Elger Esser's large-format landscape photographs are tranquil moments that seem to belong to a bygone ege. Time stands still and the viewer's gaze dwells in dreamlike, melancholic landscapes. Detached from both time and place, these scenes of bridges, riverside towns and seacoasts awaken vague memories and daydreams. Water, light and architecture merge into one complete whole. The lyrical pictorial language, full of atmosphere and governed by the classical rules of composition, conveys an overall impression of perfect harmony. The pale, delicate colours heighten the impression of being transported into the past.
The theme of memory also runs like a thread through Elger Esser's recently produced series of photo-engravings entitled Combray. Photo-engraving, now an almost forgotten photomechanical reproduction process, was invented towards the end of the 19th century and is distingished primarily by its outstanding image depth and accuracy of tonal value. The Combray series takes its title from the fictitious town of the same name in Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time, which has memories of childhood and youth as its theme. The places described by Proust in his novel are recognizable in Elger Esser's photo-engravings.
Elger Esser was born in Stuttgart in 1967 and grew up in Rome. Today he lives and works in Düsseldorf. As one of the last and youngest students to graduate from the famous art photography class of Bernd and Hilla Becher at the Düsseldorf Art Academy, Elger Esser counts among the most important German artists of the present day. And despite his contemporary status as an artist, he still relies on the traditional analogue techniques for both the taking and the processing of his images. The Kunstmuseum Stuttgart showed his large retrospective exhibition Eigenzeit (Own Time) in 2009/2010.