The Neue Galerie Photographic Collection
neue Galerie Graz, Graz
14/12/07 till 25/05/08

The Neue Galerie Graz possesses some 2000 works of Austrian and international photographic art extending from 19th century beginnings to the present. This collection has seen a rapid expansion, especially since the 1990s, and its focus in addition to historically significant photographs (Man Ray, Raoul Hausmann among others) has been placed firmly on contemporary developments. The collection provides an extensive spectrum of contemporary photographic art with names such as Jean Baudrillard, Olafur Eliasson, Jochen Gerz, Louise Lawler, Ken Lum, Urs Lüthi, Erwin Wurm.

Photographs chosen from the own collection have been on show over the past few years within the scope of thematic exhibitions and in reference to specific personalities with the selections being limited accordingly; and the Neue Galerie now intends to bring about a change in this situation with a long-term exhibition in which this collection with its very high quality will itself be the centre of attention. This will achieve not only a representative survey of the recent history of photography, but it will also put the structure of the collection itself, its history and special focuses in the spotlight. mehr

The photographic collection has a relatively young history compared with other Neue Galerie collection components. Until 1980 photographs were largely allocated to the graphic arts inventory and an own photographic inventory has only been established in the course of the past year. As a result of this development numerous works from the graphic collection have now been transferred to the new inventory. In addition to the "classic" photographic works - meaning prints from negatives on paper - the photographic collection also includes objects and installations in which the medium of photography has taken a predominant role.

A range of thematic and motif focal points has been constituted in an examination of the collection and these are to be seen above all in the context of the Neue Galerie exhibition policy. The "trigon" exhibitions of the nineteen sixties and seventies with their numerous contributions by artists from Italy and the countries of former Yugoslavia are among the most significant sources for the collection. In addition specific works have been added to the collection since the nineteen nineties in the course of academically oriented and media art exhibitions. The collection strategy is in addition aligned to a number of significant work complexes in other collection segments of the museum. Acquisitions have been made of selected photographic works of the inter-war years for example, establishing a context with representatives of the classic moderns in painting, the graphic arts and sculpture in the collections of the Neue Galerie. A further focus of interest has been the documenting of the actionists Günter Brus, Otto Mühl or Hermann Nitsch, as an indispensable supplement to other works by these artists in the permanent collection of the gallery (paintings, graphic works and objects).

The photographic collection of the Neue Galerie thus makes no claim to being a continuous representative collection of the history of photographic art (although it possesses works from the mid 19th century down to the present), but it is to be regarded far more a point of intersection through significant artistic discourse in the 20th century, where it has found its place both in the exhibitions of the Neue Galerie and also in the structure of its permanent collections.

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