Full Splendor in Motion
The white of a water lily with a rich green leaf in the midst of deepest blue, the sea of blue thistles or the brown-yellow magnificence of a coneflower – all show nature, full of energy, in its full, explosive beauty. These works uniquely show how fleeting and ephemeral the beauty of nature is.
Taken with a Super 8 camera on color negative film, the pictures bring out the luminosity of nature’s remarkably vibrant colors, while the fuzziness that is the result of the consciously jerky movements of the film camera emphasizes the ephemeral quality of human visual perception. The film strip consists of a varying number of individual images, created frame by frame, in which the camera operator, with full engagement of his body, works against the proverbial rolling time of the film camera and thus records the moment of the human eye in passing. The resulting randomness in the exposed material using this technique, the outcome of which cannot be judged until the film has been developed and scanned, is a kind of passage into the unknown. It is both open and staked out, and makes the photographer into an accomplice of the observer’s passing glance. This impression is reinforced by the visibility of the perforations along the edges of the film strip, giving the works a frame and the viewer an orientation, allowing him or her to completely surrender to the play of fragmentary impressions and to grasp that which is there to see. But the object seems to evade the observer, as in an unconscious view from a moving train, in which the opportunity to fix upon something is gone before it can be taken – the train has already rushed past.
Puschmann is taking up a topic that steadily gained importance in the nineteenth century with the rise of industrialization and urbanization: the perception of speed. As society underwent changes due to inventions like the railroad or as a result of the increasing significance of urban life, it followed that human sensitivities, perceptual capacities, and experiential structures changed. The perception of space and time became compressed, as in the view from a traveling train, which offers a fast and constantly interrupted change of external impressions. The landscape can only be perceived selectively, as single points.
The perception thus becomes diffuse, and attention that is directed from the outside, which, driven by motion and speed, loses firm ground and the calm necessary for contemplation. Furthermore, with this subject Puschmann places himself in the vicinity of the artists of the second half of the nineteenth century. Like the impressionists, he chooses motifs from nature, dissolves their forms into movement and color, so that their real forms melt away into momentary impressions. In that he consciously uses his technical apparatus against the grain, as the Impressionists once did with their brushes, Puschmann offers a new and different perception that consciously moves beyond the original invention which made it possible to capture the world in 24 frames per second. Instead he provides an exciting view of the object that becomes a very subjective perception in motion; the perception of acceleration compressed into one single picture, that puts the viewer into motion, as though electrified, both physically and mentally.
It hardly makes a difference that the garden is that very garden in Giverny which a certain painter by the name of Monet interpreted countless times, today these paintings are the most important artworks of Impressionism. What is of importance is the garden’s incomparable beauty in the works of both of these artists.
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