The Order of Things
Photography from The Walther Collection

5/17/2015 — 9/27/2015

AS 1842 Walther Collection Accra Shepp Occupying Wall Street 2011 12 grid 72dpi

Conceptual Framework

The Order of Things. Photography from The Walther Collection explores how the organization of photographs into sequences and typologies has affected global visual culture. Curated by Brian Wallis, former chief curator of the International Center of Photography in New York, The Order of Things investigates the production and uses of serial portraiture and landscape, time-based performance, and vernacular imagery in photographs from the 1880s to the present, bringing together dynamic juxtapositions of early modernists August Sander and Karl Blossfeldt with works by contemporary artists from Europe, Africa, Asia, and North America.

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August Sander, "Face of Our Time," 1910–29

The White Cube

The exhibition opens in the White Box with the object-oriented comparative photography of Karl Blossfeldt, Bernd and Hilla Becher, and August Sander, juxtaposed with various contemporary approaches to serial portraiture by J. D. 'Okhai Ojeikere, Thomas Ruff, Accra Shepp, Richard Avedon, Martina Bacigalupo, Zanele Muholi, Samuel Fosso, Guy Tillim, Zhuang Hui, and Hiroh Kikai.

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Martina Bacigalupo, Gulu Real Art Studio, 2011–12

A further group extends the concept of multiplicity into the documentation of performance, featuring time-based series by Song Dong, Ai Weiwei, Zhang Huan, Huang Yan, Ma Liuming, and Dieter Appelt. Through their series and installations, these artists raise incisive questions about the connection between omnipresent photographic images and the social constructions of identity.

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Zhang Huan, Family Tree, 2001

Curated by Daniela Baumann, the upper floor of the White Cube shows a selection of photographs by the well-known Ulm designer Otl Aicher, who used his camera to systematically scan his surroundings taxonomically for structures, shapes, and patterns; these series served as a vocabulary for his graphic designs.

The Green House

The photographs on view in the Green House investigate the roots of typological conventions in portraiture through a selection of nineteenth-century daguerreotypes, criminal mug shots, and scientific and ethnographic studies, as well as a series of photogravures from "Animal Locomotion," Eadweard Muybridge's masterwork of stop-motion photography. As an extension of these historical concepts, the exhibition includes contemporary variations on the sequential format and time-based practice by Stephen Shore, Duane Michals, Les Krims, Nobuyoshi Araki, and Yoshiyuki Kohei, whose work engages narrative and performance through diaristic records of everyday experience.

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Thomas Cunningham (attr.), Criminal Photographs, No. 19, ca. 1885

The Black House

The third part of the exhibition, on view in the Black House, considers representations of the built environment, presenting archival projects of vernacular architectural photography from New York, Tokyo, and the American West, together with works by Eugène Atget, Bernd and Hilla Becher, Ed Ruscha, Stephen Shore, William Christenberry, and Luo Yongjin. Incorporating a variety of methodical aesthetic strategies, these photographers plot taxonomies of public space and architecture through records of buildings, cityscapes, or physical structures. Viewed together, such straightforward images underscore the widespread application of documentary photography to map and manage public spaces.

For further information, please see our exhibition guide.

TS 476 Thomas Struth
Thomas Struth, Neue Mainzer Straße, Frankfurt, 1988
TS 434 Thomas Struth
Thomas Struth, Gotanda, Tokyo, 1987
TS 433 Thomas Struth
Thomas Struth, Lafayette Street at Grand Street, Soho, New York, 1978

Temporary Exhibitions

In 2016, The Order of Things was extended by two temporary exhibitions: From May 29 to August 21, 2016, Albrecht Tübke: Portraits four portrait series, including the series "Ulm Portraits," which the German photographer Tübke created during the The Walther Collection's openings in 2010, 2011 and 2015. The following exhibition NeuzugängeDie Serie erweitert showed newly acquired photographs by Vito Acconci, Bernhard Blume, Jürgen Klauke, Daido Moriyama and various unidentified photographers from September 11 to November 20, 2016.

Publications

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