LIGHT WORKS will consist of nearly 40 works, including many that are well-known; such as Berenice Abbott’s (1898-
1991, American) avant-garde photograms of wave patterns made at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
in the 1950s, and images by contemporaries Man Ray (1890-1976, American), Christian Schad (1894-1982, German)
and László Moholy-Nagy (1895-1946, Hungarian), who experimented with the medium independently in the 1920s.
Schad had begun to create his ‘Schadographs’ by capturing litter and detritus from the streets of Zurich in 1918-19.
It is thought that Tristan Tzara, the leader of the Dada movement in Paris saw Schad’s work and showed it to Man
Ray who began to make his own ‘Rayographs’. Continuing the potential chain of influence, in 1930 Moholy-Nagy
hired György Kepes (1906-2001, Hungarian) as his assistant in his Berlin studio. Kepes, who was later to work at MIT
also, experimented further with the genre by combining techniques such as cliché-verre and decalcomania, yielding
unpredictable patterns. The results of these experiments by Kepes are included in this exhibition.
Continuing the line of progression, work by Floris Neusüss (b. 1937, German) an influential artist, writer and teacher
on camera-less photography, will be displayed alongside that of László Moholy-Nagy for the first time since the
historic exhibition at Europa Centrum, Berlin in 1966. Neusüss, an expert on Moholy-Nagy (and co-author of the
definitive Catalogue Raisonné on his work) acknowledges the influence of both Moholy and Man Ray on his work.
Neusüss has been Professor in Experimental Photography at the University of Kassel since 1971, bringing renewed
ambition to the photogram process. His piece Gewitterbild (Thunderstorm) was created by leaving photographic
paper under trees and plants in the night and waiting patiently for the climatic moment when lightening struck, thus
exposing the paper and leaving behind a ghostly record of the event.
LIGHT WORKS will also bring together lesser-known experiments with photograms by Werner Bischof (1916-1954,
Swiss), William Klein (b. 1928, American) and a recently discovered and unique photogram by Erwin Blumenfeld,
known for his innovative and experimental fashion photography.
The exhibition will showcase the work of three contemporary artists, Hans Kupelwieser (b. 1948, Austrian) Tom Fels
(b.1946, American) and Richard Caldicott (b. 1962, British). Fels, a curator and a writer specialising in photographic
history and early photographic processes, creates large-format deep blue cyanotypes of a singular tree in his back
garden. This work is from his ‘Arbor’ series, exhibited in Europe for the first time. In contrast to this, Caldicott
painstakingly creates custom ‘negatives’ cutting and splicing small geometric shapes from pieces of colourful card.
These are then exposed onto photographic paper and the two abstract works are presented together. Kupelwieser’s
‘Noodle Works’ are 3 dimensional, inhabiting the border between the traditional photogram and sculpture.
Collectively, work by these three contemporary artists illustrates the chain of influence of the photogram in art and
the enduring legacy of the medium.