Crosswise in Space. Hannah Villiger's Large-Scale Photographic Installations 1993-1995

Aïcha Revellat, May 2023, 27 min. reading time

Between 1993 and 1995, immediately prior to Hannah Villiger's (1951-1997) last phase of work, she created a series of multipart C-prints, which show fragmented bodies enlarged and joined together into new, amorphous structures against an opaque white or black background. These bodies appear to be crosswise to the world: they do not orient themselves along established and standardized norms and, according to the hypothesis of this essay, destabilize the orientation of the viewer. Using some examples from this short phase of her work, it will be shown that Villiger's work at the intersection of photography, sculpture, and performance can be understood as a queer practice, distorting and making strange the body’s form. "Queer" is understood here, based on Sarah Ahmed's Queer Phenomenology, as the way in which subjects physically occupy space in an environment that does not accommodate all bodies equally.[1] Ahmed cites Merleau-Ponty, who speaks not of queerness, but of "disorienting moments" in phenomenological perception. According to him, this does not only refer to "the intellectual experience of disorder", but also includes "the vital experience of giddiness and nausea, which is the awareness of our contingency, and the horror with which it fills us".[2] While for Merleau-Ponty, these moments must be overcome by straightening one's own body, Ahmed sees them as a potential for a changed perspective: "But if we stay with such moments then we might achieve a different orientation toward them; such moments may be the source of vitality as well as giddiness. We might even find joy and excitement in the horror".[3] Hannah Villiger's installations from 1993-1995 embody such queer moments. What seems crucial here is that their genesis is also based on queerings - both medial and conceptual.

Block XXX 1993/94, Jacques Herzog und Pierre de Meuron Kabinett, Basel.

Against a black background, brightly illuminated, naked body parts rise. The exposure causes every individual hair, freckle, fold of skin, and protruding vein under the skin to stand out in some of the six enlarged Polaroid pictures. On the remaining panels, these details are concealed by the blur, so that the bright surfaces that were closest to the camera become low-contrast, almost flat elements. The first four plates, viewed from the left, are arranged so that the bright body fragments are oriented towards the line that horizontally divides the Block in the middle. Again, the distances between the individual plates, which form a grid, serve as an orientation aid. In this Block, the grid resembles two congruent, overlapping crosses. The last two plates differ from the first four: the plate in the top right shows a body fragment that almost completely fills the plate, so that only two small, triangular areas of the black background are visible. The camera seems to have been closer to the body in this single image than in the remaining five images, and although it is not entirely clear which body parts are depicted, there is a sense of a certain frontal perspective that sets it apart from the other plates. In the plate at the bottom right, one of the vertical lines running between two body parts is captured, but shifted several centimeters to the left.

The Block is characterized by this continuity of individual elements, which is repeatedly broken. In synthesis, a body emerges that does not correspond to the body schema, but whose cohesion can convince perception through the lighting, the uniformly black background, and the formal references between the individual panels.

Block XXX shows the implicit and explicit references of large-format photographic installations to sculpture.[4]The production process, which involves physically assuming poses, the multiple or all-round visibility that enables different perspectives on the body, and the fragmentation and orientation in space are traditionally problems belonging to sculpture, which at least until the middle of the 20th century is centered on the human form. In the late 19th Century, the sculptural body becomes fragmented, most prominently by Auguste Rodin, whose expressive sculptural depictions inspired modern artists like Henri Matisse and Alberto Giacometti. By the 1960ies, the body is no longer the core problem of sculpture– Rosalind Krauss famously coined this new context the “expanded field”.[5] However, in the case of Villiger, the trained sculptor, the problems mentioned are mediated through the specific vehicle of photography.[6] The strong contrast between light and dark that makes the bodies appear plastic is due to the exposure and the technical properties of the photographic apparatus. The tension that extends between the orientation of the bodies within the image space and the installation in space is also a phenomenon that can be attributed to photography: the perspective of the camera and that of the viewer on the same object/subject never coincide.

Processes of subjectification–which involves the formation of an individual's sense of self and identity through social, cultural, and historical factors– have always been central to Villiger's practice.[7] The ways in which the photographer's gaze and representation can shape and influence these perceptions are being discussed since the 1970s by poststructuralist and feminist theorists and artists. They emphasized how power relations shape subjectivity, resulting in works where socially marginalized bodies and the orientation of the imagined viewer, who is identified not as neutral but as male, white, heterosexual, and cisgender, are made visible.[8] Villiger's Blocks do not use motifs and modes of representation from popular culture.[9] They also do not reflect the physical-subjective everyday experience, like they did a decade earlier. The structures of the Blocks are more similar to those of reptile rather than human bodies, and the strong upward and downward view that is typical of these works represents a mode of perception that also does not correspond to a visual tradition anchored in the upright body.

Perspectives that oppose anthropomorphism also shape two six-part Blocks depicting non-human body fragments. Against a white-blue background, the flash of a Polaroid camera illuminates metallic body parts. The originally monochrome dark color of the material is dotted with bright spots and streaks, which at first glance resemble a quickly applied color application. However, it is plausible to assume that the color variations are patina, which can develop on the surfaces of copper sculptures in outdoor spaces due to environmental influences. Although Villiger could have looked through the camera's viewfinder unlike the images that depict her own body, the camera angles are comparable to those of the self-portraits. The torso and back are only partially depicted, and in the upper middle panel, we look down the back from above, while the panel in the middle of the lower row shows a torso with a strong undersight. In the upper right, we see the underside of a foot where the patina is particularly pronounced, almost as if the area, like in human bodies, was especially exposed. It cannot be determined whether the six fragments depict the same sculpture, or whether the coherence is only due to the visually coherent materiality, color, and exposure.

Sculptural 1995, Polaroid on cardboard, 21x26 cm,
Sculptural 1995, Polaroid on cardboard, 21x26 cm,
Sculptural 1995, Polaroid Study,

In one of the over fifty work diaries that are in the archive of Villiger’s estate, there is an indication that leads us to the place where Villiger found and photographed the sculptures: the Botanical Garden from the 17th century, called Jardin des Plantes, located in Paris. The approximately thirty sculptures in the park are statues which, as the park's official website explains, represent the "statuomania of the 19th and 20th centuries".[10] Besides some animals and mythological figures, they are mainly monuments that remind us of historical, all-male personalities of French history. The page from the work diary also contains two drawings at the bottom. On the left, Villiger sketched a shooting position that further emphasizes the undersight already dictated by the size of the pedestal on the sculptures: we see a figure crouching on the ground in front of the pedestal of a statue, holding an object up. On the right, the stick figure holds a construction consisting of two rods, at the upper end of which the Polaroid camera, clearly recognizable by the typical shape of the housing, hovers above the head of the statue.

From Hannah Villiger's Work Diary 1990,

While Villiger restricts herself to capturing only the radius between her arm length and torso when photographing her own body, she employs tools in her photographs of park sculptures to challenge the originally intended perspective of the sculpture. The two installations and the individual plate entitled Sculptural can be seen as a détournement or queering of classical sculpture in public spaces. The weathered copper sculptures lose their function as monuments in photographic images, freed from the context of the Botanical Garden and the arrangement of sculptures along its paths. They fall into a new kind of temporality, no longer evoking deceased individuals whose clothing and mannerisms pointed to the durability of human bodies. The body fragments, flanked by floral ornaments, appear to be free from the weight of their history against an undefined blue background and bright flash. The heavy pedestals that kept viewers at a distance have disappeared, and the laws of gravity are overturned by the rotation of the images. In contrast to Block XXX however, neither set of six single images of the two works form a new body, nor are they organized around the central horizontal axis. 

Stefanie Klamm traces the tradition of photographing sculptures against a black or white background back to the second half of the 19th century. This practice had the effect of turning the monochromatic sculptures, mostly made of bright marble or dark bronze, into "pictorial silhouettes" (Ernst Langlotz).[11] Klamm attributes the emergence of this tradition, among other factors, to the conditions of the museum context, where most sculptures to be photographed are located. This was to ensure that no unwanted objects in the background would interfere with photographing the sculptures. Catalogs often contained only individual photographs representing a single viewer's perspective. Heinrich Wölfflin's essay on the ideal alignment of the camera with respect to the sculpture, which Klamm also cites, demonstrates the difficulty of translating the all-round view or multi-perspective of three-dimensional sculptures onto a two-dimensional medium. And while the background plays a much more prominent role in the Block XXX, the close-ups of the different parts of the park sculptures also result in a removal of the (institutional) context.

Italian artist Paolo Gioli (1942-2022), for whom Polaroid photography was also an integral part of his work, captured historically significant images in his Polaroid series Luminescente (2007), thus doubling the image-making of the sculptures' anonymous bodies in the Vatican. The bright green color is achieved by intervening in the chemical development process. Unlike the monuments in the Jardin des Plantes, the sculptures photographed by Gioli from the Roman era are already fragmented; in a way their decay is a precursor to what both the park sculptures and their photographic images face.

Paolo Gioli, Luminescente, Polaroid Polacolor, phosphorescent foil, 25x20 cm each, 2007,
©SAGE Gallery, Paris.

Both Gioli and Villiger present the photographs as a series of similar images, organized in a grid like structure, emphasizing their objecthood. While Giolios series of sculptures appear in an eerie green light that surrounds them with an aura of mystery, in Villiger’s pictures of the park sculptures the flash of the camera creates a much more revealing light, emphasizing details of the material surface which reveal nature’s intervention in their appearance. For Villiger, the process of creating, selecting, and displaying the same body in sometimes only slightly different ways, was a modus operandi.[12]

Both the previous Villiger literature and the artist herself have repeatedly claimed that photography was mostly a means to an end for her.[13] However, considering the development of photography in the arts in the 1970ies and 1980ies, Villiger's Blocks appear to resonate with some of the core problems that her peers working with photography specifically were interested in. It is not only the temporal context of Villiger's work which overlaps at the margins with that of Minimalism, a movement dominated by white, American, cis male artists. Griselda Pollock compares Villiger's repetitive working method, the reduced means, the formal guidelines dictated by the Polaroid medium, as well as the “inhuman gaze” of the camera with the aesthetics of Minimal Art.[14] David Levi Strauss understands Villiger's "minimalism" as the result of a long-standing engagement with the medium of sculpture. Accordingly, her earlier sculptural objects and photographs are to be regarded as a search for the right form, and the enlarged Polaroid pictures as a consequence of this search. Strauss also sees the reduction of representational means to her own body and immediate surroundings as a result of Villiger's alienation from her own body. Only in this way, he argues, could she "consistently regard it as an object".[15] However, it is questionable whether alienation in the sense of a conscious and intentional estrangement from one's own body leads to it being perceived as objectified. Returning to Giolio’s work, which does correspond to the tradition of the portrait, in that it focuses on the faces of the sculptures, flanked by images of their breasts, torsos and male genitalia, all shot from a frontal point of view, it appears that the objectness of the Vatican sculptures as representations of a (male) gaze are much more front and center than in Villiger's installations.

Not all installations and Blocks are designed as landscape formats like the ones described above. In 1995, Villiger created ten installations whose high-rise format reflects the emphasized vertical alignment of the body fragments. In the case of the work Sculptural (1995), the white grid structure divides the six individual images into a vertically divided, horizontally divided construct. Limbs intertwined in spiral twists bulge out of nowhere against the jet-black background, spiraling upwards around the central line without the figure ever reaching an end at the top of the frame. The body structure, cut off at the top just as it is at the opposite bottom edge, appears to be infinitely extendable. This type of composition is typical of Villiger's works from 1993 to 1995, which rarely formulate a self-contained body.

Sculptural 1995, Polaroids on cardboard, 26.5 x 19.5 cm,

On each plate, one of the limbs is covered with freckles and, thanks to the strong magnification, the fine hair on the forearms is visible. This limb is visually distinct from a second body part, which has lighter skin and is largely free of freckles and hair. Viewing the plates as individual images suggests that each of the entwined limbs is an arm that is wrapping around or resting on a leg. The overall appearance of the body structure is coherent: where a left arm is cropped at the edge of the image on the left, a corresponding fragment appears on the right, completing the left side and suggesting that they belong together. Arms and legs thus form two intertwined strands that resemble a rope ladder rotating uniformly around its axis. The pitch-black background and the brightly lit curves of the arms and legs suggest that the Polaroid images on which the installation is based must have been taken in a darkened room. The flash of the Polaroid SX-70 camera that Villiger used is automatically triggered in low light, illuminating the body, which is barely visible to the naked eye, while all objects and the space in the background appear black in contrast.

The fragmentary nature inherent in the photographic medium is used by Villiger to rethink the body, free from the biological and cultural parameters to which it is otherwise subject. The body structures of the Blocks evade the cultural associations that relate to biological gender. This does not only refer to the naked body, but also to the gaze relationship with the model, which is completely eliminated here. Control over the photographic apparatus plays a very subordinate role in Villiger's work. With a Polaroid camera in one hand, she posed in a limited space - often using a bed sheet placed on the floor in front of a wall - for several hours, usually in the afternoon.[16] She put her body in different positions, pushing it to its physical limits. In addition to the laws of gravity and the body's elasticity, the limit is also determined by the angle at which the camera aimed at the body can capture it. The maximum distance between her outstretched arm holding the camera and her torso has further consequences for the type of shots. It is much more difficult to aim the camera at one's back than at the torso. In this respect, one can speak of a kind of reflection of one's own bodily perception, which is also defined and limited by the anatomical conditions of the body as a physical component of perception.

The view of oneself from behind is a metaphysical, eerie experience, made possible only via a visual detour such as mirror images, photographs, video and film. The most notorious artistic exploration of this subject in Post-Minimalism is Bruce Nauman's closed-circuit installation Live Taped Video Corridor (1969-70), in which the visitors, while walking along the narrow corridor, can see themselves from behind, captured by a video camera filming them from the back and a monitor at the other end of the corridor playing the video live.[17] The impossible situation that the viewer is put in Villiger does not go beyond this limit but emphasizes it instead: the limitation of one's own perception is reflected in the shots that show her pushing her boundaries. Both Block XXX and the single image from the Paris Sculpture Series show a view of the body from a bird's-eye perspective that would not be possible without the use of a camera.

Villiger's Blocks undergo so many queerings before being presented in the exhibition space that the lack of recognition can evoke feelings of disorientation. Cindy Sherman, who belongs to the same generation as Villiger, addressed this issue in her Film Stills in the late 1970s as a central problem in classic Hollywood movies.[18] As Amelia Jones notes in her study of self-portraits in contemporary art, there has been an active debate around the structures of visual relationships in film and photography since Laura Mulvey's influential essay "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema" was published in 1975. Regarding Untitled Film Still No. 2, 1977, Jones explains how Sherman seemingly exemplifies Mulvey's model of the "double fetish": "[...] the photographic image of the woman's body - here Sherman herself - is a double fetish: it functions as a fetishistic replacement for the woman's 'lacking' genitals, assuaging the masculine viewer's fear of castration; as a photograph, it acts as a replacement for the lost body it depicts."[19] Villiger's body images, on the other hand, resist this replacement function in several ways: the poses she took in front of the camera are no longer readable as such and cannot evoke associations with internalized (women's) images in viewers. The twisted, out-of-space-and-time structures also have something monstrous about them: they appear ghostly due to their familiar elements. They are uncanny because they evoke a feeling of ambivalence. They are bodies, as suggested by the appearance of the skin and the shape of the individual limbs. Their composition, the flat, smooth appearance, the monumental size, which cannot be inferred from a viewer's position, however, make the structures foreign, radically different from one's own body. The fact that the representations are of photographic origin, and that the expectation of a direct reference to the empirical world is attached to them, contributes significantly to the uncertainty.

The fact that Villiger's practice, which differs so significantly from Sherman's, is still compared to hers is due to the way both artists address authorship and the role of the viewer in photography (and film) through their work; they are both model and photographer at the same time.[20] While Sherman's feminist consists in exposing the objectifying male gaze as such, Villiger's approach to performative traditions is more subtle, as a look back at the beginning of her work with the Polaroid camera shows.

The two-part installation Work 1981 shows a female torso on each side, from below the pubic area, each covered with a bikini bottom, to above the breasts, which are bare. In the right hand, between the middle and index fingers, there is a burning cigarette, while the left hands are placed on the stomach. Only upon closer inspection does it become clear that the bodies are not standing upright but are lying on a cloth-covered base. The arrangement of the orange-red and white sheet with red flowers is roughly reversed on each side. The two bodies appear to face each other: they are not completely frontally aligned but slightly towards the center of the image. The diptych appears as if it could be folded along the centerline, so that each side represents the imprint of the other.

Work, 1981, 2 C-Prints of Polaroids, 38cmx38cm each,
Hans Holbein Jr., Double Portrait of the Basel Mayor Jacob Meyer zum Hasen and his Wife Dorothea Kannengiesser (inner side), oil on basswood, each 39.7 x 31.9 cm, Kunstmuseum Basel, 1516.

In art history, diptychs played a central role in medieval painting. While in devotional images, the multi-part image structure served to depict multiple related scenes side by side, in secular contexts, diptychs were a popular form for marriage portraits. As shown in the double portrait of Jacob Meyer zum Hasen and his wife Dorothea Kannengiesser (1516) by Hans Holbein the Younger, the couple's togetherness is illustrated through the architectural elements in the background of the picture. The continuation of the arches and columns shows that although the two people were depicted in different images, they were in the same space. Another similarity is visible in the colors of the clothes, which are also coordinated: the red of Jacob Meyer's cap on the left is reflected in the dress of his wife Dorothea on the right, while her white-golden headdress reflects the color of his shirt. The orientation in three-quarter profile emphasizes the physical proximity of the two figures. Work 1981 draws on the tradition of the double portrait in that the togetherness of the couple is illustrated through visual correspondences. The difference lies in the way the respective couples are oriented towards each other. In Holbein’s picture not only the togetherness but also the gender-based difference of Jacob and Dorothea is emphasized through visual representation and thus implies a gender-based, unequal division of roles, while Villiger's double portrait is characterized by a horizontality that contains no elements implying complementarity based on imbalance.[21]

At the beginning of the 1980s, when Villiger began using her Polaroid camera not only for private purposes but also for work, there was no such clear separation between the spheres. Her relationship with Wyss was an integral part of her artistic work precisely at the time when the first multipart works were created. The verticality of heteronormative artist-model relationships can only be imagined as a counter-model at this point: The women appear as equal bodies, and the images suggest that Wyss did not act as Villiger's model under her gaze, but that both must have alternately held the camera on each other and, in some cases, on both at the same time. The development of the Blocks in the mid-1990s can be understood as a gradual abstraction in Villiger's oeuvre. Detached from their vertical, upright position, the fragmented and reassembled bodies are still contained by a structuring entity: the grid formed by the square aluminum plates and the spacing in between them, providing coherence that is not necessarily tied to a vertical axis.

While Work 1981 shows an everyday experience of queerness, the Blocks of 1993-95 focus on orientation in space. Villiger also transfigures the photographic image in its mediality, so that the viewer cannot refer to an internalized, seemingly "natural" frame of reference for these, also semantically unwieldy installations. For Villiger, nature is also aggressive, eating into surfaces, proliferating, and producing threatening bodies.

Describing Villiger's practice as queer puts emphasis on just that– the practice. Her use of media, especially photography, leads to images that are often far removed from pictorial traditions, but always remain connected to them, as if to say, look, this is your frame of reference, now let’s spin it around.


All images except Paolo Gioli and Hans Holbein Jr. by Hannah Villiger, Copyright and Courtesy The Estate of Hannah Villiger.


Ahmed 2006

Sarah Ahmed: Queer Phenomenology. Orientations, Objects, Others, 2006, Duke University Press.


Afschar und Schuppli 2023

Yasmin Afschar und Madeleine Schuppli (Eds.), Hannah Villiger: Amaze Me, Milan, 2023.


Bucher und Hattan 2001

Jolanda Bucher und Eric Hattan (Eds.), Hannah Villiger, Basel, 2001.


Jones 2006

Amelia Jones, Self/Image. Technology, Representation and the Contemporary Subject, New York, 2006.


Klamm 2017

Stefanie Klamm: “’Pictorial Silhouettes’ and Their Surroundings: Antique Sculpture and Archeological Photography”, in: Sarah Hamill und Megan Luke (Edts): Photography and Sculpture: The Art Object in Reproduction, Los Angeles, 2017.


Krauss 1979
Rosalind Krauss, Sculpture in the Expanded Field, 1979, October8, p. 31-44.


Merleau-Ponty 2002

Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Phenomenology of Perception, translated by Colin Smith, London, 2002.


Mulvey 1989

Laura Mulvey, “Visual pleasure and narrative cinema”, in: Visual and other pleasures. London 1989. pp. 14-26.


Paz 1989

Octavio Paz “Zurschaustellen”, in Villiger 1989. S.65.


Pohlen 2001
Annelie Pohlen, “As If It Were Part of Her Own Body After All”, in: Bucher and Hattan 2001. pp.


Pollock 2001

Griselda Pollock, “The Body, My Body, Her Body”, in: Bucher und Hattan 2001. pp 135-153.


Revellat 2023

Aïcha Revellat, “Scissors, Skin, Paper: Surfaces, Membranes, and Wrappings in the Work of Hannah Villiger”, in: Yasmin Afschar und Madeleine Schuppli (Eds.), Hannah Villiger: Amaze Me, Milan, 2023. p. 109-124.


Schuppli 2023

Madeleine Schuppli, “The Fragmentary in the Work of Hannah Villiger: A Reflection in Ten Steps” in: Yasmin Afschar und Madeleine Schuppli (Eds.), Hannah Villiger: Amaze Me, Milan, 2023. pp. 43-58.


Spinelli 2001

Claudia Spinelli “Existential Necessity”, in: Bucher und Hattan 2001. pp.


Strauss 2001

David Levi Strauss, “I Myself Will be the Chisel”, in: Bucher und Hattan 2001. pp.103-134.


Villiger 1989

Exh.Cat. Hannah Villiger: Skulptural 1988/89, Ed. by Jörg Zutter at Museum for Contemporary Art Basel, Basel.

[1] Ahmed 2005.

[2] Merleau-Ponty 2002, S.296 in Ahmed 2005, S.4.

[3] Ahmed 2005, S.4.

[4] In previous research and by Villiger herself, the Polaroid images enlarged as C-prints have been referred to as "photographic sculptures". I have found that I do not find this term appropriate and refer to these as large-scale photographic installations, in short, installations.

[5] Krauss 1979.

[6] Villiger studied sculpture with Anton Egloff at the Art Academy in Lucerne from 1972-1974.

[7] In the early 1970ies this was expressed via explorations of the natural world and its consequences for her own being in the world, in the early 1980ies the everyday, her immediate surroundings and social relationships were captured with the Polaroid camera and in the later 1980ies and the 1990ies the dissolution of the bodily schema reaches its highest degree of abstraction.

[8] Hannah Wilke, Cindy Sherman, Carrie Mae Weems, and Robert Mapplethorpe were among the artists who made the diverging self-perception and external perception the subject of their art. One of the tendencies that shaped postmodern art, which Villiger is often associated with, is body art, in which questions of subjectivity often took on political dimensions. Since the beginning of the 1970s, the confrontation of viewers with their own orientation has been an integral part of photographic projects. As Michael Fried shows in his iconic book, Why Photography Matters as Art as Never Before (2008), artists from the so-called Düsseldorf School - including Thomas Struth, Thomas Ruff, and Andreas Gursky - have developed different strategies for confronting viewers with their expectations of photographic images. Jeff Wall and Thomas Demand are also responsible, according to Fried, for establishing photography "for the wall." The key factor is the large format, which is also characteristic of Villiger's installations.

[9] E.g., Cindy Sherman, Sherrie Levine.

[10] Accessed on 4/8/2023.

[11] Klamm 2017, S.50.

[12] The collecting and assembling of similar objects trace back to her earliest artistic endeavors with plant materials, cf. Revellat 2023.

[13] Annelie Pohlen recalls Villiger's statement from a discussion in 1997: “I don’t think of my Polaroid enlargements in photographic terms; I see them more as skin or as matter”, in: Pohlen 2001. Octavio Paz, when writing about the 1988/89 series Sculptural, calls Villiger a sculptor who merely needs photography for her work process: “The series of works exhibited by Hannah Villiger is titled 'Sculptural’. Since 1988, it consists of photographs of the same model, namely the artist herself: her body is the subject of her images. In other words, we are dealing with a sculptor who captures her own body, that of a woman, through the camera lens”, Paz 1989.

[14] Pollock 2001, S.195-197.

[15] Strauss 2001, S.108.

[16] A note in her work diary specifically describes her process: “"It's noon. The afternoons belong to my work. The curtains are closed, a yellowish light penetrates through the fabric. A white cloth is spread on the floor. My arena” (work diary 29.5.1989, the author).

[17] The work, which has been extensively described by numerous authors, will not be analyzed in detail here. Rather, the aim is to provide an example of a contemporary of Villiger who explicitly dealt with this issue. Nauman's connection to Villiger is not limited to this example: Both extensively worked with their own bodies, both had a practice rooted in sculpture that quickly expanded into photography and drawing, and for both, temporal processes and their sequencing were of great importance in their artistic practice.

[18] Cindy Sherman Untitled Film Stills, 1977-1980.

[19] Jones 2006, S.45.

[20] C.f. Spinelli 2001, Schuppli 2023.

[21] Six more works produced in 1980-81 operate on the same principle. The images that emerge from Villiger and Wyss' relationship can also be read against the backdrop of a well-documented history of queerness in 1980s photography, a connection that has not been fully explored by previous research and can only be hinted at here. They make visible a sense of orientation that still represents a societal taboo in the 1980s. For Villiger, this act leads to a dissolution of the boundary between external form and inner essence, and the queering goes beyond sexual orientation, or merely represents one of the moments in which the relationship to the surrounding space is portrayed as differently oriented.