»Dietrich Oltmanns. Photographs 1985–2000«
Curated by Marc Barbey
Collection Regard is delighted to announce their new photography exhibition “Dietrich Oltmanns. Photographs 1985–2000,” curated by Marc Barbey. Dietrich Oltmanns will be present at both the press event and the exhibition opening. The exhibition will present important photographic cycles by Dietrich Oltmanns, especially from his early work, including: simultan, life, vieräugig, Einkreisung, Berlin Panoramen, and Verstreutes Licht.
From March 16 to June 8, 2018, you can visit the exhibition every Friday between 2 pm and 6 pm (except on holidays) or by appointment. During the Gallery Weekend Berlin 2018, the Collection Regard is also open on Saturday, April 28, 2018 between 2 pm and 6 pm.
Four “Salons Photographique” along with four guided tours with the photographer and Marc Barbey will accompany/ complement the exhibition (details see framework program below).
On the occasion of the exhibition, Collection Regard will release a publication with a text by Dr. Katrin Arrieta, Artistic Director of the Kunstmuseum Ahrenshoop. Additionally, the third book by Oltmanns with publisher ex pose Verlag Hansgert Lambers, Verstreutes Licht, will be published. This book gathers together important works made from 1989 to 2005 using a pinhole camera.
Commentary on the Work of Dietrich Oltmanns from Marc Barbey
Dietrich Oltmanns (*1956) dedicated himself to photography unexpectedly after studying cybernetics and spending two years in the industry. As an autodidact, he tried to make his own way in the world of images. He found his way then and has been developing it further ever since.
Oltmanns trained his eye in the reading room of the German National Library and with German and international films at the legendary Leipziger Filmkunsttheater Casino (Leipzig Film-Art Theater Casino). Out of the hundreds of films he saw there, one played a particularly significant role for him. It was this film that gave him the courage to further pursue the approach that he finally adopted for his photographic work. “The Man with the Kamera” by Dziga Vertov is a filmic manifesto from 1929, a “non-narrative” film whose avant-garde daring still serves as a source for the art films of the present, and which many experts consider one of the ten most important films of all time (this film will be shown at the Salon Photographique 12.4.2018).
The painter and book artist Olaf Wegewitz was a long-time friend and early mentor of Dietrich Oltmanns. He was one of the artists of the not-quite-legal Erster Leipziger Herbstsalon exhibition of 1984 in the Leipziger Messehaus am Markt. This exhibition was put on by the artists themselves, despite the fact that some of them were already subject to state-imposed restrictions. They refused to accept the censorship and demands of the government anymore, and wanted to stand up for artistic autonomy with a symbolic gesture of protest. Although this exhibition was only shown for a short time, it was seen by a large number of visitors and generated a huge response. This example set a precedent. For example, Galerie Eigen+Art, a gallery that is well known today worldwide, was essentially created out of the Erster Leipziger Herbstsalon. Deutschlandfunk (German Radio) called the Herbstsalon a “milestone on the way to the implosion of the GDR.” In 1987, Dietrich Oltmanns exhibited his early work in Galerie Eigen+Art, and it has hardly been shown since.
A major source of inspiration for Oltmanns’ work, from whom the photographer himself claims to have learned a great deal, is Albert Renger-Patzch (1897-1966). A photographer associated with New Objectivity, Renger-Patzsch united pure form with proximity to the things photographed and precision in his images and is one of the most recognized photographers of his generation. Authenticity and concentration are qualities Renger-Patzsch and Oltmanns have in common. However, the connection between them is more one of mindset, since Oltmanns uses different technical means than those used by Renger-Patzsch and has his own unique visual language.
At first glance, many of Oltmanns’ images forgo the classical language of photography. He has thoroughly mastered the canon, but does not make use of it in the usual way. Oltmanns follows a very individual, unique, sometimes melancholic, often experimental path, engaging with the photographic medium and his relationship to the world. As a master of vision and an orchestrator of the visible, he creates two-part, four-part, and multi-part images, montages in grid form made of filmstrips, or sequences of images—the single image is not in the foreground. For him, it is about the complexity and multiple perspectives achieved by using a variety of equipment, from the distortion-free pinhole camera to the large-format plate camera.
During the Cold War in the GDR, Oltmanns was one of a community of artistically-oriented, nonconformist photographers, as evidenced by his role in the co-editing and production of the Leipzig Art Informel magazine Zweite Person (Second Person), along with his participation in legendary publication Foto-Anschlag, which included 32 GDR photographers and writers and was unofficially published by Karim Saab in 1988.
The attention Oltmanns’ work has received up until now does not reflect the quality, the peculiar complexity, or the remarkable originality of the work. Oltmanns’ images have taken their place in German institutions and private collections in Germany and elsewhere. However, this has not brought general recognition or a corresponding level of publicity with it. The fact that Oltmanns doesn’t self-promote and is quite self-effacing when speaking about his images explains this discrepancy to some extent. What is certain is that he is a true artist who treads a bold and ambitious path—independent of external recognition and in defiance of personal setbacks. Oltmanns has being going his own way for more than 35 years, and now he’s inviting us into the unique, inventive world of his outstanding work.
Marc Barbey, January 2018
Biography of Dietrich Oltmanns (*1956)
Born in 1956 in Leipzig, technical college course 1976-1981 in Cybernetics at the TH Ilmenau diploma after high school and military service, active in industry in Leipzig, from 1983 worked there as an independent photographer, 1987-9 co-editor and producer of the Art Informel magazine Zweite Person, moved to Berlin in 1991, collaborated with Maria Luise Faber, 1994 grant from the Stiftung Kulturfonds, 1995 residential grant from the state of Sachsen-Anhalt in Dessau, 2002 residency at the Kunstverein Rüderhof, 2008 grant from Künstlerhaus Ahrenshoop, supported by the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, 2010 fellowship at NOMOS, Glashütte.
Lives and works in Berlin and Lindenbrück/Teltow-Fläming.
Salon Photographique / Film Evening,
featuring Dziga Vertov’s “Man with a Movie Camera”
A film by Dziga Vertov, 1929, 66 min (German); Chelovek s kino-apparatom (original title)
Dietrich Oltmanns will be present. After the screening, there will be a group discussion of the film.
“Man with a Movie Camera” by Dziga Vertov is a filmic manifesto from 1929, a “non-narrative” film whose avant-garde daring still serves as a source for the art films of the present, and which many experts consider one of the ten most important films of all time. In this film, Dziga Vertov documents the daily routine of a large Soviet city, a montage of Moscow, Kiev, and Odessa. He leaves out narrative (literary) and staged/designed (theatrical) elements and relies on the impact of the montage. It was Vertov’s belief that films should generally and without exception “show life as it is”; every kind of staging, for him, was fraud and an underestimation of the audience.
Salon Photographique / Artist Talk with Maciej Markovicz, photographer and creator of the “OBSCURABOAT”
The OBSCURABOAT is a floating and walk-in Camera Obscura, built by the photographer himself. Since September 2017, as a partner of the Hamburg Triennial 2018 and the 2Boats/Übermut Project, it has been travelling through Europe via Amsterdam, Paris, and Berlin, before returning to Hamburg on the occasion of the Triennial of Photography Hamburg. This photographic journey across Europe follows another one the photographer did in America, that time on a Camera Obscura bus, as part of the same ongoing project, entitled “The Moving Camera,” which he began in 2015. Maciej Markowicz and Marc Barbey will present and discuss the photographer’s photographic work and approach using a projection and a small film.
Maciej Markowicz is a photographer and designer based in Berlin. He uses giant mobile Camera Obscuras (Latin for “dark room”) to examine the everyday dynamics of modern life in the city and beyond and to challenge our perception of time. Markowicz exposes images onto large-scale sheets of color photographic paper, creating direct-negative photographs without film or digital technology.
Some of the works that were created in New York or on the OBSCURABOAT, by definition unique pieces, can be viewed and purchased in the collection from March to May 2018. A solo exhibition of the photographer will take place during the 2018 Triennial of Photography Hamburg.
Salon Photographique / Film Evening,
featuring “AUDIENZEN – Strategien der Selbstbehauptung”
A documentary by Tina Bara and Barbara Metselaar, 2007, 52 min (German)
Both photographers will be present for this first public screening of the film in Berlin. After the screening, there will be a group discussion of the film.
In the 1950s, Evelyn Richter and Ursula Arnold began a course in photography at the Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst in Leipzig. They ran into various constraints and limitations, stemming from the doctrine of Stalinism. The film deals with these conditions under which both photographers’ oeuvres were developed, marked by personal temperament, resistance, and twists of fate. The film transposes the methods of observation that always represented a credo for both women—“straight photography”—to the film itself. No staged intrusions, little predictability, and including contingent occurrences in their environment—a truly animated depiction of life.
Salon Photographique / Artist Talk with Dietrich Oltmanns and Hansgert Lambers, photographer and publisher
In conjunction with the exhibition, “Dietrich Oltmanns. Photographs 1985-2000,” the photographer himself and the publisher Hansgert Lambers, who knows Dietrich Oltmanns’ work extremely well, will discuss the photographer’s work and approach. Publishers ex pose verlag have already published two books of Oltmanns’ work.
The third book from this publisher, published in conjunction with the exhibition, will be presented: „Verstreutes Licht“, Fotografie mit Lochkameras 1988-2005. The book will also be introduced at the Salon Photographique.
Collection Regard is a photographic collection focusing on German photography, especially photography from Berlin. In 2005 Marc Barbey started to build his collection of German black and white photography, spanning the earliest days of photography into the 1990s. Furthermore, Collection Regard is administering the estate of Hein Gorny. Acting as an archive as well as an exhibition space, Collection Regard deliberately takes a position between museum and gallery, aiming to show to the interested public those largely unknown photographic works which deserve attention. Works and editions can be purchased in the collection. The produced exhibitions are proposed to other institutions which allows the photographic positions to establish themselves on the art market. With this exhibition the collection is again a space for photographic discovery.
March 16 — June 8, 2018
Opening Reception: Thursday, March 15, 6 – 9 pm
Opening remarks at 7 pm by Dr. Katrin Arrieta, Artistic Director Kunstmuseum Ahrenshoop.
+ Framework program with Guided Tours and Salons Photographique, details see above
Steinstraße 12, 10119 Berlin
[Mitte | Mitte]
Opening hours: Friday 2 – 6 pm, and by appointment
+ extended opening hours for Gallery Weekend Berlin 2018: Sat, April 28, 2 – 6 pm
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