Tuesday 3 August 2010

Klaus Pichler

All images © Klaus Pichler

The very gracious Klaus Pichler wrote to 1000 Words to introduce a series he is working on at the moment called Skeletons in the Closet. It deals with the backstage environments and storage sites of the Museum of Natural History in Vienna.

Yes, there are a handful of photographers who have turned their lens´ on these sorts of spaces but, needless to say, Pichler has given form to these ideas better than most. The project is still in its infancy but already several strong images have come forth so if he can pull the rest of the pictures in the series up to this standard then something will happen for him, no doubt about it.

Talking about how the project´s origins he says, "It all started when I happened to catch a glimpse through a basement window of the museum of natural history one night: an office with a desk, a computer, shelves and a stuffed antelope. This experience left me wondering: what does a museum look like behind the scenes?" He adds: "Therefore, the focus of this study is not on the exhibition spaces of the museum of natural history, but on the space behind the scenes, particularly depots, cellars, and storage rooms assigned to individual departments which are generally not accessible to the public. These spaces are used for the storage of countless exhibits belonging to various collections, sorted following a rigidly scientific classification system, but also taking into account the limited storage space available."

"As a photographer with limited knowledge of scientific research methods, the museum’s back rooms presented to me a huge array of still lives. Their creation is determined by the need to find space saving storage solutions for the preservation of objects but also the fact that work on and with the exhibits is an ongoing process. Full of life, but dead nonetheless. Surprises included!"

Klaus Pichler was born 1977 in the province of Styria/Austria and moved to Vienna 14years ago. His original profession was landscape architecture, but while studying he says he became "more fond of photography", which he taught himself over the years. "I don't have any photographical education," he says. "After I graduated in 2005 I quit my profession and now work as a freelance photographer and photo artist. The topics that interest me in my photographic work are both everyday life in its varying forms as well as social groups with their own codes and rules. I like to catch a glimpse behind the scenes and to document it with a conceptual approach."