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RAY 2012 to present outstanding international positions of contemporary photography and video art in Frankfurt
Nina Berman, Obamatrain. ©Courtesy the Artist.

FRANKFURT.- From April to October 2012, RAY Fotografieprojekte will present outstanding international positions of contemporary photography and video art in Frankfurt Rhein-Main. RAY comprises the main exhibition MAKING HISTORY, which is distributed across three central sites in Frankfurt and many partner exhibitions and projects in Frankfurt and the region.

With RAY 2012, the Rhine-Main region is once again establishing itself as an important site of contemporary photography. For the first time, nine strong partners worked together to enable this event: Art Collection Deutsche Börse, the Darmstädter Tage der Fotografie, the DZ BANK Kunstsammlung, the Fotografie Forum Frankfurt, the Frankfurter Kunstverein, the Marta Hoepffner-Gesellschaft für Fotografie e.V. in the Stadtmuseum Hofheim am Taunus, the MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt am Main, the Städel Museum and the Opelvillen foundation followed the initiative by the cultural fund Kulturfonds Frankfurt RheinMain.

Prof. Dr. Herbert Beck, manager of the Kulturfonds Frankfurt RheinMain, gives his motivation for the initiative as being: "We wanted to get everyone together to emphasize the high rank of photography in Frankfurt and the Rhine-Main region." Every one of the houses involved with the project enriches and amends the projects with its expertise and its own presentation of contemporary photography. "We believe that this type of cooperation, in which different points of view and competences are bundled in fruitful exchange is the special strength of RAY," say the curators of the main exhibition MAKING HISTORY in a joint statement.

Looking ahead
The region Frankfurt/Rhine-Main has a high density of internationally renowned institutions in the area of contemporary photography. It includes renowned collections as well as training and exhibition facilities. This great potential is to be focused on more strongly in future by »RAY Fotografieprojekte Frankfurt/RheinMain«. RAY represents the rich collections and competence on the focus of photography in Frankfurt and the Rhine-Main region.

The first issue of RAY will include the central main exhibition MAKING HISTORY, as well as a highly faceted program of partner exhibitions and events that deals with the term of TIME in today's photography. The Art Collection Deutsche Börse starts the RAY partner projects with "Be here now", an exhibition on the photography take on time and space. The entire RAY partner program of the Darmstädter Tage der Fotografie, the DZ BANK Kunstsammlung, the Fotografie Forum Frankfurt, the Marta Hoepffner-Gesellschaft für Fotografie e.V. in the Stadtmuseum Hofheim am Taunus, the MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt am Main, the Städel Museum and the Stiftung Opelvillen foundation will take place in Frankfurt and the Rhine-Main region until October 2012.

The importance of history and the questions of the present
The central main exhibition MAKING HISTORY focuses on artistic reflection of public images without limiting itself to the medium of photography. Film and video are included as well. The exhibition shows different positions on the subject of presentation of reality in media images. Almost 40 renowned artists, among them Viktoria Binschtok, David LaChapelle, Omer Fast, Alfredo Jaar, Barbara Klemm, Gustav Metzger, are present in the exhibition. At the MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt am Main, Thomas Demand is one of the exhibitors, showing his image series "Embassy" in an elaborate installation covering the entire central hall. The main exhibition also includes works by Harun Farocki, specifically three parts of his latest multi-part installation "Ernste Spiele", and Walid Raad, who has just received the Hasselblad Award. Additionally, there are many new discoveries whose works already show a wide range of artistic dealing with public images.

In the media society, reality seems to only be created in images: Special events seem to take place only when present in the media. In particular the younger generation strongly defines itself via images: imago ergo sum. Not only socially and politically important, but also private, mundane and marginal events become part of public reality today, with images spreading through social media networks by media snowball effects. Everyone who produces images also constructs reality. This development can be traced using the photography documentation of historical events as well, which were and are still closely connected with political conflict and events of war. The wars after 1945 repeatedly showed that power over images means power over what happens. Images, particularly online, are vital in today's media-characterized public – images and image creators alike are instrumentalized and instrumentalize themselves.

How do contemporary artists react to this development? The artists in this exhibition do not offer their own history models. Instead, their work shows different views of historical events that can be understood as extended forms of presenting history, as well as subjective images of the past, and convey independent ideas on the creation of history.

Contributing artists: Taysir Batniji (F), Nina Berman (USA), Viktoria Binschtok (D), Robert Boyd (USA), Wolf Böwig (D), Luc Delahaye (F), Thomas Demand (D), Harun Farocki (D), Omer Fast (IL), Samuel Fosso (RCA), Kathrin Günter (D), James Howard (GB), Alfredo Jaar (USA), Sven Johne (D), William E. Jones (USA), Barbara Klemm (D) , Petra Köhle & Nicolas Vermot Petit-Outhenin (CH), David LaChapelle (USA), Eva Leitolf (D), Armin Linke (D), Gustav Metzger (GB), James Mollison (I), Simon Norfolk (GB), Peter Piller (D), Elodie Pong (CH), Paul Qaysi (USA), Walid Raad (LB), Doug Rickard (USA), Martha Rosler (USA), Michael Schmidt (D), Frank Schramm (USA), Manit Sriwanichpoom (TH), Hank Willis Thomas (USA), Oliviero Toscani (I), Jeff Wall (CAN), Michael Wolf (F)

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