Opening review: The PhotoBookMuseum in Carlswerk, Cologne

Written in english for Hatje Cantz Fotoblog – published on August 21st, 2014.

 

“Markus Schaden knows the world and the world knows Markus Schaden”. The opening of The PhotoBookMuseum opening in Cologne on Thursday 19th August – day of the 175th anniversary of the invention of photography – was indeed international.

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Thanks to all his collaborations with festivals and institutions around the (photo) world, to a great team and to important sponsors and “friends”, Markus Schaden (Schaden.com Foundation) created Europe’s first museum devoted to photography books with a first and fundamental step from August 19th to October 3rd, 2014 in Cologne.

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Around 30 exhibitions can be seen now in an old Carlswerk warehouse of 5,000 square meters – formerly a cable factory – together with a full program of artists talks and workshops (19-24 August and 16-21 September). Some were organized in collaboration with institutions and festivals: Fachhochschule Dortmund, Lichtblick School, Internationale Photoszene Köln, Fotobookfestival Kassel

The installations are teaching a lot about photo books but also in general about photography and about staging. In this “photo book museum” there is indeed less books than what we could imagine. Photo series which became famous after their publication in the last sixty years are deconstructed by the photographers and/or the art direction of The PBM to be shown in a new form, in 3-D or on the walls. Here are some beautiful examples:

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“Cafe Lehmitz” (1967-1970) by Anders Peterson used as a set up for the Museum’s bar

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A very precise and efficient layout on the wall for the strong project “Archives” by the chinese photographer Jiang Jian.

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The project “La Brea Matrix” developed by Schaden.com – Six art photographers from Germany invited to Los Angeles as part for an artist-in-residence program in 2009 and 2010 to search for photographic points of reference to the iconic picture by Stephen Shore – is presented through newspaper articles and a terrific photo studio.

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The German photographer Hans-Jürgen Raabe has been invited to present his ongoing project  ”990 Faces”: 990 human faces from 33 places of the world. Huge personal inventory of the 21st decades! The first ten books corresponding to the first ten series (Myanmar, Lourdes, Oktoberfest, Marrakech, 5th Avenue, Documenta 13, Bosphorus, Eiffel Tower, Brandenburger Gate, Papua New Guinea) are exhibited together with a slideshow showing the “Faces 001-390″.

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A discovery for me: the series “Metropol Yesili” by the turkisch photographer Ali Taptik. Green growing through the concrete of the city and the metal of the container.

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“Paloma al Aire” a gem book by Ricardo Cases about a colorful intriguing Spanish ritual. Exciting installation inside an industrial cage.

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“The Pigs” by Carlos Spottorno: a book which said a lot about the financial crisis in Europa and about which we talked a lot in the photo world in 2013. Mise an abyme inside the office/container.

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A beautiful series of illustrated books made by Dominique Darbois about the children of the world, published Fernand Nathan in Paris from 1952 to 1978. Let’s draw on the walls.

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In the basement of the Carlswerk/PBM are presented huge black and white prints of Chargesheimer’s photographs taken in Cologne at 5.30 am. The installation reconstitutes the exhibition curated by Fritz Gruber for the Photokina in 1970, year of publication of the book “Köln 5 Uhr 30″.

The Photoszene Köln organized a photo contest in the last weeks asking the inhabitants of Cologne to photograph the city at 5.30 am in 2014. More than 100 images were selected for a slide show.

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The Fotobookfestival Kassel is hosted this year at The PhotoBookMuseum and presents the books applying for the Dummy Award 2014 (Jury: Cristina De Middel, Deanne Templeton, Todd Hido, Carlos Spottorno, Manik Katyal, Ben Füglister and Richard Reisen) and the books nominated for the Best Book of the Year 2014 (winner decided by public vote) as well as a retrospective of the Best Books of the past Kassel festivals’ years. The winners will be announced at The PBM on the 23rd of August.

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After the 3rd of october, The PhotoBookMuseum will become an online platform before traveling around the world. Carlswerk edition is temporary… Enjoy it and “Long live The PhotoBookMuseum”!

The PhotoBookMuseum at the Carlswerk
Schanzenstraße 6-20
51063 Cologne-Mülheim
19 August to 3 Oktober 2014
10 am – 6 pm (Mondays closed)
Entrance Fee: DayPass 10 € (reduced 5 €), All-Time-Pass 120 €, Photokina-Week-Pass 60 €

All images: The PhotoBookMuseum © Eva Gravayat



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    THE PHOTO EXHIBITION ARCHIVE is an online resource of selected exhibitions’ views to inspire curators, artists and art students when thinking about, curating & building exhibitions. Founded by Xavier Antoinet & Eva Gravayat in 2017.

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Eva Gravayat
Currently lives in Berlin
Born in Paris, 1985
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