A new movement in photography, rediscovered now….an important link in the history of photography
An important group of photographers which have been overlooked by the art world has been re-discovered and will be shown at the Paris Photo at the Grand Palais Nov 12-15 by the Gallery Scheublein +Bak. 1This rarely happens but I am excited to tell the story and also happy to inform you that the photographs are reasonably priced a chance for a young lover of photography to get in.This movement started in 1967 at the Galerie Actuelle in Bern with a group of avant-garde Swiss photographers René Mächler, Roger Humbert, Rolf Schroeter and Jean-Frédéric Schnyder. Unfortunately the show leaves little traces and the response at that time was not what the artists hoped for since they were hoping to be accepted within the framework of Max Bill. Breier and Pierre Cordier then a year later in 1968 Kunsthaus Bielefelder opened the pivotal show Generative Fotografie with works by Gottfried Jäger, Hein Gravenhorst, Kilian Breier and Pierre Cordier. Generative photography or Concrete, both names have been used for these types of photographs. The idea of generating forms out of a mathematical context instead of depicting forms as part of a naturalistic program, predicted a link to computer art and a bridge between light and data image. In laymen terms these were before digital photographs using analog cameras. These photos possess a certain signalling effect. They demand attention,they are fantastic, cosmic inspired ,sharp, cold , well look below and see for yourself.
And a bit about the artists. All of them (there weren’t so many ,list below) practically built their own machines to aid their visions. Herbert W. Franke, a pioneer of computer art combined rational physics and mathematics and photographic experiments. His vintage oscillograms from the 1950’s and 60’s are pioneering examples of computer art aesthetics. In them, graphic vibrations-were programmed on an analogue computer system and then photographed from the screen of a cathode ray oscillograph.
Heinrich Heidersberger adapted experimental forms of Kinetic op-art built on a pendulum machine which helped him t..o produce three-dimensional light-drawings on negatives. These breathtaking images were highly acclaimed at the time. Cocteau claimed these photos were ”the connection between man and machine as being characteristic of their time”.
Then there is Gottfried Jäger who created a self constructed multiple pinhole camera obscura and titled using a numeric programming system. His mathematical creativity is shown below in his “Pinhole Structures”. Since 1966 Jäger and Karl Martin Holzhauser have continued given yearly symposium in Bieleld which have become legendary. These photographers will be seen in the upcoming Fair I mentioned. Historically and creatively important don’t let this go.