Focus on Photography

The FOTOGRAFIS Bank Austria Collection

The FOTOGRAFIS collection, founded in 1976, is one of the most outstanding collections of historical and international photography in Austria. Owned by Bank Austria UniCredit, it has been on permanent loan to the Salzburg Museum of Modern Art since 2009. Since active collecting ceased in 1985, the collection, now complete, focuses particularly on the early days of photography, Surrealism and New Objectivity, while the 1970s are represented by selected significant works from the Austrian photo scene.

Following the most comprehensive presentation of the collection in the Salzburg MdM Mönchsberg, in 2009, a selection consisting of the 200 most important works will be shown in the Rupertinum, accompanied by a substantial publication containing more than 70 classic examples from photographic history. The chronological structure of both exhibition and book offers insights into the development of the medium and its artistic language since the mid-19th century. Photographers' use of Impressionist-style effects, during the final decades of the 19th century and around the turn of the century, brought a rapprochement between photography and painting; Julia Margaret Cameron, Edward Steichen and Heinrich Kühn are representatives of Pictorialism in the FOTOGRAFIS collection. During the 1920s, Paul Strand and Edward Weston opened a new chapter in art photography, known as "Straight Photography", concentrating on the intrinsic value of photography as an art. One of the collection's strong points is that from the very inception of the collection, in the 1970s, foresight was shown in recognising the vital importance of US photography for the European scene. This was to increase further when outstanding works by photographers including Diane Arbus, Judy Dater and Duane Michals introduced a new pictorial language in the context of photography. Social commitment and research procedures, together with complex conceptual art, found a new means of expression in current photo series and tableaux. A significant role in collecting was also played by "experimental" photography since Surrealism – with examples by Man Ray, Raoul Hausmann and László Moholy-Nagy –, which once more took up the idea of narrative, associative photography. The FOTOGRAFIS collection complements the MdM's commitment to photography beyond contemporary Austrian photography, with world-famous examples of international and historical photography.

Curated by Margit Zuckriegl

 

 

 


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