Ferry Radax, born in 1932, is best known as a key participant in the first wave of Austrian avant-garde cinema, thanks in large part to his film SONNE HALT! (1960), as well as his collaboration with Peter Kubelka on MOSAIK IM VERTRAUEN (1955). Coming of age in postwar Vienna, he was influenced both by the American cinema – especially Orson Welles – and the local art scene. Joining the influential association of young Austrian artists, Art-Club, as a pianist and photographer, he found himself in the midst of a vibrant “Viennese underground” scene in which the boundaries between art forms became porous, and musicians, writers, visual artists, and early performance artists all circulated and shared ideas.
The several films Radax made with his friend, the writer and poet Konrad Bayer (including SONNE HALT!) are among the many that demonstrate his ongoing interest in the intersection of literature and film. Though several of his early works display close affinities with the avant-garde, Radax resisted both this label and the preoccupation with the materiality of film that marked the work of so many of his fellow independent Austrian filmmakers.
During the 1960s Radax increasingly gravitated towards making work for television, both in Austria and Germany. He made a name for himself as a creator of filmic portraits, especially of writers and painters, including definitive films about (and with) Thomas Bernhard and Friedensreich Hundertwasser. Today he remains active, devoting himself to his autobiographical opus, VIDEOGRAPHIE. This retrospective represents the most comprehensive survey of his work yet to appear in the United States.