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© Thomas Albdorf

Disrupting cliches in the work of Thomas Albdorf

For many, a mention of Austria brings to mind images of sprawling, snow-capped peaks. Its picturesque, alpine landscapes have long been a symbol of the country in popular culture, politics, and art. From the backdrops of classic 1960s Heimatfilmes to the snowy peaks on Milka chocolate bars, mountains have become a central part of Austria’s visual identity.

“We, as Austrians, construct our visual identity through those mountain cliches and, from the outside, we are also very much associated with them,” explains Austrian photographer Thomas Albdorf. It was this observation that led the Vienna-based artist to take to the mountainous landscapes of his homeland for the series I Know I Will See What I Have Seen Before (2015). Albdorf’s work encourages us to question the way we see things, and mountains, he realised, provided the perfect canvas on which to explore our perception of Austria and life in general.

Words: Hannah Abel-Hirsch

Throughout the Austria: The Art of Discovery competition submission period, Studio 1854 wrote a series of editorials profiling photographers living and working in the country. Vienna-based photographer Thomas Albdorf discussed his project I Know I Will See What I Have Seen Before (2015).

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