Mental journey

Via Lewandowsky – Never been there

Via Lewandowsky, Boot, from the series Never been there, 1997, Lambda print on Dibond, 90 x 90cm, private collection, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2020

African decorative scarification, a clearing in the jungle, a naked girl, or a boat in the sunlight: These clichéd images of a trip to Africa are fictitious, generated on the computer with the help of digital editing. The building blocks are taken from historical travel diaries. The result appears static, exaggerated in color, and staged. 

At the beginning of the 21st century, this romanticizing edit seems outright strange and questionable. The apparent truth and epistemic value of images is a central theme in Via Lewandowsky’s work. The suggested journey we see is followed by the journey in our minds, with the aim of opening up new worlds of thought. It is yet to be determined, whether Never been there can be read as an expression of longing or as a justification.