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The Photographer
A Change of Perspective

30.06.2023 to 17.09.2023
Museum für Fotografie

In this exhibition, current artistic approaches enter into an open dialogue with a set of works that has long lain quietly in the storage depots of the Photography Collection at the Kunstbibliothek (Art Library). The estate of amateur photographer Kurt Rohde (19201996) opens up a multilayered frame of reference for the aesthetic and critical examination of this photographer’s work, the medium of photography, and the handling of archives.

Even today, I stand in my darkroom almost every day – – – and yet I never finish, Kurt Rohde wrote to an acquaintance in 1996.

To finish, what does that mean? To come to a conclusion? Has Kurt Rohde’s estate been finalized and is telling us his story? Or should the archival material be seen as part of an unfinishable process? Rohde’s countless slides, prints, and experiments in the darkroom became the starting point for an artistic intervention by photography students from the Berlin Lette Verein. In their works, they revived the images and their ordering principles.

The Amateur Photographer Kurt Rohde

A trained chemist, Kurt Rohde was first a production engineer at Osram and later a professor at the Institut für Technologie und Planung Druck at the Hochschule der Künste Berlin (now the Berlin University of the Arts). From the 1950s to mid-1990s, he photographed intensively: primarily portraits, landscapes, and events, but also city views and nudes, with his photographs hovering on the threshold between public and private photography. Rohde’s archive now forms a resonance space for artistic exploration.

 Artistic Dialogue with the Archive Material

With their interventions and reworkings, the artistic approaches take the images’ narratives to their limits and reveal their fragility. What do we see in these photographs with no knowledge of certain contexts and backgrounds? Do we look at the subjects differently today? Which themes and viewing regimens become apparent? How does the historical present become visible in Rohde’s images? And how does a machine read the photographs? What pictorial information is considered important? Very different methods were chosen for the artistic examination of these and other questions. Collage and montage encounter animation and machine learning in the works. Analog meets digital, and space meets surface.

In addition to the new works created, the exhibition provides insights into the source material, inviting visitors to discover photography’s current and past ways of seeing the world and being used. In the process, it becomes possible to grasp the extent to which the artistic approaches are not to be understood as the end but as part of a process in dealing with archives.

Participating Artists

A project by and with Anton Alexej Andrén, Lula Bornhak, Felicia Feith, Lisa Koch, NiKA, Vanessa Alica Kunert, Luis Jonas May, Veronika Rehm and Robin C. Wolf.


The exhibition is curated by Sara-Lena Maierhofer, Katja Böhlau, Patrick Knuchel and Benjamin Kummer.

A special exhibition of the Kunstbibliothek – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin in cooperation with the Lette Verein Berlin.

Jebensstraße 2
10623 Berlin

wheelchair accessible

U-Bahn: Kurfürstendamm, Zoologischer Garten
S-Bahn: Zoologischer Garten
Bus: Kurfürstendamm, Zoologischer Garten

Sun 11:00 - 19:00
Mon closed
Tue 11:00 - 19:00
Wed 11:00 - 19:00
Thu 11:00 - 20:00
Fri 11:00 - 19:00
Sat 11:00 - 19:00

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