PRESS RELEASE of 15 November 2010 for downloading (pdf)
Abisag Tüllmann 1935 – 1996:
Photojournalistic Essays and Theatre Photography
24 November 2010 to 27 March 2011
With the exhibition "Abisag Tüllmann 1935 – 1996: Photojournalistic Essay and Theatre Photography", the historisches museum frankfurt will be presenting the multifaceted oeuvre of one of Germany's most prominent photo artists to the public for the first time posthumously, and thus honouring her seventy-fifth birthday. Apart from extensive photojournalistic-artistic investigations, Tüllmann's oeuvre also encompasses the photographic documentation of more than two hundred stage productions. Both the exhibition and the accompanying catalogue will be the first to bring these two aspects of her work together.
Drawing from forty years of free-lance photojournalistic activity, the presentation will comprise a selection of more than 450 black-and-white photographs and colour projections as well as works carried out in connection with film projects and examples of the extensive publication of Tüllmann's photographic imagery in newspapers, magazines and books.
The original shots for the photo book Großstadt ("Metropolis") - an homage to Abisag Tüllmann's adopted home town Frankfurt am Main - will form the grandiose prelude to her diverse photographic oeuvre. Photographs of the events and protagonists of the "Protests of 1968" such as Daniel Cohn-Bendit and Joschka Fischer, of the art and theatre scene in Germany and abroad with pictures of Joseph Beuys and Bernhard Minetti, but also of politicians and leading figures in the business community make Abisag Tüllmann a chronicler of the second half of the twentieth century. This status is further confirmed by the photojournalistic essays she carried out on the post-colonial developments in Algeria, Rhodesia/Zimbabwe and South Africa, and on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Her second chief focus was the photographic documentation of theatrical productions, for which she received commissions from important drama and opera theatre stages within and outside Germany. She first ventured into this genre in early 1960s Frankfurt. At the core of Tüllmann's theatre photography oeuvre was her artistic collaboration with Claus Peymann, whose productions she accompanied photographically over a period of nearly thirty years.
From 1958 onwards, photographs by Abisag Tüllmann published in newspapers, magazines and books contributed to shaping the collective pictorial memory of the German and international public. As a photojournalist and theatre photographer, she directed her gaze towards the political, social and artistic upheavals of her time. She observed everyday life and the conditions of human co-existence in the world with subtle humour. Themes such as segregation, homelessness and the vulnerability of human existence were always at the centre of her dedicated photographic activity.
The exhibition is being realized in cooperation with the Bildarchiv Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin, the Deutsches Theatermuseum, Munich and the Abisag Tüllmann Stiftung, Frankfurt, the holders of the photographic and written documents from the Tüllmann estate, the large majority of which have never been published.
Art and Scene
Abisag Tüllmann moved to Frankfurt am Main from Wuppertal in 1957 and soon belonged to the budding art and culture scene in the Hessian metropolis. Among her friends were writers, artists and graphic designers. She photographed the Kassel "documenta", the Venice Biennale, and London's dynamic pop culture. A great number of her portraits show us the protagonists of new and experimental art movements of the time: Joseph Beuys and Nam June Paik as well as members of the West German literature avant-garde such as Hans Magnus Enzensberger or Marie Luise Kaschnitz. Expressively powerful photographs of the world of music, for example the "International Summer Courses for New Music" in Darmstadt or such protagonists of the jazz and rock scene as Albert Mangelsdorff, John Coltrane and Frank Zappa, testify to Tüllmann's openness to the artistic currents of her day.
City and Society
With her brilliant debut - the photo book Großstadt ("Metropolis") - Tüllmann had already created a poignant portrait of her adopted home town of Frankfurt as early as 1963. Not only the early German Federal Republic's contradiction-charged cityscapes formed the point of departure for Tüllmann's comprehensive oeuvre; she also pointed her lens at the political movements arising at the university and in connection with real-estate speculation in the Westend District and the new runway at the city's airport. In view of her photos of the leading figures of the "Protests of 1968" such as Daniel Cohn-Bendit, Rudi Dutschke and Joschka Fischer, the philosophers of the Frankfurt School, the women's and gay movements and new forms of education such as the free school and the children's collective on the one hand, and of the holders of political and economic power on the other, Abisag Tüllmann can well be considered a documentarian of contemporary history.
Another distinctive quality is her eye for the conditions of human coexistence. Her photos provide insights into everyday life in a wide spectrum of social groups: immigrants, squatters, bankers, housewives and homeless persons. She explored the many diverse forms of segregation and destitution, seeking to capture on film the vulnerability of human existence. Her images are imbued with the tension between random documentation / objective analysis on the one hand and her subjective attitude as a sensitive observer of society on the other.
Abisag Tüllmann directed her gaze towards the politics, society and culture of the Federal Republic of Germany, but also sought to analyze international events photographically. At the Fatah Conference taking place in Algiers in December 1969, she portrayed Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and came into contact with the African liberation movements. In the 1970s she closely followed the post-colonial conflicts and the ensuing political and social changes in Algeria, Rhodesia/Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia and South Africa. In the 1980s she regularly travelled to Israel, the occupied Palestinian areas and Lebanon to carry out major photojournalistic essays. She took a critical stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and documented the Lebanon War in 1982. She was a master at pictorially analyzing conflict and visually capturing dialogue and dispute.
The importance of Abisag Tüllmann's role in the history of the art of theatre photography can hardly be overestimated. Her first works in this genre were carried out in Frankfurt as early as 1962 on behalf of the students' theatre "neue bühne". In 1967, 1969 and 1971, the journalistic coverage of the Frankfurt theatre festival "Experimenta" was shaped to a decisive degree by her images. For nearly thirty years, she collaborated artistically with Claus Peymann, whose productions she accompanied photographically, above all in Stuttgart, Bochum and Vienna. She also worked for numerous other stage directors, among them Ruth Berghaus, Luc Bondy, Andrea Breth, Einar Schleef, Peter Stein, George Tabori and Robert Wilson. She was commissioned by important drama and opera theatre stages in Germany and abroad, such as the Berlin Schaubühne, the Frankfurt Schauspiel, the Théâtre Royale de la Monnaie in Brussels, the Théâtre Vidy in Lausanne, the Burgtheater in Vienna and the Salzburg Festival.
Exhibition dates: 24 November 2010 to 27 March 2011
Press conference: Monday, 22 November 2010, 11 am
Exhibition opening: Tuesday, 23 November 2010, 7 pm
Location of opening: Römer 9, Evangelische Stadtakademie, Römerberg 9 (opposite hmf)
historisches museum frankfurt,
Saalgasse 19, D-60311 Frankfurt / M.
Tel. +49 (0)69 / 212 35599, Fax +49 (0)69 / 212 307 02
Tuesday - Sunday 10 am - 6 pm, Wednesday 10 am - 9 pm; closed Mondays
Open on the following holidays: 25/26 Dec 2010 (Christmas), 31 Dec 2010 (New Year's Eve) 10 am - 4 pm; 1 Jan 2011 (New Year's Day) 2 - 6 pm
Admission: Admission to museum 4.00 / 2.00 €; reduced admission fee during last opening hour of the day
Public transport: Underground lines U4 and U5, tram lines 11 and 12 to "Römer"
Visitor service, booking, guided tours:
Tel. +49 (0)69 / 212 351 54
Martha Caspers M.A. (project head)
Dr. Kristina Lowis, Barbara Lauterbach M.A., Ulrike May M.A.
exposition GbR, Frankfurt / M. - Martin Krämer and Sabine Gutjahr
Sponsors and cooperation partners:
Abisag Tüllmann Stiftung, Frankfurt / M.
Bildarchiv Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin
Deutsches Theatermuseum, Munich
Dr. Marschner Stiftung, Frankfurt / M.
Evonik Industries AG, Frankfurt / M.
Hessische Kulturstiftung, Wiesbaden
Kulturamt Stadt Frankfurt / M.
Richard Stury Stiftung, Munich
Wüstenrot Stiftung, Ludwigsburg
Museum für Fotografie, Sammlung Fotografie der Kunstbibliothek,
Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, 17 June -18 September 2011
Abisag Tüllmann 1936-1996. Bildreportagen und Theaterfotografie, 304 pages, 298 black-and-white and colour illustrations with texts by Martha Caspers, Monika Haas, Barbara Lauterbach, Kristina Lowis, Ulrike May and Katharina Sykora, ed. by Martha Caspers, published as vol. 30 of the Schriften des historischen museums frankfurt, ed. by Jan Gerchow, Hatje Cantz Verlag, price 29.80 €
Thursday, 13 January 2011, 7:30 pm
Abisag Tüllmann 1935-1996. Bildreportagen und Theaterfotografie.
Introduction (in German) to the catalogue and exhibition by the curators of the historisches museum frankfurt Location: Zentralbibliothek Stadtbücherei Frankfurt am Main, Hasengasse 4, 60311 Frankfurt
Sunday, 30 January 2011, 11:30 am - 8 pm
Between Stasis and Motion - Abisag Tüllmann's Works for Film
Films and discussions with the directors
Film programme in cooperation with the Mal Seh'n cinema and the Asta Nielsen e.V. cinematheque
Location: Mal Seh'n cinema, Adlerflychtstrasse 6, 60318 Frankfurt / M., special admission fee
"Of the Beauty of the Commonplace: The Photographer Abisag Tüllmann", Germany, 1996 (Direction and screenplay: Carola Benninghoven)
"Do What is Right and Fear No One - The Life of Gerda Siepenbrink", FRG, 1975
(Direction and screenplay: Jutta Brückner)
"The All-Round Reduced Personality - Redupers", FRG, 1977
(Direction and screenplay: Helke Sander)
"Journey to Lyon", FRG, 1978-80
(Direction and screenplay: Claudia von Alemann)
Wednesday, 2 March 2011, 7 pm
"The Metropolitan Arena: Abisag Tüllmann's Views of Frankfurt"
Lecture (in German) by Prof. Katharina Sykora, Hochschule für Bildende Künste Braunschweig
Location: Römer 9, Evangelische Stadtakademie, Römerberg 9, 60311 Frankfurt / M.
The facilities are not barrier-free.
Sunday, 27 March 2011, 2 pm
Public guided tours in English with Laura Padgett:
15 December 2010, 19 January 2011, 16 February 2011, 16 March 2011
Guided tours by the curators (in German):
Sunday, 12 December 2010, 2 pm
Martha Caspers M.A.: Seeing - Looking: Insights into Abisag Tüllmann's Photojournalistic and Theatre Photography Oeuvre
Sunday, 9 January 2011, 2 pm
Barbara Lauterbach M.A.: Abisag Tüllmann's Theatre Photographs 1962-1996: Documents of Spectacles or the Art of the Instantaneous?
Sunday, 13 February 2011, 2 pm
Dr. Kristina Lowis: Art-Appropriate: Abisag Tüllmann's Photographic Observations of Art and Scene
Sunday, 13 March 2011, 2 pm
Ulrike May M.A.: Interconnections: The Life and Work of Abisag Tüllmann
Ulrike May M.A., Tel. +49 (0)69 / 212 342 73, cell +49 (0)160 / 403 65 53