Group Exhibition

»Unboxing Photographs.
Working in the Photo Archive«

“Unboxing Photographs: Working in the Photo Archive” opens the boxes of four photo archives to showcase the material diversity of photographs as three-dimensional objects: from glass plate negatives, to 35 mm film, to prints on albumin or silver gelatin paper. These photo-objects are taken in the hand, tilted and turned over, labeled, cut down, framed, glued into albums, printed, and dispatched or posted online. Contact and inventory sheets, cardboard mounts, card catalogs, and today even display screens are integral parts of the photo-object, or even constitute it.

Since the 19th century, archaeologists, ethnologists, and art historians have worked with photographs and assembled them in archives. There, they are processed and ordered – and only through such treatment do they become usable as documents for scholarly research. These procedures alter the physical properties of photographs and leave behind material traces. Photographs, hence, are neither objective nor timeless. By taking them seriously as objects, and not just as pictures, it becomes possible to tell their multifarious stories.

The exhibition interrogates the commonly practiced and disciplinary conventions that govern the perception and presentation of photographs – for example museum display using passepartouts – and tries out new design possibilities. Work with photo-objects is also central to the artistic interventions of JUTOJO, Ola Kolehmainen, Joachim Schmid, Elisabeth Tonnard, and Akram Zaatari, all of which have been integrated into the exhibition.

This exhibition is the product of a joint research project: Photo Objects – Photographs as Objects (of Research) in Archaeology, Ethnology and Art History, mounted by the Photothek of the Kunsthistorische Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut, the Photographic Collection of the Kunstbibliothek and the Antikensammlung at the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, and the Institut für Europäische Ethnologie der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, sponsored by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research. Other exhibition sponsors are: the Schering Stiftung, and the Verein der Freunde der Antike auf der Museumsinsel Berlin e.V.

Curatorial Concept: Julia Bärnighausen, Costanza Caraffa, Stefanie Klamm, Franka Schneider, Petra Wodtke

Read more on the project website fotobjekt.hypotheses.org and discover the framework program on the website of Kunstbibliothek – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin: www.smb.museum/kb

Feb 16 — May 27, 2018
+ Framework program: see Kunstbibliothek website

Kunstbibliothek am Kulturforum, Matthäikirchplatz 6, 10785 Berlin
[Tiergarten | Mitte]

Opening hours: Tue – Fri 10 am – 6 pm, Sat & Sun 11 am – 6 pm

Admission: 6 € / reduced 3 €

Also recommended in…
Berlin | Mitte

COVER PHOTO PiB Guide Nº19: Wim Wenders, reluctant, unknown photographer, 1971 © Wim Wenders . Courtesy Wim Wenders Stiftung. Exhibition at C/O Berlin. Opening Reception: Friday, July 6, 2018, 7 PM

The »PiB Guide«

Loving printed matter? Discover PiB’s recommendations for July/Aug 2018 in the new PiB Guide Nº19! This issue of PiB’s bi-monthly art guide will be available by the end of June, published as an A6 booklet / 44 pages / with texts in English & German, and can already be pre-ordered! Shipping is offered within Germany and to all EU-countries.

Note: The print deadline for the PiB Guide Nº20 Sep/Oct is Tuesday, August 14th.
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