Compiled by Bettina Klein and Wilhelm Klotzek
Once many a rarity and a right supply thereof has been assembled in one place, select for it a chamber that faces southeast on account of the savory air, with dry walls, an arched floor, daylight well distributed, that is furthermore well protected from whatever accident.
How to Establish a Chamber of Rarities (practical advice, ca. 1727) 1
Photographer Peter Woelck's archive never occupied such an ideal location. In his lifetime prints and negatives were stored at his apartment/studio on the corner of Kastanienallee and Schwedter Straße. Some may still remember the corner store littered with graffiti and posters and with some of Woelck's most popular motifs displayed for sale in the shop windows. The hippie-esque interior shot Leben im Prenzlauer Berg (Life in Prenzlauer Berg), 1987, depicts Woelck and some of his friends in a ghostly double exposure. The picture on the invite card came about as a snapshot in a neon-lit room while perusing the archive.
The exhibition Nach der Schicht is not intended as a retrospective, but as a subjective approach to the as yet unrevised photographic estate which is meanwhile taken care of by Wilhelm Klotzek, Peter Woelck's son. The display boards titled Berliner Zwischenlösung (Berlin Interim Solution) which Klotzek designed represent a provisional system of order for repetitive motifs; simultaneously, this system is humorously subverted by discrete 'outliers'. It is the beginning of a collaboration between father and son; the confrontation with an inheritance not merely to be conserved but, above all, invigorated.
The selection of additional work - with a focus on portraits and urban landscapes - can at best indicate the archive's broad range. Densely atmospheric images such as Nächtliches Studium Cartier-Bresson (Nocturnal Studies Cartier-Bresson) (1974) are juxtaposed with intense portraits like Typ mit langen schwarzen Haaren (Dude with Long, Black Hair) (1987). Next to well-known motifs from the 60's and 70's (e.g. the Leipzig garbage collectors (1974) or the construction of the Berlin TV tower (1968)) assignment work and private photography is shown as well. The reality of photographic practice often enough contradicts any clear-cut distinction between these categories, and in this particular case the confrontation of "high" with "low" hopefully allows for greater freedom in regarding Woelck's cosmos.
Text by Bettina Klein
1 C.F. Neickel, C.F. 1727. „Museographia." P 52 et seq in: Alchimie des Alltags. Gießen: Werkbundarchiv 15, 1968.
Opening: Friday, March 15, 2013, 8 p.m.
Closing event: Saturday, April 6, 2013, 6 – 9 p.m.
Peter Woelck: * 1948 in Berlin. † 2010 in Berlin. 1972-77 photography studies at Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst, Leipzig.
Wilhelm Klotzek: * 1980 in Berlin, lives in Berlin. 2006-12 fine art studies at Kunsthochschule Berlin Weißensee.
Bettina Klein: * 1970 in Wadern (Saar), lives in Berlin. Art historian, freelance curator.