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Artistic positions from five decades of photogaphy on view at Fotomuseum Winterthur
Julian Germain, Yemen, Sanaa, Secondary Year 2, English, 2004. From Classroom Portraits. Inkjet-Print, 27 x 35 cm. Collection Fotomuseum Winterthur© Julian Germain.

ZURICH.- Growing up is a time of self-searching. Who am I and who do I want to be? It is a time of trying to ground oneself in the world and build a relationship with one’s own persona. Each individual must perso­nally undergo the experience of transition from a protected childhood into a social system of relation­ships and responsibility, finding one’s role in group dynamics, identifying, and testing possibilities and boundaries. Artistic photography has repeatedly examined this phase of life, from at least two different perspectives. One is the viewpoint of actual experience – a young adult who shares the lives of the protagonists with whom he or she is involved (not only as a photographer), such as Larry Clark and Nan Goldin earlier, or Maya Rochat and Rico Scagliola/Michael Meier today. Then there is the adult perspective on the phenomena of youth, which takes a different form of expression due to a certain distance and life experience. Images of youth also represent a confrontation with one’s own story, with personal successes and defeats, whether as present experiences or reflections on the past.

The exhibition “Young People – Set 9 from the Collection of Fotomuseum Winterthur” explores these questions in life. Artistic positions from five decades show that growing up is still influenced by private as well as social expectations. Moments of transgression, of protest, and experiences with drugs and alcohol are reactions that can be as little ignored as the (sometimes) relentless quest for sexual encounters, or the ongoing search for established models of living, and for possible approaches to the future.

A central element of the exhibition is the ten-channel video by young Swiss talents Rico Scagliola & Michael Meier, titled “Double Extension Beauty Tubes” (2008-2010). Over three years, the artist duo docu­mented so-called “Emos” (referring to the English adjective “emotional”), a contemporary youth move­ment in this era marked by social media such as Facebook. In its scope and ambition, their project is comparable with Nan Goldin’s famous slide projection “The Ballad of Sexual Dependency,” which signaled the artist’s artistic breakthrough in the early 1980s.

In addition to international photographers such as Paul Graham, Nobuyoshi Araki, and Alec Soth, other Swiss artists as well play a significant role in the presentation. Well-known artists such as Daniele Buetti, Walter Pfeiffer, and Pipilotti Rist are brought together with much younger artists such as Beni Bischof, Anne Morgenstern, Taiyo Onorato/Nico Krebs, and Maya Rochat, who offer contemporary insights into today’s youth culture through staged as well as documentary photographic works.

With works by Nobuyoshi Araki, David Armstrong, Nathan Beck, Sabrina Biro, Beni Bischof, Daniele Buetti, Larry Clark, JH Engström, Michel François, Ilse Frech, Julian Germain, Nan Goldin, Paul Graham, Roland Iselin, Ari Marcopoulos, Pietro Mattioli, Boris Mikhailov, Anne Morgenstern, Daidō Moriyama, Taiyo Onorato/Nico Krebs, Suzanne Opton, Helena Påls, Walter Pfeiffer, Pipilotti Rist, Maya Rochat, Viviane Sassen, Rico Scagliola/Michael Meier, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Alec Soth, and Tobias Zielony.

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