The exhibition Doing the Document will be on display at the Museum Ludwig in Cologne from 31 August 2018 to 6 January 2019 – comprising photographs by Diane Arbus, Walker Evans, Lee Friedlander, August Sander, Tata Ronkholz, Albert Renger-Patzsch and Piet Zwart along with twelve further artists. All of the presented works are distinguished by an artistic-documentary approach, which the exhibition seeks to introduce and investigate. Walker Evans, for example, famously explained that he was not a documentary photographer, but an artist pursuing a “documentary style”.
Where does documentation end, and fine art begin? In our ‘post-truth’ era – characterised not least by the increasing aestheticization of archival and documentary materials – this is an aspect of contemporary art that must now be renegotiated. The exhibition was made possible by a substantial donation of more than 200 works by German and American photographers, gifted to the museum’s holdings by the Bartenbach family of Cologne. In addition to photographs spanning from the early twentieth century to the present day, the Bartenbach Collection also includes source materials, which have been scientifically explored for the first time in the context of this exhibition.
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