The current position of photography has much in common with the early years of the medium, when experiments with new photographic techniques were carried out on a grand scale. In a spirit of openness, excitement, freedom, curiosity and non-conformity, the nineteenth century pioneers of photography experimented with the technological and visual potential of the medium. They tested various methods and processes, but these were far from fully developed. Innovators with different backgrounds and from a variety of disciplines were looking for the best ways to capture the world. Taking pleasure in the making of images, and with a similar drive for experimentation, these early photographers shared a common mentality with many artists today.
C-Color paper print, from the series Light Break, 2015 © Nicolai Howalt / Courtesy Martin Asbæk Gallery
The contemporary artists selected for the exhibition Back to the Future all use the foundations of photography: light, darkroom and chemistry, but in a non-traditional way. Each artist honours the history of the medium of photography by experimentally re-inventing it. The image is considered a material object with its own texture regardless of whether it is an analogue or digital object.
The exhibition features works by artists including Anna Atkins (GB), Sylvia Ballhause (DE), Karl Blossfeldt (DE), Bownik (PL), Matthew Brandt (US), Alfred Brothers (GB), Henry Frères (FR), S.W. Burham (US), William England (SCT), Sam Falls (US), Spiros Hadjidjanos (GR), Thomas Hauser (FR), Nicolai Howalt (DK), Adam Jeppesen (DK), Thomas Mailaender (FR), James Nasmyth (GB-SCT), Taiyo Onorato & Nico Krebs (CH), Johan Österholm (SE), Jaya Pelupessy & Felix van Dam (NL), Douglas Mandry (CH), Lisa Oppenheim (US), Warren de la Rue (GB), Lewis M. Rutherford (US), Stephen Thompson (GB), and Simon van Til (NL).
The exhibition Back to the Future. The 19th Century in the 21st Century is initiated by Foam in collaboration with C/O Berlin and was curated by Kim Knoppers and Ann-Christin Bertrand.
Foam is supported by the BankGiro Loterij, De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek, City of Amsterdam, Olympus and the VandenEnde Foundation.