In a large solo exhibition, the Museum für Fotografie is showing theater photographs by Ruth Walz from the last 50 years. From 1976 to 1990, Walz masterfully documented legendary productions by Peter Stein, Luc Bondy and Robert Wilson, among others, for the Schaubühne Berlin and accompanied many other milestones of recent European theater and opera history as a photographer. In a decade and a half with the ensemble of the Schaubühne (1976 - 1990),
Ruth Walz (* 1941 in Bremen) captured in a manner as persistent as it was poignant the productions of Peter Stein, Klaus-Michael Grüber, Luc Bondy and Robert Wilson in the memorable spaces of Karl Ernst Herrmann, Gilles Aillaud and Eduardo Arroyo and the costumes of Moidele Bickel and Susanne Raschig. After this benchmark happy era, she has accompanied companions on many stages of European theater and opera, while expanding the span of her photography technically (from analog to digital) and through new friendships with Krzystof Warlikowski, Peter Sellars, Dmitri Tcherniakov or Romeo Castelluci, among others.
Photography in the theater Thanks to her sense for the "decisive moment", which is no less valid in the theater than in street photography, haunting portraits of important actors* have been created over the years. In the close-ups, Ruth Walz's images capture the faces of the actors as closely as we have never seen them ourselves, and in the long shots they open up to long-lasting spatial narratives. Intimate gestures and eloquent expressions intertwine with the choral interplay of the ensemble. One of the paradoxes of theater photography is that it enriches the most ephemeral art with vivid image shadows that show us the pleasure as well as the loss of the immediate experience, both joyful and painful. Ruth Walz's photographs possess an unmistakable 'fingerprint' - her theater images endow us with the recent history and the present of the theater, which pushes for contemporaneity. Insights into the laboratory of Ruth Walz In addition to large sequences of images from individual productions - including plays by Shakespeare, Aeschylus or Goethe), the exhibition also provides a glimpse behind the scenes and into the laboratory of Ruth Walz - literally and figuratively. A separate section is dedicated to the theater of Botho Strauss, as well as to her partner Bruno Ganz, who died in 2019.
The exhibition is curated by Ludger Derenthal, Head of the Art Library's Photography Collection, Thomas Ladenburger and Ruth Walz (Photographic Moments). A special exhibition of the Kunstbibliothek - Staatliche Museen zu Berlin and Photographic Moments.
Publication accompanying the exhibition To accompany the exhibition, an illustrated book will be published by Hatje Cantz-Verlag: "Ruth Walz: Theater im Sucher", German, English, 400 pages, ISBN 978-3-7757-5041-7, approx. 54 €.