From Becher to Blume

Photographs from the Garnatz Collection and Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur in Dialogue | Provisional closure from Monday April 12th, 2021

Jürgen Klauke: Untitled from "Sunday Neuroses", 1990-92 © Jürgen Klauke, 2020

Featuring works by Bernd and Hilla Becher, Boris Becker, Anna and Bernhard Blume, Chargesheimer, Jim Dine, Frank Dömer, Gina Lee Felber, Candida Höfer, Benjamin Katz, Jürgen Klauke, Astrid Klein, Werner Mantz, Augustina von Nagel, Floris Neusüss, Sigmar Polke, Arnulf Rainer, Albert Renger-Patzsch, Tata Ronkholz, Thomas Ruff, Hugo Schmölz, Wilhelm Schürmann, and Thomas Struth

In view of the current threatening situation in the intensive care units, the city of Cologne's crisis team decided on 9 April 2021 that, as a first step, all easing of the so-called “emergency brake” should be withdrawn: From Monday, 12 April, all Cologne museums will have to be back stay closed. This means that our exhibitions are initially only accessible up to and including Sunday, 11 April.

To visit the exhibitions, you need an online ticket and a certificate of a negative corona test.

The exhibition “From Becher to Blume” provides in-depth insights in particular into the influential photography of the 1980s and 90s, a period that produced a number of innovative bodies of work and concepts. A central role is played by the Rhineland, home to numerous artists, museums, and galleries. The collector couple Ute and Eberhard Garnatz were part of this extremely lively scene, and began as early as the 1970s to pursue their collecting activities with great dedication. In addition to amassing a large number of paintings, sculptures, and prints, they also built a distinctive and remarkably diverse collection of photographs, some of them dating back to the 1950s but for the most part produced during the 1980s to the 2000s. During that decade, photography was more and more becoming part of the fine arts cosmos.

Bernd and Hilla Becher: Charleroi-Montigny, B, 1984 © Estate Bernd & Hilla Becher, represented by Max Becher, courtesy Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur – Bernd und Hilla Becher Archiv, Köln, 2020

The medium resolutely carved out a place for itself with and alongside the traditional genres. And the collectors followed this development with an alert eye. Keeping pace with the times, they began to focus on artists who used the photographic image as basis for their work and for whom the camera was hence a matter-of-fact technical tool in their artistic practice. Some of these artists chose the documentary image as their springboard, while others were far less interested in the medium’s ability to faithfully reproduce reality and instead ventured into experimental realms. There were also those who attempted to confound the world of objects in their photos, or who staged or made use of the chemical nature of the photographic process to arrive at pictorial works in a more painterly idiom.

Tata Ronkholz: Kiosk, Sankt-Franziskusstraße 107, 1977 © VAN HAM Art Estate: Tata Ronkholz

Showcasing the Garnatz Collection offers Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur the opportunity to arrange photographs from both collections in a productive dialogue. A common denominator can be found in particular in the works of Bernd and Hilla Becher, while photographers including Boris Becker, Candida Höfer, Thomas Ruff, and Thomas Struth are likewise represented in both collections. The exhibition furthermore places rare staged and experimental works in context. These are juxtaposed with other works that straddle the genres of photography and painting. As much as the medium of photography claims to reproduce reality, the range of possibilities it offers equally inspires artists to create works verging on the abstract or lyrical.

Candida Höfer: Art Gallery Karlsruhe V, 1999 © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2020

“From Becher to Blume” thus unfurls a broad and extremely varied spectrum of photographic approaches, which come together here in a refreshingly informal way to reveal their many contrasts and contradictions. On display are over 150 exhibits, including extensive serial works, by a total of 22 artists who have been instrumental in shaping recent German photography through their innovative contributions and continue to exert a major influence on the artistic medium.

A catalogue has been published by Snoeck Verlag to accompany the exhibition (Price: 36 €).

The exhibition is funded by the Kunststiftung NRW and the Sparkasse KölnBonn.

to see at the same time:
August Sander Prize winner 2020: Rebecca Unz – Head Studies

Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur, Im Mediapark 7 (1st floor), 50670 Cologne, tel.: +49 221/888 95 300, email: photographie( at ),

The exhibitions can only be visited with advance registration, ensuring traceability. Online tickets can be purchased here. We kindly ask the visitors to adhere to the hygiene protection measures, in particular to wear a medical mask and compliance with the minimum clearances.

Admission: € 5.50 (reduced € 3), entry: € 5.50 (reduced € 3), plus online sales fee, free entry on the first Monday of the month!

Opening times: every day except Wednesday from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Closed on Good Friday, 2 April, open on Easter Sunday, 4 April and Easter Monday, 5 April.

There are currently no public tours.

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