A Look at the Collection
Selected Portraits from our Collection
February 26 – May 29, 2016
Concurrent with the exhibition With Different Eyes—The Portrait in Contemporary Photography, Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur is presenting a selection of portrait positions from its own collection, in which portrait photography plays an important role. The August Sander Archive harbors thousands of portraits that the photographer took between the late 19th century and the 1950s. Since his first considerations for a conceptually arranged portfolio or cultural study, as he also called it, with the title People of the 20th Century, he continuously developed the idea for a long-term empirical visual study that in all of its complexity aimed to document the face of the time by means of individual, double, or group portraits. His photographs continue to hit the nerve of the time and prompt questions that can be further pursued by numerous photographers—be it with respect to Sander’s contents, be it with a focus on his methodical approach and his inquiring mind.
Against this background, August Sander’s portraits also set an important direction for the structure of the collection of Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur. Works by his contemporaries are taken into consideration, above all, however, by photographers from succeeding generations who venerate Sander and carry on a dialogue with his oeuvre. Several works from our collection, for example by Diane Arbus, Rosalind Solomon, Gabriele and Helmut Nothhelfer, Albrecht Tübke, Francesco Neri, Judith Joy Ross, Oliver Sieber, Jim Dine, and Thomas Ruff, are included in the current presentation within the scope of the collaborative exhibition With Different Eyes. It assembles 10 artist positions from Germany, Italy, and the United States, all together just over 60 photographs—each of them individual and typological portraits, taken in domestic environments, at the workplace, or in the neutral atmosphere of a studio, outdoors, in public space, in the country, or in urban centers. In most cases, the individuals being portrayed assume an intermediate distance to the photographer and thus to us as viewers and are shown as full-length or three-quarter figures, occasionally close up as busts—a kaleidoscope of impressions and statements that relate to documentary photography in a broad sense.