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Works by Timm Rautert on view in Dresden
In “Bildanalytische Photographie” Timm Rautert presents and reflects on the very conditions of producing photographic work, starting with the shot itself up to the emergence of the picture under the enlarger in the dark room.

DRESDEN.- Timm Rautert’s “Bildanalytische Photographie” (Image-analytical photography) counts among the seminal works of German art photography of the 1960s and 1970s. In 2014 the Kupferstich-Kabinett acquired this group of fifty-six works, most of which are composed of several images. They are conceived as unique art works, as each of the images exists in only a single impression. The exhibition presents “Bildanalytische Photographie” for the first time in its entirety.

Timm Rautert worked on “Bildanalytische Photographie” in the period of 1968 and 1974, a time of radical discourse about the role of art in society. He was then a student of Otto Steinert at the Folkwang Art School in Essen, gaining his degree in 1971. During his studies and in the following years Timm Rautert travelled to the United States of America several times, where he was in contact with Andy Warhol’s Factory and worked with conceptual artist such as Franz Erhard Walther, Walter De Maria und James Turrell. Influenced by concept art he dedicated his photographic work to questions related to the conditions of the medium, of the photographer’s identity as an author and of the role of the viewer - all topics, which had and still have a certain urgency considering photography as a technical means to picture the world, claiming reality and truth in representation.

In “Bildanalytische Photographie” Timm Rautert presents and reflects on the very conditions of producing photographic work, starting with the shot itself up to the emergence of the picture under the enlarger in the dark room. It is a carefully planned ensemble of analogue photographs (both in black and white and in colour), of images juxtaposed with texts, of photographic manuals, and of fragments of technical material. As such it asks basic questions of what photography as a medium is able to achieve, what we may expect from it and how it influences our perception of the world we are living in. The work is clearly driven by a theoretical and conceptual approach, however, it remains accessible for the viewer—not least by means of the artist’s subtle sense of humour. A group of unknown sketches and notes from Rautert’s archive, here presented to the public for the very first time, shed light on the making and meaning of “Bildanalytische Photographie” and help to clarify its interpretation as a “grammar” of the photographic medium.

By becoming part of the museum’s rich collection of prints from the fifteenth to the twentieth centuries, Rautert’s work enters an environment that offers new perspectives for a discourse. Questions addressing artistic identity, the relationship of single images versus a series or of manipulation in representation and perception, are threads crucial to printmaking in all its facets. In the exhibition “Bildanalytische Photographie” will be contextualized by showing it alongside a variety of prints. Artists are ranging from Holbein to Rembrandt and Canaletto to Baselitz. This allows a dialogue across the periods about the conditions of the various media, about questions of authorship and techniques, about original and reproduction.

On September 16th and 17th 2016, the Kupferstich-Kabinett will host a symposium on Rautert’s Image-Analytical Photography that includes a public evening lecture by Prof. Dr. Peter Geimer (Friday, September 16th, 6:30 pm, Hans-Nadler-Saal). Please note that this event is held in German.

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