Aenne Biermann

Intimacy with Things

21 February – 1 June 2020

Aenne Biermann (1898–1933) is one of the major names of 1920s and ’30s photography. In just seven years, this self-taught artist became a well-known figure in German avant-garde photography.

Biermann began to photograph the early stages of her children’s development. From 1926 onwards, she embarked upon an in-depth exploration of the creative possibilities of the medium. The 'Neues Sehen' (New Vision) movement, with its intense contemplation of the immediate environment and the subjectivity associated with it form the core of Aenne Biermann’s photographic work. Tight framing, unconventional perspectives of people and things, focussed surfaces and high-contrast lighting characterise Biermann’s motifs and their richly detailed aesthetic. She found her subject matter in everyday life and exploited the possibilities of pictorial composition and the evolution of photographic techniques: the resulting groups of motifs include plants, rocks, portraits, still lifes and children. Aenne Biermann’s photographs are all about gazing at the essence of things. Thus her plant photographs do not emphasise symmetrical pictorial composition or an analytical focus; on the contrary, they bear witness to her subjective gaze and the corresponding artistic effect of the subject matter.

During her lifetime, Aenne Biermann’s photographs were featured in all the important exhibitions of the period, including the ground-breaking international exhibition of the Deutscher Werkbund Film und Foto (FiFo) in 1929. Museum Folkwang owns an extensive collection of her photographic works. This exhibition, organised in cooperation with the Pinakothek der Moderne/Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, which possesses a similarly extensive collection of Biermann’s work thanks to the support of the Stiftung Ann und Jürgen Wilde, allows visitors to experience the diverse but rigorous oeuvre of this unique photographer. The exhibition comprises 130 black and white photographs from the years 1925 to 1932.

In cooperation with the Bavarian State Painting Collections, Ann and Jürgen Wilde Foundation, Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich.

Aenne Biermann
Helga, um 1930
Silbergelatineabzug
Museum Folkwang

Aenne Biermann
Würfelbecher, 1928–1929
Silbergelatineabzug
Museum Folkwang