Hamburger Bahnhof

Becoming Visible

21 Mar - 10 Aug 2008

© Peter Fischli David Weiss
Airports (Tokio), 1988/1997
Farbfotografie auf Aluminium, 150 x 210 cm
Foto: Courtesy Friedrich Christian Flick Collection
Photographic Works
In the Friedrich Christian Flick Collection in Hamburger Bahnhof

Presented in the Rieckhallen are selected positions in artistic photography, which has gained increasing importance in the visual arts since the 1970s. Featured are works by artists who have in various ways elaborated their views of the world photographically. Playing important roles are questions regarding the physiology and psychology of vision, as well as those related to the social, economic, historical, and cultural contexts to which these photographic motifs refer.

In an era characterized by the mass production and distribution of photographic imagery, views of locations, buildings, landscapes, and passersby that have been seized by the camera raise many questions: What exactly are we seeing when we contemplate these images? What relationship do they have to the reality they represent? Does the reality seen in photographs become perceptible only through them, or do they instead render strange a putatively familiar reality? How does the visible relate to the non‐visible?

By deploying primarily analog photographic procedures, artists such as Sigmar Polke, Rodney Graham and David Claerbout have engaged in experimentation at the borderline of visibility, while artists like Bernd and Hilla Becher, Candida Höfer, Axel Hütte and Thomas Struth have cultivated documentary approaches. Emphatically conceptual uses of photography are exemplified by the works of Jeff Wall, Peter Fischli & David Weiss and Stan Douglas.

In their photo works, bleak residential settlements and barren terrain, industrial architecture and airports are captured in images, along with crowded shopping streets and lonely shorelines, grand museum galleries and exotic landscapes. Becoming visible here is world whose photographic images fluctuate between the sublime and the prosaic, between cliché and mystery.

Tags: Bernd And Hilla Becher, David Claerbout, Stan Douglas, Rodney Graham, Candida Höfer, Axel Hütte, Sigmar Polke, Thomas Struth, Jeff Wall, Fischli & Weiss