Museum Folkwang opens (Mis)Understanding Photography

Museum Folkwang presents (Mis)Understanding Photography on view 14 June–16 August 2014.

Aneta Grzeszykowska, Untitled Film Stills #3, 2006. Courtesy of Raster Gallery, Warsaw. © Aneta Grzeszykowska.

Aneta Grzeszykowska, Untitled Film Stills #3, 2006. Courtesy of Raster Gallery, Warsaw. © Aneta Grzeszykowska.

(Mis)Understanding Photography—Works and Manifestos, a large-scale exhibition of key contemporary photo-works, projects, films and installations by a wide range of artists—Tacita Dean, Hans-Peter Feldmann, John Hilliard, Erik Kessels, Sherrie Levine, Ugo Mulas, Barbara Probst, Timm Rautert, Thomas Ruff, Wolfgang Tillmans, Timm Ulrichs, Gillian Wearing, Christopher Williams and more than 30 others—takes for granted photography’s centrality in contemporary art.

Ever since its invention 175 years ago, artists have consistently questioned the nature of photography. Today artists acutely aware of the omnipresence of photographic images produce works exploring numerous aspects of photography: its materiality, its popularism, its psychological impact, its claims to objectivity, and its force in mass media. Against a familiar backdrop of the accelerating disappearance of analog photography and the simultaneously triumphal progress of digital photography, these works explore new ways of re-picturing and inhabiting that history.

(Mis)Understanding Photography presents a history of photography wild and ironic, melancholic and resolved at the same time it sets sights on the old longings and obsessions that people still connect with the camera.

Within this exhibition is another exhibition—Manifestos—presenting ground-breaking texts by those who are always the most radical writers on photography: photographers themselves. László Moholy-Nagy, August Sander, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Martha Rosler and Germaine Krull and many others wrote strong declarative texts—in a 20th-century context of avant-garde movements deeply wound up with photography announcing their intentions in seminal publications of all sorts and even radio broadcasts exhorting readers and listeners to see the world with new eyes through the new medium. Reflected in an elaborate spatial scenography, the manifestos are displayed alongside photographic incunabula of their authors.

The exhibition is being kindly supported by the Kulturstiftung des Bundes and the Kunststiftung NRW. The second exhibition section Manifestos is being hosted in cooperation with Fotomuseum Winterthur.

Artist talk: “Among Colleagues,” Saturday 14 June, 10am
Artists participating in (Mis)Understanding Photography explore what photography has meant and still means to them. Renowned artists such as Alfredo Jaar and Erik Kessels meet younger artists to discuss various aspects of the show, the social responsibility of the photographer, the demise of analogue photography, the joy of collecting, the genius of the amateur and of the medium of photography.

In cooperation with Kunstring Folkwang e.V., Verein der Freunde des Museum Folkwang. Admission free. Limited numbers. Groups from universities and colleges are kindly asked to book in advance by contacting [email protected]

Museum Folkwang
Museumsplatz 1
45128 Essen
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 10–18h,
Friday 10–22h
T +49 201 8845 000