From 05 July 1991 to 27 September 1991
Curated by Ida Gianelli
During the 1960s photography burst onto the art scene thanks to artists such as Rauschenberg and Warhol. Initially used as an auxiliary tool of artistic production, it subsequently became a pure mode of representation of reality, until the boundaries were finally dissolved altogether in the 1970s and 1980s. For the latest generation of contemporary artists, photography is a mode of visual representation which, rather than being based on the subjective emotions or expressive participation of the artist, records details of objective reality itself, leading to a crystallisation – or petrification – of the image that can be defined as “medusa-like”. This exhibition brought together works by some of the leading artists working in the photographic medium. Jeff Wall, Andres Serrano, Thomas Struth and Thomas Ruff use an impersonal, non-expressive photographic technique to explore the ideas of detachment and distance, focusing on individual identity and cultural diversity and distilling the dynamics of our society through the “perfection” of the photographic medium. The images of Andreas Gursky, Jean-Marc Bustamante, Günther Förg, Clegg & Guttmann and Fischli/Weiss can also be discussed in terms of “petrification”: here, the gap between the objectivity of the image reproduced and the infinite possibilities of the external world that is represented becomes an indicator of distress and suffering. By contrast, Laurie Simmons prefers to investigate the literary aspects of images and their capacity for story-telling, providing us with information on human behaviour through caricature-like dolls and puppets.