Copyright Klaus Pichler 2013 self-published
Over a period of years Klaus Pichler roamed the backrooms, hallways and storage lockers of the Museum of Natural History in Vienna. He has created a series of absurd and humorous juxtapositions of found objects as well as those which border on haunting and the surreal. Through serendipity, he observed those things which were not intended to grouped together, but yet behind the scenes in this Museum, it seems that anything might be possible. In the process, his documentary narrative reflects on our social norms.
Pichler states that only in a couple of instances did he stage the composition, as he was looking for the serendipity, irony and chance of the moment when an interesting composition unfolded in front of him. This would also mean that he was open to and seeing the possibilities as there is also an element of framing his subject to create a new and untended context. For me, whether these were found compositions or staged tableaux, it does not matter, as I find these mini theatrical stories to be very interesting and wonderful to read.
In the back-stage of a Natural Museum, there would be fewer individuals wondering about, but Pichler even eliminates this human aspect of these sterile conditions, his photographs are devoid of anyone expect for the dead animals. Nevertheless, indirect traces of mankind still abound, as someone has to bring the animal skins back to “life” once again. Overall, I found this to be a humorous read with surreal compositions, however fleeting these may have been at the time.
This book as an object; the front and back covers are unadorned boards with the hole in the front cover revealing the first interior photographic plate. The book does not have a cover on the spine, revealing the printed book block, which in conjunction with the boards, provides a symbolic rawness to this book. Indeed, this book is also a skeleton of a traditional hard-copy book. The binding allows a lay-flat design making the color plates of the book a pleasure to read. The two essays are by Herbert Justnik and Julia Edthofer.
Douglas Stockdale for The Photobook