SHEROES OF PHOTOGRAPHY

PART I: From Lady Hatton to Hannah Höch, from Monika von Boch to Tata Ronkholz

EXHIBITION Feb 5 — Apr 23, 2021

RENATA BRACKSIECK (1900–1992)

Untitled (Female Portrait and Pattern), 1928 - 1930

gelatin silver print, printed ca. 1928-1930

16,8 x 23,5 cm

© Estate of the Artist / Courtesy Kicken Berlin

LISETTE MODEL (1901–1983)

Fashion Show, Hotel Pierre, NYC, 1940-46

modern print

40 x 50 cm

© The Lisette Model Foundation / Courtesy Kicken Berlin

SIBYLLE BERGEMANN (1941–2010)

Birgit, Berlin, 1984

gelatin silver print, printed 2014

32,1 x 21,4 cm

© Nachlass Sibylle Bergemann; Ostkreuz / Courtesy Kicken Berlin

HANNAH HÖCH (1889–1978)

Über dem Wasser / Over the Water, 1943 - 1946

collage of paper and offset prints on cardboard

22,8 x 21,8 cm

© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn / Courtesy Kicken Berlin

ERNA LENDVAI-DIRCKSEN (1883–1962)

Untitled (Actress Eva Martersteig as Violäne in 'The Annunciation of Mary', 1913

matte albumen print, mounted on original board, printed ca. 1913

22,5 x 16,5 cm

© Estate of the Artist / Courtesy Kicken Berlin

AENNE BIERMANN (1898–1933)

Helga 9 1/2 Jahre alt, ca. 1930

gelatin silver print, printed ca. 1930

22,1 x 17,8 cm

© Gershon Biermann / Courtesy Kicken Berlin

FRIEDA G. RIESS (1890–1955)

Selbstbildnis mit Papagei / Self Portrait with Parrot, 1922

gelatin silver print, printed ca. second half 1920s

13,2 x 9,3 cm

© Ullstein Bild / Courtesy Kicken Berlin

RENATA BRACKSIECK (1900–1992)

Selbstporträt / Self Portrait, 1928 - 1935

gelatin silver print, printed ca. 1928-1935

22,4 x 17,1 cm

© Estate of the Artist / Courtesy Kicken Berlin

GERTRUD ARNDT (1903–2000)

Wera Waldek (negative), from 'Bauhaus Portfolio I', 1930

gelatin silver print, published by Rudolf Kicken Galerie, Cologne 1985

18,2 x 22,6 cm

© Rudolf Kicken Galerie, Cologne 1985 / Courtesy Kicken Berlin

GERTRUD ARNDT (1903–2000)

Maskenselbstbildnis Nr. 11 / Mask Self Portrait No. 11, 1930

gelatin silver print, printed ca. 1930

24 x 17,8 cm

© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn / Courtesy Kicken Berlin

TINA MODOTTI (1896–1942)

Two Sisters, ca. 1926

gelatin silver print, printed ca. 1926

19,1 x 21,9 cm

© Estate of the Artist and ICP / Courtesy Kicken Berlin

TRUDE FLEISCHMANN (1895–1990)

Untitled (Dame mit Zigarette), ca. 1930

gelatin silver print, printed ca. 1930

8,4 x 10 cm

© Estate of the Artist / Courtesy Kicken Berlin

GRIT KALLIN-FISCHER (1897–1973)

Untitled (Freddo Bartolucci as Angel), 1928-1930

gelatin silver print, printed ca. 1928-1930

26,3 x 19,8 cm

© Estate of the Artist / Courtesy Kicken Berlin

MARCIA RESNICK (*1950)

She would often pass the shopping bag woman. One day, the woman stood up, dropped her blankets and revealed her manhood. From the series 'Re-Visions', 1978

gelatin silver print, printed ca. 1978

13,6 x 19,8 cm

© Marcia Resnick / Courtesy Kicken Berlin

JITKA HANZLOVÁ (* 1958)

Untitled (HUMAN Dark#), from the series 'WATER', 2015

c-print

24 x 18 cm

© Jitka Hanzlová / VG Bild-Kunst / Courtesy Kicken Berlin

FOLKWANG-AURIGA VERLAG / LOTTE JACOBI (1896–1990)

Mesembryanthemum sp. nova, Sämling, ca. 1933

gelatin silver print, printed ca. 1933-1935

23 x 16,9 cm

© Public Domain / Courtesy Kicken Berlin

MARTA HOEPFFNER (1912–2000)

Hommage à De Falla, 1937

gelatin silver print of a photogram, printed ca. 1937

38,7 x 27,6 cm

© Estate Marta Hoepffner / Courtesy Kicken Berlin

LADY HATTON (attributed to)

Nephrodium Molle, ca. 1850

Cyanotype photogram, ca. 1850s

32 x 19,3 cm

© Public Domain / Courtesy Kicken Berlin

LOTTE JACOBI (1896–1990)

Photogenic, ca. 1950

gelatin silver print, printed ca. 1950

20,3 x 25,5 cm

© Lotte Jacobi Collection, University of New Hampshire / Courtesy Kicken Berlin

ANNELIESE HAGER (1904–1997)

Fotogramm / Photogram, ca. 1945-1950

unique gelatin silver print, printed ca. 1945-1950

17,5 x 23,7 cm

© Estate of the Artist / Courtesy Kicken Berlin

LUCIA MOHOLY (1894–1989)

Untitled (Balance-Study, Preliminary Course, László Moholy-Nagy, (Bauhaus Weimar), ca. 1923 - 1925

gelatin silver print, printed ca. 1923-1925

© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn / Courtesy Kicken Berlin

HANNAH HÖCH (1889–1978)

... und Schatten / ... and Shadows, 1925-1926

collage of paper and offset prints on cardboard

13,8 x 18,2 cm

© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn / Courtesy Kicken Berlin

MONIKA VON BOCH (1915–1993)

Weißblechserie, 2. Ursprungsnegativ / Tin Foil Series, Second Original Negative, 1966

gelatin silver print, printed ca. 1966

40,5 x 29,9 cm

© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn / Courtesy Kicken Berlin

MONIKA VON BOCH (1915–1993)

Weißblechserie / Tin Foil Series, 1966

gelatin silver negative print, printed ca. 1966

39,8 x 30,2 cm

© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn / Courtesy Kicken Berlin

ELFRIEDE STEGEMEYER (1908–1988)

Untitled (Glass), 1934

gelatin silver print, printed ca. 1934

8,9 x 7,7 cm

© Estate of the Artist / Courtesy Kicken Berlin

AENNE BIERMANN (1898–1933)

Gänse hinterm Gatter / Geese behind Gate, ca. 1930

gelatin silver print, mounted, printed ca. 1930

17,6 x 23,5 cm

© Gershon Biermann / Courtesy Kicken Berlin

ANNE DILLING (*1940)

Strohhalme / Straws, 1961

gelatin silver negative print, mounted, printed ca. 1961

38,6 x 29,9 cm

© Anne Dilling / Courtesy Kicken Berlin

FLORENCE HENRI (1893–1982)

Still Life with Mirrors and Fruit, 1929

gelatin silver print on linen mounted to a stretcher, printed 1974

53,3 x 74,9 cm

© Estate of the Artist and ICP / Courtesy Kicken Berlin

RINGL + PIT (GRETE STERN UND ELLEN AUERBACH) (1904–1999; 1906–2004)

Komol, 1932

gelatin silver print, mounted, printed ca. 1932

36,2 x 25,4 cm

© Estates of the Artists / Courtesy Kicken Berlin

UTE MAHLER (*1949)

Berlin, from the series 'Living Together', 1984

gelatin silver modern print

22,4 x 34,4 cm

© Ute Mahler, OSTKREUZ / Courtesy Kicken Berlin

RUTH HALLENSLEBEN (1898–1977)

Siegener AG (Eisenkonstruktion) / Siegen Plant (Iron Constructions), 1953

gelatin silver print, printed ca. 1953

23 x 17,1 cm

© Estate of the Artist / Courtesy Kicken Berlin

RUTH HALLENSLEBEN (1898–1977)

Henrichshütte, Hattingen, Gasreinigungsanlage / Henrichshütte Steelworks, Hattingen, Flue Gas Cleanup System, 1950

gelatin silver print, printed ca. 1950s

23 x 17 cm

© Estate of the Artist / Courtesy Kicken Berlin

RUTH HALLENSLEBEN (1898–1977)

Gasometer, Rheinpreussen, Homberg / Gasholder, Rheinpreussen Company, Homberg, 1957

gelatin silver print, printed ca. 1957

22,2 x 17,3 cm

© Estate of the Artist / Courtesy Kicken Berlin

TATA RONKHOLZ (1940–1997)

Untitled (Rhine Port No. i 6.34), ca. 1981

gelatin silver print, mounted, printed ca. 1981

20,3 x 29,5 cm

© Estate of the Artist / Courtesy Kicken Berlin

TATA RONKHOLZ (1940–1997)

Untitled (Rhine Port No. i 3.0), ca. 1981

gelatin silver print, mounted, printed ca. 1981

20,6 x 30 cm

© Estate of the Artist / Courtesy Kicken Berlin

TATA RONKHOLZ (1940–1997)

Untitled (Rhine Port No. i 6.13), ca. 1981

gelatin silver print, mounted, printed ca. 1981

29,4 x 40,3 cm

© Estate of the Artist / Courtesy Kicken Berlin

Kicken Berlin is dedicating its 2021 exhibition program to woman photographers of the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries. Female creativity in the history and current movements of photography is an endless fount. Throughout the year, Kicken Berlin will honor and explore these artistic contributions in group and solo shows in the exhibition series Sheroes of Photography. The English wordplay Shero consciously creates a female protagonist from the associations of a male hero; Kicken has chosen the word to explicitly highlight the high esteem for woman photography artists.* These photography heroines, or sheroes, from the last one and half centuries are as multifaceted as they are diverse. What they share in their joint practice of a modern medium they approach with very diverse perspectives on and understandings of reality.
At the core of Kicken’s approach will first be a dialogue among various artists from the 1850s to today with an emphasis on modernism in the interwar era (Part I). From there the gallery will spotlight singular artist voices from the twentieth century such as Lucia Moholy and her contemporaries at the Bauhaus, Tata Ronkholz and conceptual-documentary approaches since the 1970s, as well as East German photographers. Current works will include new positions by Jitka Hanzlová.
Women have been behind the camera since the medium’s birth. Among the first photographs produced were the plant photograms made in the same method as the photogenic drawings by William Henry Fox Talbot: the earliest work in the exhibition is an English botanical plant study circa 1850. The print is ascribed to the little-known “Lady Hatton” and is to be seen in the context of the “Hatton Fern Album” discovered in the late 1980s, individual pages from which are now held by international museums and private collections. This print attests to photography’s place in scientific study and its execution by educated and ambitious women in upper British society who followed the example of photo pioneer Anna Atkins.
Artistic photography by women achieved its first apex in Pictorialism, the painterly style of photography that prioritised aesthetic impression, mood, and figuration above documentation. Photographic practice grew in popularity and breadth as techniques and camera technology progressed. Photography also offered new career perspectives to women. Berlin’s Lette Verein has held women-only photography classes since 1890, in which numerous prominent German female photographers learned the medium, including Erna Lendvai-Dircksen and Frieda Riess, or Anneliese Hager and Marianne Breslauer. Their spectrum ranged from artistic studio portraits to the experimentation of Neues Sehen. The great Hannah Höch received an applied arts education before joining Dada circles and creating her pathbreaking collage work. Like Höch, Marta Hoepffner (who was taught in Frankfurt by Willi Baumeister) positioned herself at the intersection of photography, painting, and experimentation.
Gertrud Arndt, Aenne Biermann, Renata Bracksieck, Trude Fleischmann, Florence Henri, Lotte Jacobi, Grit Kallin-Fischer, the duo ringl+pit (Ellen Auerbach and Grete Stern), and Elfriede Stegemeyer plumbed the rich Neues Sehen movement, creating experimental self-portraits, portraits, and object studies. Their works help sketch the history of avant-garde photography in the fruitful first decades of the twentieth century.
The “subjective photography” of mid-20th-century modernism was indebted to the achievements of the interwar avant-garde. And here too woman photographers were at the forefront of the transformation of reality into enigmatic images: Anneliese Hager, Monika von Boch, and Anne Dilling manifested the potentials of abstraction in their studies of material and form. Ruth Hallensleben’s industrial images gave expression to a cultural historical dimension.
The search for personal and unadorned forms of expression of everyday personal interactions developed parallel to subjective, expressive perspectives. This strand of photography found its protagonist in Lisette Model, who as a teacher had significant influence on the following generation of photographers. Diane Arbus’s work is indebted to Model and is catagorized in the New Document movement. This focus on the conditio humana and “Zusammen Leben (Living Together)” also drove the work of Sibylle Bergemann, Ute Mahler, and Evelyn Richter.
Documentary practices shaped the conceptual approach of Tata Ronkholz in the 1970s and, with a turn to the performative, the American photographer Marcia Resnick. Since the 1990s Jitka Hanzlová has followed a very personal documentary strategy that explores the question of the relationship between the individual and her environment and manifestations of nature. (Carolin Förster)

The title is inspired by the similarly titled exhibitions at Galerie Barbara Thumm in the summer of 2019.