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Museum der Moderne Salzburg surveys how the notion of space has changed over time
Franz Bergmüller, Photographic Models, 2017. Series of different Inkjet prints, cut outs, Various formats. Courtesy of the artist.

SALZBURG.- Stereoscopic vision and conceptions of spatial dimensions, their extension and transformation are fundamentally at odds with the two-dimensional technically recorded image. Since the dawn of photography, this very incompatibility has prompted photographers to grapple with the question of how to represent space. The pioneering exhibition Space & Photography at the Museum der Moderne Salzburg surveys the history of this engagement with a selection of works by thirty-five artists from fourteen countries spanning the period from 1860 to the present.

The exhibition’s thematic spectrum ranges from works by Wolfgang Tillmans and others that examine architectonic and virtual spaces, to photographs addressing social, economic, and conceptual questions, as in the work of Santu Mofokeng. “As a center of expertise on artistic photography, we have designed this exhibition to tease out the interconnections between the photographic medium and sociopolitical questions around space, with a particular view to the recent renaissance of boundaries and standardizations,” Sabine Breitwieser, Director of the Museum der Moderne Salzburg, explains. “Our objective is to shed light on photography’s formal and technical diversity as well as the evolution of genres and themes in a variety of geographical and sociopolitical contexts.”

Christiane Kuhlmann, the museum’s Curator of Photography and Media Art, underscores the historical depth and cultural breadth of the selection on view in Space & Photography: “In addition to examples from the early days of photography, we showcase contemporary works by artists whose non-European backgrounds and circumstances inform their perceptions and interpretations of space, complementing the long-dominant Eurocentric understanding with fresh perspectives.”

The photographic exhibits range from a walk-in camera obscura in which the lights of Salzburg’s old town limn a projected image to Hito Steyerl’s installation How Not to Be Seen (2013), which lets visitors somehow escape the encroachments of surveillance in public spaces and become invisible.

Space & Photography is divided into six thematic chapters. It opens with early imaging processes and experimental photography as the medium’s archetypical form.

The second chapter traces the technological innovations of the nineteenth century, which propelled the emergence of new methods and capacities of the camera to imitate human ways of seeing and stereoscopy. In the early twentieth century, the development of modern camera technologies led to the genesis of the “Neues Sehen” or “New Vision”; in conjunction with the ideas of the “Neues Bauen” or “New Architecture,” it gave rise to a novel perspective on architectonic space, the subject of another thematic focus. Exponents of the New Objectivity such as the photographer and Bauhaus teacher László Moholy-Nagy translated this shift into experimental conceptions of the photographic image that expanded the spectrum of visual impressions.

The next chapters examine the photographic rendition of built space and architecture’s influence on society. Works by the conceptual artist Stephen Willats and the photographer Wolfgang Tillmans as well as the sculptor Isa Genzken address the expansion of the cities, suburbanization, and the rise of residential tower blocks. Tillmans’s video installation Book for Architects, which was presented at the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale, attests to his fascination with life in the city as a kaleidoscope of widely divergent individual design decisions. With Allan Sekula and Noël Burch’s film The Forgotten Space (2010) and Dayanita Singh’s Museum of Chance (2015), the exhibition’s final section illuminates boundaries in political systems, economic spheres, and those spaces whose existence is primarily virtual.

With works by Philip Kwame Apagya (1958, Shama, GH), Herbert Bayer (1900 Haag am Hausruck, AT–1985 Montecito, CA, US), Giacomo Brogi (1822–1881 Florence, IT), Franz Bergmüller (1966 Hüttau, AT–Salzburg, AT), Jindřich Eckert (1833–1905 Prague, CZ), Hans-Peter Feldmann (1941 Düsseldorf, DE), Seiichi Furuya (1950 Izu, JP–Graz, AT), Isa Genzken (1948 Bad Oldesloe, DE–Berlin, DE), Johannes Gramm (1964 Essen, DE– Essen, DE / Westkapelle, NL), Birgit Graschopf (1978 Vienna, AT), Florence Henri (1893 New York, NY, US–1982 Compičgne, FR), M. Hoffmann (biographical data not available), Kenneth Josephson (1932 Detroit, MI, US– Chicago, IL, US), Wolfgang Kudrnofsky (1927–2010 Vienna, AT), Georges Lévy & Moyse Léon (Léon & Lévy) (1833–1913 / b. 1812), Werner Mantz (1901 Cologne, DE–1983 Eijsden, NL), Ingrid Martens (KwaZulu-Natal, ZA– Johannesburg, ZA), Santu Mofokeng (1956 Soweto, Johannesburg, ZA), László Moholy-Nagy (1895 Bácsborsód, HU–1946 Chicago, IL, US), Negretti & Sambra (Crystal Palace Company): Henri Negretti (1818 Como, IT–1879 London, GB), Joseph W. Sambra (1822 Saffron Walden, GB–1897 South Hampstead, GB), Beaumont Newhall (1908 Lynn, MA, US–1993 Santa Fe, NM, US), Gregor Sailer (1980 Schwaz, AT–Vomp, AT), Alfons Schilling (1934 Basel, CH–2013 Vienna, AT), Allan Sekula / Noël Burch (1951 Erie, PA, US–2013 Los Angeles, CA, US / France), Dayanita Singh (1961 New Delhi, IND), Margherita Spiluttini (1947 Schwarzach im Pongau, AT–Vienna, AT), Hito Steyerl (1966 Munich, DE–Berlin, DE), Sasha Stone (1895 St. Petersburg, RU–1940 Perpignan, FR), Clare Strand (1973 Brighton, GB), Yutaka Takanashi (1935 Tokyo, JP), Wolfgang Tillmans (1968 Remscheid, DE–Berlin, DE), Umbo (Otto Umbehr 1902 Düsseldorf, DE–1980 Hannover, DE), Felix Weber (1929 Langenwang, AT–Mürzzuschlag, AT), Stephen Willats (1940 London, GB)

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