Pleasures and Terrors of Levitation – 25 (1957) by Aaron Siskind

Pleasures and Terrors of Levitation - 25 - Aaron Siskind - 1957

Artwork Information

TitlePleasures and Terrors of Levitation - 25
ArtistAaron Siskind
Art MovementAbstract Expressionism

About Pleasures and Terrors of Levitation - 25

“Pleasures and Terrors of Levitation – 25” is a photograph by Aaron Siskind from the year 1957, which aligns with the Abstract Expressionism movement. This genre of the artwork is photographic, showcasing the artist’s exploration of abstraction through the camera lens.

The artwork captures a solitary figure suspended in mid-air, devoid of any contextual background that might orient the viewer to a specific location or narrative. The isolation against a stark, empty field amplifies the sensation of levitation. The individual’s body is contorted in a dynamic, somewhat fetal position, which conveys a sense of vulnerability and introspection. The high-contrast black and white of the photograph accentuates the form of the body, creating an interplay between the human figure and the surrounding void.

The absence of a visible support or environment contributes to the artwork’s abstract quality, encouraging the viewer to focus on the form, texture, and inherent movement suggested by the figure’s posture. Aaron Siskind’s approach, as demonstrated in this piece, is reflective of the larger ethos of Abstract Expressionism, wherein the subjective experience and expression supersede the depiction of the external reality. This photograph, as part of Siskind’s broader series, can be seen as a meditation on the dual sensations of freedom and anxiety, a thematic juxtaposition implied by the title.

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