Abstraction and photography seem to be completely opposed to one another. Such a thing as abstract photography sounds paradoxical. Nevertheless, the photographer Bruno Dubner tries to find ways to link those concepts by constructing an image as abstract as possible and putting the main emphasis on light and white. There are several ways in which a photograph could look abstract: movement, out of focus, superposition, but it looks like it should always be the track or the sign of ‘something.’ I believe photography goes far beyond the photographic take, the artist has said. In these works, Dubner obtains nothing but the light the objects photographed emit; that track or sign, together with the power of hazard, clearly relates his work to the main ideas of the abstract expressionists, artists whom he admires.
Vigil refers to wakefulness and watchfulness at night. And night is the perfect environment for the artist to explore how photography can print the track of the light. Because when we say light we also refer, by omission, to dark or darkness; when we talk about white we also refer to its counterpart, or to other colours. Light’s whiteness subsumes every other colour as well as bringing an entire world to our eyes and making things visible. Light guides our movements and gives us a reference of time and space. But the artist is not interested at all in that kind of light.
Some time ago, Bruno Dubner started photographing the light penetrating his home at night. The entire place was turned into a darkroom where light revealed many feelings and thoughts as well as creating situations he had never experienced before. He discovered they could only become clear to him when all lights were off and when the rays penetrating the scene detonated a sensitive domino effect. He photographs doors, windows, walls, all of which only becoming visible because of the cars passing by in the street and providing some kind of random luminal source. Dubner is also interested in other subtle light effects: the moonlight shining through the shades or just the light emanating from the computer. His Rolleiflex 6×6 cameras are his main company during these nights of intense vigil. Periods of exposure in some cases as long as almost eight hours bring out the results for us to appreciate in his abstract photographs.
What we mainly see is nothing but whiteness, nothing but the process by which the light creates abstract images. Even when those objects photographed could be easily recognized in a normal situation, the way in which Dubner’s camera captures them makes them into shapes we cannot relate to a certain referent at all. This is where the spectator gets involved with the artist’s work: people can play with Dubner’s photographs, whether by using their fantasy to see whatever they want to see and being the ones who determine what is represented in the whiteness or by trying to discover the real shape that the artist has hidden behind white’s mysterious veil.