In 1956 Edward Steichen opened the exhibition„Abstraction in Photography“ in the New York Museum of Modern Art. Steichen had already postulated during this time that photography in its various usage and contexts can not be thought of without abstraction.
Rather, it abstracts per se– whether intentional or accidental– and frequently undermines forms of representation and indexicality. The term „abstract“ serves merely as a label in order to outline aesthetic and subjective photographic methods beyond its claim to objectivity.
This moment in the history of photography sixty-five years later must be taken as an occasion to illuminate and question the link between photography and abstraction by its own artistic methods.
The current use of photography to perceive every angle of our reality with tablets, cameras and telephones produces pictures that are already „reality itself.“ Nevertheless, an unease surrounds these vast amounts of images, as their intangibility and ephemerality deprives them of every attribution of meaning. At the same time, they play and manipulate the effects of authenticity and objectivity by using different color filters on various apps and applications that get applied to the just-captured images.
Current photographic images develop into complex, and in this sense, abstract surfaces onto which we project, on the one hand, our wishes; and on the other hand, they reflect and highlight their fragile status and challenge our thoughts about photographic images. Effects have always been a part of photography since its inception. Whether with scientific photography or the constructivist experiments of the 1920s–distance and illusion, seduction and deception of human perception shape the abstract complexities of photographic images. This further opens up the concept of „abstraction“ instead of using it as a label and pure classification. It is these ambiguities with which Anita Schmid and Amelie Zadeh grapples with in the exhibition „In the sense of“.