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A Space Between Reality and Fantasy

Gustav Willeit talks us through his mirrored world

A Space Between Reality and Fantasy by Gustav Willeit

travel visual culture

The details captured by Gustav Willeit give his images some verisimilitude, a sense of reality at first glance, but the sharp lines of symmetry also shape an almost fantasy-like version of the landscape. We take a look into his manipulation world where contrasting sensations of imagination and reality collide.


A Space Between Reality and Fantasy by Gustav Willeit

Venice Beach, California. 

Through his surreal photo series 'Perspe,' Italian-born Willeit documents nature and urban scenes in silent tranquility. Often in a lonesomeness style that casts a feeling of disorientation on the viewer to invoke a parallel universe of falsehood.


A Space Between Reality and Fantasy by Gustav Willeit


Hi Gustav, can you tell us a little bit about your background and what you do for a living?

I was born in Brunico, Italy and grew up in Corvara, Alta Badia. I studied at the F+F School for Art and Design in Zurich, Switzerland. After living there for nearly 10 years, I returned to live and work in Italy. I have my own photographic projects to work on and also collaborate with various architects.


A Space Between Reality and Fantasy by Gustav Willeit


What is ‘Perspe’ and did anything inspire the project?

The word 'Perspe' derives from a fragment of the German word 'Perspektive' (perspective). I tried to create an abnormal perspective, a world that at first glimpse may appear real, but it was invented. The observer can recognize the natural origin of the photograph, yet remains suspended in doubt, in a space between reality and fantasy.


A Space Between Reality and Fantasy by Gustav Willeit


How do you keep all the shoots so minimal and composed?

I always look for minimalistic views, which I like very much and they are good photographic backgrounds. For me, it’s important that my work is aesthetically clean. When I travel and see new places, my eyes constantly search for these kinds of landscapes.


A Space Between Reality and Fantasy by Gustav Willeit


How do digital technology and unusual elements influence you?

My first 'Perspe' dates back to 2002 at a time when I was still attending art school. Pretty soon, by learning digital techniques and software, I tried to interfere with the pictures and modify the places I photographed. I have always been attracted to manipulating reality through technological sources. Thanks to the digitization of the image it is possible to create a new world as you imagine it.


A Space Between Reality and Fantasy by Gustav Willeit

Hangzhou, China.  

What message or idea do you hope people get from your work?

The theme of the mirror and the double has always fascinated humankind. I like to create a balance between true and false, I like to discover new facets of the landscape. I create an undefined world, a place that captures the attention: it somehow looks familiar and at the same time it has a surreal vibe.


Gustav Willeit for gestalten Journal

Santa Cruz, California.

By inserting an object or a human being, I try to disturb the viewer and it often helps to remove the concentration from the background. I want the images to take the viewers away from reality, but still, let them feel something true and authentic. Will the viewer recognize the illusion? Perhaps, it is also a way of underline how easily our minds can be confused, the fact that we define what we see as the truth and rarely question it. 

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