Photograph courtesy of Kristian Bagger

Photograph courtesy of Kristian Bagger


My name is Johann Friedrich Spindler. I am a 23 year old visual artist from Germany based in London.

The core interest around which my art is generated is one to do with an experience of light. The way in which this interest more explicitly manifests itself in my work is in the pursuit of expressing the oceanic, the monolithic, the sublime, the other, but also in images that stem from an interest in light as a physical entity and its properties, in its patterning, texture, surface, the monochromatic and all the qualities light reveals in the environments onto which it acts. The core medium through which I have explored these ideas is photography, which also poses questions about what distinguishes this medium from others and what its use suggests, thereby encouraging technical experimentation.

My background is that of a former physics student at the Technical University of Darmstadt, from which I attained my degree with a thesis in the field of Quantum optics. This and growing up in a religious environment, which I rejected, are strong influences on me and my work. Since completing my Physics degree, I have also attended the Graduate Diploma programme at RCA London and will be attending the RCA for my Masters in the fall.

The way in which I set out to convey the first list of properties is quite varied and spans from the representational to the abstract. This difference in visual expression harkens back to the dualistic nature of photography itself, as a medium that in a way very specific to it has properties of being both referential as well as producing purely visual images.  Consequently, the influences that inform my work vary in the same way, examples of a variance of abstraction are the Becher school of photography, Shizuka Yokomizo´s “Stranger” and “Lights” series and Hiroshi Sugimoto´s “Seascape” images. My influences also range outside of the medium of photography to Light and Space artists like James Turell or Color Field Painters like Mark Rothko.

All of these images share certain imposing qualities independent of their degree of abstraction or what medium is used to produce them. These imposing qualities require particular decision for how the images are experienced, the space and way in which the image is presented gains significance through this as well as their scale and the means of their presentation. When seeing Andreas Gursky´s images exhibited in the Hayward Gallery in 2018 I was overwhelmed by the immensity of objects, interactions and moments to be found in them through the awesome detail and large scale in which they were displayed. Rothko´s Seagram Murals pertain to a similar experience, though through the subtlety and isolation in which they are viewed. Rothko and Turrell particularly are noteworthy for creating specific spaces reserved entirely for individual examples of their work (in the former case the Rothko Chapel and in the latter Roden Crater), which led me in my own work to think about and engage with mediums of presentation, curation and accompanying narration for my work. I have projected my images in a cinema, printed them out on various different materials, displayed them in combination with music, built text into the images themselves and have engaged with them both as a sculptural objects as well as elements of an installation.