Axel Hütte’s photographs are immediately familiar yet strange. In this series of American cityscapes at night, his urban subjects appear distanced, distorted, and surreal. Hütte’s images paradoxically defy believability because of their uncanny exactness. Through their absolute mathematical balance, unnatural sense of space, and ambiguous compositions, his duratrans subvert documentary expectation to represent the world as calculated, sublime abstraction. Printed in large scale, Hütte’s work references the devices of painting as much as photography.
Scrutinised and distanced through the unwavering gaze of his lens, his scenes dissemble a network of formal devices: lights, reflections, and minute details transform as ‘intuitive’ gestures, buildings are cropped in colour-field fashion, and the resolute flatness of their surfaces provokes a knowing contrivance of illusion. Through their clinical, hyper-real spectacle, Hütte’s work deliberates the phenomenon of the modern metropolis: as virtual, isolating, post-human and profoundly, majestically beautiful.
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