Die Familie der Bilder

Photograph on inkjet wallpaper.
View of the exhibition by Edward Steichen in the Museum of Modern Art, New York, 202 x 393 cm.
Photo: Ezra Stoller.
Courtesy Esto Photographics Inc, New York.

Handwriting, ink on inkjet wallpaper, 20 parts
41 x 31 cm, 41 x 33 cm, 81 x 61 cm, 46 x 36 cm, 36 x 44 cm,
46 x 34 cm, 61 x 74 cm, 46 x 31 cm, 123 x 153 cm, 2 x 91 cm,
72 x 51 cm, 46 x 64 cm, 1 x 3 cm, 49 x 44 cm, 50 x 67 cm,
46 x 38 cm, 51 39 cm, 51 x 41 cm.

Descriptions from (amongst others): Gabriele Adébisi-Schuster, Roland Barthes, Irmgard Kanwar, Matthias Klos, Brigitte Podgorschek, Angelo Stagno, Andrea van der Straeten, Joan-Marie Zimmerman

The Family of Man exhibition, realized for the Museum of Modern Art in New York by Edward Steichen in 1955, is regarded as the most successful show of all time. After the terror of World War II, it was intended to use more than five hundred photographs chosen from all over the world to produce a comprehensive picture of human life and its defining values. In 1994 the exhibition was presented by the U.S. to Steichen’s native country of Luxembourg where it is on permanent show in the Ch.teau de Clervaux as part of the UNESCO World Heritage. At present, however, it is undergoing restoration. Die Familie der Bilder, a work conceived specially for the Landesgalerie Linz, is concerned with the The Family of Man exhibition, taking its critical reception—in particular by Roland Barthes—and a re-evaluation of the show in it historical context as the starting point for a reflection on the relationship of photography to language. A 1955 installation view is confronted by hand-written texts—on (photographic) paper—which are the same size as the depicted photos. The texts each describe a photograph from the catalogue of the The Family of Man that was selected by the artist’s acquaintances using subjective criteria. It becomes evident that picture, description and reality are involved in a permanent process of construction.