USA, Austria 1960s-1990s
„Using the lenticular technique, Schilling combined the analytical breakdown of movement shown by Muybridge in several photos and by Marey as a succession of images into a single subject, as in Boy (to Muybridge) in 1969, which appropriated the photo pioneer’s work. The different points of view add a time component to the picture, manifested in particular in a sequence of movements of the human body – a pictorial trick culminating in Schilling’s case in the banal and symbolic gesture of falling. His Falling Man inevitably recalls Marey’s 1882 chronophotograph of a man walking, hand in hand with Marcel Duchamp’s legendary Nude Descending a Staircase of 1912. Lenticular photography offers a spectacular way of freezing the images of the accelerating body at a tempo determined solely by the hands, eyes and body of the beholder. The fact that the subject is caught ephemerally in free fall as if in a vacuum may be interpreted as a reference to the cosmological dimension of Schilling’s endeavours and as a criticism of the inadequacies of the human body. (...) His last series of lenticular photos combined images of preparations from the historical medical collection of the Charite in Berlin with his own painterly handwriting, which he entitled Götterbilder (Idols). In the context of his way of thinking, the adhesions on the foetuses are not so much pathological aberrations as Janus-headed or one-eyed alternative variations of human perception organs, symbolising the actual evolutionary randomness of our customary way of seeing.“ (Knierim 2017: 186–192)
Alfons Schilling, born 1934 in Basel, Switzerland, died 2013 in Vienna, Austria.
Fabian Knierim and Rebekka Reuter et al. (eds.), “Beyond Photography,” in Alfons Schilling. Beyond Photography (Vienna: Verlag für Moderne Kunst, 2017), pp. 185–192.