msdm a nomadic house-studio-gallery for photographic art and curatorial research, an expanded practice of the artist's book, photobook publishing and peer-to-peer collaboration created by contemporary artist paula roush
Eva Schmidt reflects on the Found Photo Foundation In Dear Aby Warburg, what can be done with images? Museum für Gegenwartskunst Siegen [see TEXT]
The exhibition Dear Aby Warburg, what can be done with images? began with the observation that handling photographic material constitutes a key practice in recent contemporary art. Soon the legendary art historian and fascinating intellectual Aby Warburg (1866-1929) appeared as a figure of historical reference; with his continuing research and above all with his 'late work,' the Mnemosyne Atlas he set about tracing the cultural memory of images in the late 1920s.
How can photographic images thought lost – due to a lack of place or name- be re-found and made to speak to us again? The significance of a photographic image does not lie in the image itself; the decisive aspects are its context and actualisation as material object. Every work in the exhibition makes this obvious.
Although all the works named implicitly formulate the part of the viewer, the ‘user’ through their openness and temporary nature, in paula roush’s work strategies of participation are foregounded. She tracks down photos that have become homeless. roush calls them ‘orphans’ which can be found at flea markets or in junk shops. She invites others to ‘adopt’ these ‘orphans’ in their own configurations.