Thomas Albdorf is a Photographer, Graphic Designer and Conceptual Artist currently living and working in Vienna, Austria. Albdorf’s photographs explore the relationship between the physical and the mirrored lucidity of theses spaces in time. His photographs have been printed in numerous publications such as A5 Magazine No. 11, Tell Mum Everything Is Ok N°5 and The Velvet Cell Cagazine – Issue 5, to name a few.
Soft Golden Mirror
Aint-Bad Magazine: Aint-Bad Magazine and the Little Beasts Exhibition was the first time you were exhibited in the USA. How did you feel when you found out about this?
Thomas Albdorf: I was pretty much flabbergasted. I have only participated in one exhibition before in the UK where everything more or less happened via the Internet, except me sending the actual prints to the gallery. Although it feels a bit strange to see photographs or videos from an exhibition that displays your work without you being there and hanging and installing everything, I love the fact that the process of curating and assembling a factual physical exhibition with various artists’ work from around the world gives curators as well as artists completely new possibilities, if not to say it democratizes the art-world a bit more.
What inspired you to create the Mirrors Series?
I worked before with small interventions – mainly simple cardboard objects and foils – that I positioned in places that are usually abandoned or associated with secluded romanticism, mainly the forest.
I then more or less accidentally created my first photograph that used a mirror they way I later worked with them in my series. I won a small make-up mirror in a raffle at a carnival party (it’s kind of a tradition in Austria) and really wondered what to do with it. A friend of mine who also was at the party – she knows my work – was like “Hey Thomas, nice win! Why not put it in the woods and make some art out of it?” I thought “Hell, why not?” So I staged the mirror on a table and took a look at it through my viewfinder to see how it appeared. The only thing visible in the mirror was the blue of my jacket that I wore that day, and due to I focused on the mirror and not on the reflection, it was of course blurred – an abstract self portrait.
Self-Portrait with Blue Jacket
I then realized that I could use the shallow depth of field of a photograph to shift the focus from the normally constituting point – the reflected image – to the mirror itself and therefore present it as an autonomous object.
In a second stage, I worked with reflective foil to create “soft” mirrors that became a fixed structure in the photograph, while being soft and constantly moving in reality, a way that I also used in my series series “Soft Matter”.
Print Matters? Does it? What does being a part of a printed publication mean to you?
For me it is very important to see my photographs published in a magazine as well as to have physical prints, mainly due to the fact that my whole photography respectively its communication is primarily happening on the internet. I have more and work with prints then sculptural objects that relate to each other. The last publication I took part in Tell mum everything is okay n°5 opened my eyes to the very connect of the zine or books and the integration between different works from various artists. This completely changed my personal perception of the printed photograph.
Soft Lucent Mirror
What are you currently working on?
I now find myself abandoning my formerly photographic practices and now only visit the forest for hiking and not necessarily for photography. I became interested in still life in part due to artists as David Brandon Geeting, Aurelien Arbet and Jeremie Egry Since then I have been working on developing a new approach that comes out of my former sculptural works.
I’m now more focused on the relation between photographs to different objects in relation to each other. Although it seems like a natural transition from the work I did last year, something feels completely different about what I do now compared then. I’m mostly shooting 35mm at the moment, I hardly use my medium format equipment any more, and also digital becomes important again.
Right now I’m currently working on a small publication that sums up my own work from last year and there are also some collaborations with other artists, I’m planning to do a photographic experiment with an artist that works in a very similar way. We’ll see what happens.
2 Cubes [sketch]
Where would you like to see yourself in the next year?
Currently everything is in flux, so I can’t really tell you. The next thing I’m looking forward to is a 3-week-trip to Japan with my girlfriend, and after that, I don’t really know. I’m happy as long as I can take photographs.
Bacon and Blue
See more photographs by Thomas Albdorf by visiting his website.