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Werkstatt für Photographie 1976 – 1986

Press dates

C/O Berlin, the Museum Folkwang Essen and the Sprengel Museum Hannover are presenting the exhibition project Werkstatt für Photographie 1976 – 1986 from December 2016. This project shows the history, influences and effects of the legendary Berlin-based photographic institute and its key players in an intercity cooperation.

The working-class district of Kreuzberg at the end of the 1970s on the outer edge of West Berlin – and yet the lively center of a unique transatlantic cultural exchange. In the midst of the Cold War, the newly founded Werkstatt für Photographie located near Checkpoint Charlie started an artistic „air lift“ in the direction of the USA, a democratic field of experimentation beyond traditional education and political and institutional standards. A special artistic approach emerged from a dialog between renowned photographers and amateurs, between conceptual approaches and documentary narrations, between technical mediation and substantive critique and altered the styles of many photographers over time thanks to its direct access to their reality. The Werkstatt für Photographie reached the highest international standing with its intensive mediation work through exhibitions, workshops, lectures, image reviews, discussions and specialized courses.

In 1976, the Berlin-based photographer Michael Schmidt founded the Werkstatt für Photographie at the adult education center in Kreuzberg. Their course orientation with its focus on a substantive examination of contemporary photography was unique and quickly lead to a profound understanding of the medium as an independent art form. When the institution was closed in 1986, it fell into obscurity.

On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Werkstatt für Photographie, C/O Berlin, the Museum Folkwang Essen and the Sprengel Museum Hannover are presenting a joint exhibition project, which for the first time portrays the history, influences and effects of this institution and its key players divided between three stages. Furthermore, the three stages outline the situation of a changing medium, which focuses on independent, artistic authorship encouraged by consciousness of American photography. As such, they’re designing a lively and multi-perspective presentation of photography in the 1970s and 1980s that adds an additional chapter to the history of West German photography of the time beyond that of the Düsseldorf School.

C/O Berlin is addressing the history of the Werkstatt für Photographie in its contribution entitled Kreuzberg – Amerika. Within the context of adult education, a unique forum for contemporary photography emerged. A special focus is placed on the exhibitions of the American photographers that were often presented in the workshop for the first time and had an enormous effect on the development of artistic photography in Germany. The exhibition combines the works of faculty, students and guests into a transatlantic dialogue.

Werkstatt für Photographie 1976 – 1986 .  Triple Exhibition to the Beginnings of Photography

C/O Berlin
Exhibtion Kreuzberg – Amerika
Date 10 December 2016 to 12 Februay 2017
Press tour 9 December 2016 . 11 am
Opening 9 December 2016, 7 pm
Presse contact Mirko Nowak, 030.28 444 16 0 .

Museum Folkwang
Exhibtion Das rebellische Bild
Date 9 December 2016 to 19 February 2017
Press tour 8 December 2016 . 11 am
Opening 8 December 2016 . 7 pm
Presse contact Anna Littmann, 0201.88 45 160 .

Sprengel Museum Hannover
Exhibtion Und plötzlich diese Weite
Date 10. Dezember 2016 to 19 March 2017
Press tour 8 December 2016 . 4 pm
Opening 10 December 2016 . 7 pm
Presse contact 0511.168 43 924 .