Past exhibition

The Stamp of Fantasy – The Visual Inventiveness of Photographic Postcards

27.10.2007–10.02.2008

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Press photography, photo books, photographic objects, photographic postcards: the way we look at these many different forms of photography is undergoing a sea change. The exhibition The Stamp of Fantasy takes a look at the postcards that brought photography to the masses, as the precursors of the illustrated press and the illustrated book.

From 1900 onwards, picture postcards enjoyed enormous popularity. In addition to urban scenes and village views, postcard publishers also began issuing more entertaining images: greetings cards and April Fool's Day cards, illustrations of proverbs, imaginary, witty or even erotic scenes. In designing these visual curiosities, the photographers deployed a wide range of technical devices – montage, double exposure, optical distortion, close-up etc. The exhibition examines the remarkably playful visual approach taken by the postcard industry in the early decades of the twentieth century, and discusses it in the context of the avant-garde photography at that time.

The Stamp of Fantasy presents more than 500 postcards in large-scale projections, in showcases and in frames, mostly from the collections of Gérard Lévy and Peter Weiss, as well as selected works by Jean Arp, Johannes Theodor Baargeld, Giacomo Balla, Herbert Bayer, Hans Bellmer, Erwin Blumenfeld, André Breton, Paul Citroën, Salvador Dalí, Marcel Duchamp, Paul Éluard, Max Ernst, Hannah Höch, André Kertész, Gustav Klutsis, El Lissitzky, Dora Maar and many others.

The exhibition was curated by Clément Chéroux. A cooperation with the Museum Folkwang, Essen, and the Jeu de Paume, Paris.  

Main sponsor: Ars Rhenia Stiftung

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