New York

Adam Füss

Massimo Audiello Gallery

Adam Füss starts photography over from scratch with his pinhole camera. There is no lens; there is just a tiny aperture and a large piece of film. Füss uncovers the hole for a few seconds or for several minutes, depending upon the light on location. By reducing technology to ground zero, he trans forms technique into something almost physical; he makes the photograph an attitude with endurance. The camera can’t measure anything precisely, so Füss “shoots from the hip.” The pinhole is his remote “third eye,” and he must imagine what it sees as he finds his angle and range and gauges light. The pinhole acts like a fish-eye lens, radiating a wild perspective; bodies flow away from huge heads, like comet tails, or sperm tails. This is, perhaps, a virus-eye view.

The locations Füss chose to photograph in this exhibition include the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the National Gallery in London, the Louvre, the Musei Capitolini in Rome, Versailles, and the Vatican. The subjects are primarily classical stone sculptures. They are museum pieces but not household-name images—anonymous deities, subdeities, and imps that were legends in their own times. Almost everything seen through Füss’ pinhole is made of stone, a model after life. When real life is on occasion visible, as it is in one photograph of a Versailles garden, it is fantastic; in this image, trees seem to burst into black flame. Perhaps it comes from knowing the comparatively enormous increments of time that went into these exposures, but all of these photographs seem to portray the gravity of time. Stone becomes another temporal dimension. A stone head is a storehouse of ancient man-hours; its maker gave it form and continuity. It lives, but, like death, it lives only in the past. A photograph of a stone head, in this case, is a form of life at the crossroads of light and “darkness visible.”

Glenn O'Brien