Transcending Boundaries

image by marco breuer

In the panel discussion, Transcending Boundaries,  Lyle Rexer questions the boundaries of the photograph. I am posting a link to the discussion here as I felt it relevant to this week’s themes.

In the discussion, Rexer specifically asks “what are the boundaries of the photograph?” and reminds us that the “most fundamental boundary that exists is the surface.”  Rexer shares the work of several artists in which he acknowledges that there are  “… enormously provocative things going on at the surface of the photograph …” for example in an image by Marco Breuer, who is said to have begun creating his abstractions “in rebellion against the school in Dusseldorf” (Rexer).  In the work, Breuer uses cameraless photography in which no image has been recorded, but in which “the surface of the paper’s been distressed”, and Rexer suggests that what is then created is “a sculpture; a three dimensional object.”

Rexer refers to the historical manipulation of negatives, explaining that photographers in the 19th Century would often alter images by drawing on them or other means “at the negative stage, before the print was made […]. ”

He explains that “… the negative itself was conceived of as the primary place where the world was engaged with the image because it was the negative that captured light, and then the print was, in a sense, secondary; it was a ratification of the negative.”

Gerhard Richter’s work is described by Rexer as “uncertain objects”, as it involves techniques such as painting over photographs, and combining  both digital and analogue ideas or approaches.  For example, “To make Strip (921-6)Abstract Painting, 724-4 was photographed and the photographs subjected to a process of division and stretching” (

According to Rexer; “more and more artists are thinking about the circumstances of the photograph, the conditions of photography, the audience, the consumption, the distribution, the production, not so much to make a picture, but to understand the circumstances of photography and that includes its materials, it includes the relationship of the picture to the surface and to the audiences; all these things are part of what photographic artists are doing. It’s no longer a question of creating the image into which the audience looks, or through which the audience looks.” (Rexer)

Transcending Boundaries took place with Lyle Rexer, Taiyo Onorato & Nico Krebs, Adam Jeppesen and Caroline von Courten.

Breuer, M. (ND) Untitled [Photographic Artwork] Available at:
[Accessed 31st January 2019]

Tate (2011) Gerhard Richter, available at:
[Accessed: 31st January 2019]

Transcending Boundaries [Video], C/O Berlin, Published on Sep 1, 2014, available at: [Accessed 30th January 2019]