From November 1, 2012 to February 3, 2013, the Schirn will be presenting numerous contemporary artworks with a view of exploring the topic of the disappearing private sphere and the “public nature of the intimate.” Privacy—today this almost seems like a concept from the past. It hardly appears apt in times when everything is posted on Facebook, from your favorite recipe to your current relationship status. Exhibitionism, self-revelation, the urge to tell stories, the pleasure of presenting and voyeurism are the social strategies of our day and age—a structural change of the public sphere has long since taken place. Showcasing around 30 artistic positions, the extensive group show Privacy impressively explores the fragile boundaries between the public and the private spheres. Photographs, Polaroids, cell-phone photos, objects, installations and films show domestic scenes and reveal personal secrets. Familiar and intimate things are visually communicated. In 1959, Stan Brakhage presented to his audience a film documenting the birth of his first child. Ryan McGinley captures seemingly authentic moments in his photographic compositions of friends and acquaintances, Michael Wolf underscores the easy availability of computer images by photographing scenes from Google Street View from his screen and Tracy Emin installs her used bed in the middle of the exhibition space. Further artistic explorations of the radical disappearance of the private sphere and the path to a post-private society are provided by Ai Weiwei, Merry Alpern, Michel Auder, Mike Bouchet, Leo Gabin, Nan Goldin, Dash Snow, Mark Wallinger, Andy Warhol and many other contemporary artists.
Nowadays the concept of privacy is inextricably linked to media presence. The desire for ever faster communication is extremely significant, and above all the media of photography and film enable an unbridled openness of expression. The public staging of private events, up-close-and-personal stories, talk shows, reality shows, private websites, chat rooms, digital photo albums on the Net and the presentation of personality profiles for a worldwide virtual community are references to new forms of the public display of the private sphere. The current debate on the recently coined term “post-privacy”—denoting the radical opening up of the personal sphere—fundamentally questions the hitherto valid notion of privacy.
By considering artworks from the late 1950s to the present day, the exhibition Privacy seeks to critically explore the various meanings of privacy and the mechanism behind this specific form of image production. In addressing this topic artists have used a wide variety of recording systems. Back in the 19th century, the invention of photography had enhanced the status of private life, allowing it to be captured by amateurs, reproduced, and spread. Later it was joined by portable film and video technology that required little expertise. Today, the permanent availability of technology means that everything can be turned into an image at any time. Then it takes just a few steps with a smartphone to post it on the Net and send it out into the world. In recent years, these technological developments have led to image production shifting to a new media area—the Internet.
Artists: Ai Weiwei, Merry Alpern, Michel Auder, Evan Baden, Richard Billingham, Mike Bouchet, Stan Brakhage, Sophie Calle, Tracey Emin, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Leo Gabin, Nan Goldin, Christian Jankowski, Jenny Michel and Michael Höpfel, Birgit Jürgenssen, Edgar Leciejewski, Leigh Ledare, Christian Marclay, Ryan McGinley, Marilyn Minter, Gabriel de la Mora, Mark Morrisroe, Laurel Nakadate, Peter Piller, Jörg Sasse, Dash Snow, Fiona Tan, Mark Wallinger, Andy Warhol, Michael Wolf, Kōhei Yoshiyuki, Akram Zaatari.
Director: Max Hollein. Curator: Martina Weinhart.