Friday, 10 December 2010
Floris Neussus Untitled, (Körperfotogramm), Berlin, 1962 Collection Chistian Diener.
Floris Neussus Untitled, (Körperfotogramm), Kassel, 1967 Kassel, Museumslandschaft Hessen Kassel, Graphische Sammlung, Germany
Floris Neususs is master of the photogram. His sole artistic technique, Neususs has dedicated decades to exploring the potential and stretching the imaginative possibilities of the photogram. Essential, he takes pictures without the use of a camera, employing photo sensitive papers and exposing them to short strikes of light. A simple process in theory, Neususs has expanded and bended the rules of the medium.
Camera-less photographs were popular with botanical illustrators in the 1840s and ’50s but the process was really taken up in a big way in the 1920s by artists connected with European avant garde art movements such as Da Da, Surrealism, including Christian Schad, Man Ray and Curtis Moffat. The form was taught by László Moholy-Nagy at the Bauhaus Schools of Design in Germany, and later in Chicago, as a way of exploring new concepts of light, time and space.
Camera-less photographs leave room for suggestion, ambiguity, mystery and imaginative engagement. And because most camera-less photographs are traces of one-off events, their uniqueness makes them more commercially valuable, closer to paintings than traditional photographs. The photographs have more of a ‘haptic quality’ - a feeling that relates to touch - often because the scale is usually 1:1 with the object depicted.
Removing the camera feels like it allows artists to get closer to the source of what interests them - often elemental forces such as light, time, energy or the ephemeral. Rather than documents, they appear more like dreams, memories, fragments or signs, exploring an inner rather than an outer world.