Joy before the object
28 Sep 2013 – 2 Feb 2014
Location: Photography gallery
What does it mean to photograph an object?
From photography’s beginnings in the mid 19th century, when long exposure times required complete stillness, to the 21st century, with its advances in image technology, objects have played a crucial role.
This exhibition displays works that capture the history and complexity of object photography. It explores the nature of the object and the variety of ways in which artists have rendered things photographically and shaped our perception of the material world.
Joy before the object takes its title from German photographer Albert Renger-Patzsch’s 1928 text of the same name. Critical of the soft-focus Pictorialist photography practised by many of his generation, Renger-Patzsch instead advocated for the ‘splendid fidelity of reproduction’.
This exhibition of 23 artists from the collection begs the question of whether the ‘fidelity’ he sought is or ever was possible, and how artists have aimed for or deconstructed such notions, from the 19th century to today.
Image: Catherine Rogers Cups 2007 from the series The culture of the table © Catherine Rogers