GOTTFRIED JÄGER: FOTOGRAFIEN DER FOTOGRAFIE GENERATIVE SYSTEME 1960 BIS 2020
Retrospective exhibition 8 February—23 April, 2023 at Sprengel Museum Hannover
Gottfried Jäger (*1937) is one of the most important photographers and photo theorists of the post-war period. Alongside Otto Steinert (Essen) and Bernd & Hilla Becher (Düsseldorf), Jäger influenced generations of photographers with his non-representational photography and his teaching at the FH Bielefeld. As early as the 1960s, he developed the concept of "generative photography". Here, the photographic means themselves become the object for him, the medium the object. He is a "photographer of photography" (B. Stiegler). The Bielefeld artist has also played an important role with his theoretical writings on imaging photography (in dialogue with V. Flusser and L. Wiesing, among others). A retrospective of his work is a desideratum of the exhibition business. The approximately 400 square meter presentation at the Sprengel Museum Hannover will accomplish this with an exemplary selection of works from the most important creative forms and periods in six rooms.
The exhibition is being created in cooperation with the Museum im Kulturspeicher, Würzburg, where it will be shown in a modified form from April 2023.
A publication with texts by Stefan Gronert, Kathrin Schönegg and others will be published. The exhibition is supported by the NORD/LB Kunststiftung.
Curator: Stefan Gronert
Image below: Gottfried Jäger, Lochblendenstruktur 3.8.14 C, 2.5.1, 1967 © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2023
Image below: Gottfried Jäger, Multipleoptik 4.54.4, 1980 Pigment Print, 50 x 50 cm © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2023
Born in 1937 in Burg near Magdeburg, Gottfried Jäger is one of the most important photographers and photo theorists of the post-war period. Alongside Otto Steinert (Essen) and Bernd & Hilla Becher (Düsseldorf), Jäger has influenced generations of photographers with his concrete or generative photography on the one hand and his teaching at the Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences on the other, and has shaped his own distinctive approach in the discourse of (post-)modern artistic photography.
Following on from the experimental and abstract approaches of the 1920s and also against the background of an intensive examination of the contemporary technological philosophy of the post-war period, Jäger developed the concept of "generative photography" as early as the 1960s and worked closely with Herbert W. Franke, Hein Gravenhorst, Kilian Breier, Pierre Cordier and Karl Martin Holzhäuser.
Jäger's work does not focus on the illustrative dimension of the medium. Rather, in his work the photographic means themselves become the photographic object, the medium the object. In this respect, the affiliation of his approach to the discourse of art has never been up for debate. He is, as Bernd Stiegler put it, a "photographer of photography." In this sense, it can hardly come as a surprise that Jäger was also open to digital techniques and productively integrated them into his approach in the 21st century.
Image below: Co-founders of generative photography, Hein Gravenhorst with Gottfried Jäger photographed.
In addition, Gottfried Jäger has also played an important role as a theorist with his extensive writings on the history of imaging photography, both in terms of image history and theory (including in dialogue media theorist Vilém Flusser and philosopher Lambert Wiesing).
Although Gottfried Jäger's artistic photographs, his photographic paper works, photographic objects, and installations have been featured in numerous exhibitions and publications and exhibitions on abstract and experimental art and photography (most recently, for example, in "Shape of Light. 100 Years of Photography and Abstract Art," Tate Modern, London 2018), a retrospective of his work has been a desideratum of the exhibition world for many years. The approximately 400-square-meter presentation at the Sprengel Museum Hannover will accomplish this with an exemplary selection of works from the artist's most important creative forms and periods in six rooms.
Cover Image Left: Gottfried Jäger, Lochblendenstruktur 3.8.14 F 3.2, 1967, Sprengel Museum, Hannover, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2023 Right: Ursel and Gottfried Jäger with “pinhole structures” (Lochblendenstrukturen), 1967, from the exhibition Generative Fotografie; photograph by Günter Rudolf, 1968