040509: Albertina: Photography and the invisible

Albertina: Photography and the invisible Lights off, spotlight on: mange mite March 4, 1840 - the stem of a clematis. Moth wings resembling a street map of Manhattan– which looked completely different at the time, in which Henry Fox Talbot’s photo was shot. These were Adalbert Stifter’s days. One can only vaguely imagine how these pictures revolutionized the perception of the world, and consequently that of art. It goes on: jumping spiders, mange mites, processionary moth. A hatching louse shown in a spectacular photo series created in the 1850s. And the all-time stars of micrographs, the diatoms, arranged as an aesthetic still life by Hans Hauswaldt in 1900. Micrographs are only one chapter of the Albertina exhibit, but probably the most fascinating. In addition to making a microscopic part visible with the help of a camera, micrographs offered the, until then, unknown prospects of depicting motion. The most prominent examples were by Eadweard Muybridge, who not only presented somersaults, leaps, and birds in flight, but also the spanking of a child. One anticipated artists such as Duchamp and Picasso; and a more direct consequence was that painters realized that they had depicted galloping horses incorrectly. Or lightning, as one now realized, was not jagged, but frequently broken. Electric discharges and magnetic fields were now visible, the moon’s path across the sky, comets, the Milky Way. X-rays made pellets visible, which were stuck deep in the flesh of soldiers’ hands, and frogs in the digestive tracts of snakes. One of the most delightful pieces is the x-ray still life of two lobsters on a table ready laid. Surrealists, cover your head before the magic of science – Touché for Jakob Ottonowitsch’s “a spark generated at the surface of a (thoroughly cleaned) body of a prostitute”, captivated on a plate by Narkiewitsch-Jodko in 1895. By Iris Meder Albertina 1010 Vienna, Albertinaplatz 1, until 24.05.09 www.albertina.at

1010 Wien, Albertinaplatz 1
Tel: +43 1 534 83 -0, Fax: +43 1 533 76 97
Email: info@albertina.at
Öffnungszeiten: Tägl. 10-18h, Mi 10-21 h

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