Posts Tagged ‘Adam Fuss Medusa

01
Aug
11

Exhibition: ‘Adam Fuss A Survey of his Work: 1986/2010’ at Huis Marseille Museum for Photography, Amsterdam

Exhibition dates: 11th June – 4th September 2011

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Many thankx to the Huis Marseille Museum for allowing me to publish the text and photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

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Adam Fuss
From the series My Ghost
1999
Gelatine silver print photogram
195.3 x 141.3 cm
Unique piece
Courtesy Cheim & Read, New York
© Adam Fuss

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Adam Fuss
From the series My Ghost
1999
Platinum print photogram
100.3  x 76.2 cm
Unique piece
Courtesy Cheim & Read, New York
© Adam Fuss

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Adam Fuss
Untitled
2003
Digital pigment print
182.9 x 111.8 cm
Edition 6/7
Courtesy Cheim & Read, New York
© Adam Fuss

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Adam Fuss
Untitled
1998
76.2 x 101.6 cm
Private Collection
© Adam Fuss

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Adam Fuss
Invocation
1992
Cibachrome photogram
101.6 x 76.2 cm
Unique piece
Courtesy Cheim & Read, New York
© Adam Fuss

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Distance

“What immediately stands out with the work of Adam Fuss is that, both in terms of the chosen subject matter and in his approach to the photographic technique, he has greatly dissociated himself from conventional photography. That which Fuss produces is, in fact, still a photograph; but in order to achieve that, he did rid himself of all the finer luxuries available to users of the medium nowadays. Like a present-day alchemist, Fuss has mastered the medium’s most elementary and primitive forms; he sees just as much potential for creativity in technical knowledge as in the imagination, or the visionary power of the photographer.

His subjects (silhouettes, gossamer christening gowns, rabbits, butterflies, snakes, lace, smoke, drops of water) have also been removed from their natural habitats. In the studio they become so epitomized that they assume the strength and quality of a symbol, or icon, fraught with emotion. Fuss seems, figuratively speaking, to have given wings to his images: they have a weightless and elusive appearance, as though being supernatural in origin and import.

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Bipolarity

Though ostensibly sublime, the work’s impact on the viewer is nevertheless one of predominantly earthly beauty. This may be a consequence of the bipolarity that lies at the heart of it. All of Fuss’s endeavors have a twofold focus: on matter and mind, on earth or water and the dynamics of fire or air – in short, on vital forces in relation to space and history. Sometimes, as a true photographic magician, he allows the vital fluids of animals (snakes, rabbits) literally to corrode the silver salts of the light-sensitive photographic emulsions. As though trying to allow the image and its model to share the same source of life.

In his technique as well, Fuss wants to reconcile, to connect, past and present. With this he goes back, through experimentation, to the source. Here and there his printing technique is reminiscent of the zeal and the limitations with which Daguerre and Fox Talbot, the disputed founders of photography, wanted to put their discoveries into practice. In the course of time, he came to master the various old and highly complex processes – that of the daguerreotype, the calotype, the photogram, the platinum print – to a degree that remains unsurpassed. Each of these works is unique, and their technical standard is unparalleled. Fuss’s accomplishments include the making of the world’s largest daguerreotypes. (Both daguerreotypes of the Taj Mahal on display here can be counted among these.)

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‘Poetic Genius’

Throughout his work Adam Fuss seeks the very essence of the image; to him that lies particularly at the point where an observation of reality is so intensified that it takes on magical powers, so to speak. His outlook on this comes from the notion of ‘Poetic Genius’ expressed by the British poet, writer, engraver and painter William Blake (1757-1827). It seems that Fuss’s idea of producing daguerreotypes of poems and incorporating them into his work also began with Blake.

In Fuss’s extensive 1998 interview with Mark Haworth Booth (then Curator of Photography at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London) he explained this in relation to his photographs of babies in water, saying that the color photographs are actually not about an individual, a child. The titles Invocation, Journey, Wish have more to do with emotional, romantic ideas. What the image conveys is a feeling, a sensibility. This is no depiction of a baby in water, even though it may be that as well.

Fuss has an incomparable command of the photogram technique. Since 1988 he has been achieving astonishing results with this. The photogram is produced without a camera – and yields, by definition, a unique print. The physical and lifelike quality of these silhouettes is further heightened by the 1:1 scale on which this technique is based. The previously mentioned photographs of babies in water, from the series Invocation (a continuous series with silhouettes of children) are the earliest photograms shown here. Since 1999 Fuss has been making work which he titles My Ghost. Here the themes relate to memory, loss, but also images of remarkable beauty, such as those of peacock feathers. In this series his magnificent daguerreotypes play a leading role.”

Press release from the Huis Marseille Museum

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Adam Fuss
For Allegra
from the series My Ghost
2009
Daguerreotype
70 x 105 cm
Collection Richard Edwards, Aspen, Colorado
© Adam Fuss

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Adam Fuss
Untitled
1988
Gelatin silver print photogram
144.8 x 141 cm
Unique piece
Collection Robin Katz
© Adam Fuss

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Adam Fuss
From the series My Ghost
1997
Gelatin silver print photogram
160 x 104.1 cm
Collection Jan Widlund
© Adam Fuss

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Adam Fuss
Medusa
from the series Home and the World
2010
Gelatin silver print photogram
240 x 144,1 cm
Edition of 9
Unique print
Courtesy Timothy Taylor Gallery, London
© Adam Fuss

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Adam Fuss
From the series My Ghost
1999
Gelatine silver print photogram
38 x 75 cm
Unique piece
Collection John Cheim
© Adam Fuss

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Adam Fuss
Love
1993
Cibachrome photogram
124.5 x 98.4 cm
Unique piece
Courtesy Cheim & Read, New York
© Adam Fuss

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Huis Marseille Museum for Photography
Keizersgracht 401
1016 EK Amsterdam

Opening hours:
tuesday – sunday
11 – 18 hr

Huis Marseille Museum for Photography website

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Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes the Art Blart blog which reviews exhibitions in Melbourne, Australia and posts exhibitions from around the world. He has a Dr of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne and is currently studying a Master of Art Curatorship at The University of Melbourne.

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