Before and Behind the Lens examines the role of photographic images in art and the transformation of the medium – from the early experiments of the 19th century to today’s explorations of the potential of photographic technology. In conjunction with the project, there will be opportunities to study a number of presentations of photography from the collection, highlighting famous photographers and movements in art and photo history.
Moderna Museet’s photography collection comprises some 100,000 works from the 1840s to today. Read more about the story behind our photography collection in the richly illustrated books Reality Revisited. Photography from the Moderna Museet Collection (2010), and Another Story. Photography from the Moderna Museet Collection (2011).
Alexander Rodchenko (1891–1956) belonged to a group of Russian artists in the early 1900s, who called themselves constructivists and wanted to create a new imagery. He worked as a typographer, scenographer, furniture designer and photographer. A whole wall features a selection of his experimental and innovative motifs from the 70 or so of his works in the Museum’s collection. If you walk on through all the rooms with the collection, you will find more photography in the section with surrealist and pop art.
From 2017 until 4 March, 2018, new acquisitions of photographic art are presented under the heading of Golden Sunset. One room with contemporary Nordic photography and film shows works by Annika Eriksson and Maria Hedlund, among others. Cindy Sherman is a key figure in postmodern art, and she and Jeff Wall form the core of a presentation of pictures from the 1980s. In a room featuring mainly black-and-white photography from the late 1970s, Cindy Sherman is represented with examples from her breakthrough series, Untitled Film Stills. Works by Tuija Lindström, Sally Mann, Duane Michaels, Martha Wilson and Francesca Woodman are also shown here.
With her deeply personal and powerful images, Nan Goldin hosts a room where she and her friends and colleagues, the photographers Larry Clark, JH Engström and Anders Petersen, are represented.
This spring, the so-called Düsseldorf school will be featured with a selection of Bernd and Hilla Becher’s characteristic photographs of industrial buildings, together with several works by their students and followers, including Andreas Gursky, Candida Höfer and Thomas Ruff.
Moderna Museet has a fine collection of photography by Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908–2004), which will be presented in autumn 2018.
Read more about the story behind the photo collection in the catalogues Reality Revisited. Photography from the Moderna Museet collection (2010) and Another Story. Photography from the Moderna Museet collection (2011)
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Photography in the collection
Moderna Museet’s photography collection began with the purchase of Helmut Gernsheim’s Duplicate Collection and Helmer Bäckström’s photographic history collection in the mid-1960s. The collection covers all the early photographic techniques, but consists mainly of black-and-white, so-called gelatin silver photographs by Swedish and international photographers.
Since the early 1990s, more and more artists are producing photo-based art, and this has led to an increase in the collection of colour photography and digital images. The collection consists mainly of positive prints made or approved by the photographers themselves. But a small number of photographers, including Anna Riwkin-Brick, have also donated their entire oeuvres, including negatives. Moreover, Fotografiska Föreningen, Svenska Turisttrafikförbundet and Pressfotografernas klubb and a few other organisations have given the Museum their image archives, containing thousands of prints.
Photography is continuously shown as part of the Museum’s collection presentation and as separate photo exhibitions. In 2011, the Museum launched its project Another Story. Photography from the Moderna Museet Collection, where the entire collection gallery at Moderna Museet in Stockholm was gradually hung exclusively with photographs, until the presentation finally showed the history of photography from 1840 to today.
Published 26 January 2018 · Updated 16 October 2018