grotesk picture tales
Photographer, film-maker, academy teacher, collector and art scene critic Peter Dressler (1943-2013) strongly influenced the Austrian photography in the 1970s. In Vienna, as he observed, substance, quality, quite simply the magic of everyday life still exists in large measure. Kunsthaus Wien is paying tribute to his work in a retrospective.
Dressler found the material for his early documentary series and visual narratives in Vienna. Later, his “seventies’ realism”, as he called it, was replaced by tableaux and image series and a poetic, filmic approach.
The particular charm of Zwischenspiel, a major artist’s book he publishes in 1989 – in the years 1970 to 1974 Dressler shoots “Burschi” - lies in the manifold references and allusions that connect the individual pictures.
Toward the end of the 1980s, his photographic idiom changes again: The artist emerges as the actor and main character in his work, appearing in melancholic, even grotesque narratives that have him preparing Rather Rare Recipies or playing solo tennis in the empty Semper Depot building. With vibrant wit, he inserts himself into found and invented scenarios to bring them to life, teasing out art-historical as well as social implications and highlighting the peculiarities of human behavior.
Peter Dressler war born in 1942 in Brasov/Kronstadt, Romania. He studied arts at the Academy of fine Arts in Vienna and subsequently became there assistant professor for arts from 1972 – 2008, including the classes of Friedensreich Hundertwasser. He died in September 2013 – the Fotohof Salzburg took the administration over his legacy.
Curators of the exhibition: Rainer Iglar in collaboration with Christine Frisinghelli and Michael Mauracher.