The Signature of the Night
Photofettogram series

The works comprising Gerhard Lang’s photofettogram series involve the artist sleeping on photographic paper after his body has been rubbed with fat. In addition, a light is switched on via a timer for one minute up to six times during the night. In the morning, the photographic paper is developed. The shadows (light) and the imprint of the body (fat) allow the movements, postures and points of contact (body/photographic paper) to be reconstructed – the signature of the night. Social education expert Rose-Maria Ring and medical attendant Fernando Groener-Ring spoke with Gerhard Lang in Kassel.


Rose-Maria Ring / Fernando Groener-Ring:

The interplay of body shadows and body imprint is the central part of the cycle. How did you get the impetus to work with these levels?

Gerhard Lang:

Shadow (projection) and touch (imprint) are different forms of visualising presence. I wanted to bring these levels together in my work. My early experiences with photography had introduced me to the problem of greasy fingers on photographic paper. Their imprint is visible on the photo after the development process. This phenomenon is what I used for representing the body imprint. Although the body shadows do correspond to the body imprint, there is at the same time an indefinable tension between the two that makes it difficult to consider the work in a straightforward way. Indeed, the shadows of one work are the result of up to six one-minute exposures, whereas the imprints are registered throughout the whole creative process (step/continuum). [...]

[Excerpt from the 1999 interview in the special publication (Separatum): The Signature of the Night, 2007]

For more about the shadow in Gerhard Lang’s work, also see Work:

- Provincia Adumbrata. Encounters in the Realm of Shadows

- Silhouettes of Clouds

Ill. I: The Signature of the Night 2, 123 cm x 251 cm, March 1987

Ill. II: The Signature of the Night 3, 123 cm x 237 cm, February 1987




Gerhard Lang © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn