In New Trees, Robert Voit employs delicate irony to demonstrate that the background noise of verbal communication, so to speak, has long since reached the visual domain.

 

His pictorial inventory, a work-in-progress since 2003, of mobile phone masts in the guise of artificial trees erected in real space in the U.S., Great Britain, South Africa, Korea, Italy and Portugal pays superficial tribute to a diffuse creative will driven by a basic desire for conciliation. To visually compensate for the dangers of electro-smog, mobile phone masts are given plastic “magic hoods” which simulate nature so that they then appear in the landscape as idealized forms of vegetation. The broad range of camouflage outfits includes deciduous trees and conifers, pines, palms and huge cacti. A lucrative manufacturing industry specializing in these artificial trees has emerged with considerable future potential; currently it is gaining a foothold on the European continent.

 

Robert Voit, who studied at the academies in Munich and Dusseldorf, satirizes the strict typological corset which has become the trademark of the so-called Becher School of photography. Classified thus as unique objects, formally these fake trees take on an absurd dynamism which creates a need for natural artificiality. In New Trees, the tree, a traditional carrier of meaning, mutates into a grotesque foil for longing.

 

Christoph Schaden