SCULPTURAL I SURREAL
April 12th – May 25th 2019
Private reception: Thursday, April 11th, 7 – 9pm
The artist will be present.
Karin Székessy, Simone gerahmt, 1999
Starting in Spring 2019, Chaussee 36 I Galerie 36 dedicates a solo exhibition to the
Hamburg-based photographer Karin Székessy which focuses on her nude photography. The current exhibition Women on View will be extended until May 18th 2019.
Karin Székessy is one of the most important women photographers in Europe since the
1960s. In collaboration with her husband, the painter, graphic designer and sculptor Paul
Wunderlich, she developed a distinctive photographic style, deeply rooted in myth and the
history of art. In addition to portraits, landscapes, still-lifes and photojournalism, it was Karin
Székessy’s nude photographs that brought her international repute. Today, they are
considered classics, and are represented in many major collections.
In conjunction with the exhibition ‘Women on View’, Chaussee 36 dedicates a solo
exhibition to the Hamburg-based photographer Karin Székessy. Whilst the group
exhibition ‘Women on View’ addresses ideals of beauty as depicted in advertising
photography in which the portrayal of women are mainly being shaped by the male
gaze, Karin Székessy’s exhibition focuses on her nude photography, emphasising a
completely different perception of the female body.
It has been said of Karin Székessy’s nude photographs that she brings a woman’s eye to the
subject. This makes such an attempt at a fresh view all the more compelling – especially
against the backdrop of a perception of the female body still essentially masculine and the
current reception and awareness of these attitudes. Székessy’s naked women seem less
denuded and less voyeuristically charged. In the foreground of her nudes is a more selfconfident
woman’s perception. These women seem free, modest and almost unremarkable –
they thereby become more untouchable, though this does not mean that Eros is absent, as was
asserted at the time in the text accompanying her exhibition in Berlin’s Werner Kunze gallery.
Karin Székessy began taking photographs in 1954. She rapidly developed her own
distinctive, surreal style in staged, photographic images with an air of mystery. Perhaps it is
her sculptor’s eye that lends these bodies their self-assured presence. Karin Székessy’s
photographs seem almost to have been carved by the camera. The play of light gives form to
the mostly unclothed women’s bodies – outlines become sculptural shapes and generate a
magical, surreal atmosphere. Székessy herself says about this: “It is important that the models
understand the absurdity of my work.” At the very first glance, symbolic elements intensify
enigmatic scenarios with masks and other cryptic props. She invents pictures and challenges
us to think them out. Székessy’s pictorial metaphors are discreet and, in a distant, almost
fleeting, yet highly personal way, evoke yearning and longings, but also ephemeral beauty.
They are for the most part tranquil works, in which the relationship of the photographer to her
models can be sensed. They do not have perfect bodies, so that their beauty is all the more
natural. “I photograph women’s bodies and direct them so that they are beautiful,” says the
photographer, adding that she also mirrors herself in them. These staged pictures become a
species of self-portrait.
Staging is important to Karin Székessy. The artist has an eye for spatial composition and has
mastered the techniques of photography. The philosopher and author Max Bense has written:
“We are not dealing here with the photographic immobilization of a pre-existing world, but
with the representation of a world intentionally fashioned, arranged like statuary, in which
not even the lighted space is a natural phenomenon, but has its source in manipulation, in its
malleability, in illumination.” With her distinctive compositions of surreal picture puzzles, in
which pieces of furniture take on the appearance of sculptural objects, well-nigh theatrical
scenes come into being, leading us into unsuspected worlds where shape and form melt into
the shadows and almost vanish. This moment of absence lends Székessy’s photographs a
magical, even surreal, sensual feeling of hidden poetry.
The exhibition presents up to 50 gelatin silver prints.
Text Harald Theiss
An exhibition organized by Alice Le Campion and Harald Theiss.
About the artist:
Karin Székessy was born in Essen in 1938. From 1957 to 1959, she studied photography in
Munich. In 1959, she began taking photographs of dolls; from 1963 onwards, she added nude
photography and corresponded professionally with Paul Wunderlich. In the period 1960 to
1966, Székessy worked as a photojournalist for the magazine Kristall, and between 1962
and 1967 was a member of the Zeitgenossen workgroup. From 1967 to 1969, she occupied a
post teaching fashion photography at the school of applied arts in Hamburg. Karin Székessy
was married to Paul Wunderlich from 1971 until his death in 2010. Between 1984 and 1987,
she created about 300 cover photos for Ullstein crime novels. As of today she has exhibited
her work internationally in Amsterdam, London, New York and Tokyo and is the author of
numerous publications. In German-speaking countries, her work has recently been shown in
comprehensive retrospectives at the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg, the
Photobastei in Zürich, the Deutsches Fotomuseum, Leipzig and the exhibition at the Johanna
Breede PHOTOKUNST gallery in Berlin.
WOMEN ON VIEW I Aesthetics of Desire in Advertising
February 2nd – April 27th 2019
Extended until May 18th
The exhibition WOMEN ON VIEW / Aesthetics of Desire in Advertising will be extended
until May 18th 2019.
The group exhibition Women on View addresses the eroticisation of the female body in
advertising photography – starting with early product advertising from the 1940s, through
the era of the hyper eroticisation of women in the 1990s, to contemporary positions in
advertising photography. The exhibition features legendary posters and photographs by
renowned artists such as Erwin Blumenfeld, Horst P. Horst, Irving Penn, Helmut
Newton, Guy Bourdin, Frank Horvat, Jeanloup Sieff, Hans Feurer, Albert Watson,
Herb Ritts, Peter Lindbergh and Ellen von Unwerth. On the one hand, the exhibition
illustrates the various ways in which women are portrayed in advertising. On the other hand,
it questions the reciprocal influences of fashion and commercial photography in the creation
of aesthetic standards. The exhibition presents up to 150 artworks.
Lillian Bassman, Erwin Blumenfeld, Guy Bourdin, Michel Comte, Renaud De Gambs,
Patrick Demarchelier, Hans Feurer, Francis Giacobetti, Christophe Gilbert, Sarah Hardacre,
Horst P. Horst, Frank Horvat, Paul Huf, Julia Kennedy, Jean Larivière, Peter Lindbergh, Jean-
Daniel Lorieux, Bernard Matussière, Rasmus Mogensen, Armin Morbach, Gérard Musy,
Helmut Newton, Uwe Ommer, Thomas Paquet, Marino Parisotto, Norman Parkinson, Irving
Penn, Michel Perez, Hervé Plumet, Oliver Rath, Regina Relang, Eli Rezkallah, Herb Ritts,
Franco Rubartelli, Mark Shaw, Jeanloup Sieff, Melvin Sokolsky, Tono Stano, Bert Stern,
Karin Székessy, Ellen von Unwerth and Albert Watson.
On the occasion of the exhibition, an extensive bilingual catalogue has been published, with a
foreword by the curator of the Helmut Newton Foundation, Matthias Harder, texts by
sociologist Esther Loubradou, and numerous historical advertising photographs.
Further information: http://galerie36berlin.com/womenonview-publication/
Chaussee 36 I Galerie 36
Chausseestraße 36, 10115 Berlin
Opening hours: Wednesday to Saturday 1 – 6pm & by appt.
Combined ticket for both exhibitions: 8 euros
For further press information and image material:
+49 (0)30 28097647
Chaussee 36, Chausseestraße 36, 10115 Berlin
PRESS PHOTOGRAPHS / KARIN SZÉKESSY
COPYRIGHT / CREDITS
Courtesy the artist & Galerie 36, Berlin
1) Mit Maske und Kaktus, 1979
2) Simone gerahmt, 1999
3) Palmenfächer, 2001
4) Eine sitzt eine springt I, 1969
5) Für Werner Kunze, 1969
6) Treppe (à Marcel Duchamps), 2015
7) Jutta auf dem Sofa, 1967
8) Über den Stuhl gelegt I, 1984
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We kindly request you to send a copy of your article to Chaussee 36. Printable image files can
be sent to you on request. For this, and for all other queries, please contact the gallery.
For further press information and image material:
+49 (0)30 28097647
Chaussee 36, Chausseestraße 36, 10115 Berlin @galerie36