One element of contemporary photography is a concern for surfaces and the investigation of their supposed smoothness and impenetrability. Swiss photography classes at the Zurich University of the Arts, the ECAL in Lausanne, or HEAD in Geneva have trained a number of artists who, in addition to exploring questions of content, have primarily addressed issues specific to the medium. Have new developments in photography been made due to the digital turn? How is our relationship to the tangible object changing, when photographs are no longer shown in photo albums but as files on screens? From an artistic perspective, does this lead to any conclusions for the future production of works of art? These and other questions are explored in Surfaces, an exhibition of works from the collection of Fotomuseum Winterthur, which includes a dozen current Swiss photographic positions, such as works by Stefan Burger, collectif_fact, Cédric Eisenring/Thomas Julier, Matthias Gabi, Dominique Koch, Adrien Missika, Shirana Shahbazi, and Herbert Weber.
With his highly distilled, monolithic vision, Robert Adams (born 1937) is one of the most significant photographers of the changing landscape of the American West. His black and white images of neglected highways, desolate farms and suburban sprawl chart the impact on the environment of unfettered urban development and the thoughtless exploitation of natural resources. Adams first came to public attention in 1975 when he was included in the now famous New Topographics exhibition held at the International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House in Rochester, New York. The show made the case for a formally radical mode of landscape photography in which the Romantic and Symbolist predilections of the American modernists were displaced by a more impersonal, disinterested vision. Composed in an 8x10 inch view camera, Adams’ prints are almost featureless, a minimalist rendition of the sheer ordinariness of the American landscape. Taken against the background of a growing environmental movement, but rarely overtly political, Adams’ photography has consistently pointed to the aesthetic dissonance generated by a degraded modern environment.
An exhibition of the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven.
MANIFESTO! - An Alternative History of Photography
In the numerous anthologies of artists’ manifestos, photographic manifestos are often relegated to the shadows, but wrongly so. We show to what extent throughout the long history of the medium the makers of photographic images have repeatedly voiced their opinions about the use and perception, as well as the vision and pitfalls of photography. They have sparked important, not least political debates. Extending from pioneers, such as Daguerre and William Henry Fox Talbot in the 19th century, to Paul Strand, Man Ray, Sherrie Levine, contemporary artists like the Atlas Group, and photography bloggers, the predominantly typographic design of the exhibition and accompanying catalogue bring together seminal texts, essays, and other topical contributions, which are accompanied by photographic “footnotes” by the respective authors. This provides a new perspective on the medium and formulates an alternative history of photography.
A co-operative production of Museum Folkwang Essen and the Fotomuseum Winterthur.
BLOW-UP - Antonioni's Film Classic And Photography
Blow-Up, Michelangelo Antonioni’s first English and commercially most successful film, not only occupies a unique position in the history of film, but also in the history of photography. Hardly any other feature film has portrayed the many different aspects of photography with such sophistication or has attempted to understand the medium in such an elaborate and timeless manner. The photographic spectrum conveyed in Blow-Up is correspondingly broad, ranging from fashion photography to social reportage, Pop Art, and abstract photography. In multiple chapters the exhibition Blow-Up presents these many-sided themes and their relationship to one another. In addition to stills from the film, the exhibition also presents works actually shown in Blow-Up as well as images that highlight the cultural and artistic context of the film’s production—specifically London in the swinging sixties.
The exhibited photographers include artists such as David Bailey, Terence Donovan, Richard Hamilton, John Hilliard, Don McCullin, Ian Stephenson, John Stezaker, and many more. In co-operation with the Albertina, Vienna, and C/O Berlin.
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