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The Garden

The garden of a hotel in Merano, Alto Adige. A poetical space opens up twenty minutes from the lively city centre. In literature, a garden is a »locus amoenus«,  a place separate from everyday life, or, as Dante describes it, an allegory of existence, a place of comfort, freedom, and escape. This project invites the viewer to join the photographer for a visual, maybe meditative, journey through an artificial landscape with its winding paths, hidden benches and statues, and a calm mood created by lush plants.

The place can be described best with a quote from Goethe's Werther: »The garden is not elaborate, and the moment you walk into it, you feel that it was designed by a sensitive heart rather than a scientific gardener, a heart that sought to find its enjoyment there.« Its charm comes from the fact that it doesn't try to bring nature into geometrically precise forms, as the organised Baroque style does, but instead follows the idea of a landscape garden.

Visually, the project comprises black-and-white vignettes captured over several summers. Last year, I deliberately chose to add plant cyanotypes, influenced by my fascination with this process and Anna Atkins's botanical albums. These, at times evoking an abstract allure, seemed to be the final puzzle piece, a conduit to convey the garden‘s essence to others.

Images of a withered plant, which I found and brought home, are a repeating element, mostly cyanotyped.

The book's third element is close-up shots of an old postcard from the hotel. These shots are printed on transparent paper and placed over specific black-and-white images. The book's design encourages the reader to examine the resulting composite picture as well as the image beneath it. A flip-through video of the book is at the end of this page, and a detailed presentation can be found in the Books section.

Finally, I mention a musical inspiration, an influence: The song »The Garden« by Einstürzende Neubauten. I often heard it while editing, sequencing, and making the book. With its mantra-like lyrics and melody, it is a perfect companion to my work.

Now you are invited to discover »The Garden«.

Object made of a dried plant and a cyanotype, sheltered under a glass dome
Vintage postcard showing the Hotel Villa Tivoli, Merano, Alto Adige and mountains in the background
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