In his work Courtesy, Ingo Mittelstaedt raises questions about authorship, predecessors and artistic developments as well as the techniques and processes of archiving, collecting and preserving. The act of delving into an archive of retrieving, showing, uncovering, and portraying something, is presented in an almost process-like manner in his photographs. — Julia Katharina Thiemann
Artist(s) Ingo Mittelstaedt
Publisher edition cantz
Ingo Mittelstaedt’s exploration of the history of photography is evident in his portrayal and reproduction of photographs from the collection of the Sprengel Museum*. Mittelstaedt’s selection of photographs for his series is clearly characterised by a certain physicality. The black and white prints show different hand gestures as well as traces of handling, sorting and viewing.
By establishing a parallel between the hands in the historical prints and the hands holding them where the collection is stored, Mittelstaedt provides a second frame for them and draws attention to the conditions of perception as well as the storage and availability of artwork within museum structures. How are the photographs displayed in this context and how are they responded to?
Ingo Mittelstaedt not only appropriates these images, some of which are iconic but also explores them sympathetically, creating his own subjective logic and narrative in his physically compelling use of them to produce idiosyncratic photography works.
This publication itself aims to replicate and mirror the logic and structure of the series by featuring reproductions of Mittelstaedt’s Courtesy on five separate cards which readers can take into their own hands to look at. The act of holding a photograph staged in Mittelstaedt’s prints is echoed in the process of the recipient exploring the work. Pointing gestures are therefore directly connected to seeing and understanding both in tactile and cognitive terms. — excerpts from the essay Displaying Display, Photographic reproduction as an aesthetic strategy in the work of Ingo Mittelstaedt by Julia Katharina Thiemann
Alexander Rodtschenko, Radiohörer (Portrait der Tochter Warwara)
Germaine Krull, o.T. (Saving Mudra (Bewaren))
Umbo, o.T. (Wechselkurs 10 Mark; Zwei Hände reichen Geldscheine)
Walter Ballhause, o.T. (Selbstportrait Auge)
Nicholas Nixon, Bob Sappenfield, from: People with Aids
Courtesy was published accompanying Mittelstaedt’s exhibition at the Rudolf-Scharpf-Gallery Ludwigshafen, project gallery of the Wilhelm Hack Museum.
You can purchase this publication on the publisher’s website.