Florian Maier-Aichen - Photographs London Wednesday, May 20, 2015 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Blum & Poe, Los Angeles
    Sotheby's, London, Contemporary Art Day Auction, 16 October 2010, lot 184

  • Literature

    USA Today: New American Art from the Saatchi Gallery, London: Royal Academy of Arts, 2006, p. 231

  • Catalogue Essay

    “Like ‘photogenic matrices’ these images are more closely aligned with the conventional output of a painter than that of a photographer. In this way, Maier-Aichen’s thread of influence can be traced back to the nascence of photography, when practitioners sought ways to adapt the medium to painterly ends.”

    Florian Maier-Aichen’s photographic works portray natural and industrial landscapes held together with a stylised eccentricity; their air of fantasy sweeps us into a disorientated state of elation.

    Having studied in Essen and at the University of California in Los Angeles, Maier-Aichen in his style is influenced by the cross pollination of his German-Californian experience. His works possess a rich juxtaposition of the vibrant Californian colourscape with the stark brightness of the glacial mountainous terrain. His hyper real images are strongly linked to the history of European landscape photography, especially to images of remote places, and moves beyond a realistic representation of his carefully chosen subject. From an unconventional and Disney-like palette, he creates a body of work which is full of both historical and contemporary references. Refreshingly breaking away from certain doctrines which had been the ‘default’ marker of how images should be formed or presented, typological serialisation for example, Maier-Aichen literally creates a new landscape in the medium of photography.

    The work in the current lot is part of a series in which the artist employs infrared film then digitally manipulates the image before printing it as a c-type print. With the film’s ability to invert the colour green into red while keeping all other colours intact, Saddle Peak’s green flora turns into an apocalyptic red. This particular film also has an affinity to early colour photography, while the final image incorporates an effect of science fiction. The resulting image oscillates between an industrial wasteland and a red hot Californian desert, imposing a bizarre tension on the viewer. Containing composites, non-photographic details and unconventional tones, the work subverts the old saying ‘Life is stranger than fiction’. In this case, fiction is certainly stranger and more fantastic than life.


Untitled (Saddle Peak)

Chromogenic print, face-mounted to Plexiglas.
225 x 178 cm (88 5/8 x 70 1/8 in.); overall 229.4 x 181.8 cm (90 3/8 x 71 5/8 in.)
Signed, dated and numbered 1/2 AP in ink on a gallery label affixed to the reverse of the frame. One from an edition of 6 plus 2 artist's proofs.

£40,000 - 60,000 

Sold for £110,500

Contact Specialist
Lou Proud
Head of Photographs
+ 44 207 318 4018


London 21 May 2015 4pm