STEPHANIE JUNG – CITYSCAPES: JAPAN – MAIGO DESU – BERLIN

In Cubist artwork, objects are analyzed, broken up and reassembled in an abstracted form—instead of depicting objects from one viewpoint, an artist depicts the subject from a multitude of viewpoints to represent the subject in a greater context. Cubism is largely about movement and often shows a particular subject in a progressive, repetitive action, an evolution of form. Cubism went through several stages as the movement advanced: it began as Analytic Cubism (Early Cubism); morphed into Synthetic Cubism (High Cubism) influenced by the Surrealist movement, and moved to became Avant-Garde Cubism (Late Cubism). It seems fair to say that Stephanie Jung has pushed the movement into its newest permutation: Digital Cubism. There is a similar sense of progression experienced when you view Stephanie Jung’s photographs. They reverberate repetitive images; endlessly recreating a sense of amplified anticipation through propelled simulation of shape and space. The images seem to expand, contract, or spiral, creating a cubist sense of overlapping transparency in a blurred staccato that travels across the space. A tension is built through a halting, stammering, stuttering, motion that forces you to relive what you have already experienced an inch ago.

When Stephanie Jung was looking for a theme that inspired her photography it was not the pastoral beauty of a landscape or the serenity of a classically beautiful figure, nor was it abstraction for it’s own sake. Instead it was the repeating, bothersome events of everyday life that stood out presenting themselves as interesting and compelling. ”My biggest inspiration comes from life itself. What helped me about finding my personal way of photography is “finding” a main theme to work on, which my mentor always told me. I was thinking about that for a long time, but didn’t know what to “choose”. But then I realized I didn’t have to choose a theme, it was already there, in my mind. You just have to figure out what bothers you the most in life.”

“The thoughts behind my work is about the movement in life, time and transience, which everyone is confronted with, but can’t be seen with our eyes. I like to show this movement in my work.” Ms. Jung first became became interested in Multiple exposures in 2009 when she was in Paris. “ This was the first time I tried this technique, then in 2010 in Japan I was experimenting a lot. For my current series I sometimes use multiple exposures and sometimes I create the effect in Photoshop. Sometimes I even combine those two methods, it really depends on the motive and settings there.”

When pursuing subjects Ms Jung visits a city and begins to take pictures spontaneously and randomly. She wanders through the streets to capture the mood or the feeling of the location, looking for special scenes that she likes with no real planning behind the end product or of the final image. Once she returns home she goes through her shots to choose her favorite images editing them in Photoshop. Here she experiments a lot, repeating and staggering the images creating complex patterns playing with light and shadow. ”The main focus is on finding the perfect moment, the motive itself. Although I use Photoshop a lot, that part is the easiest in my working process. People always think it’s the other way round.”

Her work is described succinctly on her web site: “Motifs such as urbanity, identity, and anticipation placed at tension with cultural tradition stand at the center of the unique images of Japan by Stephanie Jung. Depicted are the everyday street and cityscapes of Tokyo, Shibua, Osaka, and Nara, which neither wish to appear as the superficial documentation of nature, nor an exotic local color. Quite the contrary, the images resemble precise snapshots of the urban everyday, which seems to have been particularly shaped by the routine and quite flow of time. Yet precisely these matter of fact, basic notes are countered by an exceptional visual intervention on the part of the photographer. “

“Taken directly from everyday life, they are coated with a vibrating texture of gradual shifts of perspective, intentional transparencies, and intense coloring. The optical dynamic formed in the eye of the viewer resembles a Cubist sleight of hand, a delayed fanning out of perspective. A random moment in city life is prolonged; the motif appears multiplied and like a repeating trace of itself. Precisely this dynamic vibration of space leaves the images with an imaginary but also visually convincing sense. They appear to be very individual, as it is precisely such non-descript structures as power lines, banners, lanterns, or car colors that become the form and constitute urban identity. That the shimmering texture in their filigree structure appears to be exceedingly harmonious does not seem to be a coincidence, as commentary on life in Japan.”

Stephanie Jung is from Schifferstadt, a small town in South-West Germany, but she spends a lot of time in Berlin during the year. In 2010 she finished her studies in Visual Communications, where she discovered her passion for experimental photography. Since then she is working as a freelance photographer, focussing on her personal projects. She loves to travel all over the world, especially to big cities, to capture the vibrant and hectic mood of a place. But her work is not just about citylife, it’s about time and caducity, about capturing special moments getting lost in time. Some of her work has been published in different magazines as well as exhibited in art galleries.