Museum voor Fotografie Antwerpen
The Antwerp Museum of Photography reopened on Mar. 21, 2004 after completion of extensive renovation and expansion project designed by architect Georges Baines - (found in the "Art in America" )
The Antwerp Museum of Photography reopened on Mar. 21, after an completion of extensive renovation and expansion project designed by architect Georges Baines. A new structure connected to the existing warehouse building brings the museum's total area to 97,000 square feet. The new spaces house a 150-seat auditorium, a cinema and classrooms, as well as additional exhibition areas
The renewed Museum of Photography of the Province of Antwerp
During the first year after the opening, the PhotoMuseum presented monographic as well as thematic exhibition projects. With solo exhibitions of, among others, William Klein, Henry Bond, Anton Corbijn and Paul Seawright, the PhotoMuseum sets out to emphasise the diversity of the photographic image, supplemented by thematic exhibitions such as Short Stories – Narrative aspects of contemporary photography. In the autumn of 2005, the PhotoMuseum will present the Biennale ‘Photo Antwerp 2005’ and also open the last new exhibition room, especially equipped for exhibitions where photography, film and new media meet. The PhotoMuseum offers a view of the past (collection presentation), the present (thematic and monographic exhibitions), as well as the future!
Now that the second large room of the new museum wing has inaugurated, the second floor of the old wing can be used for the presentation of the museum's own collections again. In the future, every year the FotoMuseum will present alternating selections from the voluminous and varied own works there. The customary historical route, with its chronological sequence of styles and techniques, is largely deviated from. Instead more alternating perspectives will be offered, based on more intuitive and subjective dealing with the collection.
This first 'new style' collection presentation focuses on the acquisitions realised in the period 1995 – 2005. Apart from some exceptions, they could not be presented to the public yet because of the past building and renovation work. Occasionally these recent acquisitions were set up in dialogue with images and objects that have been part of the collection for a longer time.
Although not consciously pursued, in the presented selection three important themes stand out, with some smaller ensembles as the links between them.
One of these main themes is THE LANDSCAPE in its broadest meaning, including urbanism and architecture. In the landscape mankind projects his ideals and emotions, is confronted with conflicts between nature and culture, discovers security or experiences insignificance and powerlessness. In the landscape mankind lives his history, inserts markers, and leaves traces. Each view of the landscape is therefore also a view of mankind. Works by Charles Nègre, Carlo Naya, Carleton Watkins, William H. Jackson, Alfred Stieglitz, Alvin Langdon Coburn, Henri Berssenbrugge, Robert Adams, Dan Graham, Mark Klett, Werner Hannappel, Anthony Hernandez, Lynne Cohen, Gilbert Fastenaekens, André Jasinski, Jean-Louis Vanesch, Lucas Jodogne, Hans Bol, Geert Goiris and others are exhibited.
THE WAR in all its aspects is also represented to a large extent. Images of destruction, sorrow and loss, resistance and liberation. In addition to impressive anonymous shots, works by Julia Pirotte, Reind de Vries, Ernst Haas, Hiromi Tsuchida etc. are exhibited.
There is an important cluster on the theme of BODY and IDENTITY. With the arrival of photography the portrait as a genre gained a new content as it were. The possible variations for filling in awareness of individuality carried to an extreme on the one hand, and thinking in terms of categories on the basis of gender, class or origin on the other, seem to be inexhaustible. Not only the face but also the body, both naked and dressed, can be interpreted as the most ultimate carrier of an individual identity, or on the contrary be reduced to an anonymous personality. All this is illustrated with work by Nadar, Disdéri, George Seeley, Claude Cahun, Disfarmer, Pierre Verger, Frank J. Lambrecht, Diane Arbus, Gary Winogrand, Nicholas Nixon, Nadine Tasseel, Jitka Hanzlova and others.
In the past few years, some remarkable acquisitions were also added to the partial collection 'Apparatuur' (Devices). From a Swiss private collector the FotoMuseum acquired an exceptional series of 'street cameras', once used by travelling portrait photographers, who worked in the towns in South and Central Europe or in Latin America. Through smaller acquisitions this ensemble was supplemented with other types of devices, which were especially designed for mass or rapid and cheap production of portrait photographs. The panoramic camera manufactured for a professional photographer in Lourdes for portraying large groups of pilgrims is also worth mentioning.
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