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Richard Prince et al.

True Pictures? Contemporary Photography From Canada and The USA (group show)
Sprengel Museum Hannover, Hanover
6 November 2021 – 13 February 2022

Installation view: Sprengel Museum Hannover, Hanover, 2021. Photo: Herling/Herling/Werner, Sprengel Museum Hannover
Installation view: Sprengel Museum Hannover, Hanover, 2021. Photo: Herling/Herling/Werner, Sprengel Museum Hannover

The Sprengel Museum Hannover is hosting TRUE PICTURES?, a major show that – for the first time on this scale – is presenting key developments and trends in Canadian and US photography from 1980 to the present. Among 36 artists occupying a roughly 2000 sqm space are Cindy Sherman, Walead Beshty, Carrie Mae Weems, Jeff Wall, Nan Goldin, Martine Gutierrez, Deana Lawson and Richard Prince.

At the beginning of the 20th century, North American photography was considered groundbreaking for the development of an artistic visual language for the medium. This pioneering role was largely lost due to the evolution of photography in Europe from the 1980s onwards. American photography no longer served as a model for younger artists – in this situation, awareness of it also drifted out of the spotlight. Devoted to this phenomenon, TRUE PICTURES? is showcasing works by Canadian and US artists from three generations who not only share their origins and the medium of photography, but who all also belong to the digital age. By this is meant not only the advent of digital photography in the previously analog medium, but also that no artist can ignore the challenge of engaging with digitisation and the accompanying social changes – be it in addressing the oft-cited “flood of images”, the technical possibilities offered by the medium or in deliberately dissociating from the phenomena of the “digital age”.

The three generations of artists also have experience of periods of upheaval and challenges in society as a whole and in the political arena. These range from the 1968 protests, the impact of the Vietnam War and the AIDS pandemic to racism, preoccupation with feminist theory, identity issues and the questioning of perceptions of sexuality and gender – topics that in many cases have not lost their urgency to this day. In addition to narrative and politically motivated stances, the works of the younger artists include subjective and transmedial approaches that are an expression of the visual culture of the 21st century.

Sprengel Museum