Press information

What Was Documentary Is Now Something Else


Exhibition venues:
Austrian Cultural Forum Prague
Fotograf Gallery &
Galerie Školská 28, Prague

1.10.2015, 6 pm

1.10. – 31.10.2015

Philip Gaißer
Michael Höpfner
Helmut & Johanna Kandl
Stephanie Kiwitt
Markus Krottendorfer
Tatiana Lecomte

Co-produced by Fotograf Festival 2015 »Documentary Strategies« and Austrian Cultural Forum Prague.

Press Information

It has become difficult to speak in a sensible way about the documentary facet of photography due to the distrust that photographic images face in light of the scepticism towards the visible and its potential for showing something “real”. On the one hand, no one seems to believe in the veracity of images anymore, and on the other, people are warned against becoming lost in an idle state of reflexivity about their constructed nature. What is more, doubts arise as to whether the dispositif of documentary images is even visual itself, for the pictures are continually surrounded by stories, narratives, commentary, explanations, memories, knowledge, conventions, history, beliefs, and so forth. Here, the images themselves are but one part of strategies to reference something real. It is no longer enough to recognise them or to decipher their meaning, it seems more important to reflect on how images articulate their meaning. Thereby images are always inextricably linked to “something else”, something that eludes visibility, that is perhaps even concealed by the visibility. This crisis of the documentary, expressed during an age in which more images are being produced and circulated than ever before, possibly relates to the equally enduring crisis of valid political, social, economic agreements. When the nurturing of a binding character in relation to present-day events seems difficult in the best-case scenario, then perhaps a kind of “archaeology” of the present is more strongly assigned meaning. This causes the agreements about various forms of knowledge production to automatically begin to falter. Documentary photographic practices can then no longer be considered to be—more or less reflexive—representational practices. Under these premises, the practices are rather involved in production contexts that not only take into account the conditions of their representation, but also, and most especially, the conditions and contexts of theiremergence. To which researches archives, memories, assumptions, and histories is their arrangement owed? How are they linked to the bodies and spaces of their producers? How do they reconstruct visibility? Which dispositifs of representation facilitate their creation? How do they construct the spaces of their perception? Which histories did they become involved in, which memories to they try to reconstruct? “Images jostle together making words suddenly appear, words jostle making images suddenly appear, images and words jostle and make the thinking find its place in the visual.” (Georges-Didi Huberman) It is therefore important that we rethink our view of images, and also continually redraft their role and their meaning. Conceivably, due to this collisions something in the images will then rise to the fore, something that cannot quite yet be named today, something else …
This exhibition was developed based on an invitation by the Fotograf Festival in Prague, which in 2015 will be focusing on the documentary aspect of photography. The show by Camera Austria will be presented as the festival’s main exhibition, co-produced by the festival itself and the Austria Cultural Forum in Prague. Taking recourse to current artistic positions with an emphasis on Austrian artists, the exhibition aims to mediate new forms of documentary work in the field of contemporary photography. The works themselves enounce various interventions in the “dispositive” of the documentary, without necessarily being documentary themselves.



Publication is permitted exclusively in the context of announcements and reviews related to the exhibition and publication. Please avoid any cropping of the images. Credits to be downloaded from the corresponding link.

  • Philip Gaißer, Tour d'Horizon 2, 2012.
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  • Michael Höpfner, Lie Down, Get Up, Walk On, day 11, 25-9-2012, 2015.
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  • Helmut & Johanna Kandl, 2. Juli 1989, Siebenhirten bei Mistelbach, Festakt des österreichischen Kameradschaftsbundes (ÖKB) anlässlich der Segnung des renovierten Kriegerdenkmals mit Heldenehrung. / 2 July 1989, Siebenhirten near Mistelbach, ceremony for the Austrian Comradeship Orgnaisation (ÖKB) on the occasion of the consecration of the renovated war memorial with a tribute to fallen war heroes.
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  • Disputed Landscape: The Visual Paradigm
    Stephanie Kiwitt, Wondelgemse Meersen, 2012/15.
    Camera Austria 2015
    Photo: Lupi Spuma
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  • Markus Krottendorfer, McMath-Pierce Solar Telescope (II),
    2013. Courtesy: Charim Gallery Vienna & the artist
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  • Tatiana Lecomte, Still aus / from: Ein mörderischer Lärm (A Hellish Noise), 2015.
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