The World as a Whole
ABOUT THE EXHIBITION
Since the early 1990s, German photography has been at the forefront of international contemporary art. With their colourful large-format images, artists such as Andreas Gursky, Thomas Struth, and Thomas Ruff – all graduates of the Düsseldorf Art Academy in the 1980s – confidently laid claim to creating works of art on a par with those of any other art form. They answered the sterile question of whether photography counts as art – the subject of recurring debate for over 150 years – by simply not asking it and refusing to doubt in the first place. Photography from Düsseldorf went on to become the seminal art movement of the late 20th century.
The selection from the Pinakothek der Moderne’s collection invites viewers to re-encounter the work of Düsseldorf photography’s key figures, including Candida Höfer and Axel Hütte as well as Gursky, Struth, and Ruff. Thematically, the works – which were created between 1988 and 2001 – range from portraits to landscape and nature photography to interior views of public buildings. Despite the thematic and stylistic differences, the exhibited artists all employ a documentary approach that was long regarded as non-artistic, elevating the ordinary world to the primary object of their photographic analyses. By turning their back on black-and-white photography and embracing colour, by choosing contemporary themes, and above all creating large-format prints the size of easel paintings, the artists, who today live in Düsseldorf, Cologne, and Berlin, took photography a decisive step further, leading to its widespread recognition as an artistically independent form of expression within contemporary art.
Planning your visit
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As a result of general measures to contain the COVID-19 virus, the Pinakothek der Moderne will remain closed to the public until further notice.
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