BLACK MAGIC, the title of the exhibit, refers on the one hand to the name of the well-known, fluid photo emulsion which enables light-sensitive photographic coatings to be permanently applied to almost any surface. Yet more is involved: the idea of the alchemical transformation of a mundane material into an illuminated magical element that emancipates creativity from the equipment, and at the same time turns the products of the universe of technical images into inscribed surfaces of their own illusion and their own meaning.
Photography is generally viewed as an instrument-based form of art: the camera moves between the reality that is to be represented and the creative will of the photographer; the camera as a magical instrument which, by means of the exposure to light of photochemical paper and in cooperation between atelier and photo lab, delivers an image, defined by Kadrage and lighting situation, of that which is the case.
It therefore has to do with a cultural technology transmitted by media, which should allow the implementation of an artistic vision in a symbiotic merging of man and machine. Thereby, however, that myth of authenticity is subverted which ascribes to the artist an entelechial power, a power that forces the immediate unfolding beyond the constraints of Heidegger's 'enframing'. In his essay "The Devil's Arts", Max Dauthendey wrote, "Man is created in the image of God", and "the image of God cannot be captured by any human machine." There might be a connection with this technophobic thread, that there is also a long-standing avant- garde tradition of camera-free photography, at least since the photograms of Man Ray and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy: direct registering into the film material by means of scratching, multiple cross-fades, and exposure effects that enable the original - which has become precarious in the era of technical reproducibility - to rise again in another way. The eight artists who are represented in the exhibition BLACK MAGIC approach the camera-free aesthetic each in their own individual manner.