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Navigation without Numbers

In this surreal scene, two hands are floating over a beach (one emerging from the water), and a floating interior scene with a figure standing in it hangs over the water at the horizon line. Clouds are superimposed over and behind the floating interior scene.

In this surreal scene, two hands are floating over a beach (one emerging from the water), and a floating interior scene with a figure standing in it hangs over the water at the horizon line. Clouds are superimposed over and behind the floating interior scene.

Artist Jerry Uelsmann (American, 1934?2022)
Title Navigation without Numbers
Date 1971
Medium Gelatin silver print
Dimensions Image: 11 1/8 × 10 3/16 in. (28.3 × 25.9 cm)
Sheet: 11 1/8 × 10 3/16 in. (28.3 × 25.9 cm)
Mount: 19 3/4 × 15 3/4 in. (50.2 × 40 cm)
Credit Line Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University
Accession Number 81.35.24

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About this Work

Jerry Uelsmann was the first student to receive an MFA in photography from Indiana University (1960), where he studied with the legendary Henry Holmes Smith. His one-man show at the Museum of Modern Art in 1967 helped to change the public?s perception of photography, by showing that it could be more than merely a tool for documenting reality. As he said, ?It is my conviction that the darkroom is capable of being, in the truest sense, a visual research lab; a place for discovery, observation, and meditation.? His process of ?post-visualization? allowed him to navigate the world of the imagination to create a new form of deeply personal artistic expression that would be an inspiration to many artists in the post-digital age. The Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art?s collection includes 185 works by Uelsmann.


Provenance research is ongoing for this and many other items in the Eskenazi Museum of Art permanent collection. For more information on the provenance of European paintings, sculptures, and drawings produced before 1946, please see our Nazi-Era Provenance Research Project. For all other inquiries, please contact the department curator with specific questions.


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"Navigation without Numbers | Collections Online." Collections Online. Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University, 2020. https://artmuseum.indiana.edu/collections-online/browse/object.php?number=81.35.24