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Major retrospective at Kunst Haus Wien celebrates the work of Andreas H. Bitesnich
Reinhold Messner, Firmian, 2009. © Andreas H. Bitesnich.

VIENNA.- The Austrian star photographer Andreas H. Bitesnich is celebrating his 50th birthday in 2014 and looks back on 25 years of photography. In a major retrospective at Kunst Haus Wien, he provides unprecedented insights into his personal photographic universe.

Andreas H. Bitesnich has succeeded in developing his own unique style in each of the various photographic genres in which he has worked over the past 25 years. Early in his career, his nude photography caused a sensation with its sculptural approach and dramatic lighting. Bitesnich takes his celebration of the beauty and eroticism of the human body to such extremes that his nudes become meditations on the theme of “form”. The exhibition presents works from his various series of nudes and places them in a new context.

In the genre of travel photography, Andreas H. Bitesnich’s book “India” represents a milestone in the photographic exploration of other cultural spheres. Bitesnich reflects on the conventions and clichés of historical travel photography and at the same time develops his own highly poignant pictorial vocabulary for this genre. With photographs taken in a variety of countries where the photographer has travelled during the past 25 years, the exhibition reveals the broad spectrum of Andreas H. Bitesnich’s travel photography and its significance within his oeuvre.

One section of the exhibition presents key works of Bitesnich’s portrait photography. These photographs have never been exhibited together before. Placing them in juxtaposition underscores the intensity of his portraits, whose aesthetic appears to be more closely related to his travel photography than to his studio work in other genres. Among Bitesnich’s sitters we find names such as Anthony Quinn, Philip Glass, Reinhold Messner, Till Schweiger, Wladimir und Vitali Klitschko, Kruder & Dorfmeister, Till Brönner and Pelé.

Andreas H. Bitesnich’s most recent works include the results of his photographic exploration of the world’s important metropolises. The outcome of this long-term photographic project has been a series of books, the first editions of which have already achieved cult status. In a strongly graphic aesthetic, Bitesnich reinterprets the cityscapes of often-photographed major cities in a highly personal style.

The exhibition also offers a glimpse behind the scenes: For the first time, numerous documents on display offer a close look at Bitesnich’s working methods. Contact sheets and Polaroids, book dummies and documentary film material add up to a particularly exciting “making of” section that provides detailed insights into the exhibition and the work of Andreas H. Bitesnich.

The retrospective, specially developed for KUNST HAUS WIEN in close cooperation with the photographer and curated by Andreas Hirsch, presents not only iconic photographs selected from Andreas H. Bitesnich’s oeuvre of the past quarter-century, but also many works that have never been publicly presented before; the gamut ranges from early photographs to very recent works.

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