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Annelies Štrba (b. 1947), Tschernobyl [Chernobyl], 1996,
Photograph behind glass, edition of six, 125 x 185 cm



Photography in the Ricola Collection

Ricola has been collecting contemporary art from Switzerland since 1975. Alongside abstract paintings, drawings, sculptures, installations and electronic art, photography has also become a mainstay of the collection – whether as a technique or as the basis or starting point for other works of art, including those belonging to the category “photorealism”.
That photography was recognized as an important form of artistic engagement with the world even in the early days of the Ricola Collection, just as it still is today, is certainly noteworthy. While this may seem a matter of course for today’s employees, visitors and viewers, it certainly was not in the mid-1970s. Until the 1980s, photography was regarded as one of the applied arts. The camera, and with it photography, were merely documentary tools without any artistic aspirations.
In Europe it was the art show documenta 6 in Kassel of 1977 that marked the turning point that ushered in the more widespread acceptance of photography as a medium in museums, exhibitions, and collections.
The technical reproducibility of photography, photocopying and film has long raised questions relating to authorship and identity, perceptual mechanisms and hegemonic means of representation in art.


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