The pictorial source of “Landscapes” are photographs of urban areas taken during an artist residency in Kursk, Russia. There, the city administration demands rapid urbanization; old houses are demolished and citizens are forcibly displaced. The concern lies in the image making process. The nature of photography, to depict a virtual image of reality, is being destroyed. Houses and people vanish. By analogy this process and resulting images reflect the city’s intention and consequences of modernization.
[…] in his Landscapes Elias Wessel documents the essence of the human-environment relationship, the simultaneity of stagnation and change, of stillness and speed, of the social and the abstract. Kursk disappears into the conceptual, and is thus re-emerging as an expression of European ideas of dynamism, change and modernity. Without brushes or words, Wessel’s photography offers us an anatomy of landscape painting that reveals the basic patterns of our culturally and traditionally shaped landscape perception. In Wessel’s Landscapes we therefore see less abstract Kursk landscapes, but rather our own historically shaped view. (Dr. Frank Wolff, Modern History / IMIS, University Osnabrück: »The soothing power of speed: Elias Wessel’s Landscapes in the Cultural history of Russian space perception«, in Elias Wessel, Landscapes – In the end, though, nothing is lost, New York, Phoebe Verlag, 2018)