Curated by Tanya Barson
Inspired by the writings of philosopher Vilem Flusser, the exhibition seeks to develop and expand the notion of a philosophy of photography or, as Flusser put it, to ‘contribute to a discussion about the subject “photography” in a philosophical spirit.’ It aims to show how photography became a key tool for the development of human consciousness in relation to the ‘worldhood of the world’ and also reflects on the question of the philosophical status of photography at the moment when Flusser was writing, beginning with ‘Towards a Philosophy of Photography’(1983) and continuing with ‘Into the Universe of Technical Images’ (1985), a moment when the transition from photography as an object to photography in the digital age was beginning to occur. The exhibition draws from and examines the rich spectrum of photography included in the Isabel and Agustín Coppel Collection and reviews its’ picturing of the life-world in which we all exist.
For this exhibition this idea of being, and consciousness, is examined through three notions drawn from phenomenological thinking, namely the social world (mitwelt), the environment or world-around (umwelt) and the inner or own world (eigenwelt). Thus, organised into three principal groupings of images, this exhibition examines the role that photography has played in communicating what it means to exist, how we exist with others and how we develop an independent existence and a sense of our own self; in each, photography acts as a way to reflect on the challenge of being in the world. As a preface to these three sections, there is a selected group of works that together question, “What is a photograph?” and which address some of the characteristics of photography that Flusser proposes in his statements about photography and its philosophical status.
The exhibition includes a wide range of photographic practice as well as a selected number of moving image, slide and new media works. It encompasses the work of many major figures of twentieth century photography as well as introducing some lesser-known practitioners. The show features works by Berenice Abbott, Vito Acconci, Bas Jan Ader, Doug Aitken, Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Francis Alÿs, Diane Arbus, Ursula Arnold, Richard Avedon, Bernd & Hilla Becher, Sophie Calle, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Larry Clark, Edmund Collein, Bruce Davidson, Rineke Dijkstra, Jim Dow, William Eggleston, Tracey Emin, Walker Evans, Valie Export, Harun Farocki, Peter Fischli and David Weiss, Robert Frank, Lee Friedlander, Carlos Garaicoa, Héctor García, Alberto Garcia Alix, Anna Gaskell, Nan Goldin, Félix González-Torres, Dan Graham, Sigurdur Gudmundsson, Jitka Hanzlová, Bill Henson, Candida Höfer, Kati Horna, Graciela Iturbide, Seydou Keïta, Julius Koller, Helen Levitt, Philip Lorca DiCorcia, Cristina Lucas, Tuomo Manninen, Angel Marcos, Teresa Margolles, Mary Ellen Mark, Gordon Matta Clark, Ana Mendieta, Enrique Metinides, Ryiuji Miyamoto, Tina Modotti, Lazslo Moholy-Nagy, Zwelethu Mthethwa, Shirin Neshat, Rivane Neueschwander, Arnold Newman, Kiyoshi Niiyama, Gabriel Orozco, Damien Ortega, Bill Owens, Esteban Pastorino, Irving Penn, Martha María Pérez Bravo, Bernard Plossu, Albert Renger-Patzsch, Miguel Río Branco, Herb Ritts, Daniela Rosell, Thomas Ruff, Ed Ruscha, Sebastiao Salgado, august Sander, Cindy Sherman, Stephen Shore, Aaron Siskind, Melanie Smith, Simon Starling, Thomas Struth, Superflex, Diana Thater, Wolfgang Tillmans, Ed Van Der Elsken, Massimo Vitali, Annika Von Hausswolf, Edward Weston, Mariana Yampolsky, Willy Zielke and Zoe Leonard.
CIAC (The Isabel and Agustín Coppel Collection) is a Mexican non-profit association committed to the research and dissemination of contemporary art, supporting exhibitions, publications, research and art projects. In addition to the support provided to different art projects, and with the aim of creating a closer dialogue with a wider audience, CIAC develops projects like exhibitions, publications, apps and audio guides, which allow not only to show its collection, but also to create and share knowledge about the art of our time. The collection began in the 1990s focusing on Mexican Modern Art, promptly redirecting its focus to both national and international contemporary art with an important emphasis on photography.