Germany Launches New Biennial for Contemporary Photography

A team of curators yesterday presented the concept for the first Biennale für aktuelle Fotografie (biennial for contemporary photography), set to launch across three German cities—Mannheim, Ludwigshafen, and Heidelberg—from 9 September until 5 November 2017.

The biennial was born out of what was previously known as the Fotofestival Mannheim-Ludwigshafen-Heidelberg, launched in 2005.

For its first iteration, the biennial managed to secure funding from the German Federal Cultural Foundation, which will be making a considerable contribution towards establishing the new event.

A six-member curatorial team—including Florian Ebner, Christin Müller, Fabian Knierim, Boaz Levin, Kerstin Meincke, and Kathrin Schönegg—presented the concept for the 2017 edition, titled “Farewell Photography,” which aims to “shed light on radical ways of handling images in the digital age and present an alternative look at photography’s history,” according to the press release.

“Our curator team sees the current upheaval in visual cultures as an opportunity to subject photography to a critical examination and to redefine it,” said Ebner.

“The exhibition is dedicated to the medium’s social and artistic usages in the age of ‘networked images,’” said Müller. “At the same time, we look back on a more than 175-year-old culture of the analogue, photographic image.”

With works and new commissions by more than 60 participating artists, the biennial will be exhibited in seven art institutions across the three cities.

Future editions will continue to follow the same format of inviting biannually alternating guest curators to engage with new questions regarding contemporary photography.

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