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The Return of Polaroid

June 21, 2012 by · 3 comments

NRW-Forum Duesseldorf to show the legendary Polaroid Collection with over 500 examples from the history of Instant Photography. From Ansel Adams to Andy Warhol.

Helmut Newton Untitled 1976, Polaroid SX-70, © Helmut Newton Estate

A huge outcry erupted on the international photo circuit, when in 2009 both parts of the Polaroid Collection in the USA and in Europe were to be auctioned off at Sotheby’s in the process of dealing with the assets of the insolvent company. Lead by Chuck Close, many artists, museums and photo aficionados protested against the sale of the 16.000 images encompassing collection. At the last moment the Vienna museum WestLicht managed to acquisition the European part of the collection and keep it in its entirety.

Patrick Nagatani Cinema II, detail from the image: Alamogordo blues 1986, Polaroid Spectra, © Patrick Nagatani

Edwin Land launched the revolutionary new instant image technology in New York in 1947. Two years later he met Ansel Adams, a master of camera technique as well as the art of photography, and the new concept of a corporate collection for Polaroid started taking on shape. Instant image material was to be tested by artists and photographers, contributing to the constant improvement and development of Polaroid films.

As a mentor and early contributor of the project Ansel Adams had the idea to organise exhibitions, featuring pieces by well-known contemporary artists. During the 1950s more advisors joined the team, amongst them Minor White,
Paul Caponigro and William Clift. Their images built the fundament of the Polaroid Collection.

Nobuyoshi Araki Untitled 2010, PX 100 Silver Shade, © Nobuyoshi Araki

During the 1960s a special support program was installed. It was the beginning of a long-standing collaboration with selected photographers who received cameras and film material in return for contributing works to the collection. Many contributors to the program were well known photographers, searching for new ways of artistic expression.

Additionally, Polaroid was interested in commissioning up and coming young artists for the collection. Using this model, an international component of the Polaroid Collection was established at Polaroid’s international headquarters in Amsterdam. Founded in the mid 1960s, this unique corpus encompasses 4400 pieces by 800 international artists.

Sahin Kaygun, Nude 1983, Polaroid 600 HS, Hand-colored, © Burçak Kaygun

Showcasing selected masterpieces from Ansel Adams to Andy Warhol, this exhibition presents a first cross-section of this unique collection, plus an enlarged selection of German photographers in the collection.

Mark Morrisroe, Nyph-o-maniac 1983, Polaroid 35mm PolaChrome, Cibachrome print with paint, 10.4 × 15.7”

The exhibition is generously lent by WestLicht and curated by Rebecca Reuter.

Die Polaroid Collection
26. May until 05. August2012

NRW-Forum Düsseldorf
Ehrenhof 2, 40479 Düsseldorf

Tuesday until Sunday: 11am – 8pm
Friday: 11am – 12 pm

Petra Wenzel, Werner Lippert
+49 / 211 / 9660036

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