When you’re next by Washington Square, stop in at Deutsches Haus at NYU to see the exhibit of photographs by German artist Paul Gisbrecht on the second floor. Entitled Romantic Sublime, these urban images reference the romantic landscapes of the 19th century German painter Caspar David Friedrich; taken from the rooftops of homes and offices, the central figures face away from the viewer, as if they are hypnotized by their view of the city beyond. But Friedrich is not the only influence at work here – Gisbrecht’s photos were inspired in part by an incident in his childhood (he grew up in Kyrgyzstan), when he climbed on a platform and was so hypnotized by the landscape that he fainted and broke his arm.
This series was shot in New York City between the fall of 2012 and the spring of 2013. Gisbrecht said it was quite an adventure to find and secure the use of the rooftops, especially since he needed to take the photos at an in-between time of day, when the light is muted, imparting a sense of calm.
For this photo, taken in Bushwick, Brooklyn, a resident of the building was supposed to come with him, but cancelled at the last minute. Undeterred, Gisbrecht started talking about his project with some kids playing there – they then got their mother, who agreed to do the shoot. I love the clouds in this image.
Paul Gisbrecht received his MFA in Fine Arts from Pratt Institute. He currently lives in Brooklyn, working in photography, video, sculpture and installation.
The Romantic Sublime, curated by Yinzi Yi, will be on display at Deutsches Haus at NYU through October 28.