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© by Melanie Wiora 2005


Melanie Wiora – Eyescapes

Franziska Nori and Christiane Feser

One of the central themes of Melanie Wiora’s work is the relationship between the mental world and the possibility of its photographic representation. The artist emblematically highlights the connection between reality, image and the eye of the beholder, elements whose mutual relationships determine the nature of the photograph.

In the photographs of the Eyescapes series we see simple subjects first of all: a city skyline, houses, trees and streets. These scenarios are delimited in the upper part of the image by a rounded horizon with no sharply defined lines. This is in fact the close-up image of an eye that fills up the photographic field with the environment reflected in its convex iris. Melanie Wiora uses a digital camera to photograph her own eye and then processes the photograph by computer to make the effects of reflection more clearly recognizable.

Eyescapes, the title of the series, alludes to the genre of landscape painting. By replacing “land” with “eye”, the artist significantly suggests the idea of the iris as canvas and the subjective landscape of the eye. The extreme close-up photographs of the iris show an image of the world reflected in the eye of the beholder, which is the photograph itself in this case. We thus see what Melanie Wiora sees and the images become a metaphor of the essence of photography: not an authentic representation of the world but a reproduction of what the photographer wants to show us, her specific way of looking at reality. Finally, as the artist herself recalls, the second and crucial element influencing the content and message of photograph is the observer: “I’m interested in creating pictures which provide viewers with insights. Not confined purely to visual perception, the pictures also rouse the imagination and memories.”


Franziska Nori (project director CCCS), Christiane Feser, published in the catalogue accompanying the exhibition "Manipulating Reality - How Images redefine the World", 2009, Centro di Cultura Contemporanea Strozzina, Palazzo Strozzi, Florence – Further Texts