PHOTOBOOK: Jakob Tuggener - ‘Fabrik: Ein Bildepos der Technik’
In 1960, Swiss photographer, film maker and painter Jakob Tuggener (1904–1988) — who had been influenced by the German Expressionist movement — rapidly began to withdraw from society, and would live out the remaining decades of his life as a reclusive, almost hermit like artist.
ABOUT THE BOOK ‘Fabrik: Ein Bildepos der Technik’ (1943)
The body of work that forms ‘Fabrik’, grew out of an assignment for Tuggener’s main commercial client, Maschinenfabrik Oerlikon (MFO). Produced in a period when the manufacturing companies of neutral Switzerland were benefiting from the turmoil of the Second World War raging around it, the artist had originally proposed the title, ‘Schwarze Fabrik’ (= Black Factory).
Even though ‘Fabrik’ features quite a number of images from MFO, the book’s message is anything but an uncritical celebration of the work and workers in the factory. On the contrary: Tuggener arranged 72 photographs in an associative, film-like sequence and in doing so expressed a highly skeptical view of the destructive potential inherent in limitless technological progress, and was entirely out of step with the times.
‘Fabrik’ can be seen as “a portrayal of contemporary history and the history of mankind,” as a “passionate and vivid documentary account of the world of the machine, of it’s development, its potential and its limitations.” (read more)
‘Fabrik: Ein Bildepos der Technik’ is reissued in facsimile form by Steidl with a contemporary afterword by Martin Gasser.
Find more pictures in a previous post and on Le Journal de la Photographie.
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