/24 Road

Christian Gieraths

Pastime paradise

They’ve been spending most their lives They’ve been wasting most their days
Living in a pastime paradise In remembrance of ignorance oldest praise
They’ve been wasting most their lives Tell me who of them will come to be
Glorifying days long gone behind How many of them are you and me…

sang Stevie Wonder in 1976 and described in this song the still miserable situation of African-Americans in the midst of a cheerful and ignoring American society. These photoseries which were developed between the years 2006-2014 in the American Landscape are summarized under this title. Gieraths’ Pastime Paradise arises beyond the social and political implications of the US states along the Pacific coast and nevertheless refers as an aesthetic context to a life between potemkischen villages of Las Vegas and the scenes of the Universal Studios.

The photographer Christian Gieraths is a traveller. He takes his photographs on journeys which lead him into all directions around the globe. In the last ten years he travelled several times to the USA. Rushing through the spaces in the nowhere of today´s travelling landscapes turns Gieraths to pause. He produces a photographic encyclopaedia of mostly deserted ordinary places with a kind of poetry that makes us marvel. This is no picturesque poetry aimed at by the photographer but a structural, nearly constructive form which functions via lines, reflections, materials and perspectives. Gieraths observes and stops when others continue in haste. He catches a moment of pause and creates a shape for it. Some pictures, which are developed in this situation, are very striking. Planes are lined up nearly typographically, contrasts sometimes produced by minimal shift of colour and structure. The surface of things turns to be symbolic; the short moment of notice becomes de-temporized and extended by photography. In photos there is a “shortly before” or “just”. The deserted photographs are not de-human. Traces of usurpation and use are everywhere. Here, things have been touched, life has been lived, but not right now. In so far Christian Gieraths´ view has a museum like component. He lets the present appear as history, the photographs in their precision reveal history being present.