E L G E R E S S E R : Voyage en Egypte
3 December, 2011 - 18 February, 2012
For his latest body of work, Elger Esser traveled along the Nile from Luxor to Aswan with an 8 x 10 land camera, photographing the banks of the river, traditional feluccas, dahabiyas, and fisherman. Taken from a great distance with the artist’s signature precision and formal grace, the photographs of Voyage en Egypte are calm, grandiose landscapes in addition to being provocative meditations on light, space and color. Large expanses of water and sky in dissipating pastel hues form the cornerstone of these compositions, while the land and civilization itself provide sharp but remote horizon lines which are dwarfed by the natural elements. Like 19th century landscape paintings, which are strongly echoed in these works, Esser’s latest photographs capture an element of the sublime in nature. The mystery and beauty of the river, which has been the lifeline of Egypt since the Stone Age, is elevated in these images, and like his previous work, they strategically blur the line between pure documentary photography and painterly concerns. ROSEGALLERY's exhibition marked the debut of Voyage en Egypte in the United States and was the first in-depth presentation of Esser’s work in Los Angeles.