Hall for Contemporary Art 21 April — 20 August 2023

This wide-ranging exhibition by the photographer Ralph Gibson (*1939) presents the development of his work from the 1960s to the present day based on selected series. The exhibition is being developed in a direct collaboration between the artist and the curator, Dr. Sabine Schnakenberg, and is composed of some 300 analogue and digital works in black and white and color from the artist’s private collection as well as works that the collector F.C. Gundlach acquired during his collaboration with Ralph Gibson in the early 1980s for his private photography collection, which is now on permanent loan to the House of Photography at the Deichtorhallen.

Ralph Gibson is one of the most interesting American photographers of our time. His international renown is based on his exceptional work, which is shown and collected by some of the world’s leading museums, including the Museum ofModern Art in New York, the J.P. Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the Creative Center for Photography in Tucson, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris, the Bibliothèque Nationale de France in Paris, and the Fotomuseum Winterthur in Switzerland.

Gibson’s works, which he has created since the early 1960s, completely contradict the conventional purpose of the medium of photography: the meticulous depiction of so-called reality. Gibson is not interested in photographic documentation, and instead understands photography as an aesthetic endeavor. A leitmotif of his work comes from the original meaning of the word “photography”: drawing with light. Gibson needs light not only as a material prerequisite for creating each of his photographs; light itself becomes an object of investigation and a creative tool. Playing with its counterpart, shadow, is just as important. Gibson thus elevates light itself to become a theme of his oeuvre.

Curated by Dr. Sabine Schnakenberg, curator of the collection at the House of Photography, Deichtorhallen Hamburg
The exhibition will later travel to the Kunstfoyer at the Versicherungskammer Kulturstiftung in Munich.

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Audio Artist Talk with Ralph Gibson

Audio Podcast

Audio Musical performance by Ralph Gibson



The exhibition is accompanied by a comprehensive catalog in German/English published by Kehrer Verlag with essays by curator Sabine Schnakenberg, French photography historian Gilles Mora, and Matthias Harder, director of the Helmut Newton Foundation in Berlin, as well as the exhibition's curator, Sabine Schnakenberg. The catalog is currently sold out.