Past exhibition

August Sander – Citizens of the 20th Century

19.01.–24.03.2002

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This large-scale retrospective exhibition with a selection of over 200 exhibits is devoted exclusively to original photographs and summaries of many years of research on the work of the famous German photographer August Sander (1876–1964). In compliance with the division of his work into seven groups, the exhibition is also organized in seven sections.

The first volume/section of Citizens of the 20th Century contains the so-called Stamm-Mappe, or home album, which Sander devoted to peasants as “prototypes” of his projects. The other volumes were dedicated to the groups Craftsmen, Women, The Professions, Artists, Great Cities and finally The Last Human Beings, with portraits of sick, disabled and infirm persons. Compiled from photographs from the different albums, the exhibition gives a representative insight into Sander's work and bears witness to the interaction between individual expression and the typological quality that is evident in all his work.

August Sander's photographs are the product of precise observation and the subjective articulation of an artistic concept expressed by photographs from different – and sometimes very dissimilar – circumstances and times of origin. Sander based his project on the idea of “seeing, observing and thinking”. His declaration of and allegiance to his concept is a special feature of his work that makes it continue to be accessible to later generations. The fact, for example, that young artists are still rediscovering Sander's portraits for themselves is an eloquent witness to the topicality of his photographs.

The exhibition was curated by Susanne Lange. Realisation in Winterthur: Gerd Sander und Urs Stahel. A cooperation with the Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur, Cologne. 

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