubble or Spitzer telescopes, to invent views called Starlights, Citylights, or Worldlights. The lights from what might be great, sprawling metropolises are reduced to pin-pricks in a shadowy indeterminate expanse of land. Clusters of stars in glittering webs across an infinite space of deepest blue are awe-inspiring. But they are also fictions. Apollonia Muller transforms, arguably improves, the raw data recorded by satellites or telescopes and turns it into art.
This is a departure from the work for which Apollonia Müller is best known. Born and educated in Germany, with a masters degree from GHS Essen, she lived in L.A. for many years and often photographed the ongoing uneasy relationship between the natural environment here and the people who live in it. Her views of Malibu beaches or downtown buildings had a bleached out appearance and an emotional restraint.
"Far Out," as she has titled this body of work, is a robust, even passionate group of pictures. Made on the scale of large paintings, they are meant to go beyond the traditional constraints of photography. It seems to have become an accepted point that photographic truth is a lie. Increasingly, this outlook frees photographers to invent epic untruths. In this case, Apollonia Muller embraces the beauty of the spheres and then proceeds to enhance it. A perfect show for this celestial season, it continues to January 18.
For more information, go to DianeRosenstein.com.
Banner image; Detail of Karin Apollonia Müller's Starlights #3, 2013; Light jet print; Courtesy of the Artist and Diane Rosenstein Fine Art, Los Angeles / Photo by Marten Elder ©Karin Apollonia Müller (& NASA/ESA)