Following the hugely successful exhibition Shadow Catchers at the Victoria and Albert Museum in Autumn 2010, the ATLAS Gallery
announces a follow-up exhibition of work by acclaimed German photogram artist, Floris Neusüss, featuring both old and new work. Included are works from the celebrated Aegineten photogram series, which depict life-size ancient Greek statues from the Glyptothek Museum in Munich, along with newly released photogramic nudes and the hugely influential Tellerbilder or Plate series from the 1970s, which, in more recent years inspired younger photogram artists such as Adam Fuss and Gary Fabian Miller.
Director Ben Burdett says: "Floris is legendary. He is one of the true godfathers of contemporary photography. It is particularly exciting for us, in this exhibition, to be offering such a large number of original works from the 1960's and 1970's not previously released from Neusüss's studio. This includes two large Nudogramms from 1974, which will be completely new to the market. Original works from this period are now incredibly rare, due to the large number in institutional collections. Another highlight will be the newly unveiled work depicting a dinner table laden with the detritus of a long and messy meal, photographically printed onto canvas. Its an unusual image that really captures the imagination and is sure to be a talking point of the exhibition.
A true pioneer of photographic art, inspired by the Constructivist camera-less photography of Làszló Moholy-Nagy and by Man Rays Surrealist photograms or Rayographs, Floris Neusüss has dedicated his whole career to the practice, study and teaching of the photogram, exploring its technical and visual possibilities and pushing the boundaries of the medium. Photograms are created by the placement of objects or often in Floriss case, the human figure, on light-sensitive paper or film, and once exposed to light, the shape of the object is revealed. The proximity of the object to the paper creates sharper or softer outlines and the intensity of the tones is dependent on the transparency of the objects and the amount of light used. The process is akin to painting with light, resulting in a ghostly silhouetted negative image. Neusüss further departs from the conventional photogram by occasionally wiping a brush, sponge, or rag dipped into developer or fixer solution across the surface of the paper to produce controlled, painterly gestures. Sometimes he does not fix his prints, allowing the works to constantly change over the years and the photographic process to continue beyond the darkroom.
Amongst Neusüsss best known works are his Körperfotogramms (also known as Nudogramms), life-size silhouettes of nude bodies exposed on photographic paper in a variety of expressive poses. Often suggesting rapid motion, the figures are caught in space and in an ethereal dream-like state. Neusüss comments: In the photogram...man is not depicted, but the picture of him comes into being by an act of imagination. He worked on this series throughout the 1960s and early 1970s, initially using standard silver bromide paper to show white figures on a black background and later using auto-reversal paper to make black figures on white backgrounds.
Born in 1937, Neusüss studied printmaking before turning to photography. He was an influential teacher in Germany and recently retired as Professor in Experimental Photography at the University of Kassel, a post he had held since 1971.
Philippe Garner, International Head of Photography at Christies, comments: Neusüss occupies a unique position in the history of the photogram. He demonstrated a particularly lyrical vision in using the technique to create life-sized, fluid and spectral impressions of the human figure. His images, made in the period 1960-1974, have mystery and depth, making him a worthy successor to Man Ray and Moholy-Nagy.