14.02. – 14.05.2017
Monday, 13.02.2017, 5pm
Monday, 13.02.2017, 7pm
Oscar Bronner, Publisher, Der Standard
Erkki Huhtamo, Media archaeologist and professor at University of California
Rebekka Reuter, Chief curator, WestLicht
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.
The exhibition has been developed in close cooperation with the Estate of Alfons Schilling. It is accompanied by a publication, published by Verlag für moderne Kunst, Vienna, with a preface by Peter Weibel and texts by Roland Fischer-Briand, Erkki Huhtamo, Romana Karla Schuler, Andreas Spiegl, Felicitas Thun-Hohenstein and the exhibitions´s curators Rebekka Reuter and Fabian Knierim. The book will be the first to illuminate Schilling’s photographic oeuvre, thereby making it available to further research.
T +43 (0)676 931 66 65
WestLicht. Schauplatz für Fotografie
Tel +43 (0)1 522 66 36 60