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Berlin: A century of Color in Photography


Kicken Berlin’s spring exhibit focuses on Aspects of Color, a survey ranging from the early 20th century to contemporary color works. The exhibit presents selective examples of color photography in the twentieth century, from Pictorialism to contemporary photography, of which Kicken Berlin was an early proponent.

The selection includes early Pictorialist color techniques like the gum prints of Heinrich Kühn, Hans Watzek and Rudolf Koppitz as well as the carbro color prints of American photographer Paul Outerbridge and Czech artist Jaroslav Rössler. László Moholy-Nagy refined the principles of his avant-garde imager y for his color works, which in his opinion must ‘go beyond nature, be it in close-up frames or abstract light traces.

These early works reveal that color challenged the art of photography long before William Eggleston’s controversial yet ground breaking MoMA show ’Color Photography’ in 1976; it was at that time, however, that the American New Color Photography movement truly lent the medium important momentum.

Early color master prints such as Rössler’s carbros, Erwin Blumenfeld’s c-prints and early experimental pictures such as Hy Hirsh’s playfully hued light traces captured on Ansco Printon prints (i.e. an early silverdye-bleach process, today known by its various brand names such as Ciba- or Ilochrome) were often commissioned for advertising and display images. At the same time an increasing number of amateur photographers, thanks to Kodak, augmented the prolific realm of colorful vernacular photography.

Harry Callahan, Fred Herzog and Saul Leiter used color in the mid 20th century to depict urban street life in both documentary and experimental styles. Irving Penn created subtle stillifes in saturated colors. In contrast a range of pale shades such as in Harry Callahan’s and Joel Meyerowitz’s seascapes dominated two decades later.

Stephen Shore, a key figure of American New Color Photography, and Eggleston influenced European artists such as <strong<Joachim Brohm and Alfred Seiland. The subtle use of color has become a matter of course for the current generation, as evidenced in the color-saturated images of everyday architecture by the Becher School’s Götz Diergarten, the portraits and urban landscapes by Jitka Hanzlová and the monumental landscapes by Hans-Christian Schink, which evoke the art of romanticism.

Aspects of Color. A History of Color in Photography from Pictorialism to Contemporary

Until June 4th
Kicken Berlin
Linienstr. 161A
D – 10115 Berlin

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