Open Stores #03

Simon Starling
26 October 2013 – 23 March 2014

For the current exhibition in this series, British artist and Turner Prize recipient Simon Starling (*1967) has created a new work based on his preoccupation with documentary photography in the photo archive and with the previously unwritten history of the photo studio of the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart.

As early as 1921, a "photographic operation" exists at the museum, but only a few photographs from the period before the Second World War have been preserved. In 1950, the photo studio is re-established to document works of the museum collection and their presentations. Today, the photo archive attached to it houses some 20,000 black-and-white negatives, slides, and prints in small, medium, and large formats of photographs of individual works, collection presentations, exhibitions, and exhibition openings.

Starling, who worked briefly as a photographer for museums and galleries in Scotland in the early 1990s, has focused primarily on photographs of collection presentations and significant individual works in his selection from the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart's photographic archive. These are themselves closely related to the photographic, to reproduction and repetition-such as Giorgio de Chirico's metaphysical "Interior with Large Factory" (1916)-or as image within an image, such as Franz Gertsch's photorealist painting "Patti Smith V" (1979) or Wolfgang Tillmans' photographic works owned by the Staatsgalerie.

Starling reactivated the museum's photo studio's repro camera, which was based on analog technology and is no longer in use today, in order to reproduce photographs he selected of artworks from the collection.

From over forty large-format inkjet prints created in this way, he creates an installation that unites photographs of various works from different presentation contexts of the museum over the last sixty years, relates them to one another, and shows new connections between them. Thus, starting from artworks via digital reproductions of their analog reproductions, new artworks full of analogies with each other emerge. By reconstructing the disused darkroom of the Staatsgalerie's photo studio in the exhibition space, Starling makes the means of production visible to the viewer.