Julia Von Eichel and Ernst Fischer, Divine Disruption


The Gallery at 1GAP, Richard Meier 'On Prospect Park'
September 25 - January 11, 2016

Ernst Fischer’s digital photographs and videos materialize out of his interaction with machines rather than the artist’s direct hand. He instructs his computer’s algorithms to create mutations of the images fed in. His starting point may be a portrait, or a still life using microphotography, or even the image of a well known European painting. But since Fischer is more interested in the machine’s limitations rather than its capabilities, he intentionally overwhelms it with visual information -- specifically data from large jpegs -- in order to force the compromised results.

An accomplished photographer and printer, Fischer works with light to create areas of darkness and spectacular highlights. Asking the computer to execute his requests, his goal is to create uncertainty and variance within the image data itself; the resulting abstracted colors and shapes have painterly flourishes that are smoothed by virtue of the computer screen or the paper on which he prints. His videos in particular are built with photographs taken of historic paintings (Fragonard, Rubens, Velazquez, and others) and presented as they actively mutate. Morphing from one state to another, they appear liquid in the process.

Like Julia von Eichel, Fischer seems to want to speak to the divine in his pursuit of meaning, considering human, machine, and god all at once. While for Fischer it’s his close connection to the machine that allows him to approximate divine beauty, von Eichel achieves similar results through hands-on, pure human experience.     

About the Artist

Ernst Fischer ( b. Zürich, Switzerland ) lives and works in New York City. He attended the Hochschule der Künste, Zürich and The London Film School before receiving an MFA from Columbia University, New York. His work has been exhibited at The Cue Foundation, New York; Victoria & Albert Museum, London; White Flag Projects, St. Louis; Fotografie Forum Frankfurt; and 247365, Brooklyn, among others. Fischer has contributed texts to Rethinking Marxism and his editorial work has been featured in Frieze, I-D, Dazed, and The Guardian. He is currently a visiting professor of photography at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn.