Around 1920, photography became the focus of artists such as Christian Schad, Man Ray and László Moholy-Nagy. In search of new forms of expression, they began to experiment with a camera-less technique and to create abstract structures on paper in the photograms thus produced by means of the targeted influence of light. This new emphasis on and visualization of light as an independent means of design inspired numerous other artists to break away from the direct reproduction of nature in their photographs and to explore new possibilities. Alfred Ehrhardt, Marcel Duchamp, or Anton Stankowski create special views by means of atypical perspectives and delightful plays of light and shadow.
While Imi Knoebel or Antoni Mikołajczyk use artificial light sources, Monika Baumgartl captures nocturnal traces of light from the moon on paper, thereby giving time a visual form. In contrast, the spectacular flashes over Walter De Maria's "Lightning Field," dependent on chance, unfold their full splendor captured on paper.
The indispensable role of light for photography is illustrated at the end of the presentation by Ugo Mulas' staged contact print of unexposed negatives of a 35mm film. Thus the exhibition ends with 36 "lost opportunities" with which Mulas pays tribute to one of the inventors of photography: Nicéphore Niépce.
We cordially invite you to view other works on the theme of "light" - whether from the field of photography or from printmaking or drawings - in the Study Room of the Prints and Drawings Department. The study room is open to the public every Thursday between 3:00 and 8:00 pm.