ABOUT THE EXHIBITION
Still Life, a presentation by the Stiftung Ann und Jürgen Wilde, continues the dialogue with contemporary works from the Sammlung Goetz initiated in neighbouring galleries by the exhibition Au Rendez-vous des amis. Now Still Life widens the focus to encompass photography, a medium which has experienced enormous changes in its aesthetics and reception, particularly over the past 100 years.
Even in the early 19th century we find examples of photographs showing collections and arrangements of objects, for instance an image of a cupboard full of glasses, or another of baskets of fruit from William Henry Fox Talbot’s seminal The Pencil of Nature (1844). In the first case Talbot was interested in the structure of the objects, but in the second instance he was essentially imitating painting. In the first half of the 20th century, responding to the increasing role of technology and mechanization in everyday life, photography began to be preoccupied with reproducing – with technical perfection – the surface textures and material quality of objects, widening its scope to include industrial and commercial photography.
Albert Renger-Patzsch, one of the most important protagonists of photography of the New Objectivity, succeeded in capturing ‘the essence of objects’ by purely photographic means. At around the same time, Florence Henri, a member of the New Vision (Neues Sehen) movement, abandoned all aspiration to intricate detail and technical precision in favour of experimenting with mirrors, montages, and ways to visually ‘defamiliarize’ the subjects. Her subjectively enhanced compositions bring out the surreal, enigmatic qualities and suggestive power of objects.
This tension between the autonomy of real things and some greater overlying meaning continues to influence photography today. Wolfgang Tillmans’s photographs explore the poetically abstract characteristics of both everyday chance constellations and composed arrangements. Conveying a time-specific narration while simultaneously reflecting and commenting on the medium itself, they address questions of colour, form, light, and the materiality of the medium as pictures on paper on walls, and probe the boundaries between photography and other art forms.
The presentation includes 13 selected works by Florence Henri and Albert Renger-Patzsch from the holdings of the Stiftung Ann und Jürgen Wilde and three large-scale works by Wolfgang Tillmans from the Sammlung Goetz.
Under the title Collection+, the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen (Bavarian State Painting Collections) in the Pinakothek der Moderne will be presenting studio exhibitions within the context of the collection. Presentations of new acquisitions, loans and artist rooms reveal the laborious work involved in gathering, maintaining and researching the collections, shining a light on the scholarly investigations into them and their contemporary relevance.