Studio Secrets with Michael Wesely

February 20, 2024

Born in Munich in 1963, Michael Wesely is internationally recognised for his groundbreaking ultra-long-exposure photographs. We learn what a typical day looks like in his studio.

Wesely's captivating photographs compress the passage of time into a single frame. Employing a durational process that extends from a week to several years, the artist's unique approach captures the evolution of scenes over extended periods. Commissioned by the Museum of Modern Art in 2001, Wesely documented the museum's renovation over the course of three years, showcasing the results in the "Open Shutter Project 2001–2004" exhibition upon its reopening in 2004. His photographs will be exhibited during Art Dubai 2024 at Sanji Gallery's booth, curated by Juli Cho Bailer and Micaela Giovannotti, and consigned to be sold through Arcual.

What does a typical day in the studio look like for you?

Every day shapes from hour to hour and is always exciting.

What are you working on at the moment?

On my upcoming exhibition in Fotomuseum Berlin.

Do you have any rituals connected to your practice?

No, but a tea once in a while is nice.

What can’t you live without in your studio?

Daylight, and the quality of it's changes over the day.

How has tech most shaped your practice?

Knowing about technology is extremely helpful and I decided in the very early years of my practise that technology has to be my supportive angel and not my destructive devil. Knowing your tools gives a lot of freedom to create.

How do you think blockchain technology could help shape the future of the art ecosystem?

Blockchain technology opened one more approach to the art world and it is interesting because the artist is forever part of anything that happens in the future of these connected works. Blockchain technology serves backstage as a great support, and can create a lot of freedom in the art ecosystem.

What are the main challenges you face as an artist working today, particularly as a photographer?

The constant doubt and question if I do something relevant.

Tell us about the photographs you will be exhibiting at Art Dubai?

The works that I am presenting came out of my technological development, when my long exposure photography went digital, around 2012. Instead of exposing one single sheet of film over one year, a digital version of the same photograph is based on around 600,000 one-minute exposures.

This change of structure made me think about one life-long challenge — the aging process we are all involved in. In a simplistic way software routines can add one one-minute photograph to another, another, and so on. So we are looking at a growing image. The photograph collects time and date and is aging in this sense.

My flower still lifes, to be presented at Art Dubai from 1 - 3 March, share this experience with you. It might look like a time lapse image, but in fact it is a time-collecting image.

Most of my photographic prints are unique, not numbered editions. But I recently created a portfolio of signed limited edition prints to accompany the upcoming drop of my dynamic NFT “TULIPA,”  and to uphold the authenticity of the edition, I am utilising Arcual’s blockchain certificates.

What would you be if you weren't an artist?

An architect.

Discover Michael's work in the Sanji Gallery booth during Art Dubai from 1-3 March 2024, curated by Juli Cho Bailer and Micaela Giovannotti. Subscribe to our ‍newsletter for the latest art and technology news and more stories from Arcual's community of innovators.

Pictured: Michael Wesely, Stilleben (22.1. - 29.1.2022), 2023, Archive InkJet Print Mounted on Aluminum Dibond, Museum Glass, Wood Frame, 80 x 100 cm. Courtesy: The Artist Ed: 1/20