8th Festival for Photography f/stop Leipzig: Broken Bonds

23 June – 1 July 2018, Opening: 22 June 2018, 7 pm

Leipzig, Baumwollspinnerei and other locations

Curated by Anne König and Jan Wenzel

Ludovic Balland [CH], Christian Borchert [DE], Paula Bulling [DE], Nicolas Giraud [FR], Ayşe Güleç [DE], Francesco Jodice [IT ], Susanne Kriemann [DE], Alexander Kluge [DE], Ludwig Kuffer [DE], Ferdinand Kriwet [DE], Andreas Langfeld [DE], Elisabeth Neudörfl [DE], Anastasia Potemkina [RU], Timm Rautert [DE], Elske Rosenfeld [DE], Andreas Rost [DE], Andrzej Steinbach [DE], Bertrand Stofleth [FR], a.o.

More and more often elections and referendums lead to a result that is little more than a stalemate: from the Brexit to the presidential election in the US to the slow and tedious formation of a coalition government in Germany. The positions held by the competing political groups are often so entrenched that mediation seems virtually impossible: Broken Bonds.

New forms of digital communication and increasing social segregation lead to life in a kind of “personal bubble”. Algorithms serve to reinforce one’s own views, as they show and suggest items in tune with things one has already “liked”. Something essential to any modern society is lost: diversity—and the necessity of continual communicative exchange.

How can photography draw our attention to general societal dynamics that are not always easy to come to terms with? In what ways can it now be a medium of democracy and societal communication? How can mediation and communication processes be documented by means of photography? These are the questions that the 8th Festival for Photography f/stop addresses with a range of exhibitions at the Baumwollspinnerei and other venues in Leipzig.

With a project that examines the year 1990 we show how photography can serve as a means to revisit and remember historical periods and to initiate and advance a process of societal dialogue. The festival places equal emphasis on the medium of drawing. As a counterpart and corrective to photography drawing is now again assuming increasing importance.

The main exhibition in Halle 12 shows works by international artists that examine long-term societal developments that affect everyday life. One example is the work “La Vallée” (2013 – 2016) by Nicolas Giraud and Bertrand Stofleth, a long-term photographic project that documents the decline of the oldest industrial region in France—the area between the cities of Lyon and Saint-Étienne. In a similar manner Susanne Kriemann explores the landscape of the Erzgebirge on the border between Germany and the Czech Republic after uranium mining operations there came to an end. William Faulkner’s adage “The past is never dead.

It’s not even past,” suggests that what we call history is in reality the radiological discharges of society. Many lines of past conflict thus appear to be especially active, radiating into the present, with enough energy to last far into the future. In exploring the high frequency communication of ideas and the continual disruption of this communication now typical of the mass media, many works in the exhibition focus on the “afterlife” of momentary events and their long-term effects. For his work “American Readers at Home” the Swiss photographer, book designer, and photographer Ludovic Balland travelled through the United States leading up to the election in 2016 and asked citizens what they recall from the news items of the previous day.

f/stop In Situ looks back at the year 1990. In comparing the years 1989 and 1990 it is remarkable that they have been recorded so differently in the collective memory. Virtually everyone in Germany can recall the events of the fall of 1989, while the year 1990—the lines of development of which were continually being disrupted—often remains unintelligible and incommunicable.

Like children who can remember nothing before their third birthday, for many East Germans 1990 seems to be buried. Yet just as the first years of life shape a person’s emotional character, the experiences of 1990—all the hopes, fears, promises of happiness and disappointments–have left their mark on people’s deepest feelings and attitudes. On Wilhelm Leuschner Square an image-text display will be installed with photographs by Andreas Rost, private pictures, product photographs, pages from newspapers and the observations of Christian Borchert and Elske Rosenfeld. f/stop In Situ will open on 19 July 2018.

The Italian photographer Francesco Jodice explores the possibility of capturing the fabric of contemporary society—its individuals and spaces, its norms and contexts—in pictures. From 2005 to 2007 he photographed primary and middle school students in the cities of Turin, Vicenza, Ischa and Sassiolo for the work “Ritratti di classe”. He assumed the role of the commercial photographer who has been hired to take traditional class pictures and adapted this profession and its techniques to compile a sort of “super snapshot” of an Italy of the future. In twenty years these students will stand in the centre of society. The class pictures are thus an anthology of what’s to come. For f/stop Solo curators Anne König and Jan Wenzel have invited Francesco Jodice to continue the work “Ritratti di classe” in various cities in the state of Saxony. Here too the class pictures are to form a panorama—an early glimpse into the society of the future.

At the centre of f/stop Print is the publication released in 2018 by Spector Books Im Krankenhaus [In Hospital] with photographs by Ludwig Kuffer, Andreas Langfeld and Elisabeth Neudörfl. The book allows us to imagine how an institution is “shaped” in a literal sense—the co-existence of a great number of individuals, their shared everyday lives, their different positions and roles, their conflicts, and compromises. The publication makes reference to the book of the same name published in 1993 by Timm Rautert, which will also be exhibited.

The 2018 f/stop Film Programme will be curated by Leif Magne Tangen [NO] and Sarah Schipschack [DE]. Krisztina Hunya [HU] is organizing the f/stop Symposium, for which artists, researchers, and the public will be invited to engage in discussion and debate. f/stop Accomplices and f/stop Satellites will complement the festival with their own exhibitions and presentations. These include KV Leipzig, the book store MZI N, the art space PING∙PONG, G2 Kunsthalle, the galleries ASPN, Drei Ringe and Eigen + Art and many others.

A festival catalogue will be published by Spector Books in two languages: Zerrissene Gesellschaft (ISBN 978-3-95905-200-9) / Broken Bonds (ISBN 978-3-95905-201-6)


Sabine Weier, Media and Public Relations
M: +49 (0)163 36 46 387