"More Than Meets the Eye": An Interview with Friedhelm
Beginning in February, the Deutsche
Bank Collection presents for the first time a group exhibition
exclusively devoted to photography: "More
Than Meets the Eye – Photographic Art from the Deutsche Bank Collection."
Appelt to Wolfgang
Tillmans, works of more than 50 German photographers will be shown,
with a spectrum ranging from modern classics around the Düsseldorf
School to very young artists in the German photography scene. After
its start in Monterrey, Mexico, the exhibition will travel to further
important museums in Bogotá, Buenos Aires, Lima, Mexico City, Sao Paulo,
and Santiago de Chile. Friedhelm Hütte, Director of Deutsche Bank Art,
explains the background and the history of the exhibition in this
interview with Maria Morais.
Friedhelm Hütte, Direktor Deutsche
Maria Morais: How did the idea for the show “More
Than Meets the Eye” develop?
Friedhelm Hütte: The
idea to show a further exhibition in Latin America developed directly from
the success and the acceptance of the previous show. The exhibition Il
Ritorno dei Giganti / The Return of the Giants had toured through
Latin America from 2002 to 2004, and it was such a success that Deutsche
Bank and the participating museums agreed on a repetition. That we decided
to do a photography show next has many reasons, preceded by many
questions. What topic could be interesting in Latin American countries?
What has not been shown so much yet? What kind of an exhibition would meet
with real interest there? Where does Germany seem particularly interesting
at the moment? Then pretty soon it became obvious that we should do a
photography show. We have presented numerous exhibitions that gave an
insight into our collection, amongst them Works on Paper and the
anniversary show 25,
which after its stop in Berlin last year will be shown in Japan this
spring. But we never did a pure photography show. This insight into the
collection, which contains around 3000 photographic works, is something
Sander, Varnisher, © Photograph. Samml./SK Stiftung Kultur-A. Sander
Archiv, Köln/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2006
exhibition will tour for two years through various South American
capitals. How did you establish contact with the large museums that will
host the exhibition, for example in Mexico City, Sao Paulo, or Bogotá?
some of the museums we have had links for many years now. You could almost
speak of partner museums in the cases of the MAM,
the Museum of Modern Art in Sao Paulo or the MARCO
Museum of Contemporary Art in Monterrey. We have been guests there in
the past, and that was a great success. Contacts to the other
participating museums in Chile, Columbia, Peru, and Argentina were
established through Deutsche Bank offices in those cities.
Thomas Ruff, Portrait (Thomas
Bank Collection, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2006
What especially interests you about the idea of the
sequence and the large format in photography?
Both forms are
particularly typical of German photography. Sequencing or working in
series goes back to August
Sander and Karl
Blossfeldt. Decades later the Becher
students introduced a significant formal change. Struth,
Gursky, and Ruff
more or less invented the large format in photography. By now this format
has also become typical of German photography. These developments are
particularly well documented in the Deutsche Bank Collection. We have
often bought series and sequences, and large-format photographs are
numerous in the collection.
Struth, Dey Street New York/ Wall Street, 1978
The photography of the
Bechers is associated with "typically German" virtues: an analytical
perspective, soberness, categorisation. Would you say that these are also
typical characteristics of German photography after 1945?
wouldn’t agree with that. If you look at the catalogue, you’ll see that we
especially looked for examples where that is not the case. We chose works
that are precisely not characterised by this analytical perspective, where
a subjective perspective is dominant. There are artists in the show who
order their works as a sequence, but they have nothing analytical in mind
when doing so, but rather, they try to represent a course of events, to
simulate a dynamic, rhythm, or a movement. Take Susa
Templin’s Putzen, for example, or Gotthard
Graubner’s Tanzende Mönche, there is a great deal of
movement there, it actually gets quite close to film. If you look at Jürgen
Klauke’s photographs in the exhibition you’ll see how mystical
and surrealist they are. That has absolutely nothing to do with the Becher
school, and yet they are serial works. In fact, we rather tried to
demonstrate that sober analysis is just one aspect in German photography
among many others.
Susa Templin, from the series Putzen,