Thomas Wrede

Rhone glacier outside #2
Rhone glacier outside #4
Rhone glacier inside #4
Rhone glacier inside #6
Direct print on aluminium, 2019


Since 2018, Thomas Wrede has been working on various photographic series on the melting of alpine glaciers. He is particularly interested in the glaciers covered with fleece.
The 4 photographs in Schloss Biesdorf were taken on the Rhone glacier in Switzerland with its glacier cave (2,300 m). In his large-format photographs, he shows exciting detailed views of the interior and exterior of the glacier.
For 150 years, the glacier cave has been cut into the ice of the glacier again and again. To preserve the cave as a tourist attraction, it has been covered with white fleece sheets for over a decade. In detailed and panoramic photographs, Wrede captures not only the transformational processes of the melting ice, but also the erosion and wear of the once white covers. Every year the glacier tongue recedes by 30-40 metres, leaving the sheets felty and flat. The strong winter storms tear the fleece and it is sewn back together and renewed year after year. On the outside of the glacier, the different materials of weathered plastic sheets, dirty ice and grey stones can hardly be distinguished. Occasionally, the old blue of the ice shines through. Inside the glacier, Thomas Wrede has positioned himself directly under the melting, wafer-thin ice, where the first holes are appearing. In the backlight of the sun, you can not only see the countless air bubbles, but also the dilapidated sheets shimmering through the crystal-clear, centuries-old ice. The strong sunlight transforms the dingy grey of the fleece covers into a warm-coloured play of colours that contrasts with the bluish ice. After 3 years, the melting holes have become large crevasses and the covers fall like heavy, dark curtains into the cavities of the once mighty glacier.

THOMAS WREDE (born in Iserlohn) studied at the Kunstakademie Münster and has taught photography and media art at the HBK Essen since 2015. Photography has been his artistic medium since 1991. The question of model and reality in the field of landscape photography is a central aspect of his work. Since 1993, he has had numerous exhibitions in the USA, Asia and Europe. In 2018, the Von der Heydt-Kunsthalle Wuppertal presented his survey exhibition "Sceneries".

The current glacier project can be seen in its entirety for the first time in 2022 at the Städtische Galerie Neunkirchen in the solo exhibition "Weiß war der Schnee". The project was presented in group exhibitions at the Vienna Biennale 2021 and the Onassis Stegi Museum in Athens (2022). In 2014, Wrede was represented at the Akademie der Künste in Berlin in the exhibition "Schwindel der Wirklichkeit". As early as 1997, he received the Karl Hofer Prize of the UdK Berlin. Wrede is involved in several art-in-building projects of the federal government in Berlin.