As part of Collection Revisited, Fotomuseum Winterthur is making a detailed study of individual works and artists featured in the museum’s collection. This involves an analysis of the backgrounds of the works and the histories of their creation – a process of contextualisation and critical interrogation. The focus is on key issues that the museum regularly encounters in its curatorial and educational work with photographic images.
The research-based analysis is conducted by means of case studies – the scholarly scrutiny of individual positions and methodological approaches. The case studies are fed by interdisciplinary research, interviews with experts and three-dimensional explorations involving experiments carried out in the exhibition space. Some of the findings from the case studies are in turn discussed in participatory workshops attended explicitly by people with no prior knowledge of art, museums or media. Using this ‘Team Extra’ format, the museum gains new insights into the collection objects as viewed by people from different walks of life.
The case studies und Team Extra format are realised with support from the Stiftung für Kunst, Kultur und Geschichte as part of the Wagnis funding programme.
Case Study 1: Leonore Mau
As part of the collection of Fotomuseum Winterthur, we are confronted with the gaze of the Condomblé Priestesses captured by the German press photographer Leonore Mau. At first glance, only one thing seems evident: a European is looking at another culture and this culture is looking back. But what are the specifics of this relationship of the gaze? How is it culturally (in-)formed, and how is it directed and ultimately reflected on by the photographer, the viewers or by a museum? In displaying the works of Leonore Mau, the curatorial team of Fotomuseum Winterthur discusses the following question: What could it look like to revisit one’s collection from a postcolonial perspective?
Case Study 2: Teresa Margolles and Fernando Brito
This case study focuses on Teresa Margolles’s PM 2010 and Fernando Brito’s Frontpages of La i series. Both photographers examine the effects of the violent struggle between drug cartels and the Mexican state in the years around 2010 by using different artistic strategies. The works centre on the front pages of local newspapers, which make use of explicit photographs to report on the brutal killings – in Margolles’s case, an appropriated collection of front-page pictures from the daily newspaper PM, and in Brito’s case, his own photographs taken for the front page of La i.
Case Study 3: «Poetics of Search»
‘Poetics of Search’ is the first case study to explicitly address and examine the process of searching with regards to the online database of Fotomuseum Winterthur. Two poems were used to initiate a dialogue between underrepresented voices and the collection while focusing on the searching process as the central object of discussion. The case study tests the extent to which the digital searching process can be understood as a reflective practice of curatorial work and interrogates the new methodologies that can be derived from it. The case study is available in German.