Box no. 5 with negative films from the Hahne-Niehoff Archives, Institute for European Ethnology, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Photo: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Unidentified photographer, Eight Mirror Frames, silver gelatin paper on cardboard, Collection of Elia Volpi, c. 1900, Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut
Photo: Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut
February 16 – May 27, 2018
Thursday, 15. February 2018, 7–9 p.m.
Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday von 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
From February 16 through May 27, 2018, the National Museums in Berlin will present the exhibition “Unboxing Photographs: Work in the Photo Archive” at the Library of Art History at the Kulturforum The project, which was developed by the Collection of Photography of the Library of Art History and Collection of Classical Antiquities, both National Museums in Berlin – Prussian Cultural Heritage, together with the Photo Library of Art Historical Institute in Florence – Max Planck Institute and the Institute for European Ethnology at Humboldt University of Berlin, wants to explore alternative possibilities of presenting photographs, highlighting their three-dimensional character.
“Unboxing Photographs: Work in the Photo Archive” opens the boxes of four photo archives to showcase the material diversity of photographs as three-dimensional objects: from glass plate negatives, to 35 mm film, to prints on albumin or silver gelatin paper. These photo-objects are taken in the hand, tilted and turned over, labeled, cut down, framed, glued into albums, printed, and dispatched or posted online. Contact and inventory sheets, cardboard mounts, card catalogs, and today even display screens are integral parts of the photo-object, or even constitute it.
Since the 19th century, archaeologists, ethnologists, and art historians have worked with photographs and assembled them in archives. There, they are processed and ordered – and only through such treatment do they become usable as documents for scholarly research. These procedures alter the physical properties of photographs and leave behind material traces. Photographs, hence, are neither objective nor timeless. By taking them seriously as objects, and not just as pictures, it becomes possible to tell their multifarious stories. The exhibition interrogates the commonly practiced and disciplinary conventions that govern the perception and presentation of photographs – for example, museum display using passe-partouts – and tries out new design possibilities. Work with photo-objects is also central to the artistic interventions of JUTOJO, Ola Kolehmainen, Joachim Schmid, Elisabeth Tonnard, and Akram Zaatari, all of which have been integrated into the exhibition.
Unter den Linden 32-34
Telefon: +49.30.20 62 29 62
Thursday to Monday: 1 pm - 7 pm
Saturday to Sunday: 11 am - 7 pm