BONN.- Kunstmuseum Bonn
presents under the title THROUGH THE LOOKING BRAIN the photography collection of Swiss Zellweger Luwa AG which has never been shown in public before.
Established by Ruedi and Thomas Bechtler in 1990 and constantly complemented by Cristina Bechtler, Ruedi Bechtler und Bice Curiger (Kunsthaus Zürich), the collection has become over the last 20 years one of the best and most comprehensive international collections in the field of conceptual photography.
The collection contains works from the 1970s until today, including main works by artists ranging from John Baldessari, Bernd and Hilla Becher, Sigmar Polke, Imi Knoebel, Martin Kippenberger, Thomas Ruff, Andreas Gursky, Fischli/Weiss, Roman Signer, Richard Prince, Jeff Wall, Hiroshi Sugimoto, to Stan Douglas, Ken Lum and Gabriel Orozco.
Luwa AG was founded by Hans and Walter Bechtler who already displayed art on their premises in the early 1950s. In 1955, Walter Bechtler established the foundation for art in public space which has given important impulses to the Swiss museum landscape.
Titles are a very special facet in the business of holding exhibitions: more than a mere marketing trait, their aim is to provide a clue to the exhibitions content. When faced with a title which, like Through The Looking Brain, appears to be born from a misuse of the English language only two conclusions can be drawn. In our case, the first of these, namely that the exhibition organizers clearly did not know any better, can be instantly disregarded. We are left, then, with only the second alternative: that the mistake has been incorporated on purpose. And this is undoubtedly the case here. The word-shift that uses the phrase looking through the brain to set in motion a process through the looking brain aims to draw the visitors attention to the connection between seeing and thinking, and at the same time, by being a seeing mode of thought, emphasizes a form of visual practice that has played a vital role in conceptual photography since the 1970s. In its essential points of focus, Zellweger Luwa AGs corporate photographic collection on show here illustrates the core moments inherent in such a visual practice: firstly, the sober, demythologizing examination of the pictures aura by emphasizing the aspect of the mechanically contrived in photography, secondly, the serial processes involved in creating such a work, and thirdly, the systematic investigation into the medium of photography itself.
This internationally important collection, which has never gone on public display before, was first started in 1990 at the behest of Ruedi and Thomas Bechtler. Over the past twenty years it has been variously expanded by Cristina Bechtler, Ruedi Bechtler and Bice Curiger. By way of its exemplary density and quality, the collection thus reveals one of the key elements in the development of photography into an art form in its own right, as well as granting visitors insight into previously little known groups of works.
After its presentation in Bonn, the exhibition will move to Kunstmuseum St. Gallen.