Artist Iris Hutegger was born in Austria and currently lives among the breathtaking natural landscapes of Switzerland. Her manipulated photographs—tactile and delicate—play with the viewer’s perception of the medium: from afar, we are presented with a unified image, but as we draw closer, the manipulation—the artist’s hand—becomes evident. Hutegger uses a sewing machine to alter the landscapes of her black-and-white photographs, injecting the static images with unexpectedly lush, vibrant vitality.
I am a sculptor.
My work starts with planning a hike; I often opt to feature bare formations and structures in my photographs. Once I reach the perfect angle, I take my camera and color negative film, select the detail, and pull the trigger. From that moment (until the next step—the zoom), there is a prolonged rest. These periods of rest occur during my working process over and over again—the space allows me to detach from my own memory and visualize the next steps in the process.
Encounters with philosophy and media theory are the lifeblood of my artistic decisions—they help me make sense of the dialogue between the image I see and the image I construct. This dialogue often takes the form of a debate, and this is where I draw my motivation from.
I’m especially influenced by Jean Baudrillard’s approach to photography theory. In his text, he writes about photography as “the desire to see how the world looks in our absence.” I also draw inspiration from Vilém Flusser’s important debate: he notes that in our culture, “two cuts can be observed…the invention of linear writing…and the technical image.” in his book, his distinguishes between a traditional image and a technically produced image; he encourages us not only to examine the image in regards to its meaning, but to consider the peculiarity of the production alongside this examination.
My embroidered silver gelatin prints are not a “direct reaction” to these philosophical ideas, as I think principally that philosophical insights can’t be translated directly to imagery. But for me, philosophy has always been an important companion to artistic practice.
All photographs courtesy Iris Hutegger and Galerie Esther Woerdehoff in Paris, France.
This work was shown at Paris Photo 2016. Other highlights from the fair included: Stratos Kalafatis’ “Archipelagos”; Julie Blackmon’s “Homegrown”; the newly published book “Magic Party Place” by CJ Clarke; and an exclusive interview with renowned gallerist Janet Borden.