Sebastian Reis’ exhibition The Ground Wherein We Have Been Laid at Photographic Gallery Hippolyte follows an archaeological approach and ponders a different outlook towards representations of our lives. Reis vaguely adopts the concept of the Wunderkammer (also known as Cabinet of Wonder), a predecessor of museums, which proposes a worldview where history, art, nature, and science become one. Reflecting on this form of collecting that combines and presents objects of different origins and significance, Reis explores traces that contemporary humans leave behind. In the process, he engages with the idea that a selection of artefacts can create a broader understanding of reality. In doing so, he looks at the attempts of modern humanity to investigate and interpret the remains of past cultures and societies.
For The Ground Wherein We Have Been Laid, Sebastian Reis uses objects he comes across during regular walks as a starting point. These often small fragments are reproduced and enlarged by photographic means, colourised, cut out, and combined with individual structures made of wood and metal. In the so-made new objects of various scales, Reis plays with a combination of 2-dimensional images and their 3-dimensional appearances. In examining larger time scales, he refers to the aesthetics of different eras. While the display cases, which the artist built in his studio, recall historical forms of presentation, a series of large-scale prints mounted on the exhibition walls reminisce about early photographic processes. These images contemplate the continuous modification of our environment in everyday surroundings and show short-lived landscapes of crushed stone, mud, and sand.
Sebastian Reis (b. 1985, Austria) is a Helsinki-based visual artist. In his practice, he combines photography, painting and sculptural elements. Reis’ approach emerges from synthesising subjective experiences with culture-historical and art-historical occurrences. He often explores the contradiction between monumentality and ephemerality in his work. Reis received an MFA from the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts and studied at the Academy of Fine Arts Leipzig, Germany. His works have been shown in Finland and abroad.
Sebastian Reis’ work has been supported by the Olga and Vilho Linnamo Foundation and the Arts Promotion Centre Finland (Taike).
The Ground Wherein We Have Been Laid
Photographic Gallery Hippolyte
image: Sebastian Reis, The Ground Wherein We Have Been Laid