Saturday, August 29, 2015

Floris Neusüss and Perfect Likeness | KCRW Art Talk Feature

The photogram, using an enlarger and photosensitive paper to make an image without the use of a camera, was a staple of experimental photography in the early 20th century and used to great effect by Man Ray or Lázsló Moholy-Nagy. Such analog techniques have been embraced recently by a number of contemporary photographers. Thus, it is ideal timing for a small show of work by the German artist Floris Neususs, who has done extraordinary things for 50 years with the photogram technique. Dreams + Photograms at Von Lintel Gallery closes August 15.

Most well-known are his nudograms from the 1960's and 70's — Korperbilder — that track the human figure, especially women, as ghostly presences, both dark and light, detailed and unclear, yet life size on huge sheets of paper.

Floris Neusüss, "Portrait of Robert Heinecken; Portrait of Joyce Neimanas," 1997
Gelatin silver photograms on auto-reversal paper; 90.6 x 41.7 inches (230 x 106 cm), each
Courtesy of Von Lintel Gallery

This show includes the 1997 life size photograms of his close friend and collaborator Robert Heinecken and his wife, photographer Joyce Neimanas. Their dark silhouettes on creamy backgrounds are instantly recognizable to anyone who knew them. And, they are only sold as a pair, so they can remain a couple.

Floris Neusüss, "Nachtbild (48), 1991
Gelatin silver photogram; 68 x 42 inches (175 x 106 cm)
Courtesy of Von Lintel Gallery

Neususs also made photograms of landscape by placing the paper with the emulsion side down and exposing it to lightning. Grasses, leaves, twigs appear in a beautiful chaos of silvery blacks and grays. Even Neususs student work from the 1950's, before he embarked on photograms, shows a propensity to experimentation.

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