17 November – 29 December 2012
Opening: Friday, 16 November 2012, 6 – 9 pm

Things look different depending on your point of view: hardly ever the truth of this insight becomes as apparent as in the spectacular birdʼs eye views Gerhard Launer brings back from his expeditions between heaven and earth. With the exhibition FROM ANOTHER PERSPECTIVE Haleh Gallery presents the work of one of Germanyʼs most recognised aerial photographers – and casts a fresh, surprising light on a supposedly well-known world.
Whenever Gerhard Launer takes off with his Cessna, the camera is his copilot. Because Launer is both: pilot – and photographer, who captures his motifs by moving not just the lens but the whole plane. For more than 35 years he has been travelling the skies over Germany, always in search of a different angle. What makes his work so fascinating is exactly this experience of a shifting perspective. From a distance, the world shrinks down to a comprehensible size, revealing previously invisible relationships. At the same time, however, things that used to be familiar suddenly become strange and need to be seen with different eyes. Thus Launer approaches things – by moving away from them.
The exhibition is centered around a series of works that condense urban and natural landscapes into artistic textures. Like the impressionist painters, Launer returns to some of his subjects again and again to document them in changing time, light and atmosphere, such as the thousand facets of water: a river becomes a glittering ribbon set into the blue dust of a hazy morning; the sea alternates between nervously rippling surfaces and smooth, quiet parts; between a gleaming green and a flaming orange, between deep darkness and glistening brightness. Sometimes Launer even reduces his subjects to the limits of recognition, turning them into graphic compositions of colours and structures. The rhythm of fields and pathes then may be reminiscent of works by Paul Klee, whereas the pattern of fine parallel furrows and tractor tracks recalls Frank Stellaʼs black paintings.
Particularly impressive are those moments when the viewer loses all sense of scale so that it becomes undiscernible whether Launer shows the world from a birdʼs eye view or in an extreme close-up. Donʼt the vast spoil dumps of a brown coal opencast look like welding lines or rows of knit stitches? Couldnʼt the veiny North Sea tideways be as well the zoomed-in section of a human blood vessel? Arenʼt the structures of the Arctic ice in fact tiny rotifers under a magnifying glass? Launerʼs play with delusion and disillusion blurs the boundaries between macrocosm and microcosm. And we must look carefully to discover the subtle hints that shed light on the actual dimensions of things: A hypnotic black and grey grid proves to be the light and shadows on the Berlin Holocaust Memorial – but only in the moment the viewer spots a little group of tourists at the bottom of the picture; the earthy shades of a field remain ornamental smears of colour or brush strokes – until the eye catches the tiny silhouette of a forlorn, single tree.
The special appeal of Launerʼs works lies in this oscillating effect. The purpose never is to produce pure abstraction without any reference to reality. The world the photographer unfolds may seem alienated and unknown to us; however, it is not a fiction, but just another version of the only, real world that surrounds us every day. We do not have another one – and it is for that very reason why the beauty of Launerʼs pictures also aks an urgent question: how to preserve this world of today for future generations.

Gerhard Launer, *1949 in Werneck (Bavaria), received his first violin lessons when he was a child, became a disciple of the renowned violin soloist and teacher Tibor Varga at the age of nine and began his violin studies at the Würzburg Conservatory at the age of fourteen. An accident forced him to give up his musical training, and he studied graphic design instead. After having received both a private and a commercial pilot licence, Launer has been working as an aerial photographer since 1976. His archive of more than 200.000 pictures comprises shots of some 70.000 cities and villages in Germany as well as views of landscapes and sights from all over the world. Launerʼs photographs appeared in numerous magazines (Stern, View, Merian, Elle) and have been published as illustrated books. Among the more than a dozen titles are Deutschland von oben – Tag für Tag (2004), Deutschland – Eine Luftbildreise (2010) and Deutschland – Entdeckung von oben that reached the number 1 position of Germanyʼs best-selling illustrated books in autumn 2011. In 2011 Launer also launched the animated film Traumreise Deutschland and the exhibition Faszination Deutschland that travelled to several German cities.

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