© Michael Ruetz
Photographs are repositories of time – but in a paradoxical sense, since the time they preserve or show remains unspecified. A millisecond exposure depicts the same surface, perspective and spatial situation as an image with an exposure time of fourteen hours. This, precisely, is the theme of Michael Ruetz’ Eye on Infinity project, portraying the effect of time in shaping images which themselves have a different temporal existence. The technical means employed may suggest a form of Romantic landscape photography, but in fact, – as in the work of many Romantic artists of the early nineteenth century, before and during the invention of photography – the conception of the project has a rigorous, scientific logic. It relies, however, on models from painting and literature, instead of taking its lead from the early history of photography. A line can be drawn here from Goethe's aesthetic of sensibility to the palette of Philipp Otto Runge – artists who could know nothing of photography but contributed more to the medium than many inventors of instruments and techniques. Tracing the contours of these models in his major serial work, Michael Ruetz at the same time investigates the artistic foundations of photography.