No more Humans

Matia Baroni finds a place of contemplation and calmness created by Elmar Haardt right in the heart of the Berlin jungle and close to marvellous culinary delicacies of Sarah Wiener. 

Desolation – is the first thought that comes to my mind while observing the first picture of (description of the picture will be added here) just at the entrance of the gallery. Then the beauty of the visual quietness catches me and pulls me out of the noisiness of the urban jungle that I just came from.

Empty car parks, supermarkets, residential buildings, highways and other landscapes are the principle subjects of Elmar Haardt photography work.

Taken mostly in the USA, but also in Italy and Germany, they are presented like sublime panoramas, where human presence is made concrete from the massive implementation of cement in different areas and situations.

Contemplative traces of a hidden reality

It is in this way that landscape is interpreted as a symbol of the human condition; a sense of emptiness strongly depicts every picture: a lonely car in a parking lot, old empty streets where dramatic cracks remind us of time passing, abandoned gas stations. 

Elmar Haardt - Gas StationTraces of civilization – no cake served here anymore. Photo: Elmar Haardt, Gas Station in courtesy of Jarmuschek + Partner

It seems like a post-apocalyptic reality, but humans – even if invisible – are still present. In a scenario where a huge highway is cutting through wonderful woods, fast cars become human associations, traces of the hidden reality of lonely people going who knows where.

Life made flat

Despite the calm visual language used by Elmar Haardt, his message comes out very loud and clear.  Here human beings are reduced by the image of their massive impact on the planet, highlighting incontrovertibly the egoistic way of living that our society is built on.

But the artist is not doing just a anti-capitalism campaign: his work goes undeniably to a higher level. The representation of emptiness is also the depiction of a certain suffering that is self-inflicted, a humanity that’s not able to be “social” anymore, but sadly made of single entities enclosed in themselves and lost in an unhealthy routine.

Life made fat

Struggled by the dissonace between the beauty of the photografies and my interpretation I decide to visit Sarah Wiener at the Hamburger Bahnhof, just a few doors away from the gallery and get my self a big nice piece of her marvellous cake. 

  • Jarmuschek + Partner  “Topography of a Journey II. Elmar Haardt”, January 14th – February 25th, Tuesday – Saturday 12pm – 6pm