This exhibition presents some 200 Polaroids by nearly 100 photographers, from the Corporation’s beginnings until today, focusing on the second half of the twentieth century. Along with these one-of-a-kind pictures in their characteristic formats—ranging from the well-known SX-70 snapshot with its large frame (8.8×10.7 cm) to the fascinatingly detailed 20×24-inch large format (50×60 cm)—the exhibition’s emphasis on instant-photography technology demonstrates that the creativity of the company’s founder, Edwin Land, and his team was on par with that of the artists themselves. Before the company missed the boat on the digital evolution, Polaroid was synonymous with visionary technology, comparable to the status of Apple at the start of the new millennium. It’s hardly a coincidence that Steve Jobs was one of the biggest admirers of Edwin Land and his inventions.
Today, the Polaroid phenomenon is more popular than ever, especially with the younger generation, as a unique, analog alternative to the onslaught of digital images. A venerable brand like Leica recently launched its first instant camera. And The Impossible Project, which revived the instant image process after Polaroid went bankrupt, is now trading under the legendary name, albeit in fresh garb: Polaroid Originals—with new film stock and a new camera in tow.
With Polaroids by Nobuyoshi Araki, Sibylle Bergemann, Anna & Bernhard Blume, Guy Bourdin, Ellen Carey, Helen Chadwick, Chuck Close, Marie Cosindas, Barbara Crane, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Joan Fontcuberta, Toto Frima, Luigi Ghirri, Richard Hamilton, Robert Heinecken, Gottfried Helnwein, Jan Hnizdo, David Hockney, Barbara Kasten, David Levinthal, Ulrich Mack, Robert Mapplethorpe, James Nitsch, Robert Rauschenberg, Lucas Samaras, Fazal Sheikh, William Wegman, Erwin Wurm and many more.
WestLicht. Schauplatz für Fotografie
Westbahnstraße 40 A-1070 Vienna, Austria
November 18, 2017 to February 25, 2018