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Events of the Self: Portraiture and Social Identity
Nontsikelelo (Lolo) Veleko
Nonkululeko, 2003
Pigment print on cotton paper
Comments: © Nontsikelelo (Lolo) Veleko
Courtesy the artist and Goodman

Events of the Self: Portraiture and Social Identity

Momente des Selbst: Porträtfotografie und soziale Identität

Sammy Baloji » Oladélé Ajiboyé Bamgboyé » Yto Barrada » Bernd & Hilla Becher » Candice Breitz » Allan de Souza » Theo Eshetu » Rotimi Fani-Kayode » Samuel Fosso » David Goldblatt » Kay Hassan » Romuald Hazoumé » Pieter Hugo » Seydou Keïta » Maha Maamoun » Boubacar Touré Mandémory » Salem Mekuria » Santu Mofokeng » Zwelethu Mthethwa » Zanele Muholi » James Muriuki » Ingrid Mwangi » Grace Ndiritu » J. D. 'Okhai Ojeikere » Jo Ractliffe » August Sander » Berni Searle » Malick Sidibé » Mikhael Subotzky » Guy Tillim » Hentie van der Merwe » Nontsikelelo "Lolo" Veleko » & others

Exhibition: 17 Jun 2010 – 15 May 2011

The Walther Collection

Reichenauerstr. 21
89233 Neu-Ulm

+49 (0)731-1769143


Thu-Sun 11-14

Events of the Self: Portraiture and Social Identity
J.D. 'Okhai Ojeikere
Untitled [Onile Gogoro Or Akaba], 1975
Gelatin silver print
Comments: © J.D. 'Okhai Ojeikere
photo: Steven Bates
Courtesy André Magnin and brancolinigrimaldi, Roma

The Walther Collection opens to the public on June 17th, 2010 with "Events of the Self: Portraiture and Social Identity," introducing works from its African collection. Under the curatorial direction of Okwui Enwezor the exhibition comprises a series of four projects filling all nine galleries in the three buildings of the new exhibition space in Burlafingen near Ulm, Southern Germany. The inaugural exhibition will be open every week from Thursday to Sunday by appointment only, please contact: info@walthercollection.com. Admission is free.

"Events of the Self: Portraiture and Social Identity" integrates the work of three generations of African artists and photographers with that of modern and contemporary German photography. This combination of African and German works will serve as a model for the kind of curatorial process that animates the character of the collecting program. In total, the exhibition presents 243 works by 32 artists. To support this curatorial vision, the galleries of the collection have been proportioned to respond to the different scales of photography and video and are distributed around three architectural typologies which house the exhibitions.

In The White Box a group exhibition of contemporary African artists working with photography, video installation, and slide projection will be on display: The works of artists like Yto Barrada, Romuald Hazoumè, Jo Ractliffe, Guy Tillim, Hentie van der Merwe or Samuel Fosso are organized around the issues of portraiture, portrayal, gender, performance, theatricality, and identity. A second floor gallery is dedicated to the work of Rotimi Fani-Kayode, showing a selection of the large color photographs of the late Nigerian-British artist, whose staged portraits of the 1980s explored issues of sexuality, eroticism, and identity.

A dual exhibition in The Green House focuses on portraiture and the idea of societal transition and social transformation. It features the magisterial and influential portraits of two modern masters: Seydou Keïta (Mali) and August Sander (Germany) and thus presents two contrasting moments of the twentieth century along with the cultural implications of photography in showing the changes these societies were undergoing while the portraits were being made. In both portrait series, the poses and gestures that the sitters adopt in front of the camera suggest the idea of the modern individual.

The Black House presents similar correspondences in the concepts of seriality and typologies in the works of Bernd and Hilla Becher (Germany), Malick Sidibé (Mali), and J. D. 'Okhai Ojeikere (Nigeria). Small selections from the series of black-and-white pictures of obsolete modern machinery by the Bechers, along with the severe black-and-white headshots by Ojeikere, in which he analyzes the subjects' hairstyles, and Sidibé's studio portraits of women and men photographed from the back, all provide a complement of both intuitive and formal approaches in the work of this generation of artists. Included in this group is Santu Mofokeng's The Black Photo Album / Look At Me: 1890–1950, a video slide presentation of archival photographs of working- and middle-class black people dressed in complete Victorian attire dating as far back as the 1890s. The piece examines the anthropology of portraiture, self-representation, and colonialism in nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century South Africa. It responds to the style of anthropological photographic documentations of Africans prevalent in the Victorian era, such as Alfred Martin Duggan-Cronin's photographic studies The Bantu Tribes of South Africa, a ten-volume work, which is presented for the first time here alongside Mofokeng's work.

Die Eröffnungsausstellung

Die Walther Collection eröffnet ihr Ausstellungs- und Publikationsprogramm am 17. Juni 2010 mit Momente des Selbst: Porträtfotografie und soziale Identität mit Werken aus ihrer afrikanischen Sammlung. Die Ausstellung, die von Okwui Enwezor kuratiert wird, präsentiert Arbeiten afrikanischer Künstler aus drei Generationen und stellt sie in Dialog mit Werken moderner und zeitgenössischer deutscher Fotografen. Insgesamt werden 243 Arbeiten von 32 Künstlern gezeigt. Die ausgewählten Arbeiten behandeln drei Themenbereiche: Porträtkunst und soziale Veränderung, Typologien und Taxonomien sowie Figuration und Theatralität. Die Verknüpfung von afrikanischer und deutscher Kunst steht dabei modellhaft für die kuratorischen Prozesse, mit denen die Sammlung aktiviert wird. Die jährlich wechselnden Ausstellungen reflektieren thematisch unterschiedliche Aspekte der Sammlung und der Geschichte der Fotografie und stellen sie in vier Projekten in den insgesamt neun Ausstellungsräumen vor.

Events of the Self: Portraiture and Social Identity
Yto Barrada
Girl in Red, Tangier from "A Life Full of Holes: The Strait Project", 1999
Comments: © Yto Barrada
Foto: Frank Kleinbach
Courtesy the artistGallery, Johannesburg
Events of the Self: Portraiture and Social Identity
Guy Tillim
Justino Ngene, Laurino Bongue and Faucino Hando from the series "Kunhinga", 2002
Digital pigment print on coated cotton paper
Comments: © Guy Tillim
Courtesy the artist and Michael Stevenson gallery