An open hand holds crushed blueberries, the dark red juices of the fruit on the skin contrasting sharply with the lush green shrubs and ferns in the background. Simon Brugner’s large-format photograph vividly evokes the sensuous experience of crushing berries in one’s hand, but also of touching foliage.
For Cℓose/d, the artist chose to apply a new series of photographic works to the exterior surfaces of KUNST HAUS WIEN’s ground-level offices on Untere Weißgerberstraße. In his photographs of hands and gestures, Simon Brugner explores the relationship between human beings and their environment as well as their fellow humans. The starting point for his intervention is the experience of literally grasping (in both senses of the word, i.e. begreifen in German) the world, with the hand acting as intermediary between subject and surroundings.
Touch is a basic biological need which we as human beings use to explore the world from the very outset as we learn to grasp its connections. We see and we understand; we grasp through haptic perception, especially with our hands and fingers. The photo series explores touch from all manner of perspectives: from the artist’s own hand to the detail of an arm of a baroque statue. Beyond all semiotic messages and cultural interpretations of various images, hands convey an impression of reality and evoke the presence of a subject in the world. Photography is not just the artist’s means of expression; indeed, touch is literally inscribed in the medium itself: as the contact between light and image carrier, the process on which all things photographic are founded.
Simon Brugner’s intervention highlights the fact that the subject is continually in contact with itself and the world, its fellow human beings and other living creatures. It invites us to question our own sense of being at the point of transition between subject and environment, humankind and nature.
* 1983 in Hartberg, lives and works in Vienna
The photo artist Simon Brugner occupies the outdoor spaces of the ground-level office of KUNST HAUS WIEN in Untere Weißgerberstraße. In his photographs, he explores the relationship between man and nature with hands and gestures. The starting point of his intervention is the experience of - literally - grasping the world, with the hand acting as a mediator between subject and environment.