Sonja Braas’ work (*1968 in Siegen) is fascinating and secretive at the same time. Majestic to dramatic perspectives on nature or irritatingly detailed structures are frequent topics in her work. But they somehow seem strange and artificial. This impression is part of her concept, as the photographs are often taken from models, that she previously constructed with extraordinary precision in her studio. Enigmatic, sometimes uncanny scenes are frozen in time.
In her new series „An Abundance of Caution“ – having their debut in our current exhibition – Braas stays true to her visual and artistic concept, while introducing new topics at the same time. Her models still work as a basis for ideal and perfect images that simulate natural phenomena, manmade objects or structures. From the very beginning of her career, she addresses the idea of a certain media-influenced image of nature and the complex world around the individual. It is the ubiquitous nature of the media that generates the demand for an “authentic” representation.
„An Abundance of Caution“ deals with this colonisation of our lives by fear and the resulting sense of impending doom, that has become so widespread that we are now living in a low-intensity fear that surrounds us, shapes our space of action and forms a backdrop of our experiences and interpretations. Fear has become a culturally determined magnifying glass through which we consider the world, risks lurk around every corner that need to be eliminated with an abundance of caution.
The images suggest danger to various degrees; at times the danger is implied merely through the context of the other pieces. Many of the depicted objects or situations are not in themselves threatening or dangerous. A mundane object, such as a container, only appears threatening within a specific context and cultural background, becomes a symbol for terrorism or illegal immigration, the fear of the “other”.
The series consists of images that are either built, staged or real, creating changing levels of abstraction and detachment from the images and their content.“ Sonja Braas, 2016.
Sonja Braas studied Visuelle Kommunikation and Foto-Filmdesign at the Fachhochschule Dortmund in 1991 and in 1992/1993 at the Parsons School of Design, New York. In 1995/1996, she received a Fulbright Scholarship for fotography at the School of Visual Arts, New York.
She lives and works in New York. Her works are part of international collections like Albright Knox Gallery, Buffalo, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Fotomuseum Winterthur, Städtische Galerie Wolfsburg, Museum Küppersmühle, Duisburg, Sammlung Deutsche Bank, Munich RE and EON AG.