Exposure of a Rabbit

Gerda Lampalzer and Manfred Oppermann

Gerda Lampalzer and Manfred Oppermann, Exposure of a Rabbit, 1996

Aluminum light box with display foil

16 x 88 x 10 cm

Austria 1996


Belichtung eines Kaninchens [Exposure of a Rabbit]

In 1876 Franz Christian Boll discovered the photo/light-sensitivity of a red pigment (visual red, visual purple, rhodopsin), which had been known since longer from the retina of frogs. In the following years the photo-bleaching of the visual purple actuated by the exposure to light was researched more thoroughly by Wilhelm Kühne. As the visual red only reacts in the parts of the retina hit by light, it is possible to generate a kind of photographic image on the retina with an eye mounted in a fixed position, an optogram. Kühne was the first to conduct this experiment on test rabbits. He exposed their retina to light between ten seconds and seven minutes. Afterwards the animals were immediately killed. The retina was then dissected under a sodium light in an alum solution. The optogram could be viewed spread out on a small white glazed porcelain dish.


Gerda Lampalzer, born 1959 in Vienna, lives and works in Vienna.

Manfred Oppermann, born 1955 in Hamburg, lives and works in Vienna.

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