Bruce Silverstein Announces The Representation Of World-Renowned Artist Elger Esser

Art Daily
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Shivta, Israel, 2015. Chromogenic print.
Shivta, Israel, 2015. Chromogenic print.

NEW YORK, NY.- Esser is most widely recognized for his distinct approach to the genre of landscape photography in his production of eternal images imbued with the sensitive vision of a Romantic. His serene, verdant photographs depict moments rooted historically, yet also in the present. Esser’s work builds upon a rich tradition of 19th century photography characterized by the grand Realist landscapes of French masters Gustave Le Gray and Édouard Baldus, as well as the great chronicler of the American west, Carleton Watkins. Whereas the approach of these forbearers realized still photographs entwined to their respective eras, Esser’s timeless images are detached from such specificity, evoking the everlasting.

Esser’s formal education has been the study of landscape photography. As a student of Bernd Becher at the Düsseldorf School of Photography in the 1990s, his concerted practice does encompass aspects of the documentary method promoted by his instructor; however, Esser’s work departs from Becher as well as that of his fellow students in his endeavors to encapsulate the fundamental mood of a landscape. His resulting efforts feel less starkly categorical, and undoubtedly share more in common with the sensibility of 17th century Dutch landscape painters. Inspired also by the prosaic literary descriptions of nature expressed between Flaubert and Maupassant, Esser’s photographs are almost exclusively devoid of human presence. Fascinated with postcards since childhood, Esser’s work is often imbued with the experience of travel and exploration. He seeks forgotten stretches of paysages intimes, creating illuminated souvenirs which embody his enchantment with the landscape.

Born in Stuttgart, Germany in 1967, Esser spent the majority of his childhood in Rome, Italy. He moved to Düsseldorf in 1986 and attended the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf under Bernd Becher from 1991 to 1997. The artist continues to live and work in Düsseldorf. Esser has had countless solo exhibitions worldwide and participated in numerous biennials and group exhibitions, namely ILEANA SONNABEND, AN ITALIAN PORTRAIT at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice in 2011. His works are represented widely in notable private collections and within international institutions including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Stiftung Museum Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf, and Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris.