Michael Schmidt. Lebensmittel

Michael Schmidt. Lebensmittel

Museum Morsbroich, Leverkusen

Michael Schmidt, “Untitled, # 22,” from: “Lebensmittel,” 2006–2010. Photography, 54,1 x 81,8 cm. © Michael Schmidt.

March 3, 2012

Michael Schmidt

4 March– 13 May 2012

Museum Morsbroich
Gustav-Heinemann-Strasse 80
D-51377 Leverkusen


From 2006 to 2010, Michael Schmidt travelled the continent of Europe photographing the production, processing, packaging and presentation of foodstuffs. After five years of planning and implementation, his monumental essay is now being presented in an exhibition at Museum Morsbroich and an accompanying publication: 177 images from everyday life in the agriculture and food industries, which are not just important economic sectors, but indirectly reflect a population’s political and social self-understanding.

Schmidt largely foregoes local references, with the result that what is visible in the images conveys an oppressive feeling of omnipresence and proximity. Yet the motifs are not intrusive. On the contrary, they are composed in such a way as to exert an impact with a certain delay: clearly and exemplarily. Agricultural workers, the animal breeding sector, fish farms, large bakeries, packaged sausage products, and landscapes mauled by the food industries—Schmidt takes us to an intermediate realm that he scrutinises with his painfully realistic gaze.

Michael Schmidt (born 1945 in Berlin, lives in Berlin and Schnackenburg) is known for his extensive series. As a rule he works on these continually for three to five years. Even though Schmidt has grappled with the great documentary photographers like Walker Evans, his own style is not easy to define. He opposes the objective in his subjective treatment of the object, and of man as object. Through his ever-new approach to photographic and societal issues, Schmidt adopts a unique position, with the result that his innovative, project-like works and his extreme dedication have made him a model for a whole generation of younger photographs.

“Lebensmittel” will first be shown at Museum Morsbroich from March 4 to May 13, 2012. It will subsequently tour to the Galerie im Taxispalais in Innsbruck (16 June–26 August 2012) and the Martin Gropius Bau in Berlin (12 January–1 April 2013).

The exhibition was curated by Markus Heinzelmann.

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue published by Snoeck Verlag (pp. 264, 29.5 x 31.4 cm, 177 reproductions, in duo-tone and colour).

Michael Schmidt. Lebensmittel at Museum Morsbroich
RSVP for Michael Schmidt. Lebensmittel
Museum Morsbroich, Leverkusen
March 3, 2012

Thank you for your RSVP.

Museum Morsbroich, Leverkusen will be in touch.


e-flux announcements are emailed press releases for art exhibitions from all over the world.

Agenda delivers news from galleries, art spaces, and publications, while Criticism publishes reviews of exhibitions and books.

Architecture announcements cover current architecture and design projects, symposia, exhibitions, and publications from all over the world.

Film announcements are newsletters about screenings, film festivals, and exhibitions of moving image.

Education announces academic employment opportunities, calls for applications, symposia, publications, exhibitions, and educational programs.

Sign up to receive information about events organized by e-flux at e-flux Screening Room, Bar Laika, or elsewhere.

I have read e-flux’s privacy policy and agree that e-flux may send me announcements to the email address entered above and that my data will be processed for this purpose in accordance with e-flux’s privacy policy*

Thank you for your interest in e-flux. Check your inbox to confirm your subscription.