March 28, 2007 - Ludwig Museum - Museum of Contemporary Art - ‘What does the jellyfish want?’
March 28, 2007

‘What does the jellyfish want?’

Christopher Williams, Pacific Sea Nettle, Chrysaora Melanaster, Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific, 100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, California, August 9,2005, 2005, copyright Christopher Williams

What does the jellyfish want?
Photographs from Man Ray to James Coleman
31 March till 15 July 2007

Museum Ludwig
Bischofsgartenstr. 1
50667 Köln
Tel: 49-221-221-26165
Fax: 49-221-221-24114
info [​at​]

What does the jellyfish want? This question was raised by artist Christopher Williams during an interview in which he explained why he finds this sea-creature so fascinating: without shape, without a skeleton, and without a sex, a jellyfish is a creature without properties. In keeping with this, the jellyfish is a fitting metaphor for photography in contemporary art and serves as the motto for the exhibition: What is photography? Copy of reality or data source that may be altered as desired? Documentation or staged image? Found footage or extravagantly made exposure? With three historical links back to the avant-garde at the dawn of the 20th century, the exhibition shows current tendencies in photography against the backdrop of its traditions.

The exhibition includes a historical review which highlights Surrealist photography around Man Ray, the photographs, photogrammes and collages of the Constructivists such as László Moholy-Nagy and A.M. Rodchenko, as well as August Sanders Man of the Twentieth Century.

These early standpoints will be presented in the context of current works, which are grouped around the major advances in contemporary art photography. These include, for instance, the rediscovery of photography in the actionist and conceptual currents of the 1970s. By the end of the seventies a new development manifested – a move from the photographic representation of reality to a reflection on and reinvention of already existing photographic images. Over the last ten years the documentary approach has been rediscovered as an artistic stance in its own right.

The fundamental aspiration to make reality visible in photographs, and to explore and analyse it, is now shared by artists who like Andreas Gursky process the photographic material on the computer.

Museum Ludwig showed the way in the mid-seventies when it was the first art museum to acquire, for instance, the Gruber Collection, as well as a number of the pivotal works of contemporary photography by artists such as Bruce Nauman, Dennis Oppenheim, Douglas Huebler, Bernd and Hilla Becher, to name a few. Since then the collection has constantly expanded so as to visualise the entire evolution of art photography and bring it right up to the present day. The collections treasures will be presented together with its recent acquisitions.

List of Artists:
Robert Adams, Eugène Atget, John Baldessari, Thomas Bayrle, Bernd and Hilla Becher, Anna and Bernhard Johannes Blume, Mel Bochner, Joachim Brohm, James Coleman, Jan Dibbets, William Eggleston, Valie Export, Hans Peter Feldmann, Lee Friedlander, Albrecht Fuchs, Gilbert & George, Andreas Gursky, Jitka Hanzlova, Florence Henri, Candida Höfer, Douglas Huebler, Sanja Ivekovi, Benjamin Katz, André Kertész, Jürgen Klauke, Louise Lawler, Jochen Lempert, Barry Le Va, Manfred Leve, Sherrie Levine, Sol LeWitt, Gordon Matta-Clark, Boris Mikhailov, László Moholy-Nagy, Robert Morris, Bruce Nauman, Gabriele and Helmut Nothhelfer, Dennis Oppenheim, Peter Piller, Man Ray, Alexander Rodchenko, Thomas Ruff, Ed Ruscha, August Sander, Gregor Schneider, Ursula Schulz-Dornburg, Cindy Sherman, Robert Smithson, Thomas Struth, Wolfgang Tillmans, Jeff Wall, Robert Watts, Stephen Wilks, Stephen Willats, Christopher Williams and David Wojnarowicz.

A richly illustrated and wide-ranging catalogue will by published by Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, containing articles by Bodo von Dewitz, Barbara Engelbach, Herbert Molderings und Herta Wolf.

Ludwig Museum - Museum of Contemporary Art
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