A Photographer Making the Art World Accessible

Robin Resch is a Berlin-based photographer that travels the world to find the perfect sites to shoot analogue photographs, and later on print them manually with different techniques.

Resch is the founder of coGalleries, and like the rest of the artists on the platform, he opens the doors of his Studio for visits, where you can take a closer look at his works, and most importantly, ask him anything about his vision. We spent a great afternoon with Robin and Stina from coGalleries at his studio in the Fahrbereitschaft in Lichtenberg, Berlin. What was planned out as a usual interview with planned questions, shifted direction as we embarked on a most interesting discussion that exceeded expectations.

How did you start with photography? Which is the style you like the most?

Photography has been my interest since I was 15, but I started learning and professionalizing during my time in Buenos Aires, Argentina, around 2009. I was staying in an arts residency with an Argentinian artist, María Santa Cecilia. We were four people and she was the hostess, so from day 1 I was connected to another artists. One of them was a photographer from Uruguay, and I started learning from him. He was more into nature and the horizon, and I was more into buildings and urban brutality, but still I learnt from him, and later developed my own style. The most important thing I learnt is to get the technique right in terms of light angle.. there is a lot of trial-error before you get it right. It took me around three years to understand this, and I am still learning.

I love the square, I love this kind of analogue format. Nowadays, Instagram has quite appropriated this format, but I don’t see it so bad as it is a beautiful format. I have been experimenting a lot with it, and the different types of light at different times of the day.

In general I’m interested in huge buildings, generally from modernist and post-modernist times, I have a lot of material for instance from Brazil, where I travel a lot. Sao Paulo is one of the richest cities in resources for me to shoot. I have a love/hate relationship with the brutalist sensations that this city gives you, but it is definitely my favorite. It grows into you, I was lucky enough to get to know the city from several different angles, and I understand the different strata of society there.

How do you prepare to shoot a new project? 

Before I go to the site, I check out the place on google earth, I study the light and research the history, and then I go at the exact time of the day that it would be best photographed. For example, in my time in Belgrade I had just one chance to shoot the buildings I wanted, so I had to do a lot of research to get the results I envisioned.

What is your view about the current status of architecture?

I try to give a fresh view to the approach and appreciation of architecture. Most of the time, you are in a hurry and you don’t stop to contemplate the buildings around you. Nowadays architecture is a bit undervalued by the people passing by. I am trying to open up the imagination to what architecture brings to the urban landscape.

My favorite building has to be this wave-shaped Niemeyer one i photographed, it is also my favorite photograph. Niemeyer had this vision to integrate the daily life with leisure and work into one building, and I like this idea of unifying the different spheres from our life in one building. It is my opinion that after this wave of socio-architectural buildings, there was no next step: nowadays when you walk around the only thing that matters is size and height and fitting the largest amount of square meters into one space. I have done a study on a building in China that fits the most square meters in the world, and i believe that society should try to pay attention more to these kind of buildings that beautify and serve a purpose on the urban landscape, and understand the massive influence that Architecture has on us.

You are the founder of coGalleries, how did you come up with the idea? 

The concept that has worked the best for me in order to connect with the people, is the open studios format. Here in the Fahrbereitschaft we do it twice a year, and during this time we’re asked to open our studios, people just pop by and discussion is generated. We get to sell our works as well, so it is extremely positive.

I have been doing this for several years now, and I just thought about creating a system that enables you to not do this only twice or thrice a year, but more regularly. This is how coGalleries was born. We get to push our art through this project and engage and network which is crucial for the artists.

What we do is a means for new people to take their first steps in the art world. Sometimes, even I, who has studied at the art school Berlin-Weissesee, feel a bit out of place. The impersonal sense that a gallery gives to the visitors is not what we are going for. It feels like almost standing in front of the Niemeyer building, where you feel slightly belittled and you don’t know whether you can go in or not. We want to make the art world accessible for everyone that wishes to enter, and we want to make them feel at home.

The collector gets to see the studios of the artists, he gets to talk to them, and we wanted to make that accessible for the audience as well. We also wanted to push through those artists that were lesser known to the public, but absolutely brilliant and we want to give them space while creating a channel for them to be independent from this established art world. It is not a channel that competes or interferes with the usual galleries, but it complements them, it is a new and different concept that goes in line with them and can collaborate as well into making the art world a bit more welcoming. It is bringing the art world into the 21st Century, growing together with society and changing together with it, developing and fitting the art sphere into the new zeitgeist.

After being invited to two of coGalleries events, one more private as Robin’s and a lively and open one when we visited Carlos Silva’s, we highly recommend reaching out and experimenting this new way of appreciating art. The magic of a studio visit is singular: you have to embrace the unexpected and don’t run on a tight schedule, because if the chemistry is right and there’s true interest in the visitors, both Robin and the rest of the artists at coGalleries will be accommodating and willing to enjoy a deep yet fun discussion.

 

Story by Maria Paula Fernandez Neglia

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