daniel alexander smith

Ruckenfigur Ruckenfigur Ruckenfigur Ruckenfigur Ruckenfigur Ruckenfigur Ruckenfigur
Ruckenfigur Ruckenfigur Ruckenfigur Ruckenfigur Ruckenfigur Ruckenfigur Ruckenfigur Ruckenfigur Ruckenfigur Ruckenfigur
Ruckenfigur Ruckenfigur Ruckenfigur Ruckenfigur Ruckenfigur Ruckenfigur Ruckenfigur Ruckenfigur

Ruckenfigur

Often in images, there is a person facing away from you, looking into the image. This is a ruckenfigur: the pictorial proxy for a flesh and blood viewer. Usually inserted into a large, sublime scene, it is supposed to provide a locus of access from which you can experientially enter the image.

Of course, in practice, the world does not translate easily into images. This series explores the pictorial and conceptual strategies we deploy in order to enter our own images. Historically, Brunelleschi’s perspectival systems, Alberti’s window, and the romantic ruckenfigur invited us into images. Today, our technology complicates each of these devices. The camera literalizes linear perspective, the computer monitor embodies Alberti’s window, and blue screens actualize the metaphor of the ruckenfigur. Technology brings the mind’s eye inside of images more easily now than ever before, but our physical relationship to pictures remains unbridgeable. The image is fixed in time, while our bodies are not.

In Ruckenfigur, each image serves as a door and a wall, The images are layered with photographed objects that define a recognizable realism, but their digital reconstitution denies the manifestation of this reality in an actual space.

Rather than mediating a sublime experience, these images present the inaccessible sublime. There is a failure in the transfiguration of flesh into the body as imaged. These photographs defy consistent translation between pictorial and physical experience--instead, they examine the means for this translation.