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Photographic Concepts and Treasures – Works from the Collection

Part 2 – Urban Life, Architecture, Industry | Exhibition period extended to January 22, 2023

William Guerrieri: Habana Cafè/Via della chiesa, 2009, from the series „Il Villaggio/The Village“ © William Guerrieri

With photographs by Bernd und Hilla Becher, Boris Becker, Joachim Brohm, William Christenberry, Jim Dine, Claudia Fährenkemper, Lee Friedlander, William Guerrieri, Ruth Hallensleben, Candida Höfer, Horst Lang, Werner Mantz, Daido Moriyama, Albert Renger-Patzsch, Achim Riechers, August Sander, Stephen Shore, Katja Stuke, Henry Wessel, Petra Wittmar.


With the interlocking themes of "Urban life, architecture, industry", Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur is once again presenting a selection from its own holdings with historical and contemporary series of works in its anniversary year. The exhibits in this exhibition were collected over a period of about 30 years, some of them have already been shown in presentations, others are being presented for the first time. In total there are over 300 exhibits by 21 photographers from Germany, Italy, the USA and Japan, who have realized their works in various cultural contexts.

But as different as the concepts of the image authors are, they are united by the motivation to capture the environment they experience in visual documents and to convey it in the most differentiated and authentic way possible. What captivates them is the visual exploration of the world, as well as the possibilities of an aptly designed photographic realization with a far-reaching withdrawal of their own influence. Buildings, products, constructions, specific inventions, production processes, equipment, as well as interventions in the landscape are brought before the eye and transformed into revealing views and series of works. Measures to secure livelihoods and to meet needs, aesthetic ideas and cultural identities emerge. The focus is on evolved structures, moments that have been overlooked or those owed to chance. They are examined concisely, humorously and critically. Direct images of people tend to recede into the background, no matter how much their everyday life and work is often the origin of what is reflected in the photographs shown and becomes the motif of the picture. What becomes clear is that urban life moves within the framework of a wealth of architecturally and industrially shaped phenomena and processes.

Thus the photographs, taken since the 1920s and conceived as documentaries, prove to be decidedly contemporary in terms of subject matter and reflection. In many cases, they establish that the natural environment, on which everything is based, also permeates the network of what is shown, changes substantially as well as in its meaning, and plays a new essential role. Questions of time determine the interpretation of what we perceive, and above all it is photographs that stimulate us on many levels to deal with the past in the field of tension between the present and the future.

Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur, Im Mediapark 7, 50670 Köln, phone: +49 221/888 95 300, email: photographie( at )sk-kultur.de, www.photographie-sk-kultur.de

Admission: 6,50 € (reduced 4 €), first Monday of the month free admission!

Opening hours: daily except Wednesdays from 2 to 7 pm.

Closed November 1 (All Saints' Day), December 24, 25, 26, 28, 31, 2022 and January 1, 2023,
Open December 27, 29 and 30, 2022 and from January 2, 2023.

Public tours are held weekly on Sundays at 3 p.m. each week. Thematic focus on the first Sunday of each month (The tours are held in German, English on request).

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