In the large sized landscape images of the series Keen Insight the artist is testing our visual perception. For the first time in Ralf Peter’s pictures every single detail is equally sharp. There is no differentiation between the different levels in the picture or a focussing on a core area. The smallest dewy hair of a corn poppy bud is shown in the same resolution as the distant huge tree in the background. This innovative way of representing seems transcendental and appears strange to us because there is one thing it tells the beholder: Every detail either in the foreground or in the background is equally ranked. The artist’s message is not only related to nature and the problem of its representation, but also closely reflects the political structures of our time. It’s about the observer standing in front of a variety of informations, institutions and problems, lots of details, which he has to face, paralyzed, unable to change. The structures are both levelled wether it is the small corn puppy or the huge tree. Regardless which, city council or federal government takes care of it: All are dealing the same way with the political crises and so there is, as in the picture, no differentiation anywhere. Differentiation is not taking place because there is no difference any more wherever things are happening – everything is equally important.
Since 1998 the medium of choice for Ralf Peters, a concept artist based in Lüneburg, Germany, has been photography. Rather than being true reflections of reality, many of his works feature ordinary subjects and scenes that have been altered in subtle ways to suit the artist’s personal aesthetic. Also, rather than attempting to maintain a consistently individualist style, each of his series focuses on a different aspect. Peters’ works combine documentary photography and digital editing to a degree of sophistication that leaves his viewers wondering which image or series is authentic photography.
At first glance, there is a resemblance to picture post-cards in the landscapes of Keen Insight, Peters’ latest cycle of works. Again the artist toys with our viewing habits, confounding them with his innovative photography. As the title indicates, visual depth is the theme of these landscapes in extremely high resolution. Here, the artist has attributed the same relevance to foreground, centre and background. His digital alterations create a disconcerting close-up realism that emphasises each and every visual plane while the subject itself becomes secondary.
The dimensions of the pieces in this cycle required Peters to carry out extremely precise and painstaking edits in the microscopic dimension. Here our eye searches the image for a key subject but its countless focal points are all equivalent making it impossible to come to rest in one particular section. Images traditionally seen in sequence come into view all at once. This unaccustomed perception contributes to a certain surrealism that inhabits these photographs.