As part of the series Open Stores, curated by Alice Koegel, the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart invites artists to work with its collection. The series takes as its starting point the works held in the museum’s stores and archives, and a critical investigation of the stores themselves as places of conservation and categorisation. For the current exhibition in this series, the Briti sh artist and Turner Prize recipient Simon Starling (b. 1967) created a new work based on his exploration of the documentary photography in the photographic archive as well as the hitherto unwritten history of the photographic studio of the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart.
The museum’s photographic archive today holds about twenty thousand black and white negatives, slides and small, medium and large-scale prints showing not only individual works of art but also views of installations of the collection, of exhibitions and of exhibition openings. Having worked for a brief period as a photographer for museums and galleries in Scotland in the early 1990s, in his selection from the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart photographic archive Starling concentrated primarily on views of installations of the permanent collection and major individual works which are bearing a strong relationship to photography, reproduction and repetition. To produce his work, Starling reactivated an old analogue copy camera belonging to the photographic studio but today no longer in use.
With the large-scale inkjet prints thus produced, more than forty in number, he created an installation uniting photographs of various works from a range of different presentation contexts within the museum over the past sixty years, placing them in relation to one another and showing new interlinks and interconnections between them. With digital reproductions of analogue reproductions of artworks, new artworks thus emerge, full of mutual analogies. By reconstructing the former darkroom of the Staatsgalerie’s photographic studio in the exhibition room, he moreover makes the production means visible for the viewer.