Back to the Future - the 19th century in the 21st century

19/01/2018 - 28/03/2018

Keizersgracht 609 
1017 DS Amsterdam   

Spanning a dialogue between contemporary positions and those of the nineteenth century, the exhibition Back to the Future displays what the photographic medium was, what it is, and what it will be in the near future.

The current position of photography has much in common with the early years of the medium, when experiments with new photographic techniques were carried out on a grand scale. In a spirit of openness, excitement, freedom, curiosity and non-conformity, the nineteenth century pioneers of photography experimented with the technological and visual potential of the medium. They tested various methods and processes, but these were far from fully developed. Innovators with different backgrounds and from a variety of disciplines were looking for the best ways to capture the world. Taking pleasure in the making of images, and with a similar drive for experimentation, these early photographers shared a common mentality with many artists today.

The contemporary artists selected for the exhibition Back to the Future all use the foundations of photography: light, darkroom and chemistry, but in a non-traditional way. Each artist honours the history of the medium of photography by experimentally re-inventing it. The image is considered a material object with its own texture regardless of whether it is an analogue or digital object.

This exhibition juxtaposes the work created by contemporary artists with the work of some of the medium’s nineteenth century pioneers. A generation of contemporary artists go back to techniques and processes of the nineteenth century pioneers remarkably often. They are deliberately experimenting and therefore creating entirely new artistic works.