Foreign Landscapes
2017
Photography Series
Out there, there’s this big bubble, hovering over consulting agencies, investment banks and major companies. It’s formed only by numbers, statistics, analyses and profit-oriented minds, causing a static detachment of reality. Highly educated and motivated young consultants and bankers work in a sphere of numb calculation and unconscious analyses in order to maximize the profit of rich companies and private investors. De facto, they juggle around with thoroughly gathered numbers in Excel-Charts and PowerPoint-Diagrams to make therich even richer, without noticing which gearwheel in the world’s capitalistic structure they actually are. Talking to young asset consultants and business consultants in Germany, who have just graduated from Business-School, displayed, that all of their work appears so factual to them, causing the relation to reality to seem totally abstract. Therefore, we could say they are intelligent minds, blinded by rays of the numerical world of finance, in fact, we all are. That’s actually no surprise if you take into account, that a lot of the money circulating right now, in form of funds, commercial papers etc., does not exist in the material world.
My older brother was 26 years old and already a business consultant in one of the world-wide leading consulting companies. He graduated from the top business schools in Europe, always trying to be part of the elite. His drive was not due to the high wages he could expect with this profession but his actual passion for analyzing things, relating them to bigger contexts and finally presenting the results in neatly made charts and diagrams. When I asked him how he is able to work 15 hours per day, just to figure out how to maximize profits of a company holding billions of euros, he said, that these thoughts seem incredibly abstract when you are only confronted with statistics day by day, trying to reach the theoretical goals your client is aiming for. My observation of my brother’s career left me with a very distanced and skeptical view on the world. It’s a microcosm with it’s own moral, isolating itself from reality and ignoring their part of responsibility for social inequality.
From this perspective I have looked at statistics, charts, diagrams and analysis presentations of my brother, that he has prepared over the years during his studies and in his job. I rephotographed those neatly, colorfully made presentations of facts and numbers, wrestling all sense from it by portraying them as hazy, abstract landscapes of colors. Hence, the images exist as independent, vague compositions, illustrating my attempt to enter and interact with my brothers working processes. At the same time, I have encountered his environment in Frankfurt, photographing it in an analytic, factual way, to create, in combination with the abstract images, an ambivalence of intimacy and skeptical distance. This metaphorically echoes the relationship between me and my brother, that feels both, loving and unfamiliar.


Exhibition Views of installed works at PhotoBrussels (Hangar Art Center), 2018, Galerie Anne-Claire-Simon, 2018 and Paris Photo, Grand Palais, 2017.

 








© 2022 Leon Billerbeck