Exhibition Catalogue for Michael Schmidt – Retrospective

24.08.2020
Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart – Berlin

The Michael Schmidt (1945–2014) retrospective at Hamburger Bahnhof presents for the first time the oeuvre of the Berlin photographer, who occupies a unique position in German postwar photography. Born in Berlin, the autodidact discovered photography as an artistic medium in the mid-1960s. The catalogue chronologically portrays the artistic development of Schmidt’s photographic craft, and represents the first publication covering his entire life work.

The groups of works are depicted on the basis of selected representative photographs. These series include Schmidt’s images of the Berlin-Kreuzberg and Wedding districts (1969–81); his book and photography project Waffenruhe (Ceasefire), 1985–87 on the then divided city; Ein-heit (U-ni-ty), a group of works which made their public debut at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1996; and Lebensmittel (Foodstuff),2006–10, in which he also used colour photography for the first time. Numerous images of working materials, such as test prints and book drafts, as well as archival materials, including invitation cards, posters and exhibition views, provide information on Schmidt’s working methods during the realisation of his book and exhibition projects.

The catalogue essays by Ute Eskildsen, Janos Frecot, Peter Galassi, Heinz Liesbrock and Thomas Weski are texts by curators who worked closely with the artist on various projects during his lifetime. The publication is edited by the Stiftung für Fotografie und Medienkunst, Archiv Michael Schmidt (Foundation for Photography and Media Art, the Michael Schmidt Archive) and published by Koenig Books in German, English and French. (Hardcover, 24 x 29.6 cm, 400 pages, 284 black-and-white and 235 colour illustrations, 60 euros, museum price 45 euros).