On April 26th in the  year 1335, italian poet and so called father of humanism Francesco Petrarca set out to climb up Mount Ventoux (a 1912 m high mountain-ridge in the alps of South France); with the aim to enjoy the view of the broadening landscape –„only driven by the desire to get known the unusual hight of a place by immediate point of view“. Having reached the peak, he was literally stupefacted by the unusual breath of air and the free panorama.



The so called „objective things“ of the world  have less been an autonomous value for early renaissance’s men, rather than something translucent indicating the big divine order, recumbent in god.



In his world famous letter to an Augustinian monk he describes his experience according to his perception of the landscape: something possible and essential only for humans: the immersion into his inner self in the face of the beheld.



Landscape is the nature which gets esthetically present when viewed by a sensitive observer.



Landscape doesn’t come into existence, until man turns towards nature without a practical purpose, only by free floating enjoying view.



That means landscape could only originate, as modern man succeeded in emancipating from nature by perceiving it consciously as an opposite one. Thus having gained new freedom it became possible to make a new turn towards nature by creating a consciously controlled coherence between man and nature.



Within my photographic project entitled „hierogamos“ (hierogamos: greek : the sacred marriage of heaven and aerth, of god with his creation) firstly I want to make a hommage to Petrarca’s delivered description of nature; secondly I want to reflect upon the visual perception of landscape with photographic means.



Ecstatic enthusiasm inaugurated by immediate sensual perception of landscape is flanked by the threatened feeling from an alienated view of a non-ideal landscape.



My photography wants to oscillate two states of perception: landscape as man’s possible possession – and landscape as the thing never to possess. Therefore to sustain a pictorial top down perspective, I have exclusively photographed on Mt Ventoux’s plateau peak.



I consciously avoided the horizon’s integration into my compositions, to confront the sublime of landscape’s perception with the alienated, non-ideal of this xeric scene and thus to enforce a visual/geographic disorientation.



On the mountain’s peak the weather is changing very quickly; clouds get driven by strong winds thus changing the light’s situation permanently; at sunshine the view often is misty or the peak is blurred by clouds and sometimes the sun bursts through. I want to concentrate these impressions by printing the photographs in parts pale, lutescent and light-colored.



In my photographic series I am returning to the roots of landscape perception but also its cultivation. Technical artefacts characterize nature’s appropriation by man; first of all these traces of human civilisation create a viewpoint where nature evolves to the perception mode: landscape.



My pictorial rhetoric aims to actualize historical categories as the beautiful and the sublime by using a contemporary perspective. The distanced view and the view creating distance are assumptions for reflexion and knowledge. For me this is one of the strongest tasks and possibilities of photography as art.

„Hierogamos“,  2004-05

lambda-prints mounted on aludibond in wooden frame, 46,8 x 46,8 inches; edition of 5

lambda-prints in wooden frame, 20,5 x 20,5 inches, edition of 8


„Festival IMAGIQUES“, 2006 Langon, France, Cathedral of Pondaurat, installation view

hiero obrist6 72dpi

„construction of landscape“, 2005-06 group exhibition at Gallery Obrist, installation view



„Hierogamos“, 2007 solo exhibition at Gallery Van Kranendonk, The Hague, installation view