aspect-ratio 10x9

© Lizzy Ellbrück & Vera Gärtner

Let’s Perform the Archive! can be understood simultaneously as a working basis, a curatorial concept, but also as an invitation for visitors. On the occasion of the 200-year jubilee, the subject area Media Art | Photography at Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design was invited to explore the photographic archives of Badischer Kunstverein. For one semester, students researched the various roles the medium photography can assume in the exhibition context, in a seminar by Friederike Schäfer and Prof. Susanne Kriemann.

The exhibition in the Club 2.0.0 festival space of Badischer Kunstverein features works and projects which investigate the reciprocal dynamic that exists between photography and exhibition practices. The point of departure here is formed by the various photo archives of Badischer Kunstverein – from Generallandesarchiv (State Archive), Stadtarchiv Karlsruhe (Karlsruhe Municipal Archives), collections of materials produced by house photographers that document exhibitions, exhibition catalogs, all the way to file folders and boxes found in the offices of the Kunstverein and in private archives. Based on the sifting, contextualization, reflection, and continuing thematic confrontation with these materials, as well as through discussions, the students have developed approaches through which photography can be negotiated in its multiple significance as object, medium, technical procedure, but also as documentary or artistic practice.

In their works, they thematize, among other things, exhibition photography as a feedback process, the practice of categorization as dispositive, and the potential for the interpretation of historical images. They deploy practices of documentation and strategies of visualization, and work with archival procedures. In the exhibition, transfer processes from analog to digital and vice versa become present and mechanisms of the visible and invisible are being interrogated, at the same time allowing archives to be experienced as physical places by the visitors.

The 200-year chronicle of Badischer Kunstverein also provides access to the history of the medium of photography, which originated around the same time, in all of its diverse implications – from the ‘purely documentary’ photo image all the way to the autonomous work of art. On the one hand, the greater part of this history was conditioned by the necessity for photography to assert itself as an independent artistic practice. From a contemporary perspective, on the other hand, photographic documentation makes it possible to conceptualize every exhibition as a photographic image. After the duration and physical existence of an exhibition, these photographs acquire a small portion of eternity in its stead.

The process-oriented exhibition Let’s Perform the Archive! takes up current discussions of the performativity of archives, demonstrating that photography should be regarded not simply as historical documents, but instead, as a practice that continually reconceives and rigorously questions the archive.

Time: 06.11. – 18.11.2018
Place: Club 2.0.0, Badischer Kunstverein

Project coordination:
Christina Scheib, Felicitas Wetzel, Didem Yacızı

Tue, November 6, 6 pm

Words of welcome by Anja Casser & Christina Scheib (Badischer Kunstverein)
Introduction by Friederike Schäfer & Prof. Susanne Kriemann (Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design)
8 pm Party with Dijay Dreamz, Visuals by Flyingduckssemester (Nis Petersen & Johannes Thimm)

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