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FotoKunst - An exploration of German photographic art

31 March 2004

Fascinating, inspiring and sometimes disquieting: welcome to the world of German ‘photo art’.

German photography, which has influenced artists and audiences around the world, is explored in the latest international exhibition, FotoKunst, opening at the Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu on Friday 2 April. The Gallery is the only New Zealand venue for the exhibition, which is touring Asia and Australasia. FotoKunst is developed and toured by the German Institute of Foreign Cultural Relations and presented in Christchurch in association with the Goethe-Institut, New Zealand.

The exhibition features photographic works by nine leading contemporary artists: Dieter Appelt, Anna and Bernhard Blume, Thomas Florschuetz, Jürgen Klauke, Astrid Klein, Sigmar Polke, Klaus Rinke and Katharina Sieverding.

Each artist, according to exhibition curator Wulf Herzogenrath, has used photography as the central medium in their work,  as a form of expression fully equal to that of other art forms – painting, graphics, performance art.

“They are from different generations, they take different starting points and stand points and they use the tool of photography in quite different ways,” says Wulf Herzogenrath.

“It is this range which gives us a glimpse into the many facets of photographic art in Germany today.”

Despite the differences in the artists approach and techniques, Wulf Herzogenrath says the common perception of “making pictures” is what unites them.

“Photography creates new pictures, pictures that can only be produced through its technology. The artist uses photographic tools as he uses his palette.”

The exhibition includes over 40 works, a number of which are made up of a series of photographs, produced by the artists from the late 1960s until the early 1990s.

Wulf Herzogenrath says FotoKunst is designed to give an insight into the photographic work of a number of artists who are helping to shape the field of artistic photography in Germany.

“Perhaps it can thus also be an inspiration for further involvement in this field of art, one which has increased in significance over the last decades and will no doubt continue to do so,” says Wulf Herzogenrath.

Gallery Manager, Public Programmes, Hubert Klaassens says South Island audiences will be intrigued and challenged by this exhibition.

“FotoKunst represents some of the best of German photographic art, from artists who have had a significant international impact on the development of the field,” says Hubert Klaassens.

“We are extremely grateful for the support of both the German Institute of Foreign Cultural Relations and the Goethe-Institut, which has enabled us to present this exhibition in New Zealand.”

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