Raimund Kummer

© Foto: Frangipani Beatt

In a physical act repeated countless times, Raimund Kummer etched the sentence “Ich werde blind” (“I am going blind”, 1973) on a copper plate, then “blindly” embossed the dense writing on handmade paper without paint. This early cold needle etching is a foretaste of the “performativee strategy of the double viewpoint”,  which decisively influences Kummer’s work as a whole. His glass sculptures are an expression of the ideal type of the paradoxical form of (dis)illusionment that Kummer practises in producing, uncovering and manipulating perceptual situations that can be optically explored in a variety of media, strategies and locations. The lost display case sculpture Typus Morbus Purtscher (1990) is one of the first works featuring Kummer’s iconic glass objects, which are reminiscent of enlarged eye prostheses. In a fourteen-part photographic work exhibited in glass cases in series, Kummer depicts the interior of the display case with a one-point perspectival focus. Changing exposure times and depths of focus emphasise the fragility of the glass objects by means of fine, varying grey tones and focal points on the Baryta paper. Kummer opens up the view of photography as an object that calls into question its paradigms as a representation of reality. His works (dis)illusion, (un)veal their manipulation and (re)produce that which is supposedly unique, recalling Roland Barthes’s statement: “The photograph touches me if I withdraw it from its usual blah-blah: ‘technique’, ‘reality’, ‘reportage’, ‘art’, etc.: to say nothing, to shut my eyes, to allow the detail to rise of its own accord into affective consciousness.” 

Ulrike Pennewitz


1 Stephan Berg, Das Begehren des Blicks, in Claudia Banz and Christoph Scheier (eds.), Raimund Kummer: For Your Eyes Only; Werke 1978–2009, exh. cat., Bielefeld 2009, pp. 372–384, here: p. 373.
2 Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography, trans. Richard Howard, New York 1981, p. 55.


In the exhibition:

Raimund Kummer
ich werde blind, 1973
Etching on copperplate printing paper, blind blocking
Image: 43,7 x 24 cm, Display case 47,7 x 28 x 4 cm
Courtesy of the artist

Raimund Kummer
Typus Morbus Purtcher – Leefilter 209.3 neutral density, 1990
Silver gelatin baryta paper (Print 2020)
14 Parts. Each 50,8 × 61 cm
Glas front: Optiwhite Glas, 7 Stainless steel mounts, 129,6 x 488,6 x 10 cm
Courtesy of the artist


Additional information about the artist