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by Mona Schubert

How Photography (Re-)entered documenta

Installation of the photo-section of documenta 6

Installation of the photo-section of documenta 6 at Museum Fridericianum, including artworks of Baron Wilhelm von Glöden, 10 portraits and nude photographs, 1881-1910, (wall left), Liselotte Strewlow, Joseph Beuys, 1967, (second partition wall, left) [= Direct Photography I, Fashion and Society; Portrait], David Douglas Duncan, Paramedic in South Korea, September 11, 1950 (wall left, floor, second picture) [ = Direct Photography I, War], in Hans D. Baumann, et. Al., Kunst und Medien. Materialien zur documenta 6, (Kassel: Stadtzeitung und Verlag 1977), fig., p. 83.

Photography has always played a significant role at documenta. Already at its first edition in 1955, a photo wall consisting of large-format portraits of the exhibited artists welcomed visitors into the entrance hall even before they could look upon the first works of art.[1] Furthermore, visual documentations have been commissioned throughout documenta’s history from photographers, some of whom—such as Ernst Haacke or Balthasar Burkhard—even became renowned artists later on.[2] However, it was not until 1977 that photography finally entered documenta as an independent art form. At documenta 6 (d-6), for the first and last time in the history of the periodic exhibition format, one section was dedicated entirely to photography. This marked a new era for the reception of the medium. In the wake of the revived photographic (exhibition) practices of the 1970s, the curatorial team, Klaus Honnef and Evelyn Weiss, who were also responsible for the painting section, devised an unorthodox concept. Instead of focusing on the recent developments in contemporary art, which was supposed to be documenta’s trademark, the curators combined photographic positions form the 1970s with historic masterpieces so that they would retell 150 years of the medium’s history. The reason for this highly discussed and controversial decision, which led to the resignation of several d-6 committee members,[3] lay in the legitimization of new media entering the exhibition hegemony of documenta. Titled “Art in the Media WorldMedia in Art,” documenta 6 aimed to provide a far-reaching critique of media, a term used to replace the art genres, and a self-referential reflection on different concepts of mediality.[4] This so-called “media-concept,” realized under the artistic direction of Manfred Schneckenburger, integrated, for the first time, not only photography but also film and video as independent sections. The concept of d-6 proposed that new media should be juxtaposed with more traditional art genres such as painting and sculpture. But only the photo section was underpinned by an historic narrative, while the sections of video and film focused strictly on contemporary practices, as had been documenta’s agenda since its founding. The following article tries to illustrate the motives behind what might at first sight seem like an inconsistent approach.

When photography was thrust into the limelight at documenta, very little elaborated historical or theoretical literature on photography existed. In a special issue accompanying d-6, Honnef and Weiss stated: “There is no doubt that not only a lack of information but also awareness has to be overcome, which goes beyond those of other media.” [5] The academic discourse on photography was still in its infancy, and most sources were only accessible through antiquarian bookshops.[6] The curatorial team thus not only felt the need to make a representative selection of photography of the 1970s, but the necessity to integrate a visual historiography as a framework to which contemporary works could be linked. In addition to providing a historical revision, the photo section of d-6 also aimed at offering “a theoretical reappraisal of what [photography, M.S.] can achieve.”[7]

Starting points for the conception of the d-6 photo section were the historiographies of Beaumont Newhall, former director and photo enthusiast at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), from 1949, and Helmut and Alison Gernsheim, German collectors and advocates of photography, from 1955, both published in the U.S.[8] The selection of theoretical sources was even smaller: Walter Benjamin's today highly received photo-theoretical essays, “A Short History of Photography” (1931) and “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” (1935), had only been attracting the interest of art and media studies for a decade at that time, after the halt of academia during WWII.[9] Apart from his writings, only photographer and theorist Gisèle Freund's dissertation, Photography and Society, written in 1932 and published in 1968, offered a theoretical framework for the conception of the photo section.[10] After meeting Honnef in person in June 1975, Freund was not only exhibited at d-6 and taught a theoretical workshop in its supporting program,[11] but also became one of the most important exchange partners for Honnef and Weiss, organizing visits to galleries and institutions in France and the U.S.[12]

However, the photography section of d-6 cannot be understood as a “rehabilitation of photography,” as the curatorial team framed it.[13] It was much rather a reaction to recent shifts in the art market, institutional collections, and photographic and curatorial practices starting from the late 1960s. For more than two decades, the exhibition programs of L. Fritz Gruber and Otto Steinert had already been reviving the photography scene of postwar Germany. While Gruber founded the international trade fair photokina in 1950, which had an extensive accompanying exhibition program,[14] Steinert, teacher at Folkwang Hochschule design school in Essen, had delved into several decades of the medium’s history as well as various photo-theoretical discourses in his exhibitions at Museum Folkwang in the 1950s and 1960s.[15] During the course of the 1970s, photography experienced a rise in representation and value in the art market, which led to the founding of a series of photo galleries across the Atlantic—from Light Gallery in New York (1971) to Galerie Wilde in Cologne (1972).[16] The increased interest towards photography in the art market catalyzed photographic exhibition practices, enabling galleries to contribute an immense amount of expert knowledge, which many public art institutions were unable to provide. Honnef’s and Weiss’ ambitious project benefited from this new trend. For example, Galerie Wilde run by Ann and Jürgen Wilde was not only involved in d-6 as one of the major lenders, but also provided several contacts to international artists and wrote an astonishing 46 of the 146 essays, ergo the bulk of the accompanying catalogue.[17]

Installation shot of the photo-section of documenta 6 at Museum Fridericianum, including artworks of Liselotte Strelow, Joseph Beuys, 1967, (left wall), Hugo Erfurth, Oskar Kokoschka, 1923 ( first row, corner to the left), Konrad Adenauer, 1928 (second row, corner to the left), Käthe Kollwitz, 1935 ( first row, corner to the right) Max Planck, , n.d.., (second row, corner to the right) and Gisèle Freund, André Malreaux, André Gide, Jean Cocteau, Colette, (first row from left to right, wall to the right), second row: Adrienne Monnier, James Joyce, Simone de Beauvoir, Jean-Paul Sartre, (second row from left to right, wall to the right) [= Direct Photography I, Portrait] documenta 6 (1977), Photography by Ingrid Fingerling © documenta archiv/Ingrid Fingerling, docA MS d06-10035381.

At the same time, interest in photography worldwide on the part of art institutions increased. Examples include John Szarkowski's photography program at the MoMA that already progressed in the 1960s, as well as the opening of Centre Pompidou including its now renowned photography department in 1977.[18] Many museums and libraries had only just begun to readdress their collections and archives.[19] The Société française de photographie and the Bibliothèque nationale de France started to publish their first catalogues on their photographic collections starting at the end of the 1970s.[20] Honnef and Weiss themselves had been curating exhibitions including photographic positions prior to d-6. While Weiss was a confidante of the collector couple Peter and Irene Ludwig, who collected photography from early on,[21] and chief curator of 20th-century art at Wallraf-Richartz Museum, Cologne, Honnef curated the exhibition program at the Rheinisches Landesmuseum, Bonn, with a special focus on photography.[22] Considering its large scale, prestigious state, and thus reach in the art world, the insertion of photography in the documenta format institutionally legitimized, on a whole new level, the medium as an independent art genre, part of the art(-historical) canon and, ultimately, academic discourses and curricula. Honnef and Weiss were well aware of the canonizing effects of documenta representation and thus of its power to shape narratives—an idea that was later elaborated by Walter Grasskamp, who labeled documenta a "model case for the production of art history" only one year after d-6.[23] In a letter to Rolf Lucas, director of documenta GmbH at the time, the curators stressed: “While a presentation of the medium of drawing would be linked to an exhibition complex of an earlier documenta, and from this perspective, would provide a kind of historiography, a 'History of Photography' would be a completely new, but nevertheless long overdue undertaking.”[24]

Installation shot of the section Idee + Idee / Licht (Idea + Idea / Light), documenta 5 (1972), including artwork of John Baldessari, Ingres and Other Parables, 1972, Photograph by Dieter Rudolph, © documenta archiv/Dieter Rudolph, docA MS d05-10009899.

Installation of the photo-section of documenta 6 at Museum Frideri- cianum, including artworks of Bernd and Hilla Becher, Aufbereitungsanla- gen (Preperation Plants), 1966-75, [ = Direct Photography II, Photographic analyses and comparative representations], documenta 6 (1977). Photography by Peter Kleim © documenta archiv/Peter Kleim, docA MS d06-10036378.

But what was stated here downplays the efforts of the previous edition of 1972, which paved the way for the inclusion of new media. As a result of the 1968 movement, a generation between disillusionment and new beginnings critically questioned and reexamined the canon of art, the position of traditional art institutions, and ultimately the self-image of artists. The notorious documenta 5 (d-5), for which Harald Szeemann was responsible, had already reacted to these developments.[25] In addition to photographic media such as film and video installations, photographs were shown for the first time at d-5 in the context of sequential and conceptual works in the section Idee + Idee / Licht (Idea + Idea/Light ), for which Klaus Honnef had already been responsible in collaboration with German gallerist Konrad Fischer.[26] To give an example, John Baldessari’s Ingres and Other Parables (1972), consisting of 20 sheets with text and photo, were on display at d-5.

Floorplan of the section Idee + Idee / Licht (Idea + Idea / Light), documenta 5 (1972), in documenta 5. Befragung der Realität, Bilderwelten heute, (1972), ., p. 42.

Apart from this break from formerly fixed genres ultimately leading to the promotion of new media practices, the concept of d-5 is regarded to this day as groundbreaking in the history of the format. Not only did it establish the now indispensable thematic exhibition format of documenta, but it also fundamentally re-defined the role of the curator. Bremer describes this momentum as a “double rupture”—first, in the history of the institution, and second, in the history of exhibition-making in general.[27] The hegemonic shift from an artistic to a curatorial authorship enabled Honnef and Weiss to achieve with d-6 to what museums and academia had not been able to provide: implementing photography as an autonomous art in exhibition practice as well as serious consideration as an integral part of art history. On top of that, the photo section has to be received as a testimony of the specific vision and agenda of Honnef and Weiss. As Evelyn Weiss stated in the exhibition catalogue, photography was to be examined within the norms of its own particular grammar without being tied back into a painterly tradition.[28] This resulted in the intentional exclusion of important movements in the history of photography, like pictorialism, Bauhaus, and the influential figure Otto Steinert. Documentary photography, in the sense of an applied medium,[29] instead became the guiding principle of Honnef’s and Weiss’ conception, which they framed as “direct photography.” The term mirrored Bernd und Hilla Becher’s artistic approach, who were the only photographers per definitionem on display at d-5, repeatedly shown at d-6 and whose approach became formative for an entire generation that followed.[30]

As for the architectural and didactic concept, the curatorial team decided that the history and theory of photography should not be conveyed through long wall texts, but made “optically comprehensible” by means of an adroit, thematic arrangement of a series of images.[31] In reference to the phenomenologically oriented media concept, 128 photographic positions were selected and hung very densely according to four systems of order: first, according to their historical context and thus in a chronological order; second, split into three subsections—“Direct Photography I,” “Direct Photography II,” and “Reflections and Expansion of the Medium”; third, within the subsections by topic-specific aspects such as “War” or “Fashion”; and fourth, within these aspects by individual artists. To give an example, Diane Arbus, who had previously been the first photographer to be exhibited at the Venice Biennale in 1972,[32] was part of “Direct Photography II” and the subsection “Photographic Analyses and Comparative Presentations.” The artists were only assigned to a specific subsection in a given category. This stencil-like order is problematic, however. André Kertész, for example, was assigned solely to the category “City and Architecture”, whereas in the same year his solo show at the Centre Pompidou and Roland Barthes’ Camera Lucida in 1980 presented him as a portrait photographer.[33] Just like Gisèle Freund, who fell under the category “Portraiture” at d-6, Kértesz had been photographing famous personalities such as the artist Piet Mondrian or the writer Tristan Tzara. On top of that, photographic positions within the same categories were not mixed, which could have made points of reference between one individual photographer and another visible.

In the end, the original concept of d-6 to juxtapose different media had to be abandoned due to limited space capacities. The curators tried to tackle this by adding an additional floor on the first level of the Fridericianum, documenta’s core exhibition space (fig.10), but a large part of the contemporary pieces of the photo section eventually had to be transferred to the Neue Galerie and thus excluded from documenta’s main exhibition space. This unintended move, which could not be documented in the exhibition’s catalogue, but which can be retraced through correspondence and installation shots,[34] interrupted the whole narrative and didactic concept of the photography section. The result was an emphasis on the historization of the medium, rather than a dialogue with contemporary practices and other media.

Catalogue-index of the photo-section of documenta 6: “Direct Photography I”, “Direkte Fotografie II” and „Reflections and expansions of the medium“, documenta 6 (1977), in documenta 6, 3 Bde., Bd. 2. fotografie. film. video, (Kassel: Paul Dierichs KG & Co 1977), 29, 93, 147.

The final display, framing photography in the form of a visual historiography, was not received as a successful solution, also due to the limited, thus overcrowded, space.[35] Moreover, journalist Wilfried Wienand criticized the detachment of the photographs from their historical context and original displays, which he felt reflected a concession to the art market, as follows: “To exorcise the history of the photo and reduce it to the mere image may be an appropriate practice for the art market, which displays the photo like a graphic, but for the interpreter it is barbarism. Unfortunately, this was practiced in Kassel, where most photos were squeezed under egalitarian passe-partouts and in frames that seem so faceless and ahistorical that they could have been omitted.”[36] What nevertheless has to be acknowledged is the fact that photography still turned out to be integrated into every level of Fridericianum—from Ger Dekkers’ Planned Landscapes (1974–1977) on the first floor, to Braco Dimitrijević’s This Could Be a Place of Historical Interest (1976) right under the roof of the rotunda. The extensive share of photography at d-6 also manifested in written form. Not only did the photography section have the biggest coverage in the accompanying new media catalogue, fotografie. film. video, but it was additionally documented in four special editions of Kunstforum International, edited by Honnef himself and partly published even before the opening of d-6. The bold approach of Honnef and Weiss was a crucial moment for the institutionalization of photography. Today, the photo section of documenta 6 is considered a milestone in the history of photographic exhibition practice and often received as a starting point that, as this article has shown, has to be perceived as the culmination of photographic practices and exhibitions in the 1970s.[38]

Installation shot of the photo-section of documenta 6 at Museum Fridericianum, including artworks of André Kertész, 10 photographs, 1922-1972, (wall and partition wall left), David Hockney, o.T., 6 color photographs, (partition left, wall on the right) [= Direct Photography I, City and Architecture], Friedrich Seidenstücker, City, c. 1930, (second partition left) [= Direct Photography II, reportage], Hugo Erfurth and Gisèle Freund (booth right) [= Direct Photography I, portrait], documenta 6 (1977), Photograph by Ingrid Fingerling © documenta archiv/ Ingrid Fingerling, docA MS d06-10035382.

Floor plan of Museum Fridericianum, mezzanine floor of first upper floor, photography section, documenta 6 (1972), in documenta 6, 3 Volumes, Vol. 2. fotografie. film. video, (Kassel: Paul Dierichs KG & Co 1977), fig., p. 4.


Mona Schubert is a photo researcher and curator, and has been assistant curator at Fotomuseum Winterthur since 2019, where she co-curates the experimental, curatorial format SITUATIONS, exploring networked image practices and reframing the idea of exhibitions in relation to new technologies. Prior to joining Fotomuseum, she was a student assistant from 2013 to 2018 for Herta Wolf, professor for history and theory of photography at the University of Cologne, where Schubert is a PhD candidate working on the topic “(Re-)construction of a Medium. Photography at documenta 6.” She studied art history as well as German language and literature in Cologne and Budapest and was part of the Research Master Programme of the a.r.t.e.s. Graduate School for the Humanities Cologne. Her research on photography is situated at the intersection of art history, history of technology, and media history with a special focus on photographic practices and exhibitions after 1945, as well as gender-related issues in the context of the networked image.


[1] Bernhard Fulda, “documenta 1: Neuanfang durch Kanonisierung?, ” Historische Urteilskraft. Magazin des Deutschen Historischen Museum, no. 2 [= documenta. Geschichte / Kunst / Politik] (2020): 24–29, 24f.

[2] Walter Grasskamp, “Die Installationsaufnahme als Zeitmaschine,Historische Urteilskraft. Magazin des Deutschen Historischen Museum, no. 2 [= documenta. Geschichte / Kunst / Politik] (2020): 55–59; ibid., Hans Haacke. Fotonotizen. Documenta 2 1959 (Museum für Gegenwartskunst Siegen: Deutscher Kunstverlag, 2012). The documentation of d-5 by Baltasar Burkhard can be viewed online as part of the estate of Harald Szeemann, Getty Archive, Los Angeles: http://hdl.handle.net/10020/2011m30_ref628_hdv.

[3] Ergebnis-Protokoll der Sitzung des documenta-Komitees am 18. März 1976 in Kassel, documenta archiv, Kassel, d-6, folder 55. Pontus Hultén and Kynaston McShine resigned by telegram at the documenta committee meeting on March 18, 1976, only one day before the official press conference of d-6, expressing their difficulties with the media concept.

[4] Manfred Schneckenburger and Lothar Romain, Grundlagen der documenta 6. Vorbemerkungen [read town hall in Kassel, March 19, 1976], documenta archiv, Kassel, d-6, folder 55.

[5] Klaus Honnef and Evelyn Weiss, “Fotografie. Eine neue Dimension, ” in Sonderheft der Informationen, documenta 6, ed. Manfred Schneckenburger (Kassel: Bärenreiter-verlag, 1977), 8–9: 8. Original quote: “Kein Zweifel, daß hier nicht nur Informations-, sondern auch Bewußtmachungsrückstände aufzuholen sind, die über die anderer Medien hinausgehen.”

[6] Klaus Honnef, “Tagebuch,” Kunstforum International, 14 (1976): 164–175, 172. Honnef states here that Freund’s dissertation, published in 1968, was out of print.

[7] Klaus Honnef, Letter to Manfred Schneckenburger, September 6, 1976, [postmarked September 7, 1976], documenta archiv, Kassel, d-6, folder 62.

[8] Beaumont Newhall, History of Photography from 1839 to the Present Day (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1949); Helmut and Allison Gernsheim, The History of Photography. From the Earliest Use of the Camera Obscura in the Eleventh Century Up to 1914 (London, New York, Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1955).

[9] Walter Benjamin, Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter seiner technischen Reproduzierbarkeit. Drei Studien zur Kunstsoziologie, (Frankfurt a. M.: Suhrkamp, 1963); Thomas Küpper and Timo Skrandies, “Der Beginn der Benjamin-Rezeption, Nachkriegszeit, 68er Kontext,” Das Benjamin-Handbuch, Leben. Werk. Wirkung, ed. Burkhardt Lindner (Stuttgart and Weimar: Verlag J.B. Metzler, 2006), 22–28.

[10] Gisèle Freund, Photographie und bürgerliche Gesellschaft. Eine kunstsoziologische Studie, (Munich: Rogner & Bernhard, 1968). In 1974, two further editions were also published by Rogner & Bernhard and by Rowohlt-Verlag: Photographie und Gesellschaft [= Photographie et société, Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 1974], (Reinbek bei Hamburg: Rowohlt, 1974). Bear in mind that equally important incunabula of photographic theory such as Susan Sontag's collection of essays, On Photography (1977), or Roland Barthes' Camera Lucida (1980) had not been written yet.

[11] “Rahmenprogramm der documenta 6,” Sonderheft der Informationen, documenta 6, ed. Manfred Schneckenburger, (Kassel: Paul Dierichs GmbH KG & Co, 1977), V.

[12] Grace M.Mayer [Department of Photography, The Museum of Modern Art, New York], Letter to Gisèle Freund, November 4, 1975, ZADIK, Bestand G21, VIII, 784, 108; Klaus Honnef, Letter Manfred Schneckenburger, April 20, 1976, [postmarked April 23, 1976], documenta archiv, Kassel, d-6, folder 62; Klaus Honnef, Letter to Rolf Lucas, June 8, 1976, documenta archiv, Kassel, d-6, folder 62. Freund arranged visits for Honnef und Weiss, for example, at the Museum of Modern Art, New York and at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris.

[13] Klaus Honnef and Evelyn Weiss, “Fotografie auf der documenta 6. Rückblick und Standortbestimmung”, in Sonderheft der Informationen, 9–11:9.

[14] Ulrich Pohlmann, “Untersuchungen zur Tradition des fotografischen Ausstellungswesens am Beispiel der 'photokina'-Bilderschauen in Köln, 1950-1980” (PhD diss., Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, 1990).

[15] Ute Eskildsen, ed., Der Fotograf Otto Steinert, (Göttingen: Steidl Verlag, 1999), 234f.

[16] Anna Auer, “Fotogalerien in den USA”; “Etablierung von Fotogalerien in Europa, ” in Die Wiener Galerie Die Brücke. Ihr internationaler Weg zur Sammlung Fotografie. Ein Beitrag zur Sammlungsgeschichte Fotografie (Passau: Dietmar Klinger Verlag, 1999), 66–74.

[17] Ann and Jürgen Wilde, Letter to Klaus Honnef, February 18, 1977, ZADIK, Bestand G21, VIII, 783, 72. This letter includes the addresses of the artist Lee Friedlander, Fritz Kempe, the wife of Werner Bischof, Rosellina Burri-Bischof, and gallerist Harry Lunn of Lunn Gallery/Graphics International Ltd., Washington, D.C.; Ann and Jürgen Wilde, documenta 1977. Abteilung Fotografie, January 18, 1977, ZADIK, VIII, 783, 73, 1-6. In this file, the Wildes noted institutions and which photographers they had in their own collection.

[18] For an overview of the the photography scene in postwar Germany, see: Jörn Glasenapp, “Der Einzug der Fotografie ins Museum,” in Die deutsche Nachkriegsfotografie. Eine Mentalitätsgeschichte in Bildern (Paderborn: Wilhelm Fink, 2008), 309-377.

[19] Evelyn Weiss, “Verhältnis von Malerei und Fotografie. Ausgangspunkt des Medienkonzeptes,” Kunstforum International 21 (1977): 104–111, 111.

[20] Bibliothèque nationale de France, ed., Regards sur la photographie en France au XIXe siècle: 180 chefs-d'œuvre du Département des estampes et de la photographie (Paris: Berger–Levrault, 1980); Bernard Marbot, Une invention du XIXe siècle. La photographie. Expression et technique. Collections de la Société Française de Photographie / Bibliothèque Nationale (Paris: Bibliothèque Nationale, 1976).

[21] Gerhard Bott, ed., Stiftung Ludwig Köln 1976 (Cologne: Wienand KG, 1976) [unpaginated]. Irene and Peter Ludwig`s collection included Bernd and Hilla Becher, Typology of Framework Houses, 1959-1975, 36 black-and-white-photos, fig. 21; Ger Dekkers, Boom bij Emmeloord, 1974, 7 photos mounted on carton, fig. 51; Jan Dibbets, Black Vase Horizontal Filmpainting, 1972, 80 color photographs mounted on aluminum plates, fig. 52; Barry Le Va, Extensions, 1971, 18 photos fig. 139 a-b; Projekt ‘74. Aspekte internationaler Kunst am Anfang der 70er Jahre (Kunsthalle Köln, Kunst- und Museumsbibliothek und Kölnischer Kunstverein, 1974). Evelyn Weiss was also involved in the curation of Projekt '74 – Aspekte internationaler Kunst am Anfang der 70er Jahre in Cologne, alongside Manfred Schneckenburger, including conceptual artists that became part of the d-6 photo section, such as Jan Dibbets, Ger Dekkers, Klaus Rinke, Christian Boltanski, and Katharina Sieverding.

[22] Alongside contemporary solo exhibitions of the photographers Bernd and Hilla Becher (1975), Christian Boltanski and Annette Messager (1976), Gisèle Freund (1977), Liselotte Strelow (1977), Germaine Krull (1977), and Katharina Sieverding (1977), Honnef curated retrospectives of photography from the 1920s such as the oeuvre of Karl Blossfeldt (1976) and Albert Renger-Patzsch (1977).

[23] Walter Grasskamp, “Modell documenta oder wie wird Kunstgeschichte gemacht?”, in Kunstforum International 49 [= Mythos documenta. Ein Bilderbuch zur Kunstgeschichte] (1982): 15–22.

[24] Klaus Honnef and Evelyn Weiss, Letter to Rolf Lucas, January 29, 1975. Original quote: “Während eine Darstellung des Mediums Zeichnung einen Ausstellungskomplex einer früheren documenta anschließen würde und von dieser speziellen Warte schon eine Art Geschichtsschreibung triebe, wäre eine ‘Geschichte der Fotografie’ ein vollkommen neues, gleichwohl aber längst überfälliges Unterfangen.”

[25] Lothar Romain, “Von der Botschaft zur Kommunikation. Erläuterungen zum Medienkonzept der d-6, ” in documenta 6, 3 Bde., Bd. 1. malerei. plastik. performance (Kassel: Paul Dierichs KG & Co, 1977), 19-35: 19.

[26] “Abteilung Idee + Idee / Licht, documenta 5 (1972),” in documenta 5. Befragung der Realität, Bilderwelten heute, Kassel, Rundgang vom 4. Juni 1972, Verzeichnis der ausgestellten Werke, 42–43.
The following photographic works were on display: Vincenzo Agnetti’s 14 Proposizioni (1972), fourteen telegrams with photographs in plastic envelopes; Bernd and Hilla Becher's Photographic Typologies (1966-1972) (Abb. Kat.); John Baldessari's color photo series Choosing Green Beans (1972) and a further twenty sheets with text and photo under the work title Parabels (1972) (Abb.); Jan Dibbet's individual color photos Venetian Blinds (Vertical), Panorama (Dutch Mountains) I (1971), and "Universe" a Construction (1971), as well as three (photo) sets (1972) by Hamish Fulton. For more about the sections concept, see: ZADIK, ed, “Klaus Honnef: From Conceptual Art to Photography,” in sediment. Materialen und Forschungen zur Geschichte des Kunstmarkts (2019): 135–136, https://journals.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/index.php/sediment/issue/view/4403/827.

[27] Maria Bremer, “Modes of Making Art History. Looking back at documenta 5 and 6, ” in Stedelijk Studies (October 12, 2015), http://www.stedelijkstudies.com/journal/modes-of-making-art.

[28] Evelyn Weiss, “Einführung in die Abteilung Fotografie,” in: documenta 6, 3 Volumes, Vol. 2. fotografie. film. video (Kassel: Paul Dierichs KG & Co, 1977), 7–10; 8.

[29] Georg F. Schwarzbauer, “Fotografie auf der documenta,” in Kunstforum International 20 (1977): 160–162, 161.

[30] Glasenapp, “Der Einzug der Fotografie ins Museum,” 345–351.

[31] Dieter Bechtloff, “Editorial, ” in Kunstforum International 22 (1977) (4-5, unpaginated) [= Klaus Honnef, ed., 150 Jahre Fotografie III. Fotografie auf der documenta 6].

[32] Annika Hossain, “Diane Arbus. Die Repräsentation einer Fotografin als politisches Statement, ” in, idem., Zwischen Kulturrepräsentation und Kunstmarkt. Die USA bei der Venedig Biennale 1895-2015 (Emsdetten and Berlin: Edition Imorde, 2015), 236–244: 238.

[33] Pierre de Fenoyl, André Kertesz (Paris : Centre Pompidou, 1978) (unpaginated); Roland Barthes, La chambre claire. Note sur la photographie (Paris: Gallimard/Le Seuil 1980). Along with Robert Mapplethorpe, André Kertész is the most reviewed photographer in Barthes’ Camera Lucida.

[34] Klaus Honnef, Letter to Katharina Sieverding, February 9, 1977, ZADIK, Bestand G21, 789c, 0215, 001-002: 1.

[35] “Fotografie: Weniger wäre auch hier mehr. Trends und Tendenzen—auf der documenta 6 in Kassel (V),” in Mittelbayerische Zeitung, Regensburg (September 2, 1977), documenta archiv, Kassel, d-6, folder 28.

[36] Wilfried Wiegand, “Die objektive Schwester. Ein Panorama der Fotografie auf der documenta in Kassel,” in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, June 28, 1977, documenta archiv, Kassel, d-6, folder 28. Original quote: “Dem Foto seine Geschichte auszutreiben und es aufs bloße Bild zu reduzieren, mag für den Kunsthandel, der das Foto wie eine Grafik präsentiert, eine angemessene Praxis sein, für den Interpreten ist es Barbarei. Leider hat man sie in Kassel praktiziert und die meisten Fotos unter gleichmacherische Passepartouts sowie in Rahmen gezwängt, die so gesichts- und geschichtslos wirken, daß man sie auch hätte weglassen können.”

[37] Klaus Honnef and Evelyn Weiss, “fotografie,” in documenta 6, 3 Volumes, Vol. 2. fotografie. film. video (Kassel: Paul Dierichs KG & Co, 1977), 5–187; Klaus Honnef, ed., “Die Arbeit des Fotografen,” Kunstforum International 16 (1976) [ = 150 Jahre Fotografie I], Klaus Honnef, ed., “Fotografie - Aspekte eines Mediums. Die Fotografie im Spiegel einer kritischen Analyse,” Kunstforum International 18 (1976) [= 150 Jahre Fotografie II]; Klaus Honnef, ed., Die Fotografie. 293 Bilder von Muybridge, Atget, Evans, Blossfeldt, Renger Patzsch, Freund, Becher und Friedlander, Gibson, Vink, Nothhelfer, Orlopp, Deal, Riebesehl, Michals, Krims, Schürmann, Neusüss, Radochonska, Ritterbusch, van Kempen, (Mainz: Kunstforum international, 1976); Klaus Honnef, ed., “Fotografie auf der documenta 6, ” Kunstforum International, no. 22, 1977 [= 150 Jahre Fotografie III], Klaus Honnef, 150 Jahre Fotografie, (Mainz: Verlag Kunstforum 1977) [= Honnef, Fotografie auf der documenta 6, (revised volume 1977) [ = 150 Jahre Fotografie III]].

[38] This essay is based on my research that began in the Research Master program of the a.r.t.e.s. Graduate School for the Humanities Cologne in 2017, leading to my current PhD project, “(Re-)construction of a Medium. Photography at documenta 6,” under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Herta Wolf, History and Theory of Photography, Institute for Art History, University of Cologne. My dissertation will not only be the first critical study of the photography section of documenta 6, but also the first reconstruction of its display on the basis of the archival materials held at the documenta archiv in Kassel and ZADIK in Cologne.


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Issue 46 / June 2020

Contemporary Art Biennales – Our Hegemonic Machines in Times of Emergency

by Ronald Kolb, Shwetal A. Patel, Dorothee Richter

by Daniel Knorr

by Roma Jam Session art Kollektiv

by Delia Popa

by Diana Dulgheru

by Daniel Knorr

by Farid Rakun

by Raqs Media Collective

by Defne Ayas and Natasha Ginwala

by Ekaterina Degot

by Yung Ma

by Eva González-Sancho Bodero and Per Gunnar Eeg-Tverbakk

by Raluca Voinea

by Răzvan Ion

by Daniel Knorr

by Lara van Meeteren and Bart Wissink

by Raqs Media Collective

by Robert E. D’Souza

By Manifesta 12 Creative Mediators: Bregtje van der Haak, Andrés Jaque, Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli, Mirjam Varadinis

WHW in conversation with Omar Kholeif

by Henk Slager

by Vasyl Cherepanyn

by Ksenija Orelj

by Catherine David

by Okwui Enwezor

by Sabeth Buchmann and Ilse Lafer

by Julia Bethwaite and Anni Kangas

by Federica Martini

by Vittoria Martini