August 25, 2015 - Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg - When We Share More Than Ever
August 25, 2015

When We Share More Than Ever

Doug Rickard, 95zLs, from the series “N.A.,” 2011–14. Courtesy Yossi Milo Gallery, New York. © Doug Rickard.

When We Share More Than Ever
June 6–September 20, 2015

Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg
20099 Hamburg
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 10am–6pm,
Thursday 10am–9pm

More pictures are being taken and digitized than ever before—innumerable snapshots pile up on hard disks and in clouds, are shared via the Internet and commented on. But professional image databases and portals such as Facebook and Flickr only supersede older forms of archiving and transferring images and the associated interaction. In fact, photography has been a means of capturing, storing, and communicating visual impressions ever since its early days in the 19th century. The exhibition When We Share More Than Ever reflects on how images are shared and shows how today’s rampant exchange of digital photos links in with the history of the analogue medium. 

In ten chapters, selected contexts are examined in which collecting and sharing images has played—and still plays—a role. More than 200 historical works from the MKG’s collection are set in counterpoint against twelve contemporary artistic projects. The present-day artists reflect in their works on the ways digital photography is used as well as on the mechanisms and implications of new media. They focus on the Internet as a new picture archive, with collections of images such as Apple Maps or photos on eBay, and on images such as those exchanged via mobile phones. Important aspects are the digital image collection as a research resource and inspiration for contemporary art, and the relevance of the classic analogue collection in relation to today’s often-invoked image overkill. 

Conceived in archive format, the exhibition explores the archive’s possible forms and uses. The historical works were selected from the MKG’s holdings of some 75,000 photographs to show how different photographic practices have been assimilated over the years. Rather than being a collection of only art photography, the MKG archive reflects the everyday uses of the medium. It gathers together various photographic applications, whether the scientific photos taken at an institute for impulse physics, a fashion spread created by Terry Richardson for Sisley, or Max Scheler’s report on Liverpool’s club scene for Stern magazine.

The juxtaposition of historical and contemporary works illuminates how the use and function of photographic images have changed, and which aspects have remained the same despite the digital revolution. Furthermore the exhibition is dedicated to the broader question of how the function of a museum collection of photography is affected in the digital era, when vast digital image archives are only a mouse click away thanks to Google Image Search.

Invited artists: Laia Abril, Ai Weiwei, Regula Bochsler, Natalie Bookchin, Heman Chong, Aurélien Froment, David Horvitz, Trevor Paglen, Doug Rickard, Taryn Simon, Jens Sundheim, Penelope Umbrico

From the Photography and New Media Collection of the MKG: Fratelli Alinari, Hanns-Jörg Anders, Nobuyoshi Araki, Francis Bedford, Félix Bonfils, Adolphe Braun, Natascha A. Brunswick, Atelier d’Ora – Benda, Minya Diez-Dührkoop, Rudolf Dührkoop, Harold E. Edgerton, Tsuneo Enari, Andreas Feininger, Johann Hamann, Theodor und Oscar Hofmeister, Thomas Hoepker, Lotte Jacobi, Gertrude Käsebier, Kaku Kurita, Atelier Manassé, Hansi Müller-Schorp, Eadweard Muybridge, Arnold Newman, Terry Richardson, Max Scheler, Hildi Schmidt-Heins, Hiromi Tsuchida, Carl Strüwe, Léon Vidal, and more

The exhibition has been made possible through the kind support of the Ausstellungsfonds der Freien und Hansestadt Hamburg/Exhibition Fund of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg.

Curators: Esther Ruelfs and Teresa Gruber
Exhibition architecture: Studio Miessen
Graphics: Studio Mahr
Press contact: Michaela Hille, T +49 (0)40 428134 800 / presse [​at​]

When We Share More Than Ever at Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg
Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg
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