It has been twenty years since Christian von Alvensleben and his wife first began collecting objects washed up on the secluded beaches of the Greek island of Rhodes. Salt-water corrosion and the constant movement of the sea had transformed the once-ordinary items into barely recognisable, bizarrely shaped and coloured artefacts. The photographer (b. 1941 in Munich) subsequently portrayed these emblems of our throwaway society in a series of 23 still lifes, in order to highlight one of the most important ecological issues of our time: the pollution of the world’s oceans.
To create his series, van Alvensleben orchestrated the found objects – PET bottles, plastic bags, a clothes peg, a work glove – in his studio like precious designer pieces. Set against a bright background and illuminated by a ring flash, each item is granted its turn in the spotlight. The response elicited in the viewer veers between fascination and unease: in van Alvensleben’s images, beauty serves as an impactful awareness-raising tool.
The showcase, which forms part of the University Library’s loungeaffairs exhibition series, is open Mondays to Fridays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is free.
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lounge affairs #5 Christian von Alvensleben: MeeresFrüchte