The exhibition presents previously unknown portraits that Alfred Ehrhardt (1901-1984) took on his photo journeys parallel to the landscape photographs and which are now being shown for the first time. The historical images are juxtaposed with photographs by Ellen Auerbach (1906-2004), Orri Jónsson (1970), Aino Kannisto (1973), Anne Lass (1978) and Christa Mayer (1945). As different as the photographers’ starting points may be, their pictures show how the intimacy of the portrait spills over into the photographic perception of the landscape. And vice versa, how the nature of a landscape with all its imponderables and charms determines and shapes the people in it. In short: how the outside appears in the inside and the inside in the outside.
Image above: Aino Kannisto Nixies Children, 2015 Chromoluxe aluminium print, 76 x 100 cm © Aino Kannisto, Courtesy Galerie m, Bochum, Germany
The image of a landscape is, as Alfred Ehrhardt sums it up, “more than a sum of individual geographical phenomena, it is a living being”. Alfred Ehrhardt, who is known for his brilliant nature photographs, was particularly interested in the inhabitants of a landscape and their living conditions. During his travels from the 1930s to the 1950s to northern Germany, Italy, Portugal and the USA, he created impressive images of people in their familiar surroundings, which will be on display in the exhibition. Ehrhardt succeeds in capturing the specific emotional bond between people and space and depicting familiarity, safety and security.
Ellen Auerbach also associates a feeling of home with the people who surround her. After her emigration to the USA after 1933, she took impressive photographs of personalities in her circle of acquaintances. For example, she shared a flat with the dancer Renate Schottelius, whose jump over the roofs of Manhattan she captured in 1954, and she photographed the four “Porter children” by the sea during a holiday with friends. In her pictures, she succeeds in capturing unique, intimate moments in which one becomes aware of the interaction between space and people.
German-Danish-born Anne Lass studied at the renowned Folkwang University of the Arts and was awarded the C/O Berlin Talent Award in 2009. In her most recent series “Low Season”, which was created during the first Corona winter, Lass observed how people and their immediate surroundings interact. The islanders, friends and neighbours of the photographer have retreated into their rooms. Immersed in their own inwardness, they seem strangely removed from time. Despite the privacy of the images, we are invited to become part of their thoughts.
The works of Aino Kannisto, a photographer from the Helsinki School, focus on children she photographed during a summer at the lake in the wilderness of the Nordic forests – a longing place of many childhood memories that is fascinating and uncanny at the same time. Childlike being, its grace and immediacy, form the starting point of the photo series. Despite their direct gaze towards the photographer and thus the camera, the children’s actions remain enigmatic. The mysteriousness and inner beauty of the children are revealed in the large-format pictures.
The innocence of children in relation to the world can also be felt in the works of the Icelandic musician and photographer Orri. From earliest childhood to teenage years, he captures the growing up of his four children. With an unobtrusive intimacy and a sensitive sense of detail, he gives a very touching insight into his family history. The inwardness of his portraits corresponds with outdoor shots of places where the family is at home.
The Berlin photographer Christa Mayer, who first worked as a psychologist, later studied at the legendary Kreuzberg Workshop for Photography and was recently awarded a prize by the Berlinische Galerie, encounters patients from the closed long-term psychiatric ward with familiarity and sensitivity in her early portraits. Mayer succeeds in creating photographs of great grace and presence in the field of tension between portrait and landscape: there is the dark forest into which her sister, a nun, enters; there are the children in disguise in the ruins in front of a Mexican desert landscape; a mother, Madonna-like with her child.
A group exhibition with Ellen Auerbach, Alfred Ehrhardt, Orri Jónsson, Aino Kannisto, Anne Lass and Christa Mayer. Curated by Dr Marie Christine Jádi
Alfred Ehrhardt Stiftung
Friday, 14. July 2023, 7-21 p.m.
Saturday, 15. July – Sunday, 10. September 2023