Andreas H. Bitesnich: More Nudes

24 September - 20 November 2012

Andreas H. Bitesnich has been dealing with the motif of nude for more than two decades, it paved his way to the world of photography, for which he is still best known, though he lately also photographs urban landscapes (India, New York, Tokyo ...). He is particularly prolific at presenting his photographs in books; in twelve years he has published 6 books of nude figures: Nudes, Woman, On form, Polanude, More Nudes, Erotic; most of the books were reprinted more than twice; a book dealing with male figures is being prepared.
Nude is a common motif throughout art history; there are certain masterpieces, famous nudes in which the image is conducive to sensual experience with all our senses. Sensual experience is in the case of nude often associated with the sexual, the erotic – this, of course, is not necessarily so.
The term erotic or Gr. erotikos derives from the concept of eros, which was in the ancient Greece one of the four kinds of love. Unlike stergo, familial love; philia, friendly disposition; and agape, selfless love or 'charity', the concepts of eros and the erotic are primarily intimate love and lust; [1] yet the classical philosophy (as well as all the later philosophies and in particular psychology) stretched it so as to become a spiritual principle, not to be reduced to merely physical or spiritual dimension, the principle almost equal to 'the Life Force'.

In Camera lucida, the book in which Roland Barthes reflects on the effect photography has on spectator, it is said the erotic photography is marked by, setting it apart from pornography, "presence (dynamics) of the blind field". "In front of a thousand photographs – even those with a good studium – I feel no blind field: whatever happens within the frame, inevitably dies once we reach beyond the frame. When photography is defined as a motionless image, we not only render the people depicted still – we want them trapped: doped and glued. The punctum, however, creates (hints at) the blind field”. [2] “The presence (the dynamics) of this blind field is, I believe, what distinguishes the erotic photograph from the pornographic photograph. Pornography ordinarily represents the sexual organs, making them into a motionless object (a fetish), flattered like an idol that does not leave its niche; for me, there is no punctum in the pornographic image; at most it amuses me (and even then, boredom follows quickly). The erotic photograph, on the contrary (and this is its very condition), does not make the sexual organs into a central object; it may very well not show them at all; it takes the spectator outside its frame, and it is there that I animate this photograph and that it animates me. The punctum is therefore some subtle exterior, a hors-champ, as if the image drives the desire beyond of what has been put on display: not only towards the remaining nakedness nor the phantasma of practice, but also towards absolute excellence of the being, the body and soul together ... The photographer caught the right moment, the kairós of desire.«[3]

Bitesnich does not consider his nudes erotic, his attitude towards the human body is like that of a sculptor as he highlights fine arts elements: shapes, lines, light and shadow, textures and addressing sensuality. The approach to photography resembles those of the masters of nude figures (Weston, Ritts, Mapplethorpe, Avedon ...), yet it is quite distinctive. The nude figure is as a rule based on beautiful bodies with perfect physiognomy. Shots are cleared of unnecessary elements, usually only the body remains, yet very suggestive. The viewer may recognise and experience the beauty of human bodies. The author's latest book of nude figures is titled Erotic for purely provocative reasons, it confronts the viewer with the question what is eroticism or erotic. Bitesnich paraphrases: »Erotic is in the eye of the beholder«.

Renata Štebih
Translation: Slang, Primož Trobevšek

[1] Etimology Dictionary,

[2] Roland Barthes: Camera Lucida. Reflections on photography; Studia humanitatis, Ljubljana 2004, p. 52

[3] Roland Barthes: Camera Lucida. Reflections on photography; Studia humanitatis, Ljubljana 2004, p. 55