Luigi Ghirri, Marina di Ravenna, 1986 chromogenic print, courtesy: The estate of Luigi Ghirri.
Artists: Zofia Kulik, Robert Adams, Nobuyoshi Araki, Lewis Baltz, Sabine Bitter & Helmut Weber, Anna und Bernhard Blume, Petar Dabac, William Eggleston, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Seiichi Furuya, Luigi Ghirri, David Goldblatt, Nan Goldin, Sanja Iveković, Sven Johne, Lamia Joreige, Annette Kelm, Josif Király, Joachim Koester, Darcy Lange, Tatiana Lecomte, Susan Meiselas, Zanele Muholi, Peter Piller, Walid Raad, Einar Schleef, Jörg Schlick, Michael Schmidt, Michael Schuster & Hartmut Skerbisch, Allan Sekula, Ahlam Shibli, Lieko Shiga, Nicole Six & Paul Petritsch Jo Spence, Christian Wachter, Manfred Willmann, Tobias Zielony.
For over forty years, Camera Austria has been a photography club in Graz, a forum for debates, a gallery, a publishing house, an archive, a library, and a platform for workshops and symposia. In this exhibition, the Museum der Moderne Salzburg spotlights Camera Austria’s influence on the Austrian photography scene and the networks and relationships its initiatives have helped foster.
One key part of a museum’s mission is to review its collections and shed light on the contexts in which its holdings originated. By examining the activities generated by Camera Austria’s ventures, we trace an important strand in our museum’s history. Since 1981, the Museum der Moderne’s own photography collection and the Austrian Federal Photography Collection, which are focused on fine art photography in Austria, have made Salzburg a photography hub. Many of the altogether 22,000 works in the collections, including ensembles created by Camera Austria’s founders Manfred Willmann and Seiichi Furuya as well as selected works by the numerous artists who contributed to its exhibitions and participated in its symposia, reflect the issues and concerns first raised in Graz.
The exhibition is organized in eight chapters that present artists associated with Camera Austria in its early years side by side with recent positions. Visual discourses on photography come into view that emerged in the club’s orbit since the 1980s and have lost none of their relevance today. Rather than a retrospective, the show is an opportunity to reconsider aspects of Camera Austria’s history in a contemporary perspective. “Topography & Landscape,” “Image & Identity,” “Living Environment & Representation,” “Composition & Deconstruction,” “Picture & Politics,” “Research & Archive,” “Visual Politics & Science,” and “Privacy & Public Image” are the thematic fields in which dialogues between thirty-nine artists from eleven nations unfold. Audio and video recordings from the symposia organized by Camera Austria set the ideas and art promoted by its activities in Austria and abroad in their larger context.