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"How you look at it: 20th-century Photography"
2000-05-14 until 2000-08-06
Sprengel Musuem
Hannover, , DE Germany

Karl Kraus once wrote Art is that which becomes the world. The art form which has set its mark on the 20th century by portraying it and sowith influencing its view of time and space, is without doubt photography. It is omnipresent and exists in the most diverse aesthetic designs.

The exhibition How you look at it. 20th-century Photography offers a chance to take stock. It starts by showing how photography has greatly increased in popularity in recent years, mainly obvious by its growing presence in museums which in the past normally reserved museum space for older forms of art. It also traces the surprisingly high numbers in visitors as well as the increase in the market value of art photography. Even so, aspects central to the history of art photography are not really known to a broad section of the public. The exhibition, containing more than 500 prints, presents the artistic highlights of 20th-century photography and its foremost representatives.

The main focus is on realistic photography, oriented towards visible reality. Its language is closely associated with the phenomena of our everyday world, although not only in order to document it. For, here it is more a case of artistic structuring of the visible in order to clarify an intellectual reality: ideas, memories, emotions through which the previous century makes itself recognisable in its own special reality. Photographic artists deal with this complex reality by creating multilayered picture series, in which they heighten the mediums expression and density. How you look at it follows this principle through longer stretches of pictures, assembled by the artists themselves.

Photography could not have developed in this way without an exchange with other art genres. This pioneering exhibition confronts photography with some 40 selected works from painting and sculpture. Parallel viewing reveals numerous points of contact: a common interest in urban life - its topography; in its speeded-up social rhythm; in the idioms of advertising and fashion; in portraits of mankind and the way he treats nature etc. This integration clarifies new aesthetic positions, reveals borders where both painting and photography leave traditional paths and try out new means of expression. It elucidates photographys pictorial character and proves it to be not merely concerned with documenting the visible, but with having personal visions, which also reflect the possibilities of pictorial expression. The exhibition does not, however, illustrate theses from art history as to definite influences and dependencies of the artistic genre, but relies more on art and its ability to convince through a concept which is not only lively but also follows the interests of the curators.

The exhibition is part of the cultural programme during EXPO 2000. It is presented in co-operation with the Niedersaechsische Sparkassenstiftung.

Artists: the exhibition presents groups of work by the following photographers: Robert Adams (USA), Diane Arbus (USA), Eugene Atget (F), Lewis Baltz (USA), Bernd and Hilla Becher (G), Karl Blossfeldt (G), Christian Boltanski (F), Brassaï (F), Larry Clark (USA), Rineke Dijkstra (NL), William Eggleston (USA), Walker Evans (USA), Patrick Faigenbaum (F), Hans-Peter Feldmann (G), Robert Frank (CH/USA), Lee Friedlander (USA), Bernhard Fuchs (A), Dan Graham (USA), Andreas Gursky (G), Axel Hütte (G), Boris Michailov (UA), Nicholas Nixon (USA), Sigmar Polke (G), Albert Renger-Patzsch (G), Judith Joy Ross (USA), Thomas Ruff (G), Ed Ruscha (USA), August Sander (G), Michael Schmidt (G), Charles Sheeler (USA), Cindy Sherman (USA), Stephen Shore (USA), Paul Strand (USA), Thomas Struth (G), Shomei Tomatsu (J), Jeff Wall (CDN) and Garry Winogrand (USA)

In dialogue with paintings and sculptures by: Francis Bacon (GB), Max Beckmann (G), Edgar Degas (F), Alberto Giacometti (CH), Vilhelm Hammershĝi (DK), David Hockney (GB), Martin Honert (G), Edward Hopper (USA), Jasper Johns (USA), On Kawara (J), Ellsworth Kelly (USA), Franz Kline (USA), Kurt Kocherscheidt (A), Roy Lichtenstein (USA), Albert Marquet (F), Agnes Martin (USA), Giorgio Morandi (I), Bruce Nauman (USA), Pablo Picasso (E), Odilon Redon (F), David Reed (USA), Gerhard Richter (G), Mark Rothko (USA), Oskar Schlemmer (G), Carl Schuch (A), Thomas Schütte (G), Volker Stelzmann (G), Ludwig Georg Vogel (CH) and Andy Warhol (USA)

Curators: Thomas Weski, Sprengel Museum Hannover, and Heinz Liesbrock

Patron: How you look at it is under the patronage of German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.


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