MADE IN GERMANY. German Photography from the 19th Century until Today

德国制造 - 19世纪至今的德国摄影

This exhibition gives an overview of German photography with iconic masterpieces from the 1850s to the present, with a main focus on the nineteenth century, the 1920s-30s and postwar avant-garde, the 1970s and 1980s documentary turn in West and East Germany as well as contemporary positions.

Early in the mid-nineteenth century, photography was adopted all over German countries and capitals as an important means of representation. The first decades of the twentieth century saw an enormous rise in photography in Germany, due to technical improvements and the need for images in the emerging mass media, such as illustrated magazines. Especially in Germany, photography and film flourished due to innovations, and avant-garde masters laid the foundations for new ways of seeing.

World War II brought a brutal disruption to artistic photographic practices. The postwar generations sought to revive avant-garde photography, creating new visual languages using the means of perspective, cropping and darkroom experimentation. The following decades saw a turn towards conceptual and documentary perspectives. Both in East and West Germany, with diverse imagery, photography bore testimony to a scintillating era that was both unsettling and full of promise. Contemporary German photographers create distinctive views of the world surrounding us – at home and abroad – characterized by sober, objective and yet highly personal visions.

The Beginnings – An Excerpt

From the mid-nineteenth century onward, representation and documentation were among the most important functions of the new medium. Architecture and historical monuments, landscapes and urban environments, nature and foreign countries developed into popular photographic genres. Leopold Ahrendts (1825-70), for instance, captured spectacular urban views in Prussia’s capital, Berlin. Ahrendts was among the first nineteenth century photographers in Germany to document both representative sites as well as picturesque scenes in Berlin. Originally a painter and lithographer, he turned to photography like many of his contemporaries, and became one of the earliest and most accomplished architectural photographers of his time.


Pictorialism rose in late nineteenth-century international art photography, making photographic expression a means for personal visions and techniques beyond machine-made images. Heinrich Kühn (1866-1944) contributed seminal images to the movement, notably large-format gum bichromate prints. Dresden-born Kühn, one of the most important Pictorialists, championed art photography as an artist, theorist, and inventor of innovations such as the soft-focus lens. He maintained close contact with the American photographer Alfred Stieglitz, who featured Kühn’s work prominently in his Camera Work magazine.

Germany between the Wars: New Objectivity and New Vision

The interwar period in the 1920s and 1930s in Germany proved to be visually prolific, both in terms of documentary and experimental imagery, with the movements known today as New Objectivity and New Vision. The former style includes Karl Blossfeldt (1865-1932) and his plant studies, the architectural portrayals of Werner Mantz (1901-83), the object-worlds of Albert Renger-Patzsch (1897-1966), portraits and still lifes by Aenne Biermann (1898-1933) or August Sander’s (1876-1964) monumental sociological portrait typology of the people of the 20th Century. Helmar Lerski (1870-1956), too, excelled in portraiture, which he considered to be the art of light. Albert Renger-Patzsch captured the notion of an objective view of objects, creatures and environments in his seminal book Die Welt ist schön (The World is Beautiful) from 1928. August Sander’s visionary documentary portrait oeuvre exemplified an era beyond the subject itself and his influence on the work of many international artists is undisputed until today.

New Vision was characterized by manifold experimental approaches, for example in groundbreaking reportage photography by Umbo (i.e. Otto Umbehr, 1902-80) and in truly avant-garde portraits and nude studies by Erwin Blumenfeld (1897-1969). Umbo, who studied at the Bauhaus Weimar, contributed to portraiture with his signature close-up head-shots and to photojournalism with his ambitious reportage. With a Surrealist sense of humor and darkroom experiments that made each print a unique image, Berlin-born Erwin Blumenfeld was one of the most innovative and influential artists of the twentieth century working in nude and fashion photography.

The Bauhaus

The Bauhaus, founded in 1919 by Walter Gropius and based in Weimar and Dessau, was the most important design school of the era, and photography played an essential role there, be it as a means of documenting architecture, products and workshop activities or as a record of the masters’ and students’ everyday life and work. Edmund Collein (1906-92), for instance, shot the students of Bauatelier Gropius, while Franz Ehrlich (1907-84)and Heinz Loew (1903-81) documented their study for light advertisements from the plastic arts workshop – a little photographic gem in its own right – and Hajo Rose (1910-89)cross-faded a self-portrait and Bauhaus architecture. Lucia Moholy (1894-1989) or Gertrud Arndt (1903-2000) created intense and experimental portraits and T. Lux Feininger (1910-2011) took pictures of the Bauhaus band, while Ellen Auerbach (1906-2004), Grete Stern (1904-1999) and Horacio Coppola (1906-2012) composed product still lifes, to name but a few.

Postwar: Subjective Photography

After World War II, German photographers sought to revive avant-garde practices in photography. The artist, teacher and collector Otto Steinert (1915-78) formulated avant-gardist principles with his Subjective Photography movement. Preceded by the group fotoform, with Peter Keetman (1916-2005), Siegfried Lauterwasser (1913-2000), Toni Schneiders (1920-2006) and Ludwig Windstosser (1921-83) as members, young artists used the camera lens to capture a diverse play of forms based on reality, but with a clear tendency towards abstraction, in line with international art of the era in other media. Steinert, who was an influential professor of photography, first at Saarbrücken Art School, then at the renowned Folkwang Art School in Essen, passed his signature abstract style of “absolute photographic creation” on to his students. He was also an influential collector, who laid the brickwork for the present photography collection at Museum Folkwang – one of the most famous in Germany – with his Study Collection of the Folkwang School.

East German Views

In the German Democratic Republic (1949-1989) photography was considered primarily an instrument of illustration. Nonetheless, art photography flourished, with documentary perspectives on quotidian life as the focus of choice for many photographers. This comprised subjects ranging from representations of the self and the other to real conditions of the world surrounding them and daily life, as well as landscapes and cityscapes. Intimate portrayals of the human figure and face characterize the work of East Germans Ute Mahler (*1949), Ursula Arnold (1929-2012) or Helga Paris (*1938). Sibylle Bergemann (1941-2010) and Arno Fischer (1927-2011) depict everyday life in poetic series and fashion shoots. Fischer, who taught at the Academy of Fine Arts Leipzig (Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst) was an influential teacher: he shared his sense of personal expression as well as technical skills with his students, and, together with Ursula Arnold and others, participated in the innovative “action fotografie” group in late 1950s Leipzig.

West German Documentary

The conceptual photography of West Germans Wilhelm Schürmann (*1946) and Heinrich Riebesehl (1938-2010) features habitats like urban streets or agricultural landscapes devoid of human beings. Schürmann espoused the new German documentary style not only as a photographer, but also as a curator (in collaboration with Klaus Honnef at Rheinisches Landesmuseum Bonn: the seminal exhibition “In Deutschland. Aspekte gegenwärtiger Dokumentarfotografie” (In Germany. Aspects of Contemporary Documentary Photography), 1979. A documentary yet personal approach to portraiture becomes manifest in André Gelpke’s (*1947) work. Rudolf Holtappel (1923-2013) focuses on the coexistence of industrial and residential districts in the West German Ruhr area.

Conceptual Photography from Düsseldorf

The archetype of contemporary typology is certainly Bernd and Hilla Becher’s (1931-2007; 1934-2015) industrial archaeology, which was clearly influenced by August Sander’s seminal typological portrait work. The Bechers not only established a singularly conceptual approach in industrial photography. With Bernd Becher’s chair at the Düsseldorf Academy of Fine Arts, they also initiated a unique style of observation and photographic creation, which they passed on to their students, such as Andreas Gursky, Thomas Ruff, Thomas Struth or Candida Höfer, among others. Today the “Düsseldorf School of Photography” is the most celebrated and well-known movement in contemporary photographic art. Götz Diergarten (*1972) and Claus Goedicke (*1966), whose work is genuinely devoted to a typological understanding of architecture and the still life, represent the younger generations of Becher students in the present show.

Performance and Experiment

A different, yet equally conceptual means of creation features the art of performance and action, as exemplified in Jürgen Klauke’s (1943) series with a strong focus on the transformation of the self and questions of identity and gender. Floris Neusüss (*1937) combines performative practices and action-based photographic creation in his body photograms, life-size imprints on photographic paper. Floris Neusüss was active as a teacher and curator of conceptual photography at Fotoforum Kassel, a gallery at the Kassel Academy of Fine Arts, since the early 1970s. A staging of a different kind takes place in fashion photography: two key positions here are F.C. Gundlach (*1926) and Helmut Newton (1920-2004). The latter revolutionized the genre with his stunning images of a new type of women.

Contemporary Positions

Typologically precise and pared-down views of architecture and objects as well as land- and cityscapes are featured in conceptual approaches, such as those of Joachim Brohm (*1955), Götz Diergarten (*1972), Claus Goedicke (*1966) or Hans-Christian Schink (*1961). Jitka Hanzlová (*1958) embraces environments and their inhabitants, whether human or animal, in personal portraits. While Götz Diergarten and Claus Goedicke represent the Düsseldorf School, other currents of documentary styles with a personal touch are also exhibited here. Joachim Brohm and Jitka Hanzlová graduated from Essen’s Folkwangschule, where subtle, individualistic color photography was propagated, while Hans-Christian Schink was one of the students at the Academy of Fine Arts Leipzig who began studying during the German Democratic Republic, and liberated their artistic vision after German reunification. Brohm pioneered documentary color photography with his early typological work, recently republished in the book Typology 1979. Schink’s subtle contemporary landscape photography practice is characterized by clarity, legibility, and precision, be it in East German transport projects, Verkehrsprojekte Deutsche Einheit (2004) or in the Japanese region of Tohoku (2012), which was devastated by a tsunami.

The distinctive visions of life and political culture in each of the two Germanys reveal the unique capacity of photography to distill and mediate our aesthetic perceptions of today and the recent past.

Carolin Förster




开端 – 节选

从十九世纪中叶起,“记录和呈现”是新媒体最重要的功能之一。建筑和历史古迹,景观和都市环境,自然和国外,成为了受欢迎的摄影题材。Leopold Ahrendts(1825-1870年)在普鲁士的首都柏林捕获了壮观的都市景观。在记录德国代表性的建筑以及当时风景如画的柏林城市面貌的摄影师当中,在十九世纪的德国,Ahrendts是第一位,也是其中一位。他原本是一位画家,精于平版印刷,然而跟许多同年代的人一样转投了摄影,并成为最早和最成功的建筑摄影师之一。


画意摄影兴起于19世纪后期的国际艺术摄影领域,强调让作者表达个人之观感和技术上超越于机器制造图像的方式本身。 Heinrich Kühn(1866-1944)以开创性的照片处理技术引领风潮,尤其是在大画幅作品中使用的重鉻酸胶质显影术作处理。Kühn出生于德累斯顿,画意摄影师中的泰山北斗,艺术摄影倡导者,理论家和创新的发明家(如软焦镜头)。他与美国摄影师Alfred Stieglitz保持着工作上的密切联系,尤其是他的作品在《Camera Work 杂志》上有着举足轻重的地位。


两次世界大战期间(20s-30s),就纪实与实验意像而言,视觉上证实了是多产的,在德国所引领的风潮,即今天被称为新客观主义(新即物主义)和新视觉。前者的风格包括Karl Blossfeldt(1865-1932)的植物摄影,Werner Mantz的建筑摄影(1901-83),Albert Renger-Patzsch(1897-1966)的对象世界(the object-worlds),Aenne Biermann(1898-1933)的肖像和静物摄影,August Sander(1876-1964)的20世纪肖像摄影,Helmar Lerski(1870-1956)也有很出色的肖像摄影,他认为这是光影的艺术。Albert Renger-Patzsch从他的创作中捕捉到对物体,生物和环境的客观概念,收录在他的作品“世界是美丽的(1928)”。August Sander有远见的纪实肖像作品展示了一个超越主体本身的时代,乃至今天,他的影响力对许多国际艺术家来说仍是无可争议的。

新视觉的特征在于多种实验方法,举例Umbo aka Otto Umbehr(1902-80)的开创性报道摄影,以及Erwin Blumenfeld(1897-1969)的前卫肖像和人体肖像。Umbo就读于魏玛包豪斯大学,他的自拍像和新闻摄影成为他最明显的标志。柏林出生的Erwin Blumenfeld,拥有超现实主义的幽默和实验暗室的他,使得他每张照片都具有独特的形象,亦是二十世纪最具创意和影响力的人体摄影和时尚摄影艺术家之一。


包豪斯,于1919年,由Walter Gropius创立,总部设在魏玛(Weimar)和德绍(Dessau),是当时最重要的设计学校,摄影扮演了重要的角色,作为一种手段,记录了建筑,产品,车间活动和师生的日常工作生活。如Edmund Collein(1906-92)拍摄了Bauatelier Gropius的学生,Franz Ehrlich(1907-84)与Heinz Loew(1903-81)记录了他们对造型艺术车间的照明灯广告的研究报告,如数家珍地还有Hajo Rose(1910-89)交叉褪色的自拍像和包豪斯建筑作品。 Lucia Moholy(1894-1989)抑或 Gertrud Arndt(1903-2000)创造了强烈的和实验性的肖像摄影手法。T. Lux Feininger(1910-2011)拍摄了BAUHAUS乐队。 Ellen Auerbach(1906-2004), Grete Stern (1904-1999)和 Horacio Coppola(1906-2012)的作品依然生动。以上仅举几例。


二战后,德国摄影师寻求复兴前卫摄影的方法。艺术家,教师和收藏家Otto Steinert(1915-78)用他的主观摄影运动重新定义了前卫艺术家。紧接抽象摄影团体(Fotoform),Peter Keetman(1916-2005),Siegfried Lauterwasser(1913-2000),Toni Schneiders(1920-2006)和Ludwig Windstosser(1921-83)作为成员,年轻的艺术家们用镜头,拍摄基于现实的多种形式的自由发挥的作品,但有明显的抽象倾向,符合了那个时代的国际艺术风向。Steinert是一位有影响力的摄影教授,先后在萨尔布吕肯艺术学校和富克旺根艺术大学,传授他的标志性的抽象风格的“绝对摄影创作(absolute photographic creation)”给他的学生。他也是一个有影响力的收藏家,为德国最着名的摄影收藏博物馆Folkwang提供珍藏,包括他在富克旺根艺术大学的作品集。


在德意志民主共和国(1949-1989),摄影主要是被用作文字旁的插画之用。然而,艺术摄影蓬勃发展,对生活作纪实的摄影手法成为许多摄影师的选择的方向。主题包括从自我表达到周遭世界的真实反映如城市,风景等。Ute Mahler(* 1949),Ursula Arnold(1929-2012),Helga Paris(* 1938)描绘了东德民众的日常生活。Sibylle Bergemann(1941-2010)和Arno Fischer(1927-2011)描绘了一系列富有诗意的日常生活和时尚摄影。Fischer在莱比锡美术学院任教,是一位有影响力的老师:他与学生分享了他对个人表达的观点和技巧。


由 Wilhelm Schürmann(*1946)和 Heinrich Riebesehl(1938-2010)所引领的西德观念摄影,特征有如大都市的街道,杳无人烟的郊野农场景观。作为摄影师,Schürmann是新德国纪实摄影风格倡导者,同时亦作为策展人,与成长于波恩的Klaus Honnef合作举办名为德国当代纪实摄影展览(In Deutschland. Aspekte gegenwärtiger Dokumentarfotografie)。1979年,肖像化的纪实摄影手法在André Gelpke(* 1947)的作品中得以体现。Rudolf Holtappel(1923-2013)则着重于西德鲁尔工业区和住宅区的共生姿态。


当代“分类类型学”摄影的原型当属由Bernd and Hilla Becher 贝歇夫妇(1931-2007;1934-2015)的工业考古学作品所构建,这显然是受到了August Sander的肖像作品的影响。贝歇夫妇不仅在建筑摄影中建立了独特的概念性方法,在杜塞尔多夫艺术学院的小板凳上,灌输给他们的学生系统化以及规则的创作方式,学生们如Andreas Gursky,Thomas Ruff,Thomas Struth或Candida Höfer等人共同组成了杜塞尔多夫学派。今天,杜塞尔多夫学派是当代摄影艺术中最着名学派之一。Götz Diergarten(* 1972)和Claus Goedicke(* 1966),他们的工作致力于对类型学的研究和拓扑学的理解,是贝歇夫妇的学生年轻一代的代表。


一个不同的,但概念上相通的表演艺术创作手法,如Jürgen Klauke(1943)的一系列作品,通过自己在摄像机面前进行表演而对性别角色提出疑问。Floris Neusüss(* 1937)结合表演艺术和实践,在他的大型“全身”的黑影照片中得以体现。Floris Neusüss在卡塞尔美术学院(Kassel Academy of Fine Arts)担任教师,及其70年代成立的画廊的概念摄影策展人。在时装摄影中亦出现了不同类型的表演艺术:这里的两个代表人物是F.C. Gundlach(* 1926)和Helmut Newton(1920-2004),后者以一种争议性的姿态及其用精湛的作品演绎出新时代的女性。


“类型学(Typologically)”在建筑,物件,城市景观等领域得以清晰,精确和简化的呈现,概念上接近的摄影师如Joachim Brohm(* 1955),Götz Diergarten(* 1972),Claus Goedicke(* 1966)和Hans(1966)。Jitka Hanzlová(* 1958)关注环境和栖息地,无论是人类抑或动物肖像。而Götz Diergarten与Claus Goedicke则代表杜塞尔多夫学派,同时这次展览也会展出其具有个人风格和纪实风格的作品。Joachim Brohm和Jitka Hanzlová毕业于富克旺根艺术学院,他们富有精美和个性化的彩色摄影将会展出。Hans-Christian Schink是莱比锡美术学院的学生,他在德意志民主共和国开始学习,两德统一后,最终打开了艺术视野和枷锁得以释放。Brohm早期的彩色纪实摄影在此展出,最近亦重新出版了“类型学 1979(Typology 1979)”一书。Schink当代摄影作品特点是通俗易懂,无论是关注当时东德交通运输的作品 East German transport projects, Verkehrsprojekte Deutsche Einheit (2004),抑或关注2012年日本福岛海啸地震的项目 the Japanese region of Tohoku (2012)


Carolin Förster