6 1/2 Weeks: Ecker Riemer Ruff – Retouched
April 20–June 5, 2017
Artist talk, performance and DJ: May 12, 6:30pm
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From April 20 to June 5, 2017, Museum Folkwang is presenting new photographic works by Bogomir Ecker, Sebastian Riemer, and Thomas Ruff. Within our compact exhibition format 6 1/2 Weeks, the three artists explore photographs from American newspaper´s photographic archives of the 1920s up to the 1970s in Ecker Riemer Ruff – Retouched. The objects, in most instances heavily retouched, show the artists adopting different strategies to deconstruct and analyse the photographic image.
One fallout of the continual digitalization of newspapers is that many analogue photographic archives are being discontinued and dissolved. In today’s show, original press prints become a subject for artistic treatment once again. In their retouched images of wars and disasters, long-forgotten starlets and curiosities, the three German artists make it clear that the press photo not only served a journalistic role, but was also a medium of sensationalism, propaganda, and spectacle.
Bogomir Ecker (b. 1950) has spent decades collecting photographs on the subject of "idylls and disasters." Initially he used them merely as a source of reference and inspiration for his sculptural work, but in more recent years he has combined them in a series of tableaux composed of several parts. What ensues is a kind of cinematic sequence, whereby the images give rise to a larger autonomous narrative that is partially combined with painted-over newspaper extracts.
Sebastian Riemer (b. 1982) has been working with this kind of material since 2013. He directs his gaze at the pictorial nature of the photos. He blows the images up into large-scale prints before subjecting them to an artistic intervention: the images are not merely touched up, but often almost completely overpainted. Riemer’s eye is on the grotesque and surreal character of this retouched photographic pictorial reality.
Thomas Ruff (b. 1958) superimposes the front over the reverse of the print, which, usually unseen, is marked with photo-captions, stamps, and editorial notes. In doing so Ruff makes visible that these were once political objects circulated by the media.
On Friday, May 12, at 6:30pm, an artist talk with the featured artists Bogomir Ecker, Sebastian Riemer, and Thomas Ruff will be held to mark the exhibition 6 1/2 Weeks: Ecker Riemer Ruff – Retouched. The talk will be accompanied by a sound performance featuring Florian Walter and his "typewriter music" and DJ Simon Hildebrandt. Admission is free.
With its short turn-around times and quick planning, the new exhibition format 6 1/2 Weeks aims to present artwork to the public in a straightforward and comparatively spontaneous manner. The exhibition space set aside for 6 1/2 Weeks is located in the foyer of Museum Folkwang, and features the work of newly discovered artists or work relating to topical issues in six separate displays a year.
The exhibition format 6 1/2 Weeks is supported by Sparkasse Essen.
Anna Littmann, anna.littmann [at] museum-folkwang.essen.de