Bernd and Hilla Becher
Photography and the Real. The exhibition takes an in-depth look at the type of photography which aims to present unvarnished reality. The works selected are characterized by their factual way of representing reality, with the artist keeping a seemingly low profile. A closer look, however, clearly reveals a subjective, individual approach and a keen interest in the objects depicted.
Photography and the Real
The exhibition takes an in-depth look at the type of photography which aims to present unvarnished reality. The works selected are characterized by their factual way of representing reality, with the artist keeping a seemingly low profile. A closer look, however, clearly reveals a subjective, individual approach and a keen interest in the objects depicted.
The exhibition title "Cruel and Tender" highlights the paradox of detachment and commitment. It goes back to a statement by Lincoln Kirstein, an art and literature scholar, who characterized the works of the American photographer Walker Evans using the expression "tender cruelty". The tension between objective description and subjective interest in the object becomes apparent in works which are completely different in character such as August Sander's major portrait project "people in the 20th century" and Boris Michailov's contemporary works depicting the predicament of the homeless and deprived in the former Soviet Union.
This major exhibition will present works by more than twenty photographers whose photographs depict reality and who have been trend-setters in this field. The exhibition will present comprehensive groups of works by Robert Adams, Diane Arbus, Lewis Baltz, Bernd and Hilla Becher, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Rineke Dijkstra, William Eggleston, Walker Evans, Robert Frank, Lee Friedlander, Paul Graham, Andreas Gursky, Boris Michailov, Nicholas Nixon, Martin Parr, Albert Renger-Patzsch, Thomas Ruff, August Sander, Michael Schmidt, Fazal Sheikh, Stephen Shore, Thomas Struth and Garry Winogrand.
The photographer's unemotional and cold, yet sympathetic view of the objects depicted, which is the central theme of this exhibition, pre-supposes a detailed and objective description. Thus, formalistic, surrealist and romantic photographic trends are excluded right from the outset. This kind of photography creates pictures about objects, not pictures with objects. "Cruel and Tender - Photography and the Real" is not arranged in a chronological order, but creates a dialogue of individual positions. This dialogue takes place at different places and times and will reveal differences and affinities in the realistic photography of the 20th century.
The exhibition "Cruel and Tender - Photography and the Real" - is being created in a joint venture by the Museum Ludwig and the Tate Modern. It is being designed by Emma Dexter, senior curator at the Tate Modern and by Thomas Weski, senior curator at the Museum Ludwig.
For the Tate Modern this first major exhibition of photography, which had nearly 100.000 visitors in London, signals a successful start in the dealing with photography. It will provide the Museum Ludwig, which has a comprehensive, but heterogeneous photographic collection, with the opportunity to review the role of photography in the context of a collection of 20th century and contemporary art. The exhibition reflects in the area of photography the structure of this collection with its focal point of an artistic dialog between Europe and the USA.
The exhibition in the Museum Ludwig is supported by the German Savings Banks Association.
A comprehensive exhibition catalogue will be published by Hatje Cantz with essays by David Campany, Emma Dexter, Susanne Lange and Thomas Weski, 210 illustrations, 287 pages.
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