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Alfons Schilling with Kleines Rad (small wheel), New York 1978 Gelatin silver print, photo by Janice Everett © Estate of Alfons Schilling
Alfons Schilling, 1986 Hologram, holographed by Ana Maria Nicholson © Estate of Alfons Schilling
Alfons SchillingThe Falling Man, 1969 Lenticular photograph, 4 views © Estate of Alfons Schilling
Alfons Schilling, Frames from Jackie Curtis, 1970 16mm, b&w, silent, 1:10 Min. © Estate of Alfons Schilling
Alfons Schilling, Film still from 9XL – Es war einmal (once upon a time), 1965 35mm, b&w, sound, 13 Min. © Estate of Alfons Schilling



14.02. – 14.05.2017

WestLicht. Museum for Photography shows the first-ever overview of the photographic works of Swiss artist Alfons Schilling (1934-2013), who made his home in Austria.

Schilling is one of the most fascinating personalities in recent Austrian art history. His work consequently resists any attempts at facile categorisation, his explorer’s spirit transcending the boundaries between genres and movements. Schilling’s photographic output since the 1960s continues the works of 19th century experimenters, first and foremost stereo photography and the movement studies of Muybridge, Marey and Anschütz. Using traditional and current technologies and procedures, Schilling continued their attempts to create new modes of perception. The ambiguous images of his lenticular photographs lent the process of seeing new dynamics, merging several exposures in one image. His holograms and stereo photographs open the surface of the image, transforming it into a virtual space.

The central theme discernible through all the artist’s creative periods is a critique of perception, his recurring method was artistic research. In an inventive manner, Schilling’s works deal with human perception and its aids, examining the relationship between image, viewer, space and movement. In New York, he developed into a media artist starting in 1962, participating at the forefront of contemporary theoretical discourse and projecting current technical developments into the future.

This, at the latest, was the point when the medium became the message, understood as an extension of the body in an emphaticutopian sense. It is no coincidence that the seeing machines he constructed during this period – bearing such titles as The Big Wheel or Little Bird – bring to mind the first flying machines, from Leonardo to the Wright Brothers: the possibility of limitless perception already implies liberation from the body’s physical limitations.