40 Photographs 40 Years


KB_2015227162417A Celebration by Galerie Kicken Berlin — 40 years of exhibitions and support of photography through an exhibition of 40 photographs.

Wonderful to see this gallery continuing to promiote the medium and the artists. Well done Galerie Kicken (not to get an plane ticket to get to Berlin!)

Click here for the gallery website

Text from the gallery website:

For 40 years the activities of Galerie Kicken Berlin have focused on spectacular and subtly compelling photographs from all epochs of photography. Conceived as both a vision for the future and retrospective, the exhibition 40 PHOTOGRAPHS is representative of the medium’s success story and the contribution that the gallery has made to firmly establishing the practice of collecting photography.

Understanding photography as art and, above all, as an adventure of seeing—communicating this to a wider public was the aim and inspiration behind the 40 years of gallery work of Rudolf Kicken (July 14, 1947 – June 17, 2014). He presented a program of ambitious exhibitions and publications in both Aachen (1974–1978) and Cologne (1979–1999). As of 2000 he continued this work with his wife, Annette, at the gallery’s new location in Berlin.

From the very beginning the gallery has shown the full spectrum of photographic images, which has spanned individual genres and the many functional and aesthetical applications of the medium. Among its focal subjects are Pictorialism, the Bauhaus, New Objectivity, New Vision, the German and Czech avant-garde, fotoform, documentary styles, scientific photography (such as macro photography and astronomical photography), reportage, candid photography, and important photographic estates (including those of Heinrich Kühn, Rudolf Koppitz, Helmar Lerski, Umbo and Ed van der Elsken).

The works of Heinrich Kühn and Rudolf Koppitz respectively mark the beginning and end of Pictorialism with visions that were guided by immediate visual impressions that were executed with the help of new techniques, such as the gum bichromate process. In his large-format landscape (dated ca. 1898) Kühn places emphasis on the layering of volume and the contrast between dark and light.

Both the students and teachers of the Bauhaus in Weimar, Dessau, and Berlin made use of photography as a basic tool of modern art, as demonstrated by the works of Edmund Collein and László Moholy-Nagy. Albert Renger-Patzsch and Werner Mantz both represent a typologically precise, objective, and pared-down view of concrete things and buildings. Shown together with works from the 19th century, such as Leopold Ahrendts’ architectural vedute or Ottomar Anschütz’ high-speed photographs, these images demonstrate an inherently modern idiom.

In the period between the two World Wars the Czech avant-garde develops its own unique expression of the abstract and concrete, such as Jaromír Funke’s studies of light and shadow, Frantisek Drtikol’s unparalleled compositions with female nudes, or Josef Sudek’s still lives. Helmar Lerski transformed the human visage into multiple masks and personae through the use of lighting. Man Ray, László Moholy-Nagy, and Umbo pushed the boundaries of the photographic perspective, and their works inspired Otto Steinert and the fotoform group to revive the practise of photography as an artistic means of expression extending beyond the portrayal of the real. Even today, artists are drawn to the potential of both photography and film. With his multi-part tableaux and film installations Dieter Appelt represents one of the most important German representatives of this tendency.

German photography played an prominent role in the last quarter of the 20th century. Bernd and Hilla Becher as well as Heinrich Riebesehl and Wilhelm Schürmann examined industrial, urban, and rural sites as forms of contemporary cultural landscape. André Gelpke, Helga Paris, and Sibylle Bergemann observed people in urban contexts. Beginning in the 1950s F. C. Gundlach helped garner a new level of acclaim for German fashion photography, and with his confrontational images of women, Helmut Newton made a seminal mark on portrait and fashion photography from the 1970s through the 1990s.
Despite the many differences in their individual imagery, the contemporary artists of the gallery — Joachim Brohm, Götz Diergarten, Charles Fréger, Jitka Hanzlová, Péter Nádas, Hans-Christian Schink and Alfred Seiland — share a conceptual approach in their perspectives on people and the environment.

In the aesthetic of photography as we understand it today, art and everyday culture meet and give rise to ever new visual experiments. The selection of 40 seminal photographs from all periods of the gallery’s work not only reflect the ongoing engagement of Kicken Berlin but also the broad spectrum of 175 years of photography.
Carolin Förster

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