Adam Fuss (English)
Silver dye bleach print
Purchase, Rogers Fund, by exchange, and Joyce and Robert Menschel Gift, 1997 (1997.195) © Adam Fuss
"Bleeding Hearted Blues," originally released 1923. Written by Lovie Austin, performed by Bessie Smith. All rights reserved by Sony Music Entertainment. Under license from Sony Music Commercial Music Group, a division of Sony Music Enterntainment.
- The artist had to create this picture in
- complete darkness. It’s a
- photogram, the earliest photographic process.
- He’s fumbling in the dark, that’s exactly what we do
- when we fall in love. He bought rabbits from a farmer who raised rabbits for meat.
- He brought them home and very carefully removed their
- guts. He laid out a huge sheet
- of color photographic paper, and then in the dark
- placed the rabbits onto the paper. He was doing this purely by touch. Then he exposed them to a
- bright flash
- of light. It was only at the very end of the process, when he unrolled the developed paper that he
- saw, for the first time, what he had created. And there’s something so magical about that. You get this
- sensual explosion of color. And it’s
- something that you can’t completely control
- and you can’t completely predict. When he made this piece,
- the artist, Adam Fuss, was going through a period of romantic turmoil.
- He’s using this very traditional symbolism of fertility, of innocence,
- and sacrifice. It’s a picture about love and the things that
- happen to us when we open ourselves up and become
- literally entangled with another person. It’s an emblem of suffering.
- When you are truly in love and then you lose it, you feel like you’re
- being emptied out, like you’re being eviscerated, and that’s,
- that’s the feeling that he
- captures in this image.
- The photogram process
- is like love: not knowing where you’re headed or what your
- ultimate connection is going to be, and then having it
- revealed to you in a
- bright, sudden
- flash. That’s what a great work of art does: it turns this
- mass of feelings into a concrete,
- visible form that can speak directly to each individual looking at it.