Ohne Titel (Landschaft Bolivien) IV (untitled (landscape bolivia IV), 1999, oil, acryl and lack on canvas, 115 x 135 cm

Ohne Titel (Landschaft Bolivien) V (untitled (landscape bolivia V), 1999, oil, acryl and lack on canvas, 140 x 150 cm

Ohne Titel (Landschaft Bolivien) I (untitled (landscape bolivia I), 1999, oil, acryl and lack on canvas, je 120 x 140 cm

Ohne Titel (Landschaft Bolivien) II (untitled (landscape bolivia II), 1999, oil, acryl and lack on canvas, je 120 x 140 cm

Ohne Titel (Landschaft Bolivien) III (untitled (landscape bolivia III), 1999, oil, acryl and lack on canvas, je 120 x 140 cm

The Bolivian plateau

Man lives and dies in what he sees. But he only sees what he thinks. (Paul Claudel)

The six paintings of the Bolivian plateau, of the Altiplanos, are the result of a trip that Tobias Becker undertook through Bolivia in the summer of 1999. For those familiar to the Altiplano, one notices that the paintings are deprived of something very typical to these landscapes: the feeling of endless space and unlimited perspectives. In the images something almost claustrophobic takes place, that reins in the distance and limitlessness. Here it's not so much the presentation of a landscape as it is much more the reflection of a subjective and cramped view of this landscape. The viewer himself becomes the traveler-a landscape that is simultaneously moving and monochrome, at the same time beautiful and empty passes him by- he sees a suspended landscape, that offers no limits, and thus refers back to itself, its own perception.

Represented is the experience of observing an impossibility-it is impossible to see what one cannot imagine: endlessness, and it's also impossible to integrate oneself into this landscape that exists independent from the gaze of the viewer. Impossible, as the paintings ultimately also suggest, is the calm, ordered gaze of the observer of this landscape at all. Consistently represented in the paintings is a moment of motion, that suggest that the viewer is a traveler, who above all constructs his image of the landscape in his mind, without being able to actually grasp the landscape. While traveling, a space devoid of people passes by, that offers him no point of reference. The recognition of the landscape in one's consciousness, is ultimately only in and through movement possible: the observer then abandons the notion of ordering the things around himself from a fixed location. But in and through the consciousness another thing happens: the grinding facticity of things is in movement again annulled. Space is relative-and with it the organizing gaze.

Nicola Behrmann