Trained on centralize perspectives, the eye struggles for orientation. The work series FROM BELOW by Michael H. Rohde does offer a vanishing point to clearly focus on. However, instead of providing a reasonable arrangement of the picture, it rather contributes to its destabilization. Rohde's utopian views of interior spaces keenly challenge our perception. The view of the room from below the floor, to be determined only by a mathematically logical concept of perception, at first appears to be easily comprehensible. But then it quickly withdraws itself into a self-contained aesthetic, dynamic in its own right and free of any structuring orientation system.
The virtually impossible total view of a room from down below and the lack of a well-familiar structuring of the motif into different picture surfaces render the furniture and other objects weightless. They appear to be floating and tumbling through the space as though denying gravity. Merely the alert view of the observer supports them as it tries to defend itself against the suggestive collapsing of the room's interior.
With his unusual composition, Rohde lends the room a captivating atmosphere, characterized by distortion, constant disorientation and disengagement. Though the viewer's eye incessantly attempts to construct a consistent perspective, it actually reinforces the peculiar independent existence of the picture's subjects. This occurs entirely against the brain's habitual functioning, which, for the purpose of generating soundly structured space, generally strives towards clearness and tries to declare any room as physically accessible.
Rohde's works have invented a perspective of spaces that proclaims the latter to be a purely aesthetic experience. In an ant-like state, consciousness tries to enter the room intellectually. The artist deprives us of the solid surface, without which even the crawling insect threatens to disappear into a bottomless void. It seems that, in Rohde's photographs, gravity has been reprogrammed: The ground that usually bears the apartment has been exchanged by an incessant search for orientation, an attempt of consciousness to keep the space in balance.
In a sense, the observer's point of view is being undermined. The extended vanishing points lead the picture's array of a motif embedded in remoteness into the absurd, because the observer himself is situated in the center of the composition without actually being present. Through this pulling effect, the permanence of objects in an every-day space turns into a threatening entity. Even more so if one considers that the observation from below is understood as a ubiquitous observer, who, in view of his purely idealistic presence, is ultimately referring to an omnipresent, latent self-observation.
Uwe Goldenstein BSA (Berlin Selected Artists) 2010