Gerhard Clausing: Selfscapes
Gerhard Clausing isn’t someone who is worried about appearances. He doesn’t flinch as turns his camera on himself while examining his physical landscape in stark black and white. Today, we are featuring two “bodies” of work under the umbrella of Selfscapes. The first, Facescapes, takes us through a surreal landscape of noses and eyes and ears, then Bodyscapes reveal the passage of time, the marks and creases of a life lived. This is unusual terrain for a retired Linguistics professor, but it’s thrilling to witness his brave leap into more than the mirror can reflect.
Gerhard earned a Ph.D. in literature and linguistics at UC Berkeley, and launched his academic career at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. Continuing on his journey toward tenured full professor with administrative appointments at the University of Southern California, his interest in photography grew alongside his numerous academic achievements. Newspapers including the Swiss Tages-Anzeiger and book publishers, from Houghton Mifflin to Heinle/Thompson, showcased a variety of his images in Sunday supplements and university textbooks, including three of his own innovative educational programs (Deutsch natürlich!, Interaktion, Übergänge).
He has studied at Otis Art Institute, Brooks Institute, and the Los Angeles Center of Photography and mentored with Gerd Ludwig, David Alan Harvey, Douglas Kirkland, Mary Ellen Mark, Peter Bialobrzeski, Julia Dean, and Ken Merfeld, amongst others. Gerhard has exhibited and been published widely, including The Los Angeles Times, The LA Weekly, B&W Magazine website, featured in theBlack and White Spider Awards, the PhotoPlace Gallery, Los Angeles Center for Photography, Perfect Exposure Gallery, Art Basel Miami, Le Journal de la Photographie, and currently has work on view at the Griffin Museum of Photography.
Selfscapes are several series (Facescapes, Bodyscapes) that constitute a visceral approach to externalizing my inner states. Using a very direct and physical process, I express my moods and feelings by capturing unusual and unexpected angles and reflections, both above and below water, using a variety of cameras and scanners. I am also aiming to provide a contrast to today’s ubiquitous “selfies” by adding pictorialist touches and a deliberate abstraction in monochrome. The square format, seemingly self-contained, presents a frame that also points to more than itself, that which exists beyond it. By sharing these images, I am inviting the viewer to reflect on his or her own internal and external processes and changes. These self-depictions are partial interpretations of an ever-adapting being in an ever-changing world.
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