Ludwig Windstosser
Post-War Modern Photography

12.10.2019 to 23.02.2020
Museum für Fotografie

The exhibition presents a selection of around 200 photographs from the estate of Stuttgart photographer Ludwig Windstosser (1921–1983), preserved by the Kunstbibliothek (Library of Art) in the Museum für Fotografie (Museum of Photography). With his company portraits, Ludwig Windstosser became West Germany's leading post-war industrial photographer; yet is largely unknown today.
The show is the first attempt to offer a comprehensive overview at the life and work of the photographer, who has not been appreciated with a solo exhibition yet.

Trends of the Post-War Avant-Garde

In the years immediately after World War II, Windstosser was a member of the fotoform group and participated in exhibitions and book projects of the international movement subjektive fotografie (subjective photography). Revisiting photographic trends of the 1920s and 1930s, fotoform significantly influenced the visual vocabulary of German post-war avant-garde photography. Steep angles and exceptional picture details can also be found in his promotional photographs of industries, ranging from steel production to pharmaceutical and textile manufacturing. He portrayed, for example, the mining company Ruhrkohle AG, which played a crucial role in West Germany’s economic upswing. In his photographs he traced the production process from the mineshaft to the local hearth, generating a portrait of mining that still survives in today's collective memory.

Juxtaposing Metropolis and Nature

Windstosser also used his camera to capture the post-war German zeitgeist in numerous illustrated book projects. In his 1972 book Berlin: Teils teils Berlin part of part), he portrays Berlin at a time marked not only by reconstruction and progress, but also by a desire for normality and security. His skillful juxtaposition of images illustrates the tension between these standpoints throughout the book.

The Companion Volume to This Exhibition

The 80-page book accompanying the exhibition delves deeper into Ludwig Windstosser’s artistic, industrial and urban photography, the three main aspects of his oeuvre. His career was prototypical at the period of the West German economic miracle. Yet his oeuvre is unique in the versatility of its visual language, providing an easy access to the multifaceted photography of post-war Germany.

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