American Valhalla, Andreas NEUMANN
There’s a razor-sharp line between photography and fine art, and German-born visual artist, Andreas Neumann, treads it with a most enviable and inimitable elegance. Neumann’s work betrays a distinctly baroque sensibility: A perpetual power play between light and dark that creates a Caravaggio-esque, chiaroscuro charm. His 2016 book, Lucha: A Tribute, is a vivid journey behind and beyond the mask of the Mexican luchador. Likewise, his 2017 direc- torial debut, American Valhalla, is a uniquely-intimate documentary that captures the near folkloric collaboration of two of the biggest rock acts in modern history: Iggy Pop and Queens of the Stone Age frontman, Josh Homme. Charting the development of Iggy Pop and Josh Homme’s self-funded and secretly-recorded Post Pop Depression album, Neu- mann’s American Valhalla transcends the realms of photography and documentary to achieve something more akin to a collabora- tive, multimedia art project. ‘After the work with Queens and Iggy Pop, a lot of people assume I’m a band photographer. But it goes a lot further than that. I really couldn’t have done this kind of work with anyone else: It was a journey unique to us and us alone. I was around Queens of the Stone Age for so long that Josh started referring to me as their camera-player.’
The documentary will also form the basis of Neumann’s second book, also titled American Valhalla. It makes perfect sense. After all, if Josh and Iggy provided Post Pop Depression with a sound, it’s safe to say that Neumann gave it a face.
The image of a leather-clad, slick-haired Josh astride his custom-made Falcon motorcycle - pictured above - is proof of the palpable synergy between both artists. By all accounts, it’s an image only Neumann could have taken. Like the folded arms and white t-shirt of a young Marlon Brando or the Baracuta-clad cool of a too-fast-to-live James Dean, Neumann’s vision of Josh in the California heat of the Joshua Tree desert bears all the hallmarks of photography history in the making.
Andreas Neumann’s Lucha: A Tribute, is out now and available at atributelucha.com. His latest book, American Valhalla, will be available soon at americanvalhalla.com You can also check out his other work online at andreasneumannart.com and via his Instagram @neumanvision.