Front view
Inv. No.S-1839
ArtistDaniel Leidenfrostborn 1979 in Oberndorf at Salzburg, Austria



Lightbox: C-print (Lambda print), wood, aluminum, LED lights

Dimensions31 x 41 cm
Edition1/2 (+ 3 a.p.)

"Low art tells simple things, such as: "this is the night. High art gives the feeling of the night. This form comes closer to reality, although the first is an exact copy." Edward Hopper

Daniel Leidenfrost shows us buildings at night in many of his lightbox photographs. The light comes from isolated windows, from a lonely street lamp or from a sign on the roof with the words HOTEL. Everything is still, motionless, no human being is to be seen. In this sense, the hotel, a skyscraper built in the functionalist-monotonous architectural style of the 1970s that could stand anywhere, is reminiscent of Siegfried Kracauer's characteristic of a "modern" hotel of the 1920s: "His guests don't arrive at all, or even depart in a cumbersome way, but they are simply there without having arrived, and they vanish just as unnoticed.

Daniel Leidenfrost's HOTEL does not exist as we see it in his photographs. On the contrary, there is a model built by the artist according to his own plans, together with its surroundings, which he also built himself. The model and its construction are based both on his own observations of real buildings of the time and on measurements taken with a view to its realization as a photographic image: exteriors and especially interiors have been calculated as seen through the camera and also tested during the construction phase.

"In my pictures," says the artist, "even if they are models, a concrete object is rarely depicted and reproduced true to life, but the work I have executed stands as a substitute, as a simulacrum for known, real arrangements and the associated sensations of our immediate world of life and experience. The artistic work becomes a model case, representing a sensation or experience that is linked to real experience".
Leidenfrost thus brings several essential aspects concerning our perception and its archiving into visual awareness: In photographic theory, for example, it is true that every photographic image selects reality, that every image is context-dependent and that these contexts are stored in the brain. These basic images find their expression in the axiom of photography as the "principle of the previously known image" (Wilfried Wiegand). Daniel Leidenfrost makes this principle visible by (re-)constructing these "basic images" three-dimensionally and at the same time orienting their (re-)construction towards the reception of the two-dimensional photographic image. And Roland Barthes has already stated on the reception of the same: "The conscious reaction that a photograph triggers does not produce the consciousness of the existence of the object, but of its being there. Here we encounter a new category of the space-time relationship: spatial presence in the temporal past, an illogical connection of the here and now with the here and then.
And from this "illogical connection", which in Leidenfrost's case is thus consciously conceived and visually implemented, results at the same time what the painter Edward Hopper, quoted at the beginning, described as "high art" (as opposed to pure reproduction of reality). In this way, the "feeling" of things, of which the night is certainly a part, is also present in front of the light box paintings of the artist Leidenfrost, who himself comes from painting. And this, let us consider it as darkness, has such ambivalent qualities, as Friedrich W. Nitzsche already poetically described it when, in his preface to Der Wanderer und sein Schatten (1880), he had the shadow say to the wanderer: "And I hate the same thing that you hate: the night; I love men because they are disciples of light and rejoice in the glow that is in their eyes when they recognize and discover, the tireless recognizers and discoverers. That shadow which all things show when the sunshine of knowledge falls on them - that shadow I am also.
(Lucas Gehrmann, 2016)

S-1839, "Hotel"
Daniel Leidenfrost, "Hotel", 2012
S-1839, Front view
© Daniel Leidenfrost