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Douglas Huebler Variable Pieces #101, West Germany, March 1973 Hassla

Douglas Huebler - Variable Piece #101

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On December 17, 1972 a photograph was made of Bernd Becher at the instant almost exactly after he had been asked to “look like” a priest, a criminal, a lover, an old man, a policeman, an artist, “Bernd Becher”, a philosopher, a spy and a nice guy …in that order.

To make it almost impossible for Becher to remember his own “faces” more than two months were allowed to pass before prints of the photographs were sent his him; the photographs were numbered differently from the original sequence and Becher was asked to make the “correct” associations with the given verbal terms.

"During the late 1960s Huebler started to incorporate photographs into his Conceptual works. He often paired text with images in order to examine such concepts as commodity fetishism and invite viewers to reexamine their notions of visual culture. He also used his work to challenge photography’s documentary capabilities. Starting in 1970 and until his death in 1997, he worked on an ambitious project to “photographically document the existence of everyone alive,” exhibited in 1971 as Variable Piece #70. The work collects portraits of tens of thousands of subjects, photographed mostly in the street, but sometimes posed against a plain background while holding up a sign that reads “One person who may be culturally dislocated.” Along with the photographs, Huebler included typewritten texts, statements of purpose, and lists characterizing the subjects. Grandiose in its objectives, the project was never fully completed; however, the artist’s goal to reveal the limits of the camera as a documentary tool was therefore successful." (Source: Guggenheim)

Douglas Huebler
Variable Piece #101, West Germany, March 1973
Hassla, New York, 2015
Softcover, 178 x 222 mm
28 pages, Edition of 500

ISBN 978-1940881065

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