How did painting influence photography?

Exhibition: How Painting Influences Photography

In the "Little History of Photography", Walter Benjamin wrote in 1931 that things developed so quickly after the invention of the photographic medium that by 1840 most miniature painters had already become professional photographers, but that this generation was gradually becoming, so Benjamin, in transition disappeared.

150 years later, an exhibition in the Städel Museum is directed against the forgetting of the influences of painting on photography. From this Wednesday to September 23, the focus will be on the influence of painting on the image production of contemporary photo art in the exhibition hall of the Graphic Collection and in the Metzler foyer.

Under the title: "Painting in Photography. Strategies of Appropriation", the show also poses the question of the role of the photographic medium in the Städel Museum, as Martin Engler, one of the two curators of the exhibition and head of the museum's collection of contemporary art, emphasizes.

Recently, a critic of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung wrote in relation to the recently opened high-profile double exhibition by Jeff Koons in the Liebieghaus and the Schirn Kunsthalle that museum directors only politely opened the door of their houses for what would have previously been codified as significant art elsewhere. One cannot blame this exhibition of 60 photographs.

Most of the works are objects from the company's own collection and items on loan from the DZ Bank art collection. Max Hollein, director of the Städel, also emphasizes the collection character of the show: "Photography is an important part of the Staedel art collection."

In collaboration with the Frankfurt Institute for Art History, curator Carolin Köchling succeeded in the show in spanning early examples of the adaptation of painterly techniques for photographic practice, such as László Moholy-Nagy's photograms from the 1920s and contemporary ones Positions like "Substrate" from Thomas Ruff's photo series that do not hide their painterly quality.

Misjudgments that locate reality in a photograph want to thwart works by artists whose motifs suddenly revert to the history of painting. Like the staged photograph "Picture for Woman" by Jeff Walls. As one of the main works in the exhibition, it does not hide its role model, Edouard Manet's painting "Un bar aux Folies-Bergére".

The entire photograph is a reflection. The woman in the foreground does not look at the viewer, as it should be, but looks in the mirror. In this self-reflection, Wall holds a mirror in front of the photography and the camera itself.