How are cultural and historical processes of transformation reflected in the medium of photography? With more than 500 photographic works from Africa, its diaspora, and Europe, the exhibition “Shifting Dialogues. Photography from The Walther Collection” traces the development of photography as a history of transnational parallels and contradictions: showcasing the beginnings of ethnographic images during the colonial era, self-determined studio photography – and politics of self-fashioning – from the 1940s onwards, and the potent visual activism practiced by a constituency of contemporary artists in the present. The photographic and lens-based media artworks assembled here systematically reveal the ambivalent – and shifting – relationship between image and self-image, portraiture and social identity, representation and performance.
An important point of reference is the 2010 group exhibition “Events of the Self: Portraiture and Social Identity,” curated by Okwui Enwezor (1963 – 2019) for The Walther Collection. A decade later, the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen pays tribute to Okwui Enwezor’s pioneering curatorial vision and the extraordinary commitment of the collector Artur Walther. Thanks to their profound contributions toward expanding the cultural history of photography, we are now able to present groundbreaking projects which have hardly been considered within this museum’s discourse until now.
Artists: Martina Bacigalupo, Sammy Baloji, Oladélé Ajiboyé Bamgboyé, Yto Barrada, Bernd und Hilla Becher, Jodi Bieber, Edson Chagas, Mimi Cherono Ng’ok, Kudzanai Chiurai, Alfred Martin Duggan-Cronin, Theo Eshetu, Em’kal Eyongakpa, Rotimi Fani-Kayode, Samuel Fosso, François-Xavier Gbré, David Goldblatt, Kay Hassan, Délio Jasse, Seydou Keïta, Lebohang Kganye, Sabelo Mlangeni, Santu Mofokeng, S.J. Moodley, Zanele Muholi, Mwangi Hutter, Mame-Diarra Niang, Grace Ndiritu, J.D. 'Okhai Ojeikere, Dawit L. Petros, Jo Ractliffe, August Sander, Berni Searle, Malick Sidibé, Penny Siopis, Mikhael Subotzky, Guy Tillim, Hentie van der Merwe, Nontsikelelo Veleko, Sue Williamson and historical pictures by among others Samuel Baylis Barnard, Kimberley Studio, W. Rausch and many other known or unidentified photographers.
The exhibition is conceived in close collaboration with The Walther Collection, supported by curatorial consultant Renée Mussai.
Advised by Contemporary And (C&)