Viewing through a lens

Updated: Mar 9

Lothar Böttcher, Portal X, 2016. Photo credit: David Ceruti.

In many disciplines, a theory is viewed as a metaphoric 'lens' through which to 'see', understand and interpret things. Lothar Böttcher's masterfully crafted glass artworks on the inaugural Launch exhibition at edg2020 Gallery speak about such metaphoric 'lenses'. Whereas opthalmically lenses are corrections to faulty vision, the metaphor of a lens implies a view on something, generating a perspective. Following the logic of the metaphor, more than one lens would contort the object or subject. Böttcher's work (as in Portal X, 2016) often contains both single and multiple lenses, reminding us of our own warped subjectivities and biased perceptions.

In Obsession, 2018, the thick optical glass cut in facets and angles contains a round 'lens' in the middle, simulating a camera lens or lenses in reading glasses. From one side of the work the viewer can take in a large portion of the room, simulating the zooming-in process of looking through binoculars or a camera, which at the same time creates an awkward sensation of voyeurism. Looking though the 'lens' from the other side of the work creates a totally different, less focused and more dispersed view. The idea behind the visual metaphor of the double-sided lens might be that multiple perspectives are needed to understand something.

Lothar Böttcher, Obsession, 2018. Photo credit: David Ceruti.

Böttcher states the following on his work:

Portals X & M and Obsession

I attempt to convey the filtered (read distorted) window social media offers us. Manipulating my material of choice, glass, through a meticulously arduous process of grinding and polishing portals have been created through which the viewer is enticed to interact. The spectator is offered a glimpse through these lenses of the 'world beyond', a distorted variant of their contiguous space. Within this digitised world we live in - and accentuated even more now due to physical isolation of the imposed lockdowns and social changes the Covid Pandemic has brought - we are glued to our handheld screens more than ever, consuming and adding to the cacophony of digitally enhanced

visuals. My sculptures are an attempt to bring some fun and perspective on the beauty that surrounds us here, now.

Lothar Böttcher, Memento Mori - Winged Skull (2020). Photo credit: David Ceruti.

These works with 'lenses' speak about an outward looking at others and the surrounding world. Through the fragile medium of see-through glass, Memento Mori - Winged Skull (2020) sets up a grim discourse on the luminous splendour of the precious human being. It creates a sense of an invisible 'lens' turned to the self and its human condition of frailty and ephemerality. The work reminds of Damien Hirst's For the love of God (2007) that Rudi Fuchs in his article 'Victory Over Decay' (2007) describes as that "we stand before it in silence. With inexorable authority the skull puts us in our place." Both works speak about death, but their crystal/diamond presences celebrate the glory of life itself and (in Fuchs's words) a victory over death and the temporal, physical aspect of it. Böttcher's skull has been carved from a block of glass, part of which is still remaining, which suggests the emergent relationship between creator and creation. Whereas Hirst's work is firmly grounded in materialism, Böttcher's work is far more concerned with earthliness and a dust-to-dust scenario.

Damien Hirst, For the love of God (2007).

Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates

© Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2012

Click for Lothar Böttcher's CV

Read more about Lothar Böttcher: the Pandemic Project; Creative Feel.

Visit us at edg2020 Gallery to view Böttcher's work. We are conveniently situated in Midrand next to the Kyalami Racetrack and between Pretoria and Johannesburg. Google map. Our hours are from 9 am to 6 pm on Thursdays and Fridays and from 9 am to 2 pm on Saturdays.






Lothar Böttcher, Muse #1, 2019. Photo credit: Anzo, Cost Visuals.

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