ZURICH.-Fotomuseum Winterthur presents The Stamp of Fantasy - The Visual Inventiveness of Photographic Postcards. Press photography, photo books, photographic objects, photographic postcards: the way we look at these many different forms of photography is undergoing a sea change. The exhibition The Stamp of Fantasy takes a look at the postcards that brought photography to the masses, as the precursors of the illustrated press and the illustrated book.
From 1900 onwards, picture postcards enjoyed enormous popularity. In addition to urban scenes and village views, postcard publishers also began issuing more entertaining images: greetings cards and April Fool’s Day cards, illustrations of proverbs, imaginary, witty or even erotic scenes. In designing these visual curiosities, the photographers deployed a wide range of technical devices – montage, double exposure, optical distortion, close-up etc. The exhibition examines the remarkably playful visual approach taken by the postcard industry in the early decades of the twentieth century, and discusses it in the context of the avantgarde photography at that time.
The exhibition presents more than 500 postcards in large-scale projections, in showcases and in frames, mostly from the collections of Gérard Lévy and Peter Weiss, as well as selected works by Jean Arp, Johannes Theodor Baargeld, Giacomo Balla, Herbert Bayer, Hans Bellmer, Erwin Blumenfeld, André Breton, Paul Citroën, Salvador Dalí, Marcel Duchamp, Paul Éluard, Max Ernst, Hannah Höch, André Kertész, Gustav Klutsis, El Lissitzky, Dora Maar and many others.
Curator of the exhibition is Clément Chéroux (photographic historian amd curator of the photographic collection at the Centre Pompidou, Paris). The exhibition has been organised in collaboration with the Museum Folkwang in Essen and the Jeu de Paume in Paris. It is accompanied by a book published by Steidl Verlag.
With generous support by the Ars Rhenia Stiftung, the Kulturstiftung Winterthur, and the French Embassy.
Publication: “The Stamp of Fantasy – The Visual Inventiveness of Photographic Postcards”. Ed. Clément Chéroux and Ute Eskildsen, published by Steidl Verlag. With texts by Clément Chéroux, 216 pages, 350 colour reproductions, format 29.