The notion of space has changed over time, in particular its representation in media. In the exhibition Space & Photography, the Museum der Moderne Salzburg presents a survey of these shifts. Considering exemplary works by artists for a comparative study of the different photographic visions of space the exhibition is engaging in both a historical and global perspective.
This exhibition probes the manifold interrelations between space and photography. In the early days of photography, questions of technical feasibility were pressing and creative possibilities beckoned; beginning in the 1960s, artists expanded the scope of their engagement with “space” to include social and conceptual issues. The exhibition presents works by thirty-five artists created between 1860 and today: from a walk-in camera obscura in which the lights of Salzburg’s old town are transmuted into a projected image to Hito Steyerl’s installation How Not to Be Seen (2013).
Six chapters offer an introduction to the changing perspectives on and into space in salient examples. The exhibition opens with early imaging processes and experimental photography. Enthralled with technology, nineteenth-century practitioners developed new methods to exploit the camera’s capacity to imitate human ways of seeing and stereoscopic vision. A shift came in the early twentieth century with the emergence of two related innovations: the so-called Neues Sehen, a tendency in photography and visual art propelled by the development of modern camera technology, and the Neues Bauen in architecture and urban design; the nexus between them is exemplified by the work of László Moholy-Nagy, who taught at the Bauhaus.
The photographers of the New Objectivity took inspiration from architectonic space in devising experimental pictorial concepts that unlocked an enlarged realm of visual impressions. The next chapters explore built space and architecture’s influence on society. The expansion of the cities, suburbanization, and the rise of residential tower blocks are themes in the works of the conceptual artist Stephen Willats and the photographer Wolfgang Tillmans. The latter’s video installation Book for Architects, which was presented at the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale, attests to his fascination with life in the city as a kaleidoscope of divergent individual design decisions. With Allan Sekula’s and Noël Burch’s film The Forgotten Space (2010), works by Santu Mofokeng, and Dayanita Singh’s Museum of Chances (2015), this exhibition’s section sheds light on boundaries in political systems, economic spheres, and those spaces whose existence is primarily virtual.
Works by Philip Kwame Apagya, Herbert Bayer, Giacomo Brogi, Franz Bergmüller, Jindřich Eckert, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Seiichi Furuya, Isa Genzken, Johannes Gramm, Birgit Graschopf, Florence Henri, M. Hoffmann, Kenneth Josephson, Wolfgang Kudrnofsky, Georges Lévy & Moyse Léon, Werner Mantz, Ingrid Martens, Santu Mofokeng, László Moholy-Nagy, Negretti & Zambra, Beaumont Newhall, Gregor Sailer, Alfons Schilling, Allan Sekula, Dayanita Singh, Margherita Spiluttini, Hito Steyerl, Sasha Stone, Clare Strand, Yutaka Takanashi, Wolfgang Tillmans, Umbo, Felix Weber, Stephen Willats
Director: Sabine Breitwieser
Curator: Christiane Kuhlmann, Curator of Photography and Media Art; with Peter Schreiner, Curatorial Assistant, Museum der Moderne Salzburg