Previews

  • Michael Schmidt, untitled, 2006–2010, C-print, 21 ¼ × 32 1/8". From the one-hundred-seventy-seven-part suite Lebensmittel (Foodstuff), 2006–2010. © The Foundation for Photography and Media Art with the Michael Schmidt Archive

    Michael Schmidt, untitled, 2006–2010, C-print, 21 ¼ × 32 1/8". From the one-hundred-seventy-seven-part suite Lebensmittel (Foodstuff), 2006–2010. © The Foundation for Photography and Media Art with the Michael Schmidt Archive

    “Michael Schmidt: Retrospective Photographs 1965–2014”

    Hamburger Bahnhof
    Invalidenstraße 50-51
    August 23, 2020–January 17, 2021

    Curated by Thomas Weski and Walter Moser

    Michael Schmidt (1945–2014) is mostly remembered as the portraitist of la triste réalité of Germany after the war, the bleak Berlin divided by the wall. However, he found a way out of this cul-de-sac and developed a more diverse and curious account of the world around him than most people know. This retrospective will reassess his importance as the other lodestar of postwar photography in and about Germany besides the Bechers. Whereas their work gained near-monumental status for its conceptual purity and iconic relativity, Schmidt’s is refreshingly unideological, rigorous, at times destructive, speculative, and melancholic—it offers a richer vocabulary without being anecdotal. In his later years, he produced thematic suites of works: “Natur” (Nature), “Frauen” (Women), and “Lebensmittel” (Foodstuff). These should be seen in their totality, as he took the utmost care in their editing and spatial organization. The retrospective of some 250 works is complemented by a book of four hundred pages and will tour Europe. Travels to Galerie Nationale du Jeu du Paume, Paris, May 11–August 29, 2021; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, September 28, 2021–February 28, 2022; Albertina Museum, Vienna, March 24–June 12, 2022.