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ALFONS SCHILLING. BEYOND PHOTOGRAPHY

14.02. – 14.05.2017

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PRESS CONFERENCE
Monday, 13.02.2017, 5pm


OPENING
Monday, 13.02.2017, 7pm
Speakers:
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.

PRESS CONTACT
Stefan Musil
T +43 (0)676 931 66 65
musil(at)westlicht.com

WestLicht. Schauplatz für Fotografie
Westbahnstraße 40
A-1070 Vienna
Tel +43 (0)1 522 66 36 60
www.westlicht.com

BRUCE DAVIDSON

15.06. - 13.08.2017

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Opening reception 14 June, 7 pm

Bruce Davidson will be present

This summer WestLicht presents the first retrospective exhibition in Austria on the work of Bruce Davidson, one of the leading exponents of humanist photography and with close to sixty years of membership one of the most prominent photographers of Magnum agency. The now legendary cooperative was founded in 1947 by Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, George Rodger and David „Chim“ Seymour and celebrates its seventieth birthday this years.
Davidson counts among the most influential members of the agency. Like few others, he has shaped the genre of reportage with his series on subcultures and marginalized groups. The exhibition offers an overview of the artist's entire career, more than fifty years of continuous work, from his most renowned series, such as Brooklyn Gang, East 100th Street and Time of Change: Civil Rights Movement to his latest project Nature of Los Angeles.
Bruce Davidson set out on what was to become a passionate relationship with photography at a very young age. More than responding to a specific style, his work is characterized by a personal vision of reality that manifests itself in his art, not so much in the individual images as in the effect produced by the reiteration and juxtaposition of themes and characters. The spectator shares an intimacy with them that is made accessible through Davidson's charismatic presence, allowing him to reap the trust of the people being portrayed and easily gain access to their lives, even when dealing with controversial subjects. His work is therefore the reflection of an ethical commitment towards the harsh realities and the precarious and vulnerable environments in which the daily existence of the people being photographed unfolds.
The exhibition and its international tour have been made possible by the support of TERRA Foundation for American Art. Having been shown at Fundación MAPFRE in Barcelona and Madrid, the exhibition will be presented at WestLicht Museum for Photography, Vienna, this summer, before travelling to Nederlands Fotomuseum in Rotterdam and to Sala Rekalde in Bilbao. As special guest of ViennaPhotoBookFestival, Bruce Davidson will already be in Vienna for a lecture at Brotfabrik on 11 June.

PRESS CONTACT

Stefan Musil
T +43 (0)676 931 66 65
musil(at)westlicht.com

WestLicht. Schauplatz für Fotografie
Westbahnstrasse 40
A-1070 Vienna
Tel +43 (0)1 522 66 36 60
www.westlicht.com