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Friedrich Seidenstücker: Of hippos and other humans at Berlinische Galerie in Berlin
Friedrich Seidenstücker, Ohne Titel, 1945 © bpk / Friedrich Seidenstücker.


BERLIN.- This first comprehensive retrospective exhibition about Friedrich Seidenstücker presents more than 200 original photographs in the Berlinische Galerie, Berlin’s State Museum for Modern Art, Photography and Architecture. Almost every Berliner knows Seidenstücker’s photographs. Those who are interested in the history of their city appreciate Seidenstücker’s atmospheric shots of everyday life in Berlin during the Weimar Republic. He developed a positively legendary reputation among animal and zoo lovers with his sensitive animal studies, and his haunting images of Berlin in ruins represent a valuable source for historians.

Although Seidenstücker is regarded as a typical Berlin photographer, he is also known far beyond the city boundaries, not least because of one special achievement: his images evidence a sense of humour that is rarely found in photography. Friedrich Seidenstücker’s work evolved from this approach to the world. It is based on optimism, but this does not mean that he ignored the difficult conditions and hardships, the poverty and misery of his age.

Seidenstücker concentrated on ordinary people and their everyday behaviour, which he staged sensitively so that characteristic aspects of human nature are visualised. While his almost zoological interest in the animal kingdom led to a methodical thoroughness when taking his photographs at the zoo, one can assume that his street photography came about more by chance, as the urge took him. It seems that the same can be said of his landscapes and photographs of nudes.

In addition to a small group of late nude photographs, which are presented as photographic slides, the exhibition is divided into four more sections: Street Photography, Animal Photography, Landscape Photography, and Berlin after 1945. All 226 photographs exhibited are vintage prints, with the exception of 21 new prints.

This retrospective represents the continuation of the Berlinische Galerie’s successful series of exhibitions which, starting out from the museum’s own collections, scientifically examines the work of great 20th century photographers, making it accessible to a wide audience. This exhibition was preceded by shows of work by Heinrich Zille, Erich Salomon, Fritz Kühn and Herbert Tobias.

An exhibition by the Berlinische Galerie in cooperation with the bpk - Bildagentur für Kunst, Kultur und Geschichte and the Stiftung Stadtmuseum Berlin. The exhibition and the catalogue have been facilitated by generous financial support from the Förderverein der Berlinischen Galerie e.V.






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January 5, 2012

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