Back to the Future
Photogravures of the moon’s surface, botanical studies as blue cyanotypes, and Woodburytypes of portraits: the exhibition showcases the work of contemporary artists who are using the techniques, methods, and processes of the 19th century photography.
Taking inspiration from that early photography, the artists work with light, photosensitive material, photographic emulsion, and chemical processes. These techniques are taken an often-surprising step further as the artists also incorporate new technologies such as computers and 3D printers. Actually, photography today finds itself in similar conditions to the nineteenth century, when the medium had not yet been concretized and as such remained open for experimentation. Astronomers, mathematicians, physicians, and chemists of the day had recognized the potential of photography and set about researching it with great curiosity and an open mind.
Today’s desire to explore the possibilities of photography is in no way restricted with regard to technique, process, and material. The exhibition pairs these works with outstanding pieces from the nineteenth century, creating a dialogue that transcends the bare facts of parallels and correlations by focusing on meaningful associations. This open-minded approach reflects the spirit of visual freedom that unites the pioneers of the nineteenth century and their modern-day counterparts.
The exhibition Back to the Future . The 19th Century in the 21st Century is initiated by Foam Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam in collaboration with C/O Berlin and was curated by Kim Knoppers and Ann-Christin Bertrand.
The exhibition features works by artists including Anna Atkins (GB), Sylvia Ballhause (DE), Karl Bloßfeldt (DE), Bownik (PL), Matthew Brandt (US), Alfred Brothers (GB), Alan Butler (IR), Henry Frères (FR), S.W. Burham (US), William England (SCT), Sam Falls (US), Spiros Hadjidjanos (GR), Thomas Hauser (FR), Nicolai Howalt (DK), Adam Jeppesen (DK), Eva-Fiore Kovacovsky (D), Thomas Mailaender (FR), Douglas Mandry (CH), James Nasmyth (GB-SCT), Taiyo Onorato & Nico Krebs (CH), Johan Österholm (SE), Jaya Pelupessy & Felix van Dam (NL), Helena Petersen (DE), Lisa Oppenheim (US), Warren de la Rue (GB), Lewis M. Rutherford (US), Nils Strindberg (SE), Stephen Thompson (GB), Simon van Til (NL) and Witho Worms (NL).
Photo: Douglas Mandry, Ravenala, from the series: Five Minutes to The Sun, 2014 (Detail) © Douglas Mandry