In conjunction with the show, Meyer-Ebrecht has conducted an interview about the new work with Brittany Prater from Studio10.
Brittany Prater: How do you choose your images? What are the criteria you look for in an image?
Björn Meyer-Ebrecht: Mostly I look for reproductions in books of late modernist and public architecture. These photos depict buildings as new and unused, still more as ideal spaces than real, functional places. That is also why they don't include people. Although the images I choose seem impersonal, they always have a personal affinity. When I first started collecting and using this kind of material, I was interested in the sober atmosphere of postwar architecture that defined the way we were brought up in West Germany.
BP: Could you talk about how you choose color for the pieces and about the choice to work primarily monochromatically?
BME: Originally I was concerned with reproducing the pictures in a manner that was almost mechanical and always in black and white. However, I eventually realized that I needed to find ways to counteract the nostalgic qualities in my material. Color detaches the image from the conventional language of black and white photography.
BP: Could you talk about the use of tape in your work?
BME: The tape produces gaps in the image and functions as a barrier, disrupting a continuous illusion. At the same time the ink on the tape behaves in unpredictable and often beautiful ways by repelling and dripping. It takes on its own life. Image and ink separate, and the drawing exposes the process of its own making.
BP: Can you talk about your work in relation to history?
BME: Modernism created the fantasy that we are able to step out of history to create a universal language of space and functionality. I recognize this appeal - especially from the perspective of a German. But at the same time I know that this architecture is not free of its own past. It is full of sinister energy and does not necessarily acknowledge its underlying power structures.
The photographs I choose often seem to evoke a certain type of nostalgia. I believe this feeling stems from our desire to idealize these structures as places of social cohesion and equality. From the perspective of today these images suggest that modernism was once able to fulfill this promise. Although this congruence of ideal architecture and social interaction clearly never existed, nostalgia may be part of a legitimate mourning process of this ideal.