Three distinct bodies of work arose from Frank Mädler’s time in Lima, Peru at the De Al Lado residency. Inspired by the tropical colors, minimal forms, and local materials, Mädler returned to Germany and began creating an array of photographs laden with distinct Latin iconography. References to cultural symbols and elements, such as the quipu and the immense fog that engulfs Lima’s coast, were reborn in Mädler’s darkroom, as he began to reflect on the colors, shapes, and sounds of Peru.
Releasing himself from the constraints of the camera and inspired by the simplicity of materials used in South American art, Mädler used natural materials from his surroundings to recreate the unforgettable landscapes of Peru. Mädler’s imagined vistas transport the viewer to expansive, tropical landscapes. Mädler references the roots of photography by projecting his materials onto the wall of his studio, rendering the entire room as his camera.
"I am not interested in depicting a landscape. I use the real landscape to create a picture. The picture is the goal. No beauty of an area should resonate in the picture, no information should be conveyed. The picture should only be picture. When beauty emerges, it should only be the beauty of the picture"
- Frank Mädler
These simplified compositions recall the atmosphere and colors of Peru. The artist positions the tape to reference the iconic quipu or the symbol of the leaf, both central to the art of Andean culture
Mädler draws on the natural yet intentional repetition found in musical rhythms in his depictions of the iconic ocean-side embankment in Lima. The series stimulates the senses, as the viewer is transported into nine, technicolor mirages, where one must distinguish atmosphere from land. Each monochromatic photograph recalls the density of fog and the sensation of being washed over by an overwhelming, single element.
“In Lima, on the Malecon, a wall of fog came from the sea towards the coast. It was so thick that at first, I thought of a tsunami. But since the people around me didn't panic, I stayed calm. When this smokescreen came closer, I took pictures for as long as possible, until the coast was gone… This work was the last one before becoming completely engulfed in the fog. I vary the negative and always arrive where I started. A principle borrowed from music.” - Frank Mädler