(Mis)Understanding Photography

Photographic works and manifestos

Barbara Probst, Exposure #32, 2005 (Detail) © Barbara Probst, courtesy Kuckei + Kuckei, Berlin

This exhibition presented the artist’s often sensitive, but radical, passionate view of photography. The first part of the exhibition examined the theory and history of artistic photography. The works dealt with the passing era of analogue photography and the new forms of the digital era. Many artists today see themselves as “photo archaeologists” and have accumulated unorthodox collections – some of which have been featured in the exhibition. The spectrum of artistic photography was presented in 14 chapters starting with the conceptual approaches of the 1970s and ending with experimental projects of today. The exhibition featured works by numerous well-known artists, such as Ugo Mulas, Wolfgang Tillmans, Gillian Wearing, Tacita Dean and Alfredo Jarr. It included specially developed installations and experimental presentations for the photo collection. In the second part of the exhibition, developed by the Folkwang Museum in Essen in cooperation with the Swiss Fotomuseum in Winterthur, the artists expressed themselves through texts and manifestos, ranging from William Henry Fox Talbot to modern-day bloggers. An extensive presentation and educational programme explicitly targeted younger visitors who have grown up with digital image media. Visitors could also obtain a glossary to learn more about the individual works presented in the exhibition.

Artistic directors: Florian Ebner, Kathrin Schönegg
Artists: Sarah Charlesworth (US), Tacita Dean (GB), Isa Genzken, John Hilliard (GB), Alfredo Jaar (CL), Erik Kessels (NL), Santu Mofokeng (ZA), Ugo Mulas (IT), Barbara Probst (US), Timm Rautert, Clare Strand (GB), Wolfgang Tillmans, Jeff Wall (CA), Gillian Wearing (GB)