In a completely new exhibition looking back over the artistic career of husband-and-wife German photographers Anna and Bernhard Blume, the Centre Pompidou
is presenting their spectacular, monumental work acquired in 2012, Im Wahnzimmer, for the very first time.
This exhibition highlights their work, full of mocking humour, with a selection of 30 or so original photographs of the paranormal phenomena that have always amused and fascinated the two artists (IGPP collection - Institut für Grenzgebiete der Psychologie und Psychohygiene).
Anna and Bernhard Blume began working in the late Sixties. They have a real penchant for the subversive character of apparitions, levitations, the remote moving of objects and other spiritualist phenomena. In contrast with most of their contemporaries, they have adopted an openly irrational, subjective and jubilatory approach. In reconstructing these phenomena in their own way, and fixing them, the Blumes seek to break with the banality of a «petit-bourgeois» everyday life. Through these images, Anna and Bernhard Blume express an insidious, gently subversive criticism of the German middle class with its codes, stereotypes, relationship with consumerism and materialism.
"Look out for the domestic objects!" Although dating from the 1930s, the Surrealist artist Claude Cahun's remark could have been designed for Anna and Bernhard Blume, so accurately does it describe the atmosphere of these moments of pure hallucination, quirkiness and uncontrolled deviation created through their images.
The Im Wahnzimmer series fully reflects this sense of domestic paranormality. Its title is a pun on the German words "Wohnzimmer" (dining room) and "Wahn" (madness, delirium). Produced in 1984, it is inspired by photographs of the paranormal phenomena particularly those decidedly noisy spirits known as "poltergeists" regularly reported in the German press at the time, on which the artists gathered a considerable amount of information. The exhibition is presenting the monumental, 25 metre-long version of the Im Wahnzimmer series for the first time. It consists of a polyptych of eighteen large format prints (200 x 126 cm), which entered the museum's collections in 2012. This presentation dialogues with an exceptional group of photos of the paranormal phenomena that so fascinated the two artists.
] if photography still ought to feature something essential, then in the same way, through an analogy with abstract painting and its categories, principles and creative entities, and through an analogy with transcendental painting, there also ought to be a 'transcendental photography'." Bernhard Blume.
The exhibition is accompanied by a book co-published with Xavier Barral, containing an introduction by Clément Chéroux, an essay by Andreas Fischer and two articles on paranormal phenomena by Bernhard Blume.
Curator : Mnam/Cci, Clément Chéroux - Curator at the Musée National dArt Moderne