The curatorial approach focuses on the immediate hall of mirrors effect that is inherent in any photograph of a museum space as the museum is a form of re-presentation that is then re-presented in the photograph. When inside a museum, viewers usually focus on individual exhibits whereby the artificial curated set-up of the museum remains in a certain transparency. When looking at a photograph of a museum space we look at the whole space –as an image– and the artificiality of the set-up is immediately exposed. This can work in different ways and to different effects.
For example ‘perfect’ reproductions of dioramas (such as some by Karl Grimes or Hiroshi Sugimoto) produce images that make the photographed set-up look more ‘realistic’ than it would appear when viewed in situ. Condition for this effect is to photograph the exhibits in a manner that excludes all museum background. The selection of Richard Ross’ images works directly opposed to that. Here museum space, including its ‘imperfections’ is deliberately included in the frame. In a similar way, the works of Louise Lawler usually include museum space whereby Lawler uses the camera to deliberately fragment re-presented spaces as well as photographed exhibits, which are sometimes shown during the time of set-up, partially wrapped, resting on the floor. In both Ross’ and Lawler’s works, the increased attention to the actual exhibition spaces and also emphasizes the raw object character or the materiality of the artworks. A similar effect is also found in ‘documentary’ photographs that show a set up in progress, possibly with active museum workers in the frame.
Another effective case of fragmentation through crop and point of view is to be found in many of Vid Ingelevics photographs. His images combine fragmented ‘peeks’ into different adjacent spaces drawing attention to –and somewhat estranging– the architectural spaces themselves. Equally the frozen moments that ‘glue’ into stasis humorous correspondences between objects and visitors in a visual pun such as Matt Stuart’s images or also Traer Scott’s that preserve fleeting superimpositions of the in-front-of and the behind the glass caused by reflections can be seen as interventions of the camera. Another way of intervention is found in the photographs of Karen Knorr who sets up juxtapositions in exhibition spaces –in order to be photographed– which result in images that thus reflect in a redoubled way on the cultural space that is the museum.

The hall of mirrors effect inherent in this project must also reflect on the medium of photography. It becomes evident, that any of the above approaches ‘curates’ com-positions of different elements that are seen in the image. This shows that these photographically curated compositions are as artificial as the curatorial object compositions that are seen in the photographs. This is most directly addressed through Andrew Grassie’s contribution, which appears to be a small photograph of a gallery space. Yet close inspection together with the information supplied by the label informs us that we are faced with a photo realist painting – of an exhibition set up that never existed.

Klaus Wehner, 2013



I have long used the title 'Wundercamera' as an umbrella title for my own various image series exploring museum culture and issues around collecting and continue to do so.