Encounter & Confrontation: Contemporary photographs in antique frames – an exhibition at the Museum of Ratingen, Germany

by The Frame Blog

Thaysen 4 sm

Begegnung – Konfrontation/ Aktuelle Fotografie in historischen Rahmen

Museum of Ratingen

Grabenstraße 21

40878 Ratingen

Friday 11 October 2013 – Sunday 26 January 2014

Tuesday – Friday 1.00 p.m. – 6.00 p.m; Saturday & Sunday 11.00 a.m. – 6.00 p.m.


Professor Hans Körner, Dr Alexandra König and Friedrich Conzen, with a photograph by Birgitta Thaysen in an opulent late 18th-early 19th century frame

This exhibition is the result of a creative collaboration between Dr Alexandra König, director of the Museum of Ratingen, and Dr Hans Körner, Professor of the Institute of Art History at the Heinrich-Heine-University in Düsseldorf. It was realized with the help of frame expert Herr Friedrich Conzen, who supplied the exhibition with antique frames from his family’s own collection.

A frame does not only separate a piece of art from its surroundings, it establishes a relationship with the pictorial elements it contains. The main focus of the exhibition is upon the interaction of contemporary photography with the antique picture frame: an interaction which creates on both sides a mutual, attention-seeking confrontation.
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Miriam Schwedt, Hanging man

A unique characteristic of the collaborative effort involved in this exhibition is its dependence on different institutions with diverse theoretical and practical approaches.

It includes 59 photographs by six major artists, each of whom faced the challenge of having his or her work installed in antique frames from the Conzen collection. The relationship arising from this partnership changes irrevocably the way in which the artwork is perceived.

Wall one

Which contemporary photograph was paired with which antique frame was decided by art history students of the Heinrich-Heine-University in Düsseldorf, as part of their MA course, ‘Contemporary photographs in antique frames’, supervised by Prof. Dr. Hans Körner. The students have created thrilling combinations, which test the cultural awareness of the visitor by creating exhibits in aesthetically problematic relationships.

Wall six
Featured artists:
Thomas Kuhn
Miriam Schwedt
Katja Stuke
Birgitta Thaysen
Ingolf Timpner
Annett van der Voort

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Thomas Kuhn, New York

An associated catalogue has been published; for further information please contact F. G. Conzen GmbH.

Read a review of the exhibition here.