A detail from Marco Breuer’s Untitled (C-498), 2004, made with scratched chromogenic paper.
by Eric Bryant @ ArtNews
In Marco Breuer’s recent photographs, black specks dance across a white surface, leaving faint trails that mark the passage of time. Sensuous blocks of yellow glow like crystals lit from within, and drippy parallel lines that seem to sit on top of the paper call to mind Action Painting. Made without camera or film, these lush, textured works, collected in Breuer’s 2007 book Early Recordings, defy our basic notions of what photography can be. Breuer achieves his effects by burning photographic papers, scraping their emulsions, and experimenting with chemical formulas that were popular in the 19th century.
Breuer is one of a wave of photographers now gaining recognition for work that abandons recognizable subject matter. “Abstraction goes back to the very beginnings of photography and has come back in different revivals,” says Roxana Marcoci, photography curator at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. “There were the New Vision people in the 1920s and another group in the 1960s, and it is here again right now.”