05
Aug
12

Exhibition: ‘Wim Wenders: Places, strange and quiet’ at Sammlung Falckenberg, Hamburg

Exhibition dates: 15th April – 19th August 2012

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I’m not a fan of these “moody,” “simple, composed with clean lines and brilliant colours and mostly unpopulated” photographs. They just don’t do it for me. I want photography to show me something, some essence of life that I have not seen, and then let the photograph speak to me again and again, to reveal itself over weeks and years. This doesn’t happen with these photographs. They are such derivate, plain photographs and they certainly don’t take me places that are strange and quiet.

Wenders should learn how to frame a photograph properly. The bottom left hand corner of Sun Bather, Palermo (2007, below) is just an empty negative space that simply falls out the photograph. There is no containment here, no tensioning of the diagonal of the rocks and the line of the sun beds. The photographer has even tried to “burn in” the pavement to hold up this area of image (notice how the contrast has increased!), to no avail. A poorly visualised photograph. The same can be said for the left hand side of Open Air Screen, Palermo (2007, below). The photographer simply shows no understanding of how to construct a photograph, not a film. The only photograph that takes me to a strange and quiet place is the early image Dinosaur and Family, California (1983, below). Now this really works, the light, the family, the dinosaur, the eeriness and stillness. Yes.

Usually I don’t say a harsh word on my blog but not in this case. Wim Wenders, you might be a great film director but please, stay away from photography. There are more interesting places for people to go, more deserving of their energy than looking at these overrated images.

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Many thanx to Sammlung Falckenberg and Deichtorhallen Hamburg for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

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Wim Wenders
Walled In
2005
Digital C-print
131 x 125 cm
Courtesy Wenders Images

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Wim Wenders
The Chopper
2005
Digital C-print
124.5 x 125 cm
Courtesy Wenders Images

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Wim Wenders
Cowboy Clown, Brisbane
2006
C-print
132 x 148 cm
Courtesy Wenders Images

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Wim Wenders
Policeman, Heiligendamm
2007
C-print
132 x 148 cm
Courtesy Wenders Images

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“The Falckenberg Collection presents in cooperation with Wenders Images Berlin an exhibition of photographs by the internationally renowned filmmaker and artist Wim Wenders (b. 1945). Bringing together almost 60 images, taken from 1983 to 2011, this show entitled “Places, strange and quiet” will feature many photographs not yet exhibited in Germany including several very recent works.

For “Places, strange and quiet” Wenders has assembled a fascinating series of large scale photographs taken in countries around the world from Salvador, Brazil; Palermo, Italy; Onomichi, Japan to Berlin, Germany; Brisbane, Australia, Armenia and the United States. From his iconic images of exteriors and buildings to his panoramic depictions of towns and landscapes, the exhibition will present the full range of Wenders’ work, exploring how he created and honed remarkable images that continue to resonate powerfully.

In his own words, “When you travel a lot, and when you love to just wander around and get lost, you can end up in the strangest spots. I have a huge attraction to places. Already when I look at a map, the names of mountains, villages, rivers, lakes or landscape formations excite me, as long as I don’t know them and have never been there … I seem to have sharpened my sense of place for things that are out of place. Everybody turns right, because that’s where it’s interesting, I turn left where there is nothing! And sure enough, I soon stand in front of my sort of place. I don’t know, it must be some sort of inbuilt radar that often directs me to places that are strangely quiet, or quietly strange.”

Wim Wenders is a multi-faceted artist: a painter, actor, writer and one of the most successful contemporary filmmakers. He first made his name as a leading director of the New German Cinema in the 1970s, and became a cult figure on the international film scene by the mid 1980s. It was in 1983, while scouting for locations for Paris, Texas (1984) that he began to use photography as an art medium in its own right. Wim Wenders was born in Düsseldorf in 1945. After two years of studying medicine and philosophy and a yearlong stay in Paris as a painter he attended the University of Television and Film in Munich from 1967 to 1970.

One of the most important figures to emerge from the “New German Cinema” period in the 1970s, he was a founding member of the German film distribution “Filmverlag der Autoren” in 1971 and he established his own production company “Road Movies” in Berlin in 1975. Alongside directing atmospheric auteur films Wenders works with the medium of photography, and his poignant images of desolate landscapes engage themes including memory, time and movement. A major survey of his photography, “Pictures from the surface of the Earth,” was exhibited in museums and art institutions worldwide. Wim Wenders has published numerous books with essays and photographs.”

Press release from the Deichtorhallen Hamburg website

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Wim Wenders
Street Corner Butte, Montana
2003
C-print
186 x 224 cm
Courtesy Wenders Images

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Wim Wenders
Dinosaur and Family, California
1983
C-print
127.7 x 168.3 x 5 cm
Courtesy Wenders Images

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Wim Wenders
Sun Bather, Palermo
2007
C-print
132 x 148 cm
Courtesy Wenders Images

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Wim Wenders
Open Air Screen, Palermo
2007
C-Print. 186 x 213 cm
Courtesy Wenders Images

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Sammlung Falckenberg | Phoenix Kulturstiftung
Wilstorfer Straße 71, Tor 2
21073 Hamburg – Harburg

Visit to the collection by advanced booking only

Sammlung Falckenberg website

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Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes the Art Blart blog which reviews exhibitions in Melbourne, Australia and posts exhibitions from around the world. He has a Dr of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne and is currently studying a Master of Art Curatorship at The University of Melbourne.

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