Andreas H. Bitesnich’s current exhibition entitled “Deeper Shades, Lisbon and Other Cities”, curated by João Miguel Barros, is hanging in Lisbon’s Museu Coleção Berardo. The fact that the museum is now empty and shuttered due to this virulent pandemic is prescient, especially considering the artist’s style and subject matter. Bitesnich’s photographs echo the sensation of early dawn, shadowy figures and dark empty streets.
Bitesnich’s work is everything. Dark. Edgy. Dramatic. His deft use of high contrast and sharply defined negative space contribute to the moodiness of his pre-dawn forays into semi-darkness where he shines his light on the empty, lonely, and the seemingly unimportant.
His focus is on the underlying realities of vibrant, arts-rich cities like Paris, New York, Berlin and Tokyo. He has plumbed their outer layers of metal, concrete and pavement to mingle where individuality and shyness dwell without witnesses. If there were a musical accompaniment for this show it would probably be something like Leonard Cohen’s 1992 “Closing Time”.
It is as though Bitesnich has married the graphic-novel style to a Bogart ‘Casablanca’ sensibility. In an after-hours photography club Bitesnich would definitely be a card-carrying member and an honoured guest. The sultriness of that underworld combined with the style of his work makes it easy to imagine him sitting there with a whiskey, Miles Davis and Tom Waits sitting in one corner and Charles Bukowski and Lenny Bruce in the other.
Afterwards, Bitesnich would drift out the back door to prowl and record the moods before daylight; the rattle of the last 3 a.m. tram, the peep show barkers and tattoo artists closing up, and the all-night greasy burgers.
These photographs and video collages take us along and make us feel welcome in his hybrid world; however, this exhibition is almost more than a viewer can ingest during one sitting.
The Museu Coleção Berardo in Lisbon, acts as a stand-in for that imagined after-hours club. It is “the” place for everyone, but especially fledgling photographers and artists to come to experience Bitesnich’s photographs and videos. To absorb ‘cool’. To come alive. To be inspired.
An Abbreviated Bio: Photographer and musician, Andreas H. Bitesnich, was born in Austria in 1964. He has participated in several group, solo and international exhibitions. His work has also appeared in galleries from Hamburg to Slovenia, Palo Alto to Los Angeles and also New York. His commercial magazine credits include Stern, Playboy, Max and GQ.
Bitesnich’s first book, “Nudes”, published In 1998, won the Kodak Photography Book Award. Subsequent titles include “Woman”, “Travel”, “On Form”, and “Polanude”. His most recent work is a series of books published under the collective title of “Deeper Shades”. They are dedicated to the personalities and drama of the cities of New York (2011), Tokyo (2012), Paris (2013), Vienna (2015), Berlin (2017), and now the vibrant city of Lisbon.
“The great thing about art is that the scope is endless”Andreas H. Bitesnich