“The Presence of Absence” shows works from three different series of Swiss photographer Dominique Teufen, in which the artist carries out material experiments in various ways and with creative skill. With the help of light, which, in addition to the objects, unfolds as an independent sculptural element, Dominique Teufen creates astonishing forms.

Presented by Christophe Guye Gallery, Zurich, the exhibition explores how newly emerging realities become visible when all components are brought together at the moment of taking the photograph. By investigating the possibilities of the camera’s mechanism and engaging in different processes during production, Teufen challenges the imageries of photography. Through her work she is exploring a field, where reality and illusion lose their specific definition, which confuses the observers understanding of seeing and nurtures questions about the dialectics of truth and perception.

With Teufen’s education in Sculpture and fine Arts, material-experiments make up an important part of her work. Curious and fascinated by photography, she investigates and engages in different processes and mechanisms before she takes her photographs. With her specific use of photography, she not only examines the field of tension between two- and three dimensionality, but also explores the area where reality and illusion lose their specific definition and where different possible realities can be visualized.

In the series ‘The Presence of Absence’, Dominique Teufen explores the sculptural quality of illuminated papers, whose curved or folded corners can cast dramatic shadows or create subtle grey shapes. In doing so, she takes on a subject that she repeatedly explores: the paper trompe-l’œil. The brilliantly staged and photographed curves and edges pay homage to nothing less than light itself.

Not only the series ‘The Presence of Absence’, but also the series ‘My Travels Through The World On My Copy Machine’ (2013 – 2018) plays with optical perception and goes as far as creating sensory illusions. The landscape-like compositions do not show any real existing topographies, but are black and white photocopies of arrangements, which the artist assembles from everyday materials such as coffee grounds, foils, silkpaper and which she captures by pressing the button of the copy machine. By tilting the lid of the copy machine, she regulates lighting conditions and mood.

With her latest series ‘Rays of Light’ she continues her experiment with optical illusions – the mental journey in a deceptively real world is continued in color. Using a silver foil and the reflecting surroundings, Teufen creates further highly romantic, colorful landscapes. However, the supposedly depicted real world loses its familiarity on closer inspection and suddenly becomes an illusion again.

Based on fantastic landscape photographs from photo books and magazines, with the series ‘My Travels Through The World On My Copy Machine’ and ‘Rays of Light’ the artist embarks on her own imaginary journey. The resulting works, namely photographic testimonies of the supposed real world, play with illusions and the perception of reality and appearance. Through questioning what is perceived, the viewer is forced to confront what he sees, what he suspects to see and what it is that he has actually seen.

Dominique Teufen was born in Davos Switzerland in 1975. After following a two years stone sculpting class in Zürich, she moved to Amsterdam and received her BA in Sculpture from the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in 2002. In the following years she worked and exhibited in Melbourne, Zürich, London and New York. After moving back to Amsterdam, she attained her Master of Fine Art in 2010 at the Academy for Art and Design St. Joost in S’Hertogenbosch the Netherlands. Since 2011 she lives and works in Zürich and Amsterdam.

Images: Dominique Teufen, “First Light”, from the series ‘Rays of Light’, courtesy of Christophe Guye Galerie // Dominique Teufen, “Untitled #2”, from the series ‘The Presence of Absence’, courtesy of Christophe Guye Galerie

Through 21 March 2020
Christophe Guye Gallery website


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