In 1929 the German Werkbund (an association of artists, architects, designers, and industrialists) organised the exhibition at the New Exhibition Hall on Interim Theatre Square. Some 1200 works by 200 authors provided the first systematic overview of international developments in film and photography in a wide range of areas comprising art, advertising, propaganda and the press. The exhibition was the first to recognise the far-ranging effects film and photography had on contemporary culture as a whole.
The exhibition showed classic genres (such as portrait, landscape and still life) alongside reportage, and scientific photographs side by side with experimental studies of light as well as photo collages. Similarly unconventional was the display: works were simply mounted on paper or matted and unceremoniously nailed to the walls. Anonymous works hung alongside those of well-known artists, and works by individuals alongside those of classes such as those from the Bauhaus in Dessau or the Folkwang School in Essen. In terms of structure, FIFO thus combined elements of the art fair and the art exhibition. The pictorial language of the works on display emphasised their photographic character, thereby breaking once and for all with traditional artistic photography.
FIFO was reconstructed in 1975, initially in individual sections, by the Württembergischer Kunstverein within the framework of the exhibition “Fotografie 1929/1975”, a comprehensive reconstruction was then carried out in 1979 for the travelling exhibition entitled “Film und Foto der zwanziger Jahre”.
Comprising more than seventy works, the presentation »Film und Foto: An Homage« commemorates FIFO as a milestone in exhibition and media history. In addition to the original exhibition poster and a display of original publications, the show features more than sixty photographs by artists who participated in FIFO – among them Berenice Abbot, Eugène Atget, Willi Baumeister, Hannah Höch, László Moholy-Nagy, Paul Outerbridge, Man Ray and Alexander Rodtschenko.
In a separate exhibition room, a selection of approximately ten short films from the original FIFO film programme is being shown – works meanwhile considered classics of avant-garde film.