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The portrait in contemporary photography is focus of exhibition at Kunstmuseum Bonn
Rosalind Solomon: Whoppers, Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA, 1979 © Rosalind Solomon.

BONN.- For the first time Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur, Cologne, and Kunstmuseum Bonn simultaneously show two group exhibitions with the shared title “With Different Eyes. The Portrait in Contemporary Photography.” These exhibitions both deal with a topic that never gets out of date and that offers a diversity of reference points to us. Not only in the history of painting, but especially in the history of photography, the portrait has always been one of the most important and constantly re-innovated pictorial contents.

The exhibitions present numerous artistic concepts that shed light on the genre from many different angles. The shows discuss aspects of individuality and identity, social and cultural contexts and social relations. Single photographs, photo sequences, room-filling installations and cinematic works show people in different living environments, examine their presence in the photographic picture and discuss the meaning of the portrait in regard to individualization, characterization, culture and abstraction.

Traditional forms of the picture and innovative approaches together illustrate the diversity of the topic and make visible the change that photography has been subject to over the last centuries, whether in respect of analogue and digital technologies or a broader artistic acceptance. It is with great freedom that the artists presented in the show make use of the means of media available to them and thus create their own cosmos. The individual picture and the portrait series with its reproducibility.

The two institutions in Bonn and Cologne put different emphases on the exhibitions’ topic. Kunstmuseum Bonn focuses on aspects of contemporary artistic picture concepts in the field of portrait photography in Germany and thus ties in with its collection’s focus on German art after 1945. The show will include artists whose photographic approaches reach from documentary to mise-en-scène, from restatements of iconographic picture traditions to the artistic occupation with amateur photography or abstraction as the formal reflection of the topic. With this comprehensive exhibition concept the cooperation between Cologne and Bonn recalls the three-part exhibition Lichtbildnisse. Das Porträt in der Fotografie, which Klaus Honnef conceived for Rheinisches Landesmuseum in Bonn in 1982 and thus presents the development of the topic in the context of recent artistic and social changes.

Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur in Cologne focuses on serial portraits that follow an artistic-documentary approach. The institution with its August Sander archive and its central position in the field of documentary photography thus follows up on its programmatic orientation. On the one hand, the exhibition includes portraits from the institutions own collection on the basis of the premise “View into the Collection,” on the other hand they invited nine photographers from four continents to present extracts from their work. Both parts of the exhibition present an exciting approach to the genre of the portrait. Merely typological pictures alternate with narrative portraits, the static picture with the moving picture. It constantly becomes apparent how August Sander has had an international impact both methodically and in regard to content and how he has influenced portrait photography as a source of inspiration.

The cooperation between the two institutions makes possible the first comprehensive overview of contemporary portrait photography in the 21st century. The exhibition “With Different Eyes” will be accompanied by a catalogue and events in both cities.

The exhibition includes works by: Kunstmuseum Bonn: Ute Behrend, Katharina Bosse, Clegg & Guttmann, Dunja Evers, Jan Paul Evers, Albrecht Fuchs, Bernhard Fuchs, Jitka Hanzlová, Uschi Huber, Jörg Paul Janka, Sabrina Jung, Keller/Wittwer, Annette Kelm, Erik Kessels, Dieter Kiessling, Jana Kölmel, Eckhard Korn, Christian Mayer, Katharina Mayer, Christopher Muller, Peter Piller, Barbara Probst, Timm Rautert, Daniela Risch, Thomas Ruff, Michael Schmidt, Daniel Schumann, Oliver Sieber, Beat Streuli, Thomas Struth, Katja Stuke, Wolfgang Tillmans, Christopher Williams, Tobias Zielony.

Die Photgraphische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur der Sparkasse KölnBonn: Diane Arbus, Charles Fréger, Pepa Hristova, Pieter Hugo, Hiroh Kikai, Francesco Neri, Mark Neville, Gabriele und Helmut Nothhelfer, Judith Joy Ross, Thomas Ruff, August Sander, Oliver Sieber, Katja Stuke, Jerry L. Thompson, Mette Tronvoll, Albrecht Tübke, Rosalind Solomon

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