Floris Neusüss is a pioneer of photographic art, particularly known for cameraless techniques and photograms. Neusüss is drawn to this particular method of photography because, as he describes, “perspective and horizon are absent from photograms, so the space is theoretically unending.” He thinks of these more like paintings than photographs because he composes his works in a step-by-step process, and also modifies his prints with brushes or rags dipped in chemicals in painterly gestures. Neusüss is perhaps most famous for his full-body photograms, first shown in the 1960s, which resulted in monumentally sized prints. In the 1970s, he made his Nudograms, so named for their nude subjects. Neusüss draws inspiration from the work of Man Ray and László Moholy-Nagy.
Born in Lennep, Germany, in 1937, Neusüss has dedicated his whole career to extending the practice, study and teaching of the photogram. Alongside his work as an artist, he is known as an influential writer and teacher on camera-less photography. Neusüss brought renewed ambition to the photogram process, in both scale and visual treatment, with the Körperfotogramms (or whole-body photograms) that he first exhibited in the 1960s. Since that time, he has consistently explored the photogram‘s numerous technical, conceptual and visual possibilities.
His works often deal in opposites: black and white, shadow and light, movement and stillness, presence and absence, and in the translation of three dimensions into two. By removing objects from their physical context, Neusüss encourages the viewer to contemplate the essence of form. He creates a feeling of surreal detachment, a sense of disengagement from time and the physical world. Collectively, his images explore themes of mythology, history, nature and the subconscious.
Selected recent exhibitions
Leibniz’ Lager. Sammlungswelten in Fotogrammen, ZKM Karlsruhe, Karlsruhe, Germany
Traumbilder. Fotografien 1958 bis 1983, June 22 – Oct 14, Münchener Stadtmuseum, Germany
A History of Camera-less Photography, Oct 13, 2010 – March 23, V&A Museum, London, UK
Wunderkammer Museum, Deutsches Museum, Munich, Germany (solo)