Peter Lindbergh – On Street | CO Berlin



1. Allgemeine Informationen

Peter Lindbergh, On street in C|O Berlin from 25. September 2010 till 09. Januar 2011
Staged (fashion)photography in the context of reality.

Ziel / Schwerpunkt: The theme of the exhibition seems to be fashion photography on a stage of reality. On street is an exhibtion about staged fashion photography, with the focus on women, the human existance, and it’s behaviour. The exhibition has a contrast in itself. On the one hand there are a lot of photo’s with people as a subject, especially woman, actresses. And on the other hand there are pictures from environments, those ones feel more documentary to me.

Objekte: This exhibition shows Peter Lindberghs view on the world. He wants to reveal the inner identity from his subject, that is mostly woman, above the identity that his subject allready has because of it’s fame.

Zielgruppe: People interested in photography, fashion, Peter Lindbergh’s view on aesthetics,  Berlin, and the people around Peter Lindbergh in between the 1980’s and 2010

Kuratoren / Autoren: Felix Hoffmann & Klaus Honnef

I e-mailed the people from CO about the budget and about who did the exhibition design, but they didn’t answer.

2. Analyse

2.1 Klassifikation
C|O Berlin officialy is an International Forum For Visual Dialoges

Kategorie: It was a art-exhibtion. (Fashion)photography was in this case interpreted as art. Most of all because of the presentation of the work. In the rooms the photo’s where displayed as art in frames, not as applied photography.
This exhibition was a thematic exhibition. If you interpret a person to be a theme.

Time: It was a temporary exhibition. In C|O Berlin the exhibitions change every five or six months. The design of the exhibition always changes. The space itself from CO is very impressive.

Budget: I suggest that the exhibitiondesign itself didn’t have a budget at all. They have objects like benches and grey ‘walls’ that they always use. Only the stickering had to be done.

2.2 Präsentation

The presentation of the photo’s in CO was ment to be an view out of the photographers perspective. You see the way Peter Lindbergh looks at reality. The exhibit takes you on a journey to a few different timeperiods in the life of the photographer. You feel the position of the photographer in all of the photo’s. It feels like reality, but in fact, you look at fashion, or staged photography.

The frames present in every room seemed very well-organized and structured in order. They were image-combinations that tell a story in two or three pictures. Sometimes it was a whole room that told the story. For example in the old gym-room, where the models where staged on in daily life, in the streets of New York. The pictures is the room where organised in this way to create a scene of the street. The goal is to create an atmosphere which you leave when you leave the room. In other rooms the atmosphere was broken after two or three pictures. The corners in the rooms were very important in these decisions. Quite often a new image combination started, when you made a little turn as a viewer. The way you walk also guides you trough the exhibition. Your concentration goes from the pictures to where you are walking, and from than, it gives an opening to begin a new subject, because the viewer was distracted a little bit by the route. The same is for the stairs. When we walked up the stairs, it was very clear that the atmosphere changed. From black and white into color for example. There were als bigger frames, with less photo’s in the room.

2.3 Gestalterische Mittel

Objektpräsentation: All the photo’s are presented in bigger or smaller dark wooden frames on grey walls or the natural color of the walls. The originals of the contactsheets are presented in a showcase. Another aspect that creates color were the benches that stood in the middle of the rooms. They created color in the space too.

Inszenierung, Raumstrukturierung Form, Blickachsen, Perspektiven:
The room was divided in 7 rooms. When you entered the exhibition it starts with Berlin as a theme. Timeperiods are related to space. In all the photo’s of Peter Lindbergh you can see the staged photography element. This begins at the entrance of the exhibition, when you are confronted with an image of the brandenburger gate in the time of the wall. As a viewer that does not know Peter Lindbergh, you think you are caught in ‘reality in Berlin’, but actually, none of the other pictures in the whole exhibition is ‘real’, they are all staged. On some you can notice it better than on others.

Room 1
Woman, Berlin, actresses, ‘beautiful’ reality
Room 2
Video about his work
Room 3
Dancing woman, bodyparts, close pictures of woman
Room 4
Hallway upstairs to the left: contactsheets from his work, this makes his process of working clear.
Room 5
Hallway to the right: Other big black and white prints, that lead you to room 6
Room 6
The old gym-hall, where the ‘on-street’ title really becomes clear. Staged photography set in the reality of daily life in New York City. ‘He uses reality as his studio’ was a quote displayed in the exhibition. This sentence becomes realilty in this room.

Thematische Struktur: From the beginning to the end the story is about a timeperiod where Peter Lindbergh photographed in. From 1980 till 2009 there were photo’s displayed. I think the introduction was about Berlin because the exhibition was in Berlin, to show some kind of connection between the photographer and the city. Also the title of the exhibition was explained in the images of the first room. On street suggests that he is a street-photographed, not a staged photographer. In the introduction, the rawness of the pictures suggests that the photo’s are actually taken on the street. But after a few photo’s you recognise the staged element of the photo’s.

Besuchermanagement: There was the oppurtunity to listen to Peter Lindbergh about his work. There was a live interview with him which you could watch. There was a book which you could buy, that also provides you with more information about his work, and of course, the photo’s. In the guidence through the building you could find a printed conversation with Peter Lindbergh. The information about the photographer is constantly available, you don’t need a guided tour for that at CO. The orientation trough the building was made clear by the style of the photo’s. As a viewer you follow the style of the frames, dark brown wood, together with the style of the photo’s.

I noticed this when I walked into the exhibition where Fred Herzog was having an exhibition at the same time. The style of the photo’s was totally different, and therefore I understood that this is the wrong track when you want to see the Peter Lindbergh exhibition. Of course there also is a official guidence, where you see the name of the photographer. But I think the style of the photographer is a more important guidance than the actual orientation system itself.

Barrierefreiheit: You could not touch the pictures. There were frames with glass covering it. Also the real contactsheets were covered with glass. But you could go as close as you wanted. The biggest part of the exhibition was 2d. There was a part where a video with also audio was displayed, about his work. It was not a interactive exhibition. In that sense it was a conservative construction. Pictures hanging on the wall, viewers looking at it.

Materialkonzept, Farbkonzept: The colors where mostly in the pictures itself. A big part of the exhibition was black and white photography, on the ground floor. When you walked up the stairs, there were bigger color photo’s mixed with black and white. The atmosphere was created by the color in the pictures, together with the atmosphere in the rooms, the construction of the building of CO was very present.

Lichtkonzept: The lighting is concentrated at the photo’s. It makes sure that you don’t see yourself in the frame when you stand right in front of the photo. With the light the contrast between shadow and light becomes bigger in the space. The photo becomes more loose from the background.

2.4 Technische Qualitäten

Ausstellungsbau, Vitrinenbau :
Both there. Variating in size frames for the  big photo’s and showcase was there for the actual originals from the contactsheets.

Objekteinbringung / Exponatbefestigung: I don’t exactly know how the frames were connected to the wall. There was nothing that I could see from the front or the side. So it should be a connecting method behind the screen. The pictures were connected to the wall, or to the grey wall standing in front of the walls from the building.

Reproduktion: The images at the Peter Lindbergh exhibition where black and white or color inktjet prints, from original analog film negatives. They scanned the negatives, and printed them. It is actually not a original, because it is not real photoprint. On the second floor of the exhibition there were original contactsheets, where you could see the marks that Peter Lindbergh made with a red marker.

Konservatorische Aspekte / Denkmalschutz:
This is the text used as an introduction text from the exhibition. It was placed by the entrance. The texts were explained in English and German. For the exhibtion the name of Peter Lindbergh turned in to some kind of logo.

„What’s so striking about black and white photography is how it really helps a sense of reality to come through.“ – Peter Lindbergh

Powerful and fragile, straightforward and playful, emancipated and sensual – Peter Lindbergh’s photographs are far more than artistic, coolly remote fashion photographs. His melancholy, unembellished photographs of mostly female models reveal, behind the artificial styling and makeup, an intimate glimpse of their inner essence. With subjects including Sharon Stone, Madonna, Linda Evangelista, Tatjana Patitz, Naomi Campbell, Jeanne Moreau, Penélope Cruz, Catherine Deneuve, and Uma Thurman, Lindbergh employs sensitivity and a reduction to the essential to find the individual behind the star cult and to present her in all her strength and fragility.

Naturalism is Peter Lindbergh’s maxim. He breaks with the perfect artificiality of the theatrically exaggerated, ostentatiously bored model pose, and in so doing injects new dynamism into fashion photography. Even when his photographs are carefully staged, they often look like casual snapshots or documentary photos, with a dismal, almost surreal atmosphere and purist aesthetic.

**    Modelle, Funktionsmodelle, geomorphologische Modelle, räumliche Modelle, szenische Modelle, Simulationen, Dioramen, Figurinen

Not there in this exhibit.

3. Bewertung

3.1 Qualitäten – Bewertungskriterien

Dauerhaftigkeit: six months

Zweckmäßigkeit: What made this exhibition special is that the photographer is concidered a legend. The fact that he is able to talk about his work, that people see as the best photography in their kind, makes this exhibition legendary. Also because in this way Peter Lindbergh could discuss with the curators about the way the work has to be shown.

Anmutung, Ästhetik, Schönheit: For a fashion photography lover, or people that are interested in staged photograpy, this exhibtion is really interesting. I think you just get a look into his way of thinking about esthetics.

Originalität, Attraktivität: It is his own way of working, his own handwriting. So that makes it very hard to say if it is original. The photo’s are great quality, the originality of the exhibition itself is doubtable. We have already seen a lot of exhibtions with frames in rooms. The rooms themselves are very interesting, but this is always the same at CO Berlin.

Logik der Zuordnungen: The order of the images is understandable for who wants to understand it. I think that you don’t have to understand everything from a photographer, in this case, you get a feeling of his work, and the way he looks at the world.

3.2 Fragenkatalog

Was ist der Anlass der Ausstellung?
There probably is a reason for this exhibition. I think this was a part of the month of photography, which took place in october.

Welche sind die Schlüsselobjekte / die 3 wichtigsten Exponate?
The three biggest objects of the exhibiton were presented in the room upstairs. Three pictures, one series of two, with an actress looking up, and a very big filmset next to that. This picture was also the promo-picture for the month of the photography. Next to that there was a picture of a woman with a red coat. These are the first tree big color pictures that jump into your eye.
I think another very important object was the showing of the contact sheets. You really get an idea there about how he works. For photographers that visit this exhibition, that is a very interesting feature.

Werden diese angemessen präsentiert?
Yes, the way they were shown was very clear. The size and the color of the pictures was really important in that case. Also the contrast between the very big pictures in the first room, and the very small contactsheets in the hallway shows the contrast of ‘working’ and really showing one final picture. I think that worked quite well.

Wie ist die Wechselwirkung der Einzelteile zum Gesamten?
The different timeframes that you see are making a contrast between his life. You see a certain handwriting appearing, that is always the same, and you see the different places in time, where he is photographing different people, from different ages and environments.

Welche Rolle spielen die Objekte?
They have no role. I think it is the meaning that the photo’s and the position of the photo’s make the story, not the exhibition itself.

Wie werden Bedeutungen kommuniziert?
By text, the titles of the frames give you a point of direction. But in the end the image, and what you as a viewer think of it, is the most important.

Welche atmosphärische Stimmung entsteht?
The atmosphere of CO Berlin is so dominant, that I cannot see the context loose from the pictures. The building toghether with the pictures gives you a raw feeling of these photo’s. But in fact, both it is not raw anymore. The building is like this because of esthetic reasons, and the photo’s are like that for esthetic reasons. It is both constructed, that is why it fits well with each other, but on the other hand, it feels kind of ‘fake-reality’.

Wie verläuft die Dramaturgie des Ausstellungsrundganges?
I think the exhibition leads you to a very colorfull and powerfull point. At first you are introduced, and than you will see the three ‘best parts’ of the exhibition on the top-floor. So it gets heavier when you go further into the exhibtion.

Wie werden Themen und Inhalte umgesetzt?
I think that the themes are not really explained in an educational way. You just have to look at the pictures, and to the way that they are displayed next to each other, or on the other side of the wall. You can look at them in many ways.

Was sind die Kernaussagen, welche Erkenntnisse können gewonnen werden?
It is some kind of realityplay. It is black and white, but it is also staged. A photo is reality, fashion is reality too. Maybe that is what Peter Lindbergh is trying to tell us, he tells it by displaying his way of seeing the world. He doesn’t see reality, but his way of reality, and that is staged.

Lohnt sich ein zweiter Besuch?
Yes, I liked the exhibition, but especially together with the CO building. That created an interesting atmosphere.

Copyright issue

When I went to the exhibtion again to study the design of the exhibition, there were some pictures that were not displayed anymore. There was a white sheet hanging over it, saying that there was a copywright issue going on between the photographer and the person photographed. This is a weird situation. Because all the photo’s are staged, you would say that all the models would agree to be photographed. But in this situation, there accured a conflict. The question here is, what is the role of the photographer and rights? Who can you photograph and publish? And who not? Also with streetright and personal right?

Foto: Getty Images