Joachim Schmid

P420, Bologna / Italy

September 24, 2015

Joachim Schmid

26 September–14 November 2015

Opening: Saturday, 26 September, 6–8:30pm, the artist will be present

Piazza dei Martiri, 5/2
40121 Bologna

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After the exhibition Where the trees line …, curated by Chris Sharp, which featured the work of three young artists, P420 presents a solo show by the German artist Joachim Schmid (born 1955, Balingen, Germany), already seen at the gallery in 2013 in the exhibition Lumpenfotografie, curated by Simone Menegoi.

Schmid has been active on the German scene as a photography critic, essayist and publisher since 1980. In 1982, he founded Fotokritik, a completely self-produced magazine that immediately became a vehicle for the expression of his theories. During the same period he began to collect photographs found in the street, purchased at flea markets or obtained from anyone who wanted to dispose of photographs in their possession.

Schmid’s obsession with photography isn’t rooted in individual brilliance or museum masterpieces, but rather in the very nature of the medium, with everything that is “left out” and therefore is not, and does not, aspire to be “art photography.” He searches for the deepest identity of photography, manifested when millions of cameras produce billions of images.

Over time, he built up a systematic collection of photographs—not towards scientific or taxonomical ends, but with the simple intention of revealing the enormous potential embodied in photographs not produced in an art context. This activity has led to two of his most extensive projects: Bilder von der Strasse (Pictures of the Street), developed over a period of 30 years and including photographs gathered in public places from 1982 to 2012; and Archiv, a monumental tribute to photography, catalogued by genre, from 1986 to 1999.

“No new photographs until all the existing ones have been used,” he wrote in a text from 1989—a thought which immediately became an exemplary definition of his poetics. For over 30 years, Schmid’s research has ironically short-circuited the recognized canons of photography, widening its boundaries, skeptically questioning the role of the author and artistic intention with respect to the results achieved.

The exhibition, entitled Souvenirs, presents a selection of works—some from the past, some made for the occasion—that share the theme of travel, the trips made by the artist himself for more than 30 years, which in this context become the fundamental opportunity for a representation of photography that is as general as possible.

There will also be the presentation of the new artist’s book by Joachim Schmid, Viaggio in Italia.