Divided into three sections featuring around 50 works, the exhibition reflects photographic methods and aesthetics that will disappear with the digital turn of the medium.
The exhibition starts with the loss of the negative: In the past, the first result of his creativity the photographer held in his hand was the photographic negative. It especially explores the difference in the material quality of print and plate.
Yet the focus is on providing a wide range of works depicting experimental techniques between pressing the shutter release and working in the darkroom. Various conceptual and artistic approaches are presented in the photographic experiments, some exploring formal aesthetics, some playful, others exploring borders. They provide a sense of the “alchemical dimension” of photography and include photograms, chemigrams, solarisations, multiple exposures, or copy montages.
Something contemporary artists exploited in a wide variety of ways until very recently was their playful approach to accidents in photography, where overexposure, blurring or faults altered the end result. The final section of the exhibition is devoted to such unintended ‘accidents’.
The show features works from the collection, beginning in the 19th century with Eduard Baldus and continuing with Helmar Lerski, Oscar Nerlinger, Jeanne Mandello or Hans Finsler in the 1920s/1930s. Positions from the 1950s/1960s are illustrated by Otto Steinert, Rolf Winquist, as well as William Klein, Johannes Brus, Astrid Klein and Paul Graham.