On the occasion of Gallery Weekend 2023, Kicken Berlin will be opening a further installment of the exhibition series Sheroes of Photography, which was successfully initiated in 2021. The neologism shero expresses explicit appreciation of the achievements of women artists in photography. The sheroes of photography unite the self-assured practice of a modern medium with diverse perspectives on reality.
Following the opening group show and the individual presentations of the work of Tata Ronkholz, Jitka Hanzlová, and Sibylle Bergemann in 2021–22, part five of this series focuses on various artists from the nineteenth century to the present in a dialogical survey.
One focus is the photography avant-garde in the interwar period with Bauhaus artists such as Gertrud Arndt, Grit Kallin-Fischer, and Lucia Moholy. Like no other, Moholy influenced the contemporary view of the Bauhaus, immortalizing works, objects, and buildings in her objective and precise photographs.
The women masters of studio photography created staged works that are equally subtle and surreal—from Gertrud Käsebier, the pioneer of Pictorialism, and Lotte Jacobi, who made portraits of Berlin’s avant-garde artists and icons of her time including actress Lotte Lenya, to Charlotte Rudolph, who produced vivid portraits of dancers and is especially known for her ingenious portraits of the Expressionist dancer Mary Wigman.
The methods of Neues Sehen (New Vision) are presented with photographs by Aenne Biermann, Marianne Breslauer, and Elfriede Stegemeyer. Marta Hoepffner, who studied with Willi Baumeister at the Städelschule in Frankfurt am Main, used techniques of collage and montage to establish photography self-evidently in the canon of the modern arts. In this spirit, Alice Lex-Nerlinger also merged abstraction and collage. The European avant-garde of the interwar period is likewise manifested in photographs by Czech artist Jaroslava Hatlaková. Finally, Florence Henri, who was rooted both in the Bauhaus and Parisian modernism, reinterpreted her own iconic shots.
The transition to mid-century modernism is represented by the experimental photograms of Anneliese Hager. Otto Steinert not only curated exhibitions on subjective photography in Saarbrücken; he also deeply influenced a great number of women photographers. Monika Dietz and Edith Buch, two creators of surreal imagery who take up the thread of the avant-garde, both come from Steinert’s class at the School of Arts and Crafts in Saarbrücken.
Women photographers in West and East Germany have repeatedly followed and personally articulated documentary traditions. Ruth Hallensleben, one of the few women industrial photographers, documented factory buildings in objective images starting in the 1950s. In the 1970s and 1980s Barbara Klemm and Sibylle Bergemann established very personal narrative perspectives.
The Sheroes of Photography made extraordinarily innovative achievements for many decades, and their works continually engaged in productive dialogs with artistic ways of seeing. Their diverse perspectives on reality are united in their self-evident practice of one of the most important media of modernism.
Sheroes of Photography (Part V)
Apr 28 — Sep 1, 2023
14057 Berlin, Germany