Stopover 20 21 – the catalog


As soon as the museums reopen, »Stopover 20 21« will finally be on display at Museum Folkwang. Finally – for the exhibition has been ready to go at the beginning of December 2020. However, the catalog offers a preview of the current work made by the students of the M.A. program Photography Studies and Practice. Texts, written by the students of the M.A. program Photography Studies and Research in personal letters to the works of art, accompany these images. In the coming weeks, we will gradually publish them on this website. Please order your personal copy of the catalog from Dorothea Frink.

In her introduction to the catalog, Judith Böttger also emphasizes the special conditions under which this current edition of our annual exhibition at Museum Folkwang was created:

The term »stopover« commonly refers to an intermediate halt of an unspecified duration. It can be planned or unexpected, it can be used to collect one’s thoughts or lose the thread, it can pass quickly or be prolonged. For the sixth time in a row, the stopover exhibition in the basement of the Museum Folkwang will allow students of the M.A. program »Photography Studies and Practice« at the Folkwang University of the Arts to examine their approach to the museum space. The exhibition does not represent the culmination of an artistic process, but rather that intermediate halt. The works and artistic positions shown are still in the making and maturing, revealing and emphasizing the processual nature of photography and the photographic oeuvre.

But 2020 is the year of lengthy and unforeseen stops. Last year, nobody could have anticipated social life, the global economy and especially the art and culture scene being compelled to take such a long breather. Making this pause artistically productive and exploring new ways of interacting with the world, turned out to be one of the major challenges of preparing this year's exhibition. It is irrevocably inscribed in the photographic works shown: access to planned motifs, materials and photographic workshops was and is limited. Additionally, desired feedback was only possible online. The question as to what "contact« means will be an indispensable part of photographic work processes in 2020. As a result, the current exhibition regards itself as a place of attempted conversation, of establishing contact, between artists and a changing world, between different forms of images, between photographs and space, and between visitors and exhibitors. All in the knowledge of the fragility of every encounter.

The conversation continues in this catalogue. The art historian W.J.T. Mitchell postulated in »What Do Pictures Want?« (2005) a certain ability of pictures to act. They can affect us, speak to us. Following this idea, students of the M.A. program »Photography Studies and Research« sought to establish personal contact with the photographs of their fellow students through short letters. They provide an insight into the initial encounters with the pictures and also the time spent in front of and with the pictures. In so doing, it is not the artists but the photographs themselves that are addressed vis-à-vis. Thus, seeing and affect, text and image, production and reflection mirror the tandem of the two master programs.