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EXHIBITION

REVIEW

Axel Hütte: After Midnight Waddington Galleries, Cork Street, London W1, until 28 October German photographer Axel Hütte's first solo exhibition in the UK was well worth the wait. In 'After Midnight', Hütte transforms major American cities - Las Vegas, Chicago, Los Angeles, etc - with his stark, precise style. The exhibition comprises 11 large Duratrans - colour transparencies printed on reective metal surfaces that produce a dark, shimmering effect.

Best-known for his landscape photography, Hütte is famous for disregarding formal conventions like deepspace composition, as well as withholding grounding elements such as the horizon line, using these devices only when they become the main subject of the photograph. In Las Vegas, Mandalay I, the simple composition, contrasting singular foregrounded buildings and the city beyond, has powerfully solitary results.

Hütte furthers this sentiment with his use of light, the subject of his 2001 exhibition in Amsterdam titled 'As Dark as Light'. Intermixing light and dark in cities such as Dallas and Chicago, Hütte creates voids of ribbons and planes in dense urban spaces.

In Las Vegas, Rampart, the city is bound, like the farmers in Jean-Francois Millet's famed Les Glaneuses, by the horizon line. One building, despite its small size, breaks the line and stands proudly in the lower right corner of the 237cm-wide photograph. It is a symbol of vanity and isolation, much like the American landscape that Hütte portrays with terrifying accuracy.

Jaffer Kolb is a writer in London

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