Kostas Maros / Human Nature
Ticket price: free
Ticket price: free
The German equivalent of the English expressionhuman naturehas a narrower range of meanings, or at least does not have such broad and obvious connotations: if the two-word expressionhuman naturerefers to the psychological and social characteristics of humans, it could be briefly translated into German as the "essence of the human" ("das Wesen des Menschen"). But the juxtaposition ofnatureandhumanin the English expression contains a doubling, a structural division, that is a central paradigm of modernity. When they measure the world (for example, with the methods of cartography and linear perspective), perceiving subjects separate themselves from nature in order to comprehend it. The resulting focus on abstract argument further leads to the socio-historical realization of human alienation from nature. As society extends the process of appropriating nature, humanity increasingly positions itself as opposed to and outside of it. Given that we are ourselves part of nature, this is a strange twist. In the light of this separation of humans from nature, idiosyncratic encounters both with and in nature form a central theme in this series of photographs by Kostas Maros. With the perspective of a silent observer, these photographs document how humans relate to nature. At the same time, the depicted scenes have a curious theatricality of their own. The people in them – preoccupied with themselves and their surroundings; turned towards and away from each other – sometimes seem to be following stage directions in front of a landscape that has been transformed into a theatrical backdrop. Yet that landscape in turn becomes the primary spectacle for the viewers of these photographs; as guests of humans in the world, they pay a visit to the manifold wonders of nature. If some of these photographs reflect the relationship of humans to nature in terms of their acts and actions, others enframe alternative perspectives and the corresponding proportions. With a necessary distance, relationships are revealed that could be overlooked from the close-up view otherwise so natural to us: how small the vehicles that dominate our roads are when lined up in front of cragged giants; how small three rows of people look against the seething edges of the wide seas that adorn the coasts. It's a matter of individual perspective, but these photographs offer the possibility of a reconciliation for the separation of man from himself, from nature.
Kostas Maros (*1980) completed his legal studies at the University of Basel and worked in the legal field for several years before he switched to photography as an autodidact in 2013. Since then he has worked for editorial, corporate and advertising clients in Switzerland and abroad; he also implements free reporting and art projects. Kostas Maros is represented by the agency 13photo for his commissioned work and by Galerie 94 and Galerie Wertheimer for his artistic work. His works have received awards at the Prix de la Photographie Paris, the VFG Young Talent Award, the Swiss Press Award and the Swiss Photo Award, among others. In 2018 his book "Hidden - Verborgene Orte in der Schweiz" was published by Christoph Merian Verlag and won the German Photo Book Prize. In autumn 2022 his new book 'Cabaret Bizarre' was published by the same publisher, with photographs of a long-term project.
“The series Human Nature by Kostas Maros attracts with its uncanny quality – the images look almost staged and unreal, and the photographer plays really well with our expectations: should we be looking at the situations unfolding on the images? At the landscape? At the humans? Nature plays both a role of a protagonist and a subject, becoming a spectacle for both humans in the photographs and the viewers. The author’s sense of humour and undoubted photographic skill turns this selection of mundane scenes into a statement about the state of the world, revealing the human's relationship with nature from an observer’s distance, which almost gives us as the viewers an opportunity to inhabit each image, to research it and to reevaluate our own stance in the matter. Maros presents a very strong photographic survey of the human condition.” Anna Konstantinova
Thursday, May 25, 2023, 18.30h
Introduction by Alessa Widmer, photo historian & artistic director photo basel
Saturday, June 10, 2023, 15h
Moderated by Anna Konstantinova, Project Manager Art Vontobel
Saturday, July 1, 2023, 13-17h
Wednesday to Friday 17-19h
or by appointment