Shotgun Review

Informel Logic

By Shotgun Reviews July 19, 2012

Wolfgang Ganter’s latest exhibition at the Eli Ridgway Gallery, Informel Logic, documents the abruptness and beauty of destruction. To create his prints, Ganter applies microorganisms  to 35-millimeter slides, ranging from various strands of bacteria to different types of fungi, which feed on the film emulsion. The result yields varied textures and inconsistent colors; in certain pieces, such as Brechung des Horizonts (2012), the entire print is impacted by the bacteria. In others, such as the expansive Drop Curtain (2012), the only evidence of bacteria is a dark line along the bottom. Above this line, blue and pink combine to form dark purple, which appears to be dropping down the frame as a curtain would. The effect is a translucent landscape that quiets the extreme colors. The process of exposing film to microorganisms rather than to light creates images with film that is partially destroyed.

For their visual impact, certain pieces in the exhibition rely solely on the effect of the bacteria on the film rather than the strong colors that may result. The marks left by the microorganisms remind viewers that the works are displays of growth and suggest that they might continue changing once viewers turn their backs. Sporen (2012), a nearly colorless image created from fungi spores, features pin-like fixtures that line and grow from the bottom of the print. They fan out and


Wolfgang Ganter. Untitled (Drop Curtain), 2012; archival digital print, wood, epoxy; 63.8 x 102.9 in. Courtesy of the Artist and Eli Ridgway Gallery, San Francisco.

blur at the top, as if spraying a substance into the rest of the image. Sporen offers a magnified version of a common effect in nature that the human eye rarely has the chance to see.

Ganter’s images bring together scientific curiosity and artistic prowess. While he confines the natural processes to a very small working surface—the slide—he illustrates the possible size of their effects in the enlarged prints. In doing so, he highlights the continuum between the creativity of humans and the behaviors of more miniscule organisms, bringing them into an evolving conversation.


Informel Logic is on view at Eli Ridgway Gallery, in San Francisco, through July 28, 2012.


Eva Morgenstein, who resides in San Francisco, is the EHSS Summer 2012 intern for Art Practical.

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