Santiago B. Olmo: Roland Fischer

The portrait of architecture on Paper, 2001

Traditionally the genre of portrait has been associated with the symbolic representation of power or of the beauty embodied in particular faces, but it has also allowed art to probe the inner world of the individual, to show first the soul, then the character and finally the psyche, as different layers of knowledge of individual and collective human beings, until the real symbolic being is revealed.
Throughout the 80s and 90s the work of Roland Fischer focused its attention on the problems of portrait, particularly in three emblematic and innovative series Nuns and Munks (1984-86), Los Angeles Portraits (1989-95) and Chinese Group Pictures (1997-2001).
In the series of the Façades architecture works primarily as a text to be analysed (in the post modern sense) and secondly as a face to be treated photographically using an approach that employs those elements that constitute the psychological and inner acumen characteristic of the portrait. In this manner, Roland Fischer can emphasize a critical distance and apply an objective viewpoint, in a completely unpolished fashion, to the architecture, whilst integrating into his approach the interpretative insight required for making a portrait. Objectivity is not a condition of style, neither is it an end in itself. It constitutes, in fact, both an aim and a tool allowing a distance to be fixed in order to augment the depth of analysis.
Architecture is turned into a fragment here, but a sufficiently expressive and condensed one to allow the “portrayal” of psychological character and meaning contained in both the façade and the building to which this fragment belongs in the civilization of corporations and big companies. The building is both symbol and emblem of power and so every detail is measured and calculated to be unrepeatable, individualized, but at the same time sufficiently understandable within a linguistic system of purely decorative values.
The façades are not displayed in their entirety, but small parts are transformed into painting by use of colour and by the forms that recall geometric, abstract painting complete with artificial colours and technological elements. It is a decorative type of painting, like architecture itself.

Santiago B. Olmo, 2001

published in: „Roland Fischer, Façades on Paper“ at Durham Press, Pennsylvania 2001

Santiago B.Olmo is a spanish art critic, curator and current director of CGAC Centro Galego de Arte Contemporanea in Galicia, Spain