Wolfgang Volz belongs to a small circle of famous exclusive photographers with an eye for attractive views, portraits and reportages. From June 2nd till July 1st, 2007 he shows his works in Knokke as a guest of the Guy Pieters Gallery.



    The Eye of Christo and Jeanne-Claude


    The works of Christo and Jeanne-Claude are not easy to describe or define because they are so dissimilar and so complex. In addition to the spell-binding visual miracles constantly thrown up by their work there are other activities which, at first glance, seem to be of a “minor” or “lower” status when compared with the final result. But all the meetings, hearings and court appearances, the discussions with politicians and opinion-makers, the visits to the factories, the inspections of manufacturing processes and, finally, the often laborious and wearisome process of construction, are an indispensable part of the work. We have been aware of these phases for many years, thanks to the work of Wolfgang Volz., mentions author Werner Spies.


    Christo, Jeanne-Claude and Wolfgang Volz decided to work together very early on, and this exclusive relationship has given rise to something unique. For much of what we recall of the miraculous, short-term global productions is really seen through the eyes of this committed and thoroughly sensitive photographer. The important and instructive exhibition shown here provides viewers with a small survey of the artistic work of the photographer, Wolfgang Volz, whose photos recall the two artists’ multifaceted – and morphologically very different – enterprises. For the exhibition emphasises one fact very clearly: that Christo and Jeanne-Claude do not repeat themselves. With every different project they address a new problem and a new way of viewing the world. And on each occasion - whether they are dealing with urbane objects, or isolated and secluded objects, intimate or monumental enterprises – the artists manage to put a different signature on their work.

    This in turn enables Wolfgang Volz to continually redefine his own work. In this sense the exhibition helps us to recap the course of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s development. The photos graphically depict Christo’s ”gentle force”. But they are not simply about this. The exhibition also shows that Wolfgang Volz’s work is not confined to his passionate mission to accompany Christo and Jeanne-Claude wherever they go.

    There are also photographs which have nothing to do with Christo and Jeanne-Claude and which stem from other areas. Nonetheless these other areas – the Volkswagen works in Wolfsburg, a cooling tower, stone circles in Scotland, a meteor crater in Arizona- do not feel like alien bodies at all. Here the photographer reveals his sensitivity in an objective manner, so to speak. For he can use the freely selected subjects shown here in his approach to the motifs to which he owes his fame and renown all over the world. Both the technical details as well as the visionary pictures of nature are important in grasping the work of Christo and Jeanne-Claude. In these photographs the autonomous photographic artist only seemingly appears before our eyes. For I believe that this is not really what interests him. It is the unique symbiosis with Christo and Jeanne-Claude which makes his work so incomparable. He captures their work in the same way as the Bechers capture the cooling towers in the Ruhrgebiet. Where else can you find a similar monopoly of viewpoint? Where can you find a comparable definition of a work seen through a universal medium controlled by a single man? The consequences are decisive. We can no long separate Christo, Jeanne-Claude and Wolfgang Volz from one another. We are confronted with an indestructible trinity. The thousands of pictures, for whom we owe our thanks to Wolfgang Volz, not only provide us with a huge amount of pragmatic and aesthetic information. They create and fix the dramatic tension which accompanies every appearance by Christo and Jeanne-Claude. High pressure, expectation, fear, the constant confrontation with moments of failure, mini catastrophes - all these are reported back to us by the photographs. The view of the faces is very revealing. The expressions of Christo and Jeanne-Claude and their working colleagues cover every shade of emotion. These pictures might be illustrations for a teaching manual on physiognomy. The tension is one of the preconditions of the project. The “wages of fear“ also play a certain role. For they are an integral part of everything which these artists have made their life mission.

    These photographs show that Wolfgang Volz is in no way a cold documentary note-taker. He is part of the action. He cannot simply note down what is happening objectively and icily. His emotion shows through the photographs. And the emotional involvements which ties him to the project is what give his work such an exceptional place in the works of Christo and Jeanne-Claude.


    Guy Pieters Gallery, Kustlaan 279, Knokke, daily from wednesday till monday between 11 am and 6 pm. Catalogue available.

    THE GATES _ W. VOLZ web