Artist. Editor. Revolutionary. Anton Perich has been exploring the boundaries of art and culture since the late 1960s, when he lived in Paris. Upon arriving in New York City in 1970, Perich charted his own path that included, among many things, the invention of an electric photography machine in 1977–87. The work was truly ahead of its time, as the mechanization of the work of art had not yet been embraced by the world. Perich speaks with Crave about ingenious invention, one which prefigured the very era in which we live.
What was the inspiration for electric photography?
Anton Perich: The inspiration was TV. The old-fashion cathode tube. I didn’t grow up with television in former Yugoslavia. I watched some in Paris where I was in the late ‘60s. It was magic, French TV with sensual overtones, with sexual undertones. In the ‘70s, before building the painting machine, I did lots of photography and video. I really loved the video image, and I wanted to paint and create photography with electricity. I realized then that the future of image would be electric and not chemical. Immediately after completion of the machine I produced some very large photographs with the machine. About 5×6 feet, ink on paper. Looking at them today, they definitely told the future of the electric image. They look like they were made with Photoshop today, and not 35 years ago.
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Photo: ©Anton Perich. Jerry Hall, 1979, ink on paper, 3X4 ft.