Throughout 2021, Västerås Konstmuseum will be delving deeply into the medium of photography in a variety of exhibitions, programs, and formats. Departing from photographic works in Västerås Konstmuseum’s collection, the exhibition Some Kind of Knowledge — Photography from and of Collections focuses on photography and photographic techniques. The exhibition broadens our understanding of how photography is used and interpreted.
The history of photography consists of several parallel optical, technical, and chemical experiments that coalesced in the mid-nineteenth century around the medium we now call photography: light projects an image through a lens and creates a picture that can be saved and preserved. Since then, the medium has been in constant flux, expanding into new areas of use, including in the arts. Digital technology, for example, makes it possible to reproduce, alter, and disseminate pictures with the press of a button. In spite of photography’s accessibility and broad usefulness, or rather because of these, we need to revisit what photography is and what it does.
In the exhibition Some Kind of Knowledge — Photography from and of Collections, artists explore some fundamental questions about photography and its use. How should we regard photography’s claims to provide us with knowledge and objective evidence? How does the photographer control the picture, and how does the picture create the world? The exhibition’s title is taken from Maria Hedlund’s ongoing photography series Some Kind of Knowledge (2014-), in which she gathered ostensibly disparate objects and photographed them, transforming them into a cohesive documented collection of objects. Is the relationship between photography and our concept of knowledge as ambivalent as the titles of Hedlund’s works suggest?
On view in the exhibition are experimental and often poetic works of photography by artists of today and of the past. Many of the works are not primarily about portraying a scene. These works ask us instead to ponder the photographic process: how were the materials in the pictures gathered? What technique lies behind their production? And in what context are we to understand these photographs?
Guest curator Katarina Elvén has long worked with and around photography at several different institutions. For Västerås Konstmuseum she has selected a number of photographic works from the museum’s collection. These have been complemented with works by other contemporary artists, works on loan from Moderna Museet’s collection, and archival photographs from the Västmanland County Museum.
Contributing artists: Diana Agunbiade-Kolawole, Gert Aurell, Sarah Charlesworth, Cecilia Edefalk, Beata Fransson, Hans Hammarskiöld, Maria Hedlund, Elisabeth Henriksson, Heli Hiltunen, Katja Mater, Jakob Sjöstedt, Anna Strand, Luigi Veronesi, and Cecilia Ömalm.