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More than Meets the Eye
Art Photography from the Deutsche Bank Collection on Tour through Latin America

"More than Meets the Eye" at the MARCO Museum, Monterrey
Photo: Roberto Ortiz

With "More than Meets the Eye", Deutsche Bank is for the first time presenting an extensive selection of photographic works from its collection. The spectrum of the works shown ranges from classics like Bernd and Hilla Becher to young representatives of the German art photography scene. Friedhelm Hütte , Director of Deutsche Bank Art, on the exhibition's concept, which will be traveling to other important museums in Latin America following its premiere at the MARCO Museum in the Mexican city of Monterrey.

Exhibition view, series by Ralf Peters on the left, works by Candida Höfer in the background
Photo: Roberto Ortiz

The focus of More than Meets the Eye is on two strains that are highly typical for German photography: the series and the large format; both are represented in the Deutsche Bank Collection with important works. It was only in the eighties that technical developments in colour photography – in particular that of mounting Cibachrome images using the Diasec process – made possible the creation of large format photographs, whose massive wooden frames made them appear to emulate painting. In contrast, photographic series were being created soon after the birth of photography. The term "series" or "sequence" refers to a multiplicity of images connected by a common motif or subject-matter – whereby the individual artist decides whether the scope, sequencing and arrangement of the images are fixed or variable.

Thomas Struth, Nassau Street, New York/ Wall Street, 1978
Deutsche Bank Collection
© Thomas Struht

The possibilities created by the camera for recording a multiplicity of different motifs under identical formal and technical conditions were used from the early days of photography to reveal the aesthetic dimensions of natural phenomena, as in the works of Karl Blossfeldt, and to create typologies of landscapes, as Walker Evans, and people, as August Sander. This tradition of collecting and ordering images is continued today by such artists as Bernd and Hilla Becher, Thomas Struth, Candida Höfer, Peter Loewy, and Daniela Steinfeld. The works by these photographers selected for this exhibition demonstrate in an exemplary fashion the wide range of possibilities offered by this principle to individual artists in developing their own motifs – from industrial buildings to skyscraper-lined streets to zoos, computer work stations and classrooms. And in each case, the observer discovers new similarities, differences and cross-references that would not be revealed by a single image presented in isolation.

Daniela Steinfeld, from: Klassenzimmer, 1994
Deutsche Bank Collection, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2006

Photography's potential for recording the same motif in a series of multiple images has been used to document processes since Edward Muybridge's studies of people and animals in motion. As examples of contemporary process documentation, the exhibition includes Gotthard Graubner's blurred photographs of dancing Buddhist monks, the less mystic but all the more dynamic series on Housework by Susa Templin, and Ottmar Hörl's Swabian Dream, which presents the rotating perspective of a camera attached to the hubcap of a vehicle passing through a small town in Swabia.

Such chronological processes include in the broader sense artistic performances whose photographic documentation – for instance in the work of Joseph Beuys and Klaus Rinke – has added a further dimension to German photographic art. A logical development was to plan performances a priori as raw material for photographic series, as exemplified by the work of Jürgen Klauke and Dieter Appelt.

Gotthard Graubner, Untitled (Buddhist Monastery in Buthan/Himalayas), around 1976
Deutsche Bank Collection, © Gotthard Graubner

Those series based on motifs – or the photographer – in motion illustrate especially clearly the rhythmical effect that can be achieved by sequencing and structuring individual images. They also reveal the close affinity between the media of photography and film.

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