The passport picture in the wallet, the common leaves in the photo album of the grandmother or the staged everyday life in snapshots with the same universal poses and motifs - we see life stories of strange people and at the same time recognize ourselves in it.
Werkbundarchiv – Museum der Dinge
These are completely individual biographical moments, which at the same time were often highly ritualized and pictorially depicted in formulas. It is precisely this ambivalence and strange beauty - coupled with a hint of voyeuristic curiosity and a lot of wit - that adds to the great attraction of private photos and photo albums. In the exhibition PHOTO | ALBUM, the Werkbundarchiv - Museum der Dinge presents for the first time on a large scale its otherwise invisible collection of private and anonymous photographs and photo albums from a whole century. Divided into three chapters, the special exhibition presents hundreds of individual photos in the first part, grouped according to recurring motifs and visual conventions. In a second part, numerous photo albums are presented and examined for a typology as well as for their special forms of narrativeness. Finally, photographic objects in rem are used to open up a view of photography as a material culture beyond the pure content of images and as a private culture of remembrance. The exhibition will be complemented by artistic perspectives and a look at the current change of meaning of the medium in the age of digital images and a shift of boundaries between public and private. The photo album - cultural technique and principle of order at the same time - constitutes (family) history and thus one's own identity through the meaningful selection and arrangement of images in combination with text and oral narrative. What is to be remembered, the anticipated memory value, determines this cultural practice of creating albums as well as what they do not mention. Today, at the same time as the disappearance of material photography, we are experiencing an often nostalgically motivated renaissance of analogous aesthetics and practice in popular culture, as well as a virulence of the topic in scientific and artistic discourse. With FOTO | ALBUM, the Werkbundarchiv - Museum der Dinge now presents a decidedly cultural-historical exhibition on the social and visual practices of the medium. This is always accompanied by the question of how the museum as an institution finds criteria for collecting, arranging and curating the photos, how it deals with these anonymous personal image archives. This also applies to the status and esteem that it attaches to the innumerable, but nevertheless unique material testimonies of such an everyday practice. The special exhibition FOTO | ALBUM will be accompanied by a programme of lectures, discussion evenings and guided tours. Workshops are offered for children, young people and families in cooperation with Jugend im Museum e. V.. All information about the accompanying programme will soon be available on the Museum's website under Events & Placement.