The poetry of daily life

Reflecting on the urban environment through the eyes of an artist, detached from the primarily purposeful perception of commuters and residents, has always been something of an invaluable asset. Cityscapes enjoy at minimum a 600-year-old tradition. Through geometric optics and narrative-style travel documentation, Martin Leuze connects iridescent images with the tradition of vedute and transplants them into the here and now. The results of his global neighborhood explorations seem at the first, fleeting glance nothing like cityscapes. We see two-dimensional grid areas, minimalist patterns, more or less colorful blocks and bands, abstract forms of light and shadow. In short: aesthetically beautiful compositions. The architecture can be viewed as an urban segment of reality only upon closer inspection. We find small traces of human presence that break up the facade pattern. Although the over-present architecture has pushed the people more out to the edge, it has yet to completely defeat them.

The narrative content of Martin Leuze’s images is one of the many signs of quality that distinguish his photographs. We mentally move supposedly matching protagonists across the stage of imagery and ask ourselves the who, how and why of what lives behind the facades.

Through his focused vision for the spectacularly unspectacular, Martin Leuze demonstrates his masterful skill. His frontal and often fragmentarily photographed facade elements condense into ambiguous visual experiences.

With his photographs, Martin Leuze relies on intensive, slow sight as opposed to the rapid consumption of the deluge of images in the mass media. Like Candida Höfer and Thomas Struth, Leuze indicates a continuing interest in the exploration and aesthetic-visual translation of the urban environment. However, for him it’s not about the visualization of the functionality and materiality of architecture nor a depiction of urban space as a cultural landscape. He’s concerned with the hidden beauty in everyday life and the narrative power of images of the unremarkable. Ultimately, Martin Leuze’s photographs challenge us to recognize the poetry in daily life instead of simply running past it.

Marko Schacher, gallerist of SCHACHER – Raum für Kunst, Stuttgart