January 5, 2021
LFI: Mr. Oefner, what role does photography play in your life?
Fabian Oefner: I consider photography a wonderful tool for capturing my art. I use it for works, such as Disintegrating or Glacier Timelines, to depict changes or the alleged standstill. In the CutUp sculptures, I present the camera in such a way that the tool for photography becomes art itself.
Your work always challenges the viewer to give space to new visual habits. Where does the inspiration for your art come from?
My studio is a 500-square-metre laboratory, filled with books dealing with the most diverse collection of scientific matters, and where I have all kinds of experiments going on. Just to mention a couple, for example, there is a vacuum chamber to simulate the Northern Lights, and 10,000 volt transformers that I use to draw with electricity. There are also workshops for wood, metal, glass and plastic. This creative and nurturing soil constantly gives rise to new ideas and approaches for my art.
Which specific Leica cameras did you work with?
I used the Leica M6 for the next development of the CutUp project, titled Heisenberg. There’s a nice story behind it: a collector, who was enthused when reading about the CutUp series, offered me his M6 to use. He had bought the camera years earlier, and it had been his faithful companion on journeys near and far. However, in recent years he was no longer using it, and simply kept it in a drawer. Through my work, the camera is now a prominent object in his collection, and offers the owner a new kind of pleasure – no longer as a tool, but as a piece of art.
Oefner was born in 1984. His photographic work is found at the interface between time, space, fiction and reality. Inspired by science, his approach to art is very methodical, yet playful. He produces many carefully orchestrated pieces that are planned down to the tiniest detail, while also producing pieces that are very much influenced by chance. Oefner’s work is found in numerous public and private collections around the globe. Reports on his art have appeared in Der Spiegel, National Geographic and The New York Times, among others. He is currently living and working in New York. More