TECHNIK & METHODE Künstlerische Prozesse der Bildfindung

TECHNIQUES, MACHINES & METHODS Artistic Processes of Image-Making
Part II: Media Explorations

from 30.08.2011 to 24.09.2011

Thomas Freiler, Stephan Reusse, Edgar Lissel, Beatrix Bakondy

Opening: Monday, 29 August at 7 p.m.

Experiment, research, invention and exploration – these are keywords for
this year’s theme of focus TECHNIQUES, MACHINES & METHODS – Artistic
Processes of Image-Making, which has been developed by the curatorial Team
at Fotogalerie Wien in collaboration with artist and photographer Thomas
Freiler. Nowadays, with the seemingly final shift from analog to digital
photography and now that photography appears to have become something that
is “taken for granted” and is “easily accessible”, artists who construct
their own machines drawing upon old preindustrial methods and exploring
basic photographic parameters are increasingly emerging. This three-part
exhibition series focuses on the inventive and unorthodox artistic methods
and processes in image-making.

When John Herschel titled his lecture “Notes on the Art of Photography”
and presented it to the Royal Society in 1839, not only did he introduce
the name for this new invention, the discourse around that which could be
called the “photographic” was also initiated: on the one hand, a process
based on rational laws of chemistry and optics and yet on the other hand,
an apparently magical appearance or a specific manner of representation
producing what could be recognized as “photographic” images. The second
part of this year’s thematic focus with the subtitle Media Explorations
exemplarily refreshes this discourse by uniting four ostensibly very
different artistic positions in this exhibition. Is that which we believe
to be photography really actually photography? Where could a line be drawn
to differentiate photography from other image-making processes? Do the
pictures that present the invisible in pictures of magical spectral
quality then truly turn out to be the result of rational technological
development, able to be analyzed and broken down into simple and basic
patterns of color systems and rules of projection?

Beatrix Bakondy’s so-called “kinetic photograms” from the series Aerosole
will be presented. She places three-dimensional objects such as bags,
bottles, or sticks on a surface and sprays them with black spray paint. The direct “exposure” results from the paint particles from the spray can, i.e. Aerosole,
whereby the outline of the object remains visible on the image support.
The objects however, appear as if in a positive image, strangely
visionarily radiant. The image shows the object, but even more so, the
space that the object once occupied: “I portray the tactile space around
the object.” (B.B.) This conceptual work, one that at the same time
appeals to the senses, is concerned with opposites: light and dark, day
and night, the contrast between feeling and thinking, between vision and
reality, but also with the exploration of space, image and representation..

In his works, Thomas Freiler has an analytical approach to the medium
photography and to the devices in producing photographs; his process is
characterized by experimentation, his eye set not on creating an artistic
image, but ever focused on the inquiry into the influences of technology
on image creation. “Where an image begins or ends”, writes Andreas Spiegl,
“is not a question of format or of being in-focus or not. Rather it is the
product of what is expected from the image. And from this perspective, the
actual apparatus in question is what itself becomes the subject.” Over the
last ten years, Freiler has been building cameras specifically for the
production of such images that would otherwise be impossible. A camera
obscura developed by Freiler in 1992 (CO_1) will be presented in the
exhibition on a plinth alongside photographs taken with this camera

Edgar Lissel’s exploration of time, light and alternative reproduction
processes has lately been accompanied by the presence of algae and
bacteria in his images. His works depicting bacteria on canvas or plaster,
as well as the photographs showing the process behind these works (from
the series Domus Aurea, Myself II and Natura Viva) will be exhibited at
the FOTOGALERIE WIEN. In the self-portrait series, Myself II (the
continuation of a project begun in 2004) Lissel was able to successfully
have his own skin flora flourish directly on linen and was able for the
first time to subsequently fix their traces permanently onto the linen
surface. Earlier, such prints (or traces) were preserved as a photograph.
In Domus Aurea, the light-sensitive cyanobacteria responsible for the
disintegration of original Roman frescoes are exposed to light through the
image of an already destroyed fresco. Since the bacteria shifts to the
source of the light, a new image is created based on the outlines the
image of the fresco – from a destructive process, a constructive one is

Experimental and conceptual media artist Stephan Reusse will present
thermographic works: Special equipment is used with sensors that detect
and digitally transfer ranges of temperature. In this process, the traces
of human warmth can be captured in an image even three to fifteen minutes
after the person is no longer present (Zeitstühle or Leaving Shadows). The
sooner the shot is taken, the more precise the outlines of the body
(“shadows”) will be depicted. In contrast to photography that
conventionally shows a moment of the past as one of the apparently
present, these images address a physical absence; they show “the
invisible” and thereby expand the field of photography. The few very
detailed thermographs radiate a magical spectral effect, one reason for
which Reusse also calls these images “Thermovisions”.

Thomas Freiler and Petra Noll, on behalf of the collective