The Photographic is a group exhibition in two parts spread over two years; its aim is to gauge the present significance of photography. The first part, Other Pictures, comprises new and existing work by around 20 international artists and photographers ranging from the 1960s to the present. The selection demonstrates a lively interest, across generations, in the power of the still image as a means of examining the world. It concentrates on indefinable images with an open view, whose multi-layering requires slow reading.
In this first part, S.M.A.K. focuses on images that arose out of an extreme, more intense view of the world. They analyse reality both intellectually and instinctively and in their turn make us look more intensely at the world. In addition, Other Pictures also studies the way artists and photographers have continually renewed the relationship between the camera and the world and have thereby brought the artistic and social significance of their medium into focus.
Photographic images are no longer a marginal phenomenon. They are intimately interwoven with our social infrastructure. They not only show the world we live in, but are among its essential building blocks. New ways of producing and distributing images, and technological innovation in the civil and military spheres, make the medium repeatedly evolve in new directions and also seep into current artistic practice. The way photographers and artists handle these new possibilities and challenges is one of the focal points of this exhibition.
John Szarkowski once formulated the familiar distinction between photos that act as a window on the world and photos intended to reflect their maker. Other Pictures demonstrates that photographic images can perform both functions at the same time: they focus on the world and they invariably approach their subject in a subjective and sensory manner. This exhibition looks at this insight in greater depth on the basis of a number of photographic themes such as the role of the pose in portraiture, the use of photo archives as a source for new work and the design and arrangement of photographic images in a physical space.
The open layout of this exhibition, in which pictures are free to enter into dialogue with one another, makes the museum a generous place where the relations between photographer, camera, model, image and viewer can be explored. In this context, the role played by the body in making and looking at photographic images is also highlighted.
The Photographic I – Other Pictures comprises work by artists and photographers including Lewis Baltz, Moyra Davey, Aglaia Konrad, Zoe Leonard, Jean-Luc Mylayne, Michael Schmidt, Allan Sekula, Ahlam Shibli, Malick Sidibé, Wolfgang Tillmans, Marc Trivier and Tobias Zielony.
To accompany these works, Roma Publications Amsterdam are publishing an exhibition magazine. An in-depth programme of public activities is being developed in association with the Thinking Tools research group (KASK, Antwerp).
The Photographic I – Other Pictures is curated by Martin Germann with Tanja Boon and Steven Humblet.