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Exhibition: The Polaroid Project

Andy Warhol, Andy Sneezing, 1978, Polaroid SX-70 / Andy Warhol Artwork © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society

Andy Warhol, Andy Sneezing, 1978, Polaroid SX-70 / Andy Warhol Artwork © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society

A humming, a click - a few seconds later, without a darkroom and negative development develops the instant image with the familiar white frame in a seemingly magical way. The Polaroid picture is unique and original in one - it symbolizes the unique moment. The charm of the unsophisticated, the non-reproducible moment and the speed of the Polaroid image are equally loved and used by amateurs and professionals alike. World-renowned artists have shaped the aesthetics of a whole era with the medium of instant photography. The joy of experimentation is great: From formats of the classic SX-70 camera to the large-format Polaroid, graphically abstract images, instantaneous and detailed shots of interiors, streets, landscapes, plants, still lifes and portraits are created. Thus, the affinity of pop art artist Andy Warhol to the Polaroid is hardly surprising: for the fast-paced consumer and fashion world in which he moved and which he coined, the instant photo was ideal. While Richard Hamilton painterly edited his Polaroids, Dennis Hopper used the Polaroid to research his cinematic works, as in his Colors series, in which he documented the graffiti and street art scene in Los Angeles in the 1980's. The artist couple Anna and Bernhard Blume, on the other hand, did not use the instant picture as a single snapshot, but often in series for his performative self-portraits. With the  Artist Support Program  , the Polaroid company supported the work of many artists by equipping them with cameras and footage. The exchange between the arts and the company formed the basis of the spectacular and rapidly growing Polaroid Collection with locations in Cambridge, USA and Amsterdam. 

When physicist Edwin Herbert Land founded the company Polaroid in Boston almost 80 years ago, there was no picture of the world that was faster in the hand, on the table or in the photo album. The popularity of the brand spread quickly. Polaroid has long been a cult, photographic and cultural history. Despite digitization, its demise in 2009 and its revival under The Impossible Project  and the commercialization of its products under new brand name Polaroid Originals the instant picture has been making a comeback again for several years. The longing for the special moment, the haptic of the image as an object, combined with a certain nostalgia in the face of the daily flood of digital images - all this makes instant photography interesting again for a young generation.

With the exhibition The Polaroid Project C / O Berlin presents  in a unique summary of around 250 pictures the worldwide polaroid stocks in the USA and Europe. The works of Nobuyoshi Araki, Sibylle Bergemann, Guy Bourdin, Barbara Crane, David Hockney, Robert Mapplethorpe, Robert Rauschenberg, Erwin Wurm and others will be accompanied by camera models, concepts and prototypes of the innovative technology that represents the phenomenon of Polaroid in all its diversity.

The exhibition was organized in collaboration with the Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography, Minneapolis / New York / Paris / Lausanne, the MIT Museum, Cambrigde, Massachusetts, and WestLicht: Schauplatz für Fotografie, Vienna and C / O Berlin; she was curated by Deborah G. Douglas, William A. Ewing, Barbara P. Hitchcock, Rebekka Reuter and Gary Van Zante and reassembled for Berlin by Ann-Christin Bertrand. The catalog The Polaroid Project The Conquest of Art , published by Hirmer Verlag in Munich, accompanies the show. 

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