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Sammlerfreude / Artothek


Heinz Cibulka, Inge Dick, Peter Dressler, Valie Export, Maurer + Horáková, Rainer Iglar, Kurt Kaindl, Kai Kuss, Paul Albert Leitner, Inge Morath, Andrew Phelps, Arnulf Rainer, Eva Schlegel, Otmar Thormann, Karl Heinrich Waggerl, Stefan Kruckenhauser, Barbara Pflaum, Nikolaus Korab, Franziska Krammel, Rudolf Bonvie, Nick Waplington, Nobuyoshi Araki, Candida Höfer, Fritz Simak, Matthias Herrmann, Wolfgang Thaler, Massimo Vitali, Rolf Koppel, Valérie Belin, Harald P. Lechenperg, Robert F. Hammerstiel



It is the privilege of the private art collector not to have to subject himself to any content requirements, no fashion, no art historical classification and no market analysis. There are no standards by which he has to be measured; he can devote himself to his collecting activities as he pleases and, if he wants to, completely in secret. No outsider will ever get an idea of the collection if the owner doesn’t want to. In this way, a collection can be created that, in addition to well-known works, also contains completely unknown images, as well as expensive objects and finds that only have a known meaning to the collector.
The collector J.F. Ponsold himself chose the title “Collector’s Joy” for his collection of contemporary photography. This title says it all for him and identifies him as an art collector who has built his own personal world of images, uninfluenced by the dictates of the art scene. Over the years, much of the collection lived with him, was placed in very specific frames tailored to the content of the pictures and hung on his walls.
The selection of images in the exhibition at the FOTOHOF makes this development of the collection visible. A large historical arc, very different photographic procedures, very small to very large formats and a variety of topics compete and complement each other. For the attentive observer of the development of artistic photography in recent years, an exciting network of relationships develops. This collection explored private approaches and possibilities for presenting photography. Each image reflects the collector’s personal interest – but taken together, the photographs also provide an insight into the photographic artistic development of the last few years.
The gap between photography as a medium of intervention in social processes and ruthless use of one’s own body and a medium of seemingly objective documentation that allows the photographer to step back behind the image becomes visible. An inflatable plastic “aquarium” by Eva Schlegel, printed with a photo motif, competes with the precisely conceived and formally thought-out studio photos of the “Moroccan Brides” by Valerie Belin. The media-reflexive and playful approach of this object-like photographic work forms an interesting contrast to the use of all the classic virtues of photography on a motif that is nevertheless seen in a new way. Heinz Cibulka’s pictures of the actionist Hermann Nitsch and Inge Morath’s mask pictures from a joint work with the illustrator Saul Steinberg hint at the theme of photographic documentation of artistic work.
The diversity, which must also be recognized and appreciated by the viewer, seemingly develops quite playfully from a collection that has been built up over years as the collector follows his current interest, his instincts and perhaps also the advice of his friends. This did not create a valid representation of actionist photography, an overview of the new documentary approach or the artistic significance of press photography, but it did provide a convincing panopticon of the diversity of photographic art. And above all, the collector’s joy in his pictures shines through the collection. For him it is irrelevant which time periods or art historical genres these pictures belong to and what price tag they carried – what is decisive is the collector’s joy that this exhibition conveys. (Kurt Kaindl)

Valie Export, »Shadow I + II«, 1997 (1972), S/W Fotografie, 31 x 40 cm

Artothek für künstlerische Fotografie

International and Austrian photographic art is available for private individuals or companies to borrow. The basis for the Artothek are high-quality works from the FOTOHOF>EDITION program, which we have produced with numerous renowned artists. We would like to give a broader public the opportunity to individually experience works of art with a focus on Austrian photography over a longer period of time in their own four walls without having to decide whether to purchase them.
The works are framed and handed over to interested parties with a loan agreement. The rental fee is attractive at €8 per 2 months (for private individuals). After the agreed period of time, the loan contract can be extended for up to one year.

Paul Albert Leitner »West 42nd Street/Times Square« Manhattan, N.Y.C, 2003, C-Print