in THE GÄLLERY – Space for Photography
The exhibition "Cycling Circles" is a tentative attempt to rethink the medium of photography and to practice it differently. Due to the climate crisis, there is no way around the insight that photography has also always left a considerable ecological footprint. As a popular mass medium, analogue photography is already not only the chronicler but also the central actor of the industrial age and its consumption of raw materials and energy. And digital photography, made ubiquitous by smartphones, continues the story with the storage space-guzzling cloud. A quick and convenient way out of these problematic contexts is not in sight. This makes the creative exploration of alternative ways of producing and seeing all the more urgent.
In this sense, "Cycling Circles" records a search movement that does not head straight for supposedly simple solutions, but circles the field of possibilities to enable changing perspectives. Students from the class of Ricarda Roggan, who has been a professor of photography at the Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste Stuttgart since 2013, are facing up to the necessity of rethinking and are dealing with questions of sustainability in their current works: How can photographic images be produced in a way that conserves resources and is environmentally friendly? Does this require a special formal language? Can photographic artworks perhaps even inspire us to act mindfully?
The scepticism towards the model of linear progress and constant growth leads to a circular approach of re-appropriating what is already there. The recycling of materials, forms and ideas is tested as a basic principle of a creative circular economy. Despite their common concern, however, the young photographers do not follow a uniform procedure, but stubbornly pursue their individual intuitions and explore a wide variety of themes, materials and practices. The result is a multifaceted exhibition course that enriches "Green Culture" as part of the Staatsgalerie's mission statement with important artistic perspectives.