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PiB Guide Nº47 MAR/APR 2023

Group Exhibition

»Masculinities: Liberation through Photography«

Curated by Alona Pardo, Barbican Centre, London

Currently closed / Exhibition extended until March 17, 2021
Discover online: Explore the temporarily closed exhibition here through an online exhibition guide, a curatorial introduction and other digital material.

This autumn, the Gropius Bau presents Masculinities: Liberation through Photography, a comprehensive group exhibition that explores the diverse ways in which masculinity is experienced, performed and socially constructed through photography and film from the 1960s to the present day.

At a time when ideas around masculinity are undergoing a global crisis and concepts such as “toxic” and “fragile” masculinity are shaping social discourse, over 300 works by 50 international artists including Laurie Anderson, Richard Avedon, Rotimi Fani-Kayode, Robert Mapplethorpe, Annette Messager and Wolfgang Tillmans offer a panorama of filmic and photographic explorations of masculinity rife with contradictions and complexity. The show also highlights lesser-known and younger artists such as Cassils, Sam Contis, George Dureau, Elle Pérez, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Hank Willis Thomas and Karlheinz Weinberger, among many others. Touching on themes of patriarchy, power, queer identity, race, class, sexuality and hyper-masculine stereotypes, as well as female perceptions of men, the works present masculinity as an unfixed, performative identity.

Masculinities: Liberation through Photography is part of EMOP Berlin – European Month of Photography 2020 and builds on the Gropius Bau’s history as a platform for staging exhibitions by important 20th century and contemporary photographers, including Akinbode Akinbiyi most recently in 2020; Lee Miller, Berenice Abbott, Robert Doisneau and Thomas Struth in 2016; and Diane Arbus in 2012.

Karen Knorr, Newspapers are no longer ironed, Coins no longer boiled So far have Standards fallen, From the series “Gentlemen”, 1981–83 © Karen Knorr, Courtesy: Tate; Gift Eric and Louise Franck London Collection 2013
Thomas Dworzak, Taliban portrait. Kandahar, Afghanistan, 2002, Exhibition printing, Original dimensions of the picture: 15.5 × 20.3 cm; framed: 15.5 × 20.3 × 1.3 cm © Collection T. Dworzak/Magnum Photos
Peter Hujar, David Brintzenhofe Applying Makeup (II), 1982 © 1987 The Peter Hujar Archive LLC, Courtesy: Peter Hujar Archive and Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York
Rotimi Fani-Kayode, Untitled, ca. 1985 © Rotimi Fani-Kayode, Courtesy: Autograph, London
Masahisa Fukase, From the series “Family”, 1971–90, Upper row, from left to right: A, a model; Toshiteru, Sukezo, Masahisa. Middle row, from left to right: Akiko, Mitsue, Hisashi Daikoji. Bottom row, from left to right: Gaku, Kyoko, Kanako, and a memorial portrait of Miyako, 1985, Vintage gelatin silver print, Original dimensions of the picture: 20.2 × 25.3 cm; framed: 31.6 × 25 × 3.8 cm © Masahisa Fukase Archives
Hal Fischer, Street Fashion: Jock, From the series “Gay Semiotics”, 1977/2016, Carbon pigment print, Original dimensions of the picture: approx. 76.2 × 61 cm; framed: 79 × 63.6 × 3 cm © Hal Fischer, Courtesy: the artist; Project Native Informant London
Catherine Opie, Rusty, 2008, Chromogenic print, Original dimensions of the picture: 76.2 × 56.5 cm; framed: 77.8 × 58.1 × 4.2 cm © Catherine Opie, Courtesy: Regen Projects, Los Angeles; Thomas Dane Gallery, London
Karlheinz Weinberger, Horseshoe Buckle, 1962 © Karlheinz Weinberger, Courtesy: Galerie Esther Woerdehoff
Sunil Gupta, Untitled 22, From the series “Christopher Street”, 1976 © Sunil Gupta & VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2020; all rights reserved, DACS 2019, Courtesy: the artist and Hales Gallery

Presented across six sections, the exhibition grapples with masculinity in its expansive forms. The first chapter, Disrupting the Archetype, explores the representation of conventional and at times clichéd masculine subjects such as soldiers, cowboys, athletes, bullfighters, body builders and wrestlers. By reconfiguring the representation of traditional masculinity – loosely defined as an idealised, dominant heterosexual masculinity – the artists presented here challenge our ideas of these hypermasculine stereotypes.

The second chapter, Male Order – Power, Patriarchy and Space, invites the viewer to reflect on the construction of male power, gender and class. The artists gathered here have all variously attempted to expose and subvert how certain types of masculine behaviour have created inequalities both between and within genders.

In contrast to the conventions of the traditional family portrait, the artists gathered in the third chapter, Too close to Home: Family and Fatherhood, set out to record the “messiness” of life, reflecting on misogyny, violence, sexuality, mortality, intimacy and unfolding family dramas, presenting a more complex and not always comfortable vision of fatherhood and masculinity.

In defiance of the prejudice and legal constraints against homosexuality over the last century in Europe, the United States and beyond, the works presented in the forth chapter, Queering Masculinity, highlight how artists from the 1960s onwards have forged a new politically-charged queer aesthetic.

The fifth chapter, Reclaiming the Black Body, foregrounds artists who have, over the last five decades, consciously subverted expectations of race, gender and the white gaze by reclaiming the power to fashion their own identities.

As the second-wave feminist movement gained momentum through the 1960s and 1970s, female activists sought to expose and critique entrenched ideas about masculinity and to articulate alternative perspectives on gender and representation. Against this background, the artists introduced in chapter six Women on Men: Reversing the Male Gaze, have made men their subject with the intention of subverting power structures.

Stephanie Rosenthal, Director of the Gropius Bau, states: “Today, common perceptions of what it means to be or to become a man are increasingly questioned, especially for younger generations, who are confronted with these questions in a completely different way. The exhibition Masculinities: Liberation through Photography offers a nuanced examination of masculinities in all their facets and shades. The works by over 50 international artists on view in the exhibition build a bridge from classical images of masculinity to gender-fluid identities, thus doing justice to a complex reality.”

Participating Artists
Bas Jan Ader, Laurie Anderson, Kenneth Anger, Liz Johnson Artur, Knut Åsdam, Richard Avedon, Aneta Bartos, Richard Billingham, Cassils, Sam Contis, John Coplans, Jeremy Deller, Rineke Dijkstra, George Dureau, Thomas Dworzak, Hans Eijkelboom, Fouad Elkoury, Hal Fischer, Samuel Fosso, Anna Fox, Masahisa Fukase, Sunil Gupta, Kiluanji Kia Henda, Peter Hujar, Isaac Julien, Rotimi Fani-Kayode, Karen Knorr, Deana Lawson, Hilary Lloyd, Robert Mapplethorpe, Peter Marlow, Ana Mendieta, Annette Messager, Duane Michals, Tracey Moffatt, Andrew Moisey, Richard Mosse, Adi Nes, Catherine Opie, Elle Pérez, Herb Ritts, Kalen Na’il Roach, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Collier Schorr, Clare Strand, Mikhael Subotzky, Larry Sultan, Wolfgang Tillmans, Hank Willis Thomas, Piotr Uklański, Andy Warhol, Karlheinz Weinberger, Marianne Wex, David Wojnarowicz and Akram Zaatari

Catalogue: Hardcover (English), 320 pages, 22.8 x 32 cm, 340 colour illustrations; available in the Walther König bookstore at the Gropius Bau.

Framework program

The exhibition is accompanied by a programme of guided tours and film screenings including Revolverkino at the Gropius Bau (11–13 November 2020). The guided tours take place on Sundays from 3 – 4 pm, on alternating weeks in English or German.

In addition, a continuous series of intimate reading groups with Kathy-Ann Tan offer the opportunity to collaboratively discuss texts, which are related to the topics of the exhibition. Under the title Connected within that Light, there will be three sessions on the topics Bodies that Matter (21 November 2020, 15:00–17:00), Queer of Colour Critique (5 December 2020, 15:00–17:00) and Re-thinking „hegemonic masculinity“ (9 January 2021, 15:00–17:00).

EMOP Berlin – European Month of Photography 2020
Part of EMOP Berlin – European Month of Photography 2020
Oct 1 — 31, 2020
Gropius Bau

Oct 16, 2020 — Jan 10, 2021 extended until Mar 17, 2021
Opening day: Thursday, Oct 15, 4 – 9 pm

Niederkirchnerstraße 7, 10963 Berlin
[District: Kreuzberg | Borough: Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg]

Opening hours: Fri – Wed 10 am – 7 pm, Thu 10 am – 9 pm, Tue closed. The ticket desk closes at 6:30 pm (Fri – Wed) / 8:30 pm (Thu).

Admission: 15 € / reduced 10 € | Online Tickets

Current photography exhibitions/events recommended in…

Haus am Kleistpark Projektraum | Ingo van Aaren & David Wagner »Nachtwach Berlin

Wannsee Contemporary | Yael Bartana »Rehearsal for Redemption«

Galerie Springer Berlin | Loredana Nemes »Trees, Seas, and the Bee’s Knees«

AFF Galerie | »photography as performative process«

Kommunale Galerie Berlin | »Chez Icke«

Helmut Newton Foundation | »HELMUT NEWTON. BRANDS«

Atelier Kirchner | Robert Herrmann »Geordnetes Chaos – Fotografien werdender Bauten«

Galerie Pankow | Gabriele Stötzer »Körpergesten und leibliche Zeichen«

MeetFrida Foundation × Galerie Kollaborativ | Franziska Ostermann »beyond«

Villa Heike | Cai Dongdong »Obstacles«

Freundeskreis Willy-Brandt-Haus | Uwe Steinberg »Werkstatt«

Freundeskreis Willy-Brandt-Haus | Elias Wessel »Delirious Images – Fotografien für die nächste Gesellschaft«

Freundeskreis Willy-Brandt-Haus | Antonia Gruber & Sebastian Klug »MATEREALITIES«

KUNSTWILD | »Touch – Interventions in the photographic surface«

C/O Berlin | »William Eggleston . Mystery of the Ordinary«

Studio Hanniball | Anastasia Samoylova »FloodZone«

C/O Berlin | »Karolina Wojtas . Abzgram« C/O Berlin Talent Award 2022

Kommunale Galerie Berlin | »Photoplatz 2006 — 2013 c/o Hotel Bogota«

C/O Berlin | »Anastasia Samoylova . Floridas«

galerie koschmieder | »Draußen / Outside«

Haus am Kleistpark | Manfred Paul »Die langen Reisen – Fotografien aus Rumänien, Indien, Paris

Photocentrum | »Fotografieren-Lernen am Photocentrum«

PiB Guide Nº47 MAR/APR 2023 © Photography in Berlin (PiB)

PiB’s current print issue
PiB Guide Nº47
MAR/APR 2023


Discover great photography exhibitions/events in Berlin in PiB’s bi-monthly print issue, the PiB Guide. The PiB Guide Nº47 MAR/APR 2022 has been published as a booklet, A6 format · 48 pages · English & German · worldwide shipping.

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»PiB — Photography in Berlin« | PiB’s website, PiB’s weekly E-Newsletter, and the bi-monthly published PiB Guide: page 12 & 13 from the PiB Guide Nº15 Nov/Dec 2017; feat. the exhibition Evelyn Hofer »Cities, Interiors, Still Lifes. Photographs 1962 – 1997« at Galerie Springer Berlin; image credits: Queensboro Bridge, New York, 1964 / Coney Island, New York, 1965 / Girl with Bicycle, Dublin, 1966, all 3 photos © Evelyn Hofer, Estate Evelyn Hofer.
»PiB — Photography in Berlin« | PiB’s website, PiB’s weekly E-Newsletter, and the bi-monthly published PiB Guide: page 12 & 13 from the PiB Guide Nº15 Nov/Dec 2017; feat. the exhibition Evelyn Hofer »Cities, Interiors, Still Lifes. Photographs 1962 – 1997« at Galerie Springer Berlin; image credits: Queensboro Bridge, New York, 1964 / Coney Island, New York, 1965 / Girl with Bicycle, Dublin, 1966, all 3 photos © Evelyn Hofer, Estate Evelyn Hofer.

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