Cultera (Kulpoche). 1997 

Bertram Kober's photographs highlight traces, random residues of lived lives, grandiose banalities created by unconsciously organizing hands. It is as if the photographer were following the sentiments that Leonardo da Vinci once gave aspiring students. To practice the free play of their imagination, according to his suggestion, the aesthetic interest should apply to seemingly incidental aspects. Diverse landscapes, strange figures, great canyons can be seen in the intricate structures of weathered walls, the human eye is also capable of discovering monstrous, newly invented things.

Bertram Kober has dealt with the debris of human history in order to highlight the fantasies and real monstrosities locked up in them. The subject matter of these pictures is the inescapable contradiction that exists between the longing for dissolution of boundaries, for liberation from limitation of human living conditions and the miserable clichés, in which this longing divests itself.

Carefully observed, microdramas, whose tragic and yet deplorable dimensions are without question, unfold in the pictures. Howerver: Humans have seemingly left the stage for good; the things used by them remain finally as witnesses. Left alone, their surrogate character in their decrepitude becomes doubly clear: wallpaper warps, cracks in the wall burst open like wounds, cables dangle around, antiquated reception tables and lounges exude an atmosphere of icy isolation.

The attempts to make things more beautiful – that's what the linguistic monster CULTERA/CULPOCH expresses – have failed. The unlived things couldn't be replaced by images of longing, empty containers are left behind. The bust of a scholar in the library looks out over the card catalogs into uncertainty: Mind and matter don't agree. Culture and era/Culture and Epoch (German: Kultur und Epoche) are German words of thunder that the photographer combined in the consciousness of their divergence. ...

The subject mater of CULTERA/CULPOCH is transtemporal in conception. The photographic concept remains constant and is based on comparisons.

The blue of the distance and consumer kitsch, they are synonyms of this age. In between is where life happens.

Andreas Krase
Excerpt from: KULPOCHE oder DAS BLAU DER FERNE In: Kulpoche Altaere der Privatheit. Bertram Kober Fotografie. Verlag Faber & Faber. 1997. Pages 7 – 9

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