The Unphotographable

Fraenkel Gallery is pleased to announce The Unphotographable, an ambitious survey exploring the history of that which cannot be photographed. Comprised of approximately fifty works, the exhibition interweaves prints by artists as wide ranging as Alfred Stieglitz, Sophie Calle, Man Ray, and Glenn Ligon, as well as works by anonymous and virtually unknown photographers from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The Unphotographable will be on view from January 3 through March 23, 2013, and will be accompanied by a 124-page hardcover book.

More than a century of attempts to depict, through photographs, a reality beyond appearances is testament to a stubborn conviction that what can be seen is not all there is. In the book’s introduction Jeffrey Fraenkel writes, “From the moment of its invention almost 175 years ago, photography has proven adept at depicting the photographable: the solid, the concrete, that which can be seen. […] But another tradition exists, a parallel history in which photographers and other artists have attempted to describe by photographic means that which is not so readily seen: thought, time, ghosts, god, dreams. A vast array of strategies has been employed to bring such pictures about, tactics that have intersected and enriched the strains of modern art.”

The exhibition will be installed in all three of the gallery’s spaces. Visitors will encounter Jakob Ottonowitsch’s Spark captured on the surface of the body of a well-washed prostitute, Tom Friedman’s Caveman, T. Glendenning Hamilton’s portrait of The T’zan Teleplasm, and Bruce Conner’s ethereal depiction of an angel. Among other works included are Wolfgang Tillmans’s Mental Picture from 2001, Frederick Sommer’s portrait of Max Ernst as a vanishing spirit, and Gerhard Richter’s attempt to depict the incomprehensibility of 9/11, titled simply September.

Artists participating in the exhibition include Robert Adams, Diane Arbus, F. Baldet & F. Quénisset, Walead Beshty, Mel Bochner, Sophie Calle, Bruce Conner, Jay DeFeo, Liz Deschenes, Kota Ezawa, Tom Friedman, Adam Fuss, Paul Graham, Idris Khan, Clarence John Laughlin, Richard Learoyd, Glenn Ligon, Adrien Majewski, Man Ray, Christian Marclay, Chris McCaw, Ralph Eugene Meatyard, Richard Misrach, Jakob Ottonowitsch von Narkiewitsch-Jodko, Gerhard Richter, Frederick Sommer, Alfred Stieglitz, Hiroshi Sugimoto, and Wolfgang Tillmans.

Clarence, CLARENCE JOHN LAUGHLIN: Dislocation of a Figure #1, 1941, gelatin-silver print
ALFRED STIEGLITZ: Equivalent, 1931, gelatin-silver print
IDRIS KHAN: Black Horizon, 2012, bromide print mounted on aluminum
PAUL GRAHAM: Fuji Fujicolor Super HR400, 400asa, Beyond Caring, 1984, 2011, pigment print
ADRIEN MAJEWSKI: Mr. Majewski’s Right Hand. Posed for 20 Minutes. Room Temperature.
[Main Droite de Monsieur Majewski. Pose 20 Minutes. Température Ambiante], 1895 - 1900, printing-out-paper print
JAY DEFEO: Untitled, 1973-74, gelatin-silver print with incised lines
WOLFGANG TILLMANS: Mental Picture #97, 2001, unique chromogenic print
CHRISTIAN MARCLAY: Silence (The Electric Chair), 2006, silkscreen ink on paper
BRUCE CONNOR: Angel Light, 1975, gelatin-silver photogram
KOTA EZAWA: Lubbock Lights, 2012, Duratrans transparency & lightbox
PHOTOGRAPHER UNKNOWN: Miss Loïe Fuller, 1890s, albumen silver print (?)

Exhibition Video