Museum Folkwang
  • Dressing – Dressing Up

  • In its most recent presentation, the Photography Collection shines the spotlight on the significance of clothing and costume for both individuals and entire cultures: Clothing is indicative of the social or cultural identity of the person wearing it or indeed of the image the person wishes to project. Costume on the other hand breaks with social convention and is often ritually anchored in the traditional calendar of the year and thus accepted.
    In addition to their wearers’ intentions, these images likewise visualize those of the photographer himself. Employing a range of artistic strategies, they engage with the respective topic and frequently uncover the masquerade behind the clothing and the cultural habitus of a particular period behind the costume. The thematic perspective assumed by the following four sections has the moments of dressing and dressing up fluidly converge.

    Veiled – unveiled
    In the first section, the subject matter is presented at its two extremes: Nakedness as the »degree zero« of clothing and complete concealment. Journalistic images by Lotte Errell taken trips to Kurdistan in the 1930s portray veiled, Kurdish brides. Whereas the ritually veiled figures shot by Irving Penn and Jürgen Heinemann derive from really quite different cultural trips. These are juxtaposed with photographs by Germaine Krull who in the mid-1940s photographed young women in the Congo whose hands had been promised in marriage, stripped down to the waist. This is followed by a form of nakedness subject to a rather different social code in ›Nudist Lady with Swan Sunglasses‹ by Diane Arbus, representative of the US nudist movement towards the end of 1960s.

    ›Once a Year‹
    The works of Axel Hoedt, Andreas Horlitz, Homer Sykes and Chargesheimer serve to document costumes that have their roots in folklore traditions. Dressing up is explicitly presented here as the key theme of the works, depicted as an integral part of traditions and customs firmly anchored in the respective culture’s calendar and as an essential element of cultural identity. As such, the long-term project by Axel Hoedt examines the masks and costumes worn as part of the Swabian-Alemannic carnival celebrations customary in his home region in southwest Germany. The fashion photographer appropriates stylistic devices from modern fashion photography and applies them to the setting of traditional, regional customs.

    ›Germans in uniform‹
    Photographic works by Käthe Buchler, August Sander, Timm Rautert, Stefan Moses, André Gelpke and Elfi Fröhlich depict everyday people from all walks of public life in both their work and casual wear. Almost simultaneously to Timm Rautert’s series ›Germans in uniform‹, André Gelpke portrays the rebellious youth of the 1970s. His Rocker series opposes the bourgeois values of the parents’ generation with an alternative lifestyle.

    Children of liberty and leisure
    The images of Jürgen Teller, Albrecht Tübke and Tobias Zielony showcase children of liberty and leisure. Here clothing and costume fulfil a congruent function. Identity becomes a personally chosen product of a global youth culture, no longer a necessity linked to tradition, heritage or social class.

    The gaze of the exhibiting photographers is just as dedicated to far-off cultures as it is to their own, which appears no less foreign at times. As such their interest can be understood as (in an expanded sense) »ethnographic«, which leads them to members of a new social »community« in the form of school leavers from the time of the Weimar Republic and hip-hop-obsessed teens of Western metropolises alike.
  • Exh_Title_S: Dressing – Dressing Up
  • Exh_Id: 1,597
  • Exh_Comment_S (Verantw): Department of Photography
  • Exh_SpareNField01_N (Verantw ID): 184
Works
Kurdish Wedding Procession
Une Tchikombi déjà promise, Pointe-Noire, Congo
Bacup Coconut Dancers, from the series: Once a Year
Jeck, loss Jeck elans, Köln
Kinderwalpurgis Hannenklee/Harz, a. d. Serie: Deutsche Feste
Hutzel / Empfingen
Schaffnerin, a. d. Serie: Frauen in Männerberufen
Rocker
Bernhard Weichselgärtner, 36 Jahre, Verkehrsmeister, a. d. Serie: Deutsche in Uniform
Eva Bodenhoff, London, 20th October 1998, from the Series: Go-Sees
a. d. Serie: Jugend