In 2022, the Photographic Collection/SK Stiftung Kultur is celebrating the 25th year of its exhibition program in Cologne's Mediapark, which began in 1997 under the trend-setting title "Comparative Conceptions". To mark this occasion, the collection is presented extensively in two parts of the exhibition, each with its own focus. The Photographic Collection thus offers a broad insight into the in-house holdings.
With more than 380 exhibits, the current focus is on the central themes "portrait, landscape, botany", which are exemplified by 25 historical and contemporary artistic-photographic positions. In a second exhibition, which will follow from September 2nd, the related areas "Urban life, architecture, industry" will come to the fore. Various references between the two presentations will be discovered.
With the work of August Sander, whose archive is one of the starting points for the conception of the collection and program of the institution, the portrait genre deserves special emphasis. With his cultural work “People of the 20th Century”, currently represented by more than 50 original prints, Sander has taken the photographic portrait to an innovative, factually documentary dimension.
The portrait works in the collection ask about the relationship between the individual and society, about identity, about social, family and professional situations and relationships, and about the requirements of certain phases of life and living conditions. The influence of time with its impulses, possibilities and synergies is a very decisive component - no matter how much it changes. Documentary projects that are followed with the camera over longer periods of time make this connection particularly clear. It becomes clear that human beings interact with their cultural environment at all times. This circumstance is reflected not only in the appearance of his existence, but also in the shaping of his everyday reality.