Thomas Ruff, jpeg ri02, 2007
New presentation of the photography collection on September 2019
“But as the human being withdraws from the photographic image, exhibition value shows its superiority over cult value for the first time.” (Walter Benjamin)
The Arthur de Ganay Collection, which is open to the public, takes up this aspect of photography, directing its focus on landscape and architecture photography so as not to distract the observer through what Benjamin called the “cult of remembrance”.
One of the main aims of the collection is to contribute to the broader acceptance of photographic art. The carefully assembled selection of works endeavours to demonstrate the equal standing of the photographic art with painting in the field of the visual arts.
The spaces, which were entirely dedicated to photography from 2006 to 2016, are now inhabited, but the selected artworks retain an unmistakably prominent role throughout the entire construction.
The attractive riverside location is the overarching theme here. For example, the oversized piece by Thomas Ruff, jpeg ri02, has a central location, appearing as something decorative only from afar. As one approaches the photograph, the more enigmatic the subject becomes. The spatial representation in the picture suggests depth yet creates confusion through its coarse, painterly, almost impressionistic pixel grid.
Elger Esser’s four works thematizing water are somewhat smaller in scale: two riverscapes and two seascapes. These classic, timeless subjects invite the observer to take a journey through time to a seemingly long-lost idyll.
A street scene by Laurenz Berges builds upon another unusual photograph by Elger Esser. Both images show deserted, virtually desolate villages, mingling to evoke a skulking sense of melancholy.
Three photographs by Lewis Baltz form another arrangement: Sites of Technology presents images of modern research sites back in 1990: these once powerful computers in their tall metal boxes have an almost mysterious effect.
The architectural photographs by Hiroshi Sugimoto are characterized by their blurriness and hard cropping, pressing the observer to rely on their own powers of imagination. The artist has stripped the photos down to their very essence, tying back to the blurred architectural images in Thomas Ruff’s series l.m.v.d.r.