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ByHeinrich Heidersberger

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Heinrich Heidersberger’s rhytmograms can be described as calligraphic images, delicately curved compositions, abstract figures, organisms, and spaces woven from light. The artist created the complex patterns, which capture the invisible and fleeting of time and movement in singular image fields, during the 1950s and 1960s. Heinrich Heidersberger drew them using a self-developed photographic device, the rhythmograph, which transferred the geometry of the waves and oscillations of light, the elegant trajectory of the individual ray of light, to photographic material not through a camera but through a sophisticated, space-consuming apparatus, that he built, rebuilt, and adopted his own cameras and tools to. Heinrich Heidersberger saw the rhythmograph machine as a natural variant of the equipment of picture making, a machine for photography without cameras in the traditional sense. The rhythmograms bridge the future of algorithmically oriented architecture and art. They describe spaces freed from the heavy weight of material, dancing in the realm of pure form. The viewer experiences syncopated persistence of vision, as sensation that is not only visual but aural as well. The figures act as ghosts and residues of an externalized retina latency, scintillating traces of shimmering vibration. There is a hint of transcending space and time to harmonic figuration. Spirals: Infinitely returning but never precisely repeating, the Spirals evoke ramps, paths, staircases, means of scent or descent. They are among the most architectural of the rhythm grams; turning back on themselves endlessly, they seem to carve an interior space of delicate simplicity.

About the artist

Heinrich Heidersberger (1906-2006) is one of the foremost photographers of modern Germany with a photographic career spanning nearly eight decades. Trained as a painter under Ferdinand Léger, Heinrich Heidersberger came to photography by chance. In his early career, Heinrich Heidersberger was known for his architectural photography and commissioned work by leading architects of the Braunschweig School, who particularly appreciated his light guidance. Fascinated by the idea of turning light into an object itself, in the early 1950s, Heinrich Heidersberger began to devote himself to luminography; the recording of a light source in motion.

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Heinrich Heidersberger


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