June 11, 2011 / September 4, 2011 Adam Fuss
What immediately stands out with the work of Adam Fuss is that, both in terms of the chosen subject matter and in his approach to the photographic technique, he has greatly dissociated himself from conventional photography. That which Fuss produces is, in fact, still a photograph; but in order to achieve that, he did rid himself of all the finer luxuries available to users of the medium nowadays. Like a present-day alchemist, Fuss has mastered the medium's most elementary and primitive forms; he sees just as much potential for creativity in technical knowledge as in the imagination, or the visionary power of the photographer.
His subjects (silhouettes, gossamer christening gowns, rabbits, butterflies, snakes, lace, smoke, drops of water) have also been removed from their natural habitats. In the studio they become so epitomized that they assume the strength and quality of a symbol, or icon, fraught with emotion. Fuss seems, figuratively speaking, to have given wings to his images: they have a weightless and elusive appearance, as though being supernatural in origin and import.
This exhibition comprises approximately fifty images by Adam Fuss, dating from 1986 to the present, with examples from his major series as well as the premier of his most recent efforts. The selection will not only gather images that the artist believes to be among his best examples, but also together will recreate the ambiance of a location sacred to him. It has been organized by Fundación MAPFRE (Madrid) in close consultation with the artist and Cheryl Brutvan, Curator of Contemporary Art at the Norton Museum (West Palm Beach, Florida) and curator of his first survey in the United States.
Especially for his exhibition at Huis Marseille, Adam Fuss has made a selection of photographs from his own photo collection. The selection consists of historical and recent, often anonymous, but very curious images.
Adam Fuss was born in London in 1961. Because his mother was Australian, he grew up partly in London and partly in Australia, where he began his career as the studio assistant for a commercial photographer. In 1982 he moved to New York, initially getting by as a waiter for the Metropolitan Museum of Art and as a photographer of exhibitions. Along with the British photographers Susan Derges and Chris Bucklow, Adam Fuss introduced a new interest in camera-free photography and older techniques.
His work has been shown, and collected, internationally: at, among other institutions, the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston and the Kunsthalle in Bielefeld. This exhibition is his first in the Netherlands.
Adam Fuss is represented by Cheim & Read, New York; Xavier Hufkens, Brussels; Timothy Taylor, London; and the Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco.