Since 1974 Gallery Kicken has been setting standards in the innovative presentation and promotion of the medium photography. Today the gallery is still guided by the mission of its founder, Rudolf Kicken (1947-2014): to convey to an international audience the importance of photography as an art form and, above all, as a visual adventure.
The current Gallery Kicken has its roots in Galerie Lichttropfen, a gallery founded by Kicken in Aachen in 1974. From the very beginning the gallery pursued an ambitious program of exhibitions and publications. In 1979 the gallery moved to Cologne and took on its current name.
As of 2000 Annette and Rudolf Kicken jointly managed the gallery, which moved to Linienstraße 155 in Berlin, at the heart of the capital’s gallery district. The exhibition space designed by J. MAYER H. Architects as a flexible, walk-through installation offered an experience of photography that went beyond the traditional white cube. Also at this address was the Kicken II showroom, which allowed passersby to look in from the street, which remained in use until 2010. The current location of the gallery at Linienstrasse 161A has been open to visitors since 2007 and provides a setting that encourages viewers to immerse themselves in the photography on display.
One of the gallery’s strengths is its diversity. Also all of the major names in the early artistic photography dating from the beginnings of the medium in the 19th century have been presented in the gallery program. The focus, however, lies in the 20th century, particularly on the German and Czech avante-garde of the twenties and thirties as well as the outstanding masters of the genre, such as Man Ray, Moholy-Nagy, and others. Also the subjective photography of the fifties, West and East German photography, fashion photography, and contemporary conceptual positions are core emphases. The discovery of new or previously overlooked photographic and artistic work is a special area of interest. As a result, the gallery has presented the shining stars of the history of photography as well as anonymous snapshots and exceptional images from functionally oriented photography. The estates managed by the gallery, including those of Erwin Blumenfeld, Ed van der Elsken, Heinrich Kühn, Rudolf Koppitz, Helmar Lerski, Anton Josef Trcka, and Umbo are of particular importance.
The work of the gallery comprises a minimum of four, museum-quality exhibitions a year, participation in the most important international art fairs, and external curatorial projects for private collectors and institutions. As one of the leading galleries in the world for artistic photography, Gallery Kicken is committed to making a lasting contribution to the visual culture of photographic images.