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Kunsthalle Wien Examines the Portrait from Mapplethorpe to Goldin
Nan Goldin, Shiobhan in my Mirror, Berlin, 1992, DZ BANK Kunstsammlung © Nan Goldin, Courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery, New York.
VIENNA.- When the history of photography began to unfold with portraiture, one’s own image was cause for astonishment and rapture. Since its discovery, beginning with early daguerreotypes and nineteenth century studio portraits, photography has satisfied people’s desire for their likeness and largely replaced the more costly and demanding painting. The image of the face, as the constitutive element of the portrait, is traditionally regarded as a mirror of the soul and a medium of identification. “The face is where we are,” says photographer Jonathan Miller: “We kiss, eat, breathe and speak through it. It’s where we think of ourselves as being finally and conclusively on show. It’s the part we hide when we are ashamed and the bit we think we lose when we are in disgrace.”

Considering the new technologies available today, which have made it possible to manipulate any image quickly, easily, and inexpensively and to change and improve the appearance of the human body as desired, the role of the portrait as representative of a person and as a means of establishing an identity has to be aesthetically questioned and recontextualized. Starting with Robert Mapplethorpe’s formalist studio photography, Peter Hujar’s intimate psychological pictures, and Nan Goldin’s visual diary, the internationally geared exhibition explores the innovations in portrait photography since 1980.

Motivated by the search for beauty and a personal visual language, social sympathy and affection, artists have since then developed an unconventional art of portraiture encompassing glamour and mise en scčne as well as radical realism, snapshot, and documentary objectivity. Aware of the presence of fictitious realities in the visual media, contemporary portrait photography takes a skeptical view of its own tradition, while the work of great twentieth century photographers from August Sander and Diane Arbus to Bernd and Hilla Becher continues to exercise its influence. Breaking away from classical modes of representation and often commenting on them with irony, photographers have explored radically new solutions for the depiction of man since 1980. Capturing a vis ŕ vis, they visualize their own phantasmata.

The most diverse pictorial idioms are removed from their traditional functional contexts and transferred into the sphere of art. Experiments with photographing methods and aesthetics from criminalistics, the press, medicine, or fashion, as well as forms such as the passport photograph or the holiday picture extend and deconstruct the portrait’s conventional concept. All pictures immanently reflect their media surroundings and the technical possibilities and limits of representation or ways of speculative reinvention via visual media interventions. Portraiture today means going through manifold forms of representation after the loss of photography’s innocence.

Contemporary photography, which is no longer subject to censorship and sometimes proves to be a mode of ruthless self-reflection, centers on the individual and questions the relationship between society and subject. Whether lovers, friends, or family (Sally Mann and Tina Barney), Hollywood stars (Greg Gorman) or rock musicians (Anton Corbijn), young people (Rineke Dijkstra), or villagers (Roger Ballen) – the portrayed and their social backgrounds are as diverse as the artistic approaches by means of which the personalities are captured in an unorthodox manner.

What the exhibition also puts on the agenda is the issue of a photography that is rooted in an analog tradition and uses the possibilities of digital image processing and correction. Valérie Belin, whose models’ quality of expression resembles that of mannequins, exemplifies a breach with the past or a transition to digitally generated or defamiliarized portraits. Anthony Gayton reproduces the aesthetics of nineteenth-century photography and turns portraits into fictions. The work groups shown in the exhibition illustrate the range of photographic strategies and condense to form a panorama of today’s image of man.

List of artists represented in the exhibition: Roger Ballen, Tina Barney, Valérie Belin, Dirk Braeckman, Clegg & Guttmann, Andrea Cometta, Anton Corbijn, Rineke Dijkstra, Amy Elkins, JH Engström, Bernhard Fuchs, Alberto García-Alix, Luigi Gariglio, Anthony Gayton, Nan Goldin, Greg Gorman, Katy Grannan, Jitka Hanzlová, Peter Hujar, Jean Baptiste Huynh, Leo Kandl, Barbara Klemm, Gerhard Klocker, Andreas Mader, Sally Mann, Robert Mapplethorpe, Hellen van Meene, Judith Joy Ross, Thomas Ruff, Stefano Scheda, Beat Streuli, Wolfgang Tillmans.

Kunsthalle Wien | Jonathan Miller | Photography | Contemporary Photography | Valérie Belin | Roger Ballen | Tina Barney |




Last Week News

October 10, 2009

Maharaja: The Splendour of India's Royal Courts Opens at the V&A in London

French Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand Agrees to Return Egyptian Art

Exhibition of Works Created Between the 60s and 70s at Sperone Westwater

Carmen Giménez Named Curator of Twentieth-Century Art at the Guggenheim

Christie's Fall Season of Photographs Sale Realizes $7.5 Million

Acquavella Galleries Shows Large Scale Works by Jean Paul Riopelle

National Gallery of Art Acquires Leo Villareal's Installation Multiverse

Damien Hirst's Pharmacy will be Exhibited at Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art

Frick Collection Announces European Painting Exhibition for 2010

Imperial White Jade Double-Dragon Seal for Sale at Bonhams

Getty Reveals Scientific Knowledge from the Medieval and Early Modern Period

Eric Zener's Oil Paintings of Swimmers in Vivid Blue Water on View at Hespe

A Trove of Rare Treasures on Offer at Christie's in November

Masterworks by Australia's Best Known Women Painters on View in Washington

Man Ray, African Art and the Modernist Lens Premieres at the Phillips Collection

Kitty Kraus Exhibits for Second Installment of Intervals at the Guggenheim Museum

'Accidental Mummies' Making US Debut in Detroit

Guggenheim Announces Short List for Hugo Boss Prize 2010

Kennedy Center Enlists Art Groups for Education

October 9, 2009

Museo del Prado Opens New Galleries Devoted to its 19th-Century Collections

Masterpiece from Damien Hirst's Butterfly Series Sold for HK$17.2 Million

Jeff Koons's Giant Rabbit Balloon Arrives in Covent Garden

Abstract Sculptures by Multi-Media Artist Jack Pierson at Cheim & Read

Philadelphia Art Commission Approves New Designs for Barnes Foundation

First Presentation of Eric Aho's Work at DC Moore Gallery

New York City Artist is $250K Winner of Art Competition

Eight Artists on Shortlist for UK's Biggest Contemporary Art Prize

The March Family Offer the Magnificient Cucci Cabinet

San Jose Museum of Art Unveils New Works by Tam Van Tran, Bari Kumar

Throne of Emperor Qianlong Breaks World Auction Record for Any Chinese Furniture

Views of Hamburg: The City in the Painter's Gaze at Hamburger Kunsthalle

First Time Key Work by Damien Hirst is Shown at Tate St. Ives

Soprano Sills' Estate Sells for More than $500K, Botero Sketch Sells for $27,500

'American Qur'an' Blends US Life, Quranic Verses

Exhibition of Superb Collection of Asian and European Decorative Art Opens in Melbourne

Early Works and Hand Crafted Items Highlight September Auction

Indianapolis Museum of Art Receives Nation's Highest Award for Community Service

Montclair Art Museum Announces a New Mural by Dan Fenelon

British Museum to Submit Revised Plans for World Conservation and Exhibitions Centre

October 8, 2009

Exhibition of Cosmic, Utopian and Experimental Works by Georges Vantongerloo

Egypt Announces It Has Cut Ties with France's Louvre Museum

Caravaggio's "Adoration of the Shepherds" to be Restored in Public

Fashion, Celebrity Photographer Irving Penn Dies at 92

Gagosian Presents an Exhibition of Selected Illustrated Spreads by Ed Ruscha

Hirshhorn Museum Opens Exhibition of Pioneering Figure in American Abstract Art

Newseum Recreates Journalist Tim Russert's Office in Exhibit

Stunning Safavid Rug from Late 16th Century Sold for $4.34 Million

Major Retrospective of Hungarian Artist László Moholy-Nagy at the Schirn

Landmark Sheeler Painting Acquired by Amon Carter Museum

Molten Color: Glassmaking in Antiquity Returns to the Getty Villa

Arts of the Samurai Sale at Christie's New York on October 23

Exhibition of the May Queen's Wedding Chest on View at Bismarck Foundation

Miami's Bacardi Buildings Win Historic Protection

Scribe will Write Out the Entire Text of the Torah at San Francisco Museum

An Insightful Look Into an Important Canadian Photographer's 50 Years Career

Aperture Foundation 2009 Benefit and Auction to be Held at The Lighthouse

The Heckscher Museum of Art Appoints Judith A. Jedlicka Interim Executive Director

William Kentridge and Oleg Kudryashov at The Kreeger Museum

Center Stage Exhibition Commemorates New AT&T Performing Arts Center

October 7, 2009

Over 120 Rarely Exhibited Letters by and to Vincent van Gogh on View

Musée du Quai Branly Opens Exhibition of the Legendary Teotihuacan

LACMA Announces First Exhibition Devoted to Renoir's Late Work

Sotheby's Achieves US$4,680,000 for Sanyu's Masterpiece

Exhibition at Pinacotheque de Paris Focuses on the Dutch 17th Century

Large-Scale Wall Installation by the Artist Chitra Ganesh at P.S. 1

Advocacy Program World Monuments Fund Announces 2010 Watch List

Green Day's Sell Out UK Tour Accompanied by Shoreditch Art Exhibition

Salvador Dalí Exhibition Leaves Melbourne a Huge Success

Norton Simon Announces The Familiar Face: Portrait Prints by Rembrandt

Obamas Decorate White House with Modern and Abstract Works of Art

Modern and Contemporary Sculpture in the Meadows Collection Opens

Exhibition Featuring Luo Ping Goes on View at Metropolitan Museum

South Africa's Fantastic Landscapes and People Glow in Bonhams Autumn Sale

Galerie Van den Akker to Exhibit Sixteen Sculptures by Artist Pamela Sunday

Looted Artifacts on Display at Afghan Museum

Sotheby's to Present for the First Time Arab and Iranian Art in Its Main Contemporary Art Auction

Theodor Dalenson and Dimitris Daskalopoulos Elected to Board of Trustees of Guggenheim Foundation

Fountain in New York's Landmark Lincoln Center Restored

I. M. Pei to Receive the Royal Gold Medal for Architecture

Collectors Named as Suspects in California Art Heist

October 6, 2009

Tate Presents Works by Four Artists Shortlisted for Britain's Turner Prize

New Gonzalez-Torres Acquisition Installed on Occasion of Museum's 50th Anniversary

Luxury Brand Louis Vuitton Celebrates Savoir-Faire with Creations by Six Artists

Nefertiti Bust Moved to Berlin's Restored Neues Museum

First Public Viewing of French Drawings from a Celebrated Dutch Collector

Drawings by Pablo Bronstein Featured in Fall Exhibition at the Metropolitan

Over 100 Leading Art Galleries will Participate at London Art Fair 2010

Picasso to Crown Kunsthaus Zürich Exhibition Program in 2010

Entries Now Open for Coveted 100,000 Pound Art Fund Prize

First Comprehensive Museum Exhibition for Jack Goldstein in Germany Since 1985

Special Exhibition Showcases the Work of 11 Contemporary Artists

McDonald's Fast Food Restaurant to Become Mona Lisa's New Neighbor

Paintings Made for The Who by John Davies on View at Idea Generation

National Museum of Fine Arts in Buenos Aires Opens Pop Art Exhibition

Heckscher Museum Celebrates Artists Who have Lived in Long Island

Rhode Island School of Design Publishes First Historical Anthology

Sotheby's to Offer Islamic Works of Art in Paris for the First Time

Images of First Cars to Cross the Himalayas into Tibet 102 Years Ago and Secret Photos of Japan from 1898 for Sale

Distinguished Abstract Expressionist Painter Charles Seliger Dies at 83

October 5, 2009

Severin Wunderman's Collection Stands The Test Of Time At Bonhams

The Spirit of Jazz Arrives at the Getty Images Gallery on London

Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein Opens Modernism as a Ruin: An Archaeology of the Present

Exhibition at the School of Visual Arts Showcases Iconic Advertising and Graphic Design

Comprehensive Survey of German Impressionism to Open at Kunsthalle Bielefeld

BMA Celebrates Edgar Allan Poe's Bicentennial with Spooky Art and Illustrations

Former Director of the Royal Academy of Arts Launches New Company

Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at NYU to Show European Artifacts

Installations by Michel Francois to be Shown at S.M.A.K.

Frick Art Museum Opens Exhibition of Photographs by Esther Bubley

Eight San Francisco Artists Respond to Surrealist Masterworks

Poland Street Underground, an Annual Two-Day Event in London During November

Sims Reed Gallery Acquires Sir Eduardo Paolozzi's Estate of Print Editions

National Portrait Gallery Explores New Forms of Portraiture in Exhibition

'Sooners' Exhibit Explores Oklahoma, New Mexico Art

KGB Studio & Gallery Refocuses Time with Exhibition of Photographs by Luis C. Garza

Meijer Gardens Premiere Major U.S. Retrospective Exhibition of British Sculptor Lynn Chadwick

Exhibition Critically Examines the Unusual and Absurd in Art

Celebrate Sustainable Living at the 2009 Danks Street Festival

Access Awareness Honour for Royal Ontario Museum

The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Announces David R. Brigham as New President and CEO

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- Roman Emperor Augustus' frescoed rooms unveiled for first time after years of restoration

2.- First stage of the restoration of Leonardo da Vinci's 'Adoration of the Magi' completed

3.- Hollywood actor and 'Conceptual artist' Shia LaBeouf runs around Amsterdam's Stedelijk Museum

4.- Exhibition in Rome offers an original interactive journey to discover the city of Augustus

5.- Unique opportunity to see last two works by Rothko and Mondrian side by side

6.- Ai Weiwei explores human rights and freedom of expression in exhibition at Alcatraz

7.- UNESCO seeks answers from Egypt on more than 4,600-year-old 'damaged' pyramid

8.- International Center of Photography announces new Collections Center and Media Lab at Mana Contemporary

9.- British Museum explores the image of the witch and demonised female figures from 1450 until 1900

10.- 'Transformations: Classical Sculpture in Colour' on view at the Glyptotek in Copenhagen

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