Front view
Inv. No.S-1607
ArtistGerhard Trumlerborn 1937 in Austria

"Felsenbaum von Norden, Prandegg"

Mühlviertel, Upper Austria


gelatin silver print

Dimensions44 x 36 cm

signed, titled and numbered (pencil) on verso


The Photographer Before Winter
The here and now is the stuff of photography. At the shutter release is inevitably present. In this present, Gerhard Trumler seeks motifs that are relics of a bygone era. The last witnesses and testimonies of a world that is turning towards modernity and thus erasing everything regional. The general store in the village, the crumbling plaster of the farmhouse, the old brush broom binder, the last thatched roof of the Waldviertel, again and again furrowed faces and fields, calloused hands, enameled tin ports. Hymns to the smock! Trumler arrives just before all this no longer exists: whitewashed parlors, checkered bedding, Sacred Heart and Sacred Mary pictures, rollers and stencil decoration in the chambers, ramshackle Herrgotte along the paths and the grown stones in the meadows. This is the after-summer of the homeland, the land before winter.
And again and again the trusting look into the camera. With all respect for the power of the priest mediating eternity beyond, but the hope that the photographer will give the existence here duration! He robs the picture, but he gives afterlife to people and things.
What is to remain in the glut of photographs needs evidence in terms of content and image. And for this Trumler sometimes intervenes in reality. He does not shy away from the arrangement, if it gives the image a market and the depicted a place to stay: The staying - a discharge in effigie!
The photographer gives duration to the transient people together with their frail life's work. It seems a contradiction, however, that he consigns what is itself almost eternal, the stones in the forests of the Waldviertel and Mühlviertel, to permanence. The whole mountain range from the Upper Palatinate over the Bavarian and Bohemian Forest to the Mühh and Waldviertel is interspersed with granite stones. They do not have the striations of the erratic boulders left behind by the glaciers. These stones simply stood still while frost and water eroded away the surrounding softer rock. And they will stand unchanged like that for a long time to come, covered by leg-dry lichens and colonized by meager trees. Adalbert Stifter has praised them with ever new words: "And between the trunks the seeds of the granite blocks are spread, some gray, most of them covered with moss then the millions of forest creepers, the forest flowers are clustered, then the multicolored sponges, the tendrils and branches of berries, the shrubs, and there is many a little tree that begins its young life." (From the Bavarian Forest)
In Gerhard Trumler's work, the same stones are exposed in the first over-white snow; they do not grow out of the ground, but sink into it, join defoliated trees, become graphic formations. The grain of the granite becomes the equivalent of the grain of the light image. The eternal, immovable stone becomes a leaf, a fleeting image that depends on the photographer to fix it. The Viennese photographer Gerhard Trumler lives this contradiction restlessly.
From the Tyrol to Burgenland, he captures in the photograph what threatens to pass away: the old people, the simple life, the meager beauty of nature. And because he, unlike the people who stand in his way, does not fully trust the permanence of the photograph, he has books printed, just as restlessly, more than eighty in the meantime. Among the most beautiful is Granit, das land vor dem Winter - Waldviertel, published in 1994 and immediately voted "Austria's most beautiful book," followed in 1996 by Katzensilber, Land zwischen Mihel und Aist - Mühlviertel. And more are to follow, already planned for years to come: Rock crystal, tourmaline, limestone, chalcedony, etc. - restlessly holding on to the ephemeral, restlessly holding on to the illusion, one day it would be possible for him ... to finally let himself fall, to finally allow that what is to happen will happen". (Gerhard Trumler on the back of the dust jacket of the book Granit)
At the trigger is inevitably transience.
(Martin Ortmeier, from: Gerhard Trumler, Photographien 1970-2000, 2001, first published in Gerhard Trumler, Granit, 1998)

S-1607, "Felsenbaum von Norden, Prandegg"
Gerhard Trumler, "Felsenbaum von Norden, Prandegg", 1976
S-1607, Front view
© Gerhard Trumler
S-1607, Back view
Gerhard Trumler, "Felsenbaum von Norden, Prandegg", 1976
S-1607, Back view