The Art of Andreas Franke

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As Andreas Franke’s underwater exhibition unveiled simultaneously at Huvafen Fushi and NIYAMA, headlines were made in the Maldives and abroad. Hotelier Maldives sought this innovative artist to pose a few questions to him about his exhibition in the Maldives. The exhibition runs until the 31st of May 2014.

HM: How long did you take to produce the works that are displayed in the Per AQUUM Dream Calendar Phantasy Fairytale exhibition – in both locations; Huvafen Fushi and NIYAMA?

AF: I’d say only the production of the art works took approximately three months from the initial idea, the preparation, shoot and retouching to the printed and framed art work packed for shipping. Although the whole project extended over a year from the first contact till the launch of the exhibition.

HM: Can you tell us about the process you underwent to create the images and then the technical challenges you faced in producing the final form of the exhibited works and installing them underwater?

AF: While diving and taking pictures of the stunning underwater world I was thinking: “Isn’t there anything more beautiful to be seen down there?” Something about the photos of the beautiful coral reefs captivated me so much that I could not stop thinking about them.

I was fascinated by that mystical underwater world. I was looking for a theme and it was easily found, as to me it looked like an enchanted forest, a fairytale wood. This was the initial impulse that prompted me to create this phantasy fairytale world.

HM: Since you are an avid diver; have you dived in the Maldives prior to creating and installing the works in the exhibition? How many times have you visited Maldives – and dived?

AF: I was lucky to visit both of the stunning Per AQUUM resorts, NIYAMA and Huvafen Fushi and dive there to check out their underwater facilities. The Maldives are simply heaven on earth and I can’t wait to go back.

HM: What is it that you would like the viewers of the works to take away with them after experiencing the art works?

AF: I wanted to create some imaginative visuals one hasn’t seen before. Images that will appeal to the observers and which hopefully stimulate and inspire one’s imagination and fantasy. It simply lies in the eyes of the beholder what is seen.

In my photography I try to construct illusionistic worlds far beyond the often eye-catching ad business. This is why my works are always based on a strict concept, which is photographically and technically perfectly implemented. Every little detail is part of a precisely arranged production.

The moment I start the photo shoot, everything becomes clear: the concept, the realization, even the post-production. It is only the interpretation that I leave to the spectators.

To me, it is important to exploit the technical advances of photography in order to reach the borders of photographic visualization. Today, we have new options that we may not have even thought of a few years ago. This opens the way for imagination and creativity. With my photographs of sunken shipwrecks, I want to pull the spectators into unreal and strange worlds. Mystified scenes of the past play within a fictional space. Dream worlds you can get lost in or that you can identify with. This creates a new and unexpected atmosphere. This work shows very much of myself, since I am always on the lookout for stunning themes to create new images never been seen before.

When I work as a photographer, I am completely obsessed with very tiny details.

HM: What are your forthcoming projects? And will these projects be along the lines of the ‘Sinking World’ project, mixing the surreal with underwater imagery?

AF: I am actually planning some new projects, but at this point it’s too soon to talk about details, so stay tuned.

However, creating these art works is not the end of the story.

During the time the pictures, or rather the frames remain underwater, the sea will not leave them untouched. I am curious to see the participation of nature’s own work, what submarine procedures will take place while exposing the art work at the ocean floor. I can’t wait and see how magnificent the result will be.

The pictures will be installed underwater at the Per AQUUM properites of Huvafen Fushi and NIYAMA till 31st May 2014 as part of the Dream Calendar of events. During this time I expect that the salt water will coat and refine the art work with a patina made of algae and microorganisms. It will transform each work and make it entirely inimitable and absolutely unique.