Trace - Formations of Likeness. Photography and Video from The Walther Collection

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Exhibition, from

Exhibition overview

This major survey exhibition is in collaboration with The Walther Collection, a New York City/Neu-Ulm–based art foundation internationally recognised for their critical engagement with contemporary and historical photography, as well as lens-based media. The more than 1000 works on display by a diverse group of artists from different cultural backgrounds, as well as archival, documentary and vernacular photography, offer a global context to reflect on the divergent trajectories of photography today. Collectively, they showcase the medium’s capacity as both an instrument for empowerment and formation of the self, as well as its complex uses as a tool for control and subjugation.

The exhibition’s core focus is portrait photography — of people, objects, and places — and the tracing of societal transformation across geographic spaces and contrasting socio-political and cultural landscapes. The photographic portrait is deployed as a means to shape identity, to advocate for social change and as a subversive strategy for visibility, often through an intimate investigation of politics of memory, history, and embodiment. The substantial breadth and dialogical scope of the exhibition, which encompasses works from the last three centuries and brings together artists from Africa, America, Europe, and Asia, enables audiences to consider not only the parallel histories of the medium, but for its materiality, taxonomy, and serial structures to be revealed and drawn into question. As with Karrabing Film Collective, this exhibition brings together artistic practices that are focused on the making of images, and the production of representations of the real and the imaginary.

With works by anonymous artists and Richard Avedon, Martina Bacigalupo, Yto Barrada, Bernd & Hilla Becher, Jodi Bieber, Karl Blossfeldt, Edson Chagas, Song Dong, Rotimi Fani-Kayode, Samuel Fosso, Yang Fudong, Pieter Hugo, Seydou Keïta, Lebohang Kganye, Zhang Huan, David Goldblatt, Sze Tsung Nicolás Leong, Christine Meisner, Sabelo Mlangeni, Santu Mofokeng, Zanele Muholi, Eadweard Muybridge, J.D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere, Sheng Qui, Jo Ractliffe, Rong Rong, Thomas Ruff, August Sander, Berni Searle, Accra Shepp, Malick Sidibé, Guy Tillim, Ai Weiwei, Cang Xin, Lu Yang, Xu Yong, Luo Yongjin, Kohei Yoshiyuki, and others.

Curated by Anna Schneider with Damian Lentini and Hanns Lennart Wiesner.