Anton Roland Laub’s recent show Res Caecas at Atelier 35 makes a blurred statement about the architectural absurdities and similarities between the two capital cities Berlin and Bucharest. This is to be expected as Laub’s photographs, practice and life have been permanently caught in a momentum between these two cities.
The works are contained within the brick walls and glass windows of Atelier 35, allowing (if evening) the darkness from outside to play with the lightness created inside. Also, and importantly for the show itself, the particular formal framing of the work is forced to contrast with the stripped bare nature of the walls. The space feels structured, minimal, airy, light – the work is clean, sharp, also minimal, also light; they blend together to create a poetic and ghostly atmosphere.
These qualities are neatly represented through the pairing of buildings known to Laub, namely the communist architecture of East Berlin, and the Orthodox religious architecture of Bucharest. I am unsure whether the connection here is a complimentary playing, or a hard contrasting competition between Communism and Religion.
Communism creating mere shadows for religion to, continue to exist in
The Orthodox spirit possessing the inner design, and structure, of these monumental buildings.
The answer needs a little further investigation into the work to discover it is not the ‘either, or’ situation or the more chaotic and progressive ‘and both’, but a newer modern and able ‘and both, and more’.
Open the space between the two areas and the clues begin to emerge. Once separated, you realise that certain buildings that were once constructed in certain locations, have actually been relocated, and reconstructed and put back together again to look as if they were never moved in the first place.
How do you photograph a mobile building and one that has ceased to move for 25 years?
One way could be to use multiple wide-angle panoramas, and piece them together to create a fake representation, of the real thing – the relocated church hidden behind communist facades in Bucharest. Then arrange these photos with their paired shot of the front of actual communist architecture from Berlin. Giving the impression that the facades border the churches. Not forgetting the finer details of choosing a minimal colour palette that matches, and considering the atmospheric light from each of the photos natural environments.
Here you get to share an experience similar to the show Res Caecas, you find yourself trapped between the two cities, confused to where you are in location, dimension and time. Front or Behind? Berlin or Bucharest? Orthodox Church or Communist Block? Real or Fake? Now or Then? Strict or Playful?
Anton Roland Laub, Res Caecas / Blind Things was at Atelier 35 Bucharest between 7 April – 7 May 2015.
David M Gibson, born 1982, is a retired illustrator, recent Visual Communication MA graduate from the Royal College of Art and wants to be a writer....