April 2013, Germany
The visual aesthetic of Sonja Braas (*1968 in Siegen) is one of dazzling paradox. Viewers see clearly recognizable natural phenomena and forces, such as icy alpine regions, thundering avalanches, tempestuous surf, or urban centers and cities flooded or in flames. Yet nature’s essence seems alienated. The images look artificial, for they are only partially based on actual nature and landscape photographs. Many of the images are of models built by the artist, and this lends them a characteristically uncanny atmosphere. While Romantic painting assigns the viewer a fixed viewpoint, generally represented by a figure in the picture, from which he or she can perceive the sublimity behind the terror of nature from a safe distance, Braas rejects any foothold whatsoever. Only the disembodied camera seems immersed in the events taking place in the photographs.