Berlin, Metropolis of Photography:
Bernd and Hilla
Becher, Shirin Neshat, and the International "Photography Festival"
Contemporary photography conquers Berlin! This is the slogan the international
"Photography Festival" – which is taking place for the first time in the
capital – has coined to celebrate its premiere. At the same time, the
Museum for Contemporary Art at Hamburger Bahnhof opens the "Art Autumn"
with two important exhibitions of the works of the German photographer
couple Bernd and Hilla Becher and the Iranian artist Shirin Neshat.
Jessica Backhaus, Blue Spoon, from Jesus and the cherries,
2001 - 2004
At the boundary of documentation:
through mid-November, the
Berlin Photography Festival exhibition After the Fact at
Martin-Gropius-Bau is presenting over 30 positions in current photography.
And while the works shown primarily address issues of global relevance,
the participating photographers are not concerned with merely representing
reality. The works, which range from objective report to fictitious
narrative, demonstrate links between various conceptual contexts and a
proximity to contemporary art.
Jessica Backhaus, for instance, worked for over three years on her series
Jesus and the Cherries from 2001, in which she documented the everyday
life of Polish families: their homes, their private spheres, and their
hospitality. The sensitive portraits and still lifes of the New York-based
artist are juxtaposed with
Jo Voet’s sober scenes in the series Bucuresti underworld
(2002-2005), which portray the life of Romania’s poorest population faced
with a miserable reality.
Jo Voets, Televisor. Cristina (5) is Vali and Gabi 's oldest daughter.
The family moved 4 times last year, from one dump to the next, 2002-2005
In Down to the Road of Life (1997),
Masaki Hirano transforms images of bullet holes and bunkers in Albania and
Sarajevo into enigmatic abstract photographs.
Christoph Draeger visited the sites of past terror for his long-term
documentation “voyages apocalyptiques” (1994-2005) to investigate whether
horror can somehow inscribe itself into an urban landscape.
Christoph Draeger, Hiroshima, 1999,
Courtesy magnus müller berlin
Masaki Hirano, Bunkers 1, Albania,
The festival’s series of high-caliber events examines the
broadening of documentary possibilities in the photographic media. The
ambitious accompanying program offers symposia, a place to discuss, and a
number of workshops in which key questions are posed: how can knowledge be
gained through photography? How can photographic expression be newly
conceived and reformed? And what role do the global media play in it all?
Bernd and Hilla Becher, 4 Gasometer,
Deutsche Bank Collection
Bernd and Hilla Becher, from the
series Wassertürme (01/04), 1999, Courtesy K20K21 Kunstsammlung
Nordrhein-Westfalen, © Bernd und Hilla Becher, Düsseldorf, 2005