Towards an Emancipation of Photographic Vision: ‘Visualism’, ‘Opsognomie’ and ‘Elementary Photography’

Gortazar, P. 2018. Towards an Emancipation of Photographic Vision: ‘Visualism’, ‘Opsognomie’ and ‘Elementary Photography’. Practices, Circulation and Legacies: Photographic Histories in Central and Eastern Europe. Ljubljana, Slovenia 08 - 10 May 2018

TitleTowards an Emancipation of Photographic Vision: ‘Visualism’, ‘Opsognomie’ and ‘Elementary Photography’
AuthorsGortazar, P.
TypeConference paper
Abstract

Throughout the 1980s, three different photographers from Germany, Czechoslovakia and Poland articulated a series of similar theories aiming for a new, free vision of ‘the real’, with the purpose of producing a contemplative reflection of their surrounding world through visual means. This paper is dedicated to analyse the content of each of these theories and their relation to the shifting context of art production present during that decade. The paper starts by considering the work of German photographer Andreas Müller-Pohle, whose ‘Visualist’ theory from 1980 explains how the detachment of conventional signifiers is key to deepen into the ‘true nature’ of our surrounding world. Following this analysis, it introduces the Czech concept of ‘Opsognomie’, published also in 1980 by photographer Bořek Sousedk, which stresses the intuitive attitude of the photographer as a key element to reach authentic perception. Finally, the paper will discuss the program ‘Elementary Photography’, developed between 1984 and 1989 by Polish photographer Jerzy Olek, which was directed to explore which ways of making could lead to complete the autonomy of the photograph from the depicted object. It would be argued that, although the overall novelty of these theories might well be put into question – given the evident resonance of Modernist principles - an understanding of the relation between each of these theories and their particular context of art production is key to appreciating the meaning of certain photographic practices produced in Central Europe during the 1980s, which moved from ‘representing’ the outside world to ‘conceptualising’ the photographer’s inner view of reality.

KeywordsPhotography, Czech Photography, Jerzy Olek, Müller-Pohle
Year2018
ConferencePractices, Circulation and Legacies: Photographic Histories in Central and Eastern Europe
Accepted author manuscript
File Access Level
Open (open metadata and files)
Publisher's version
File Access Level
Open (open metadata and files)
Web address (URL)http://www.ahice.net/conferences-call-for-papers/detail/project/conference-practices-circulation-and-legacies-photographic-histories-in-central-and-eastern-euro/

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Toward an Emancipation of Photographic Vision: “Visualism” Under Czechoslovakian “Normalization” (1968–89)
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Permalink - https://westminsterresearch.westminster.ac.uk/item/v6055/towards-an-emancipation-of-photographic-vision-visualism-opsognomie-and-elementary-photography


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