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A change of perspective

In the exhibition, current artistic positions enter into an open dialogue with a bundle that has long been lying dormant in the depots of the Art Library's photography collection. The estate of the amateur photographer Kurt Rohde (1920-1996) opens up a multi-layered frame of reference for the aesthetic and critical examination of the work of this photographer, the medium of photography and dealing with archives.

"Even today I stand in my darkroom almost every day - - - and yet I never finish it," Kurt Rohde wrote to an acquaintance in 1996.

Get ready, what does that mean? find a degree? Is Kurt Rohde's estate complete and does it tell us his story? Or should the archive material be viewed as part of an incomplete process? Rohde's countless slides, prints and his experiments in the darkroom became the starting point for an artistic intervention by photography students from the Berlin Lette Verein. In their works, they bring the images and their principles of order back into motion.

The amateur photographer Kurt Rohde

As a chemist, Kurt Rohde was initially a production engineer at Osram and later a professor at the Institute for Technology and Planning Printing at the University of the Arts in Berlin. From the 1950s to the mid-1990s he photographed intensively: mainly portraits, landscapes, festivals, but also cityscapes and nudes, with his photographs moving on the threshold between public and private photography. His archive now forms the resonance space for artistic debate.

Artistic dialogue with the archive material

With their interventions and edits, the artistic positions push the narrations of the images to their limits and show their fragility. What do we see in these photographs without knowing specific contexts and backgrounds? Do we look at the subjects differently today? Which themes and viewing regimes become clear? How is the historical present visible in Rohde's pictures? And how does a machine read the photographs? Which image information is considered important? Very different approaches were chosen for the artistic examination of these and other questions. In the works collage and montage, animation and machine learning meet. Analog meets digital and space meets surface.

In addition to the works created, the exhibition provides insights into the original material. In this way, she invites you to discover current and past ways of seeing and using photography. It becomes possible to experience to what extent the artistic positions are not to be understood as the end, but as part of a process in dealing with archives.

Participating artists

A project by and with Anton Alexej Andren, Lula Bornhak, Felicia Feith, David Girgensohn, Lisa Koch, NiKA, Vanessa Alica Kunert, Luis Jonas May, Veronika Rehm and Robin C. Wolf.

The exhibition is curated by Sara-Lena Maierhofer, Katja Böhlau, Patrick Knuchel and Benjamin Kummer.

A special exhibition of the Art Library of the National Museums in Berlin in cooperation with the Lette Verein Berlin.

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