“Art does not reproduce the visible but makes visible.”
That fascinating quotation by Paul Klee expresses the concept of Fischnaller’s art extremely well.
Josef Fischnaller, a photographer and photographic artist, was born in Austria in 1964. Through the influence of his father – Josef Fischnaller, a well-known painter from Linz – he discovered his own interest in art, particularly in painting, at quite an early age.
It was only some years later that Fischnaller discovered the medium of photography for himself. In 1982 – inspired by his fascination for photography – 1982 Fischnaller decided to absolve an apprenticeship as a photographer in Vienna, which he completed in 1986. Only one year later he already opened up his own first studio in Vienna. Numerous exhibitions in Berlin, Vienna, Miami, New York and Moscow followed. In the year 2000 he decided to shift the central focus of his personal life from Vienna in Austria to Berlin, where he still lives and works today.
Josef Fischnaller has already been honoured with a number of well-known prizes and awards, among others the Kappa Korea Award and the EFFIES in Gold and Silber for Mastercard.
Captivated by the works of the Old Masters, particularly Caravaggio and Velázquez, Josef Fischnaller begins staging his works with the aid of the photographic medium, thus achieving a balance between classic composition and modern settings. The faces of well-known present-day figures like Andrea Sawatzki or Hannelore Elsner are not only distorted by the magnificent costumes inspired by the Renaissance era. There is also some detail or other that is not entirely consistent with the past, which triggers confusion as well as symbiosis.
Josef Fischnaller dares to translate the classic iconography of portraiture and still life into our present day and age. Thus, imagination and a desire for loving detail, the techniques for exploiting light and shade as well as exploring three-dimensionality and shape with which he is familiar through the work of Caravaggio und Velázquez are transmuted into the era of the 21st century. One might even say that Josef Fischnaller takes photographs in the same way that the Old Masters painted. Thus, the ostensibly confusing elements serve to sharpen the viewer’s perception – and “make visible”.