“I am not a photographer. My images exist to serve a different purpose from those of any true photographer, they are neither complete nor conclusive. They are not image, but as language, as signposts pointing towards meaning. The images are thoughts more than photographs.”
Two decades of work chronicle travels through the South of India, trips to countries like Morocco, Italy, Germany, China, Alaska, Russia, Cambodia, Yemen and Austria where the photographer was born and France where the photographer lived. The photographs are poetic, powerful and intimate, proposing something that goes beyond what is on view. The works speak of the possibility sustained by poetry, inscribed as they are at times, with quotes by great writers whose oeuvre the artwork is immersed in. They portray conversations Renate Graf had with herself, Art and the World around her. They are in themselves a language that permits you to partake in the experiences of
those who inhabit the planet.
Renate Graf travelled through remote locations and with the use of her camera she searched for truth. Her photographs printed using traditional methods are the testimonials of a World and according to the artist herself, should never be seen as complete or conclusive. They are more than just an image, they are signs, they have a meaning.
The photographer finds inspiration in poetry and literature: through writers and poets like Fernando Pessoa, Rainer Maria Rilke, Tagore, T. S. Eliot, Edmond Jabès, Paul Valéry and Hermann Broch, she finds inspiration to transmit the symbolism that an image can have. To these we should also add film directors such as Win Wenders, Jean-Luc Godard, Werner Herzog, Visconti and Tarkovsky – referring that: "without literature, nature itself would be empty to me".
If on one side she sees human perception as the major evolutionary conquest, she also sees photography as being responsible for capturing the most immediate evidence of perception. In a unique way Renate Graf transforms images into presences, through her singular eye.
This book was made when Renate Graf opened her first exhibition in Lisbon on 12th September at Palácio Anjos. Organized by Mirat Gallery and Rui Freire – Fine Art, with the Curator Tiago Feijóo Pinto and in collaboration with Oeiras, City Hall.
Renate Graf has exhibited in Austria, Germany, China, US and France amongst others countries and her works are part of important private and museum collections.