Joachim Schmid: Selected Photoworks 1982 – 2007
Dates: 20 April – 17 June 2007
Location: 8 Great Newport Street
The Photographers’ Gallery is proud to present the first UK, mid-career retrospective by the German photographer Joachim Schmid (b. 1955). The exhibition, organised in collaboration with the Tang Museum at Skidmore College (Saratoga Springs, New York), will feature a selection of projects Schmid produced between 1982 and 2007.
The selection in the exhibition will include his signature series, Bilder von der Straße (Pictures from the Street). A work in progress since 1982, Schmid has selected 100 images, from a collection of 900 images (to date) for the exhibition. These range from family snapshots and ID photos to photo-booth discards that Schmid has picked up over the past 25 years on walks through cities around the world. Many still bear the scars of their abandonment—they are creased, torn up, walked on, rain-soaked, and/or sun-faded.
Schmid’s use of the ongoing series demonstrates his concern with photography as an all encompassing discourse that runs throughout the public and private spheres of modern life. The fundamental richness of his photographic raw material, along with the sardonic wit he so often displays, derails any attempt to read his work as pure anthropology or social science. His artistic preoccupations also reflect a close observation of photographic history and a fascination with photographic images themselves in all their alternately bizarre and conventionalised aspects.
Schmid began his career in the early 1980s as a freelance critic and the publisher of Fotokritik, an iconoclastic and original contribution to West German photography. Here, Schmid argued strongly against the prevailing—and predominantly conservative—notions of “art photography” and spoke out in favour of a broader, more encompassing consideration of photography as an ever-present form of cultural production. After ceasing publication of Fotokritik in 1987, Schmid focused on his own art making, based primarily on found photography and public image sources. In recent years, Schmid's work has taken him to the Internet to create provocative works that reflect the future of photography in a networked, global culture.
Joachim Schmid has exhibited extensively in the international arena since the late 1980s. His work is included in major museum collections, including those of the Folkwang Museum, Essen; the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. He is a recipient of the prestigious Mondriaan Prize of Holland, and was awarded a Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung grant by the city of Berlin in 2004. Schmid lives and works in Berlin.
A monograph on Joachim Schmid, published by Photoworks (UK), Tang Museum (USA) and Steidl (Germany), with support from The Photographers’ Gallery and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, will be available in April from the Gallery Bookshop.