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Seen By #15Nothing Ever Happened (Yet)

21.05.2021 to 25.07.2021

"Come Get Your Honey (2018–21) shows a trans and queer community of refugees in Berlin. These individuals often lack any kind of connection to their family (of origin) and have limited access to health care, education, and gainful employment. All the same, Samet Durgun manages to show the power of resilience which is due to a sense of community—even if only loosely established through photography." - Maren Lübbke-Tidow

Considering the current global conflict situations, one would like to reject the phrase “nothing ever happened” intuitively. Massive upheavals in political party landscapes, nationalistic tendencies, hate campaigns by conspiracy theorists, violence from the right, authoritarian regimes, the increasing isolation of Europe at its external borders, and much more, describe only a small portion of dangerous political developments. As a reaction to this, one would like to counter these developments with one’s own voice—and with images. And yet the question arises: What can actually be said and known with images?

The contributions to the exhibition stand for political involvement—but at the same time, they distrust the evidentiary character of the photographic image. Rather, they play provocatively with the potentiality of meaning assignments, causing rash assertions to become brittle. Thus, the exhibition “Nothing ever happened (yet)” is an expression of a search movement beyond supposed certainties, which, by invoking the medium of photography, is still—especially today, in the digital now—playing itself forward.

What strategies can we as artists develop to (re)conceive photography as an approach that enables social reality to become describable? While trying to answer this question, one quickly becomes immersed in a conflict that is situated somewhere between the rejection of a traditional documentary use of the photographic medium, on the one hand, and the realization of a meanwhile uninhibited use of social media formats, with their own mechanisms of generating meaning, on the other. “Nothing ever happened (yet)” is the attempt to stand up for a presence or for permanence in terms of the increasingly transitory properties of photography, by using pictorial means. Or, in other words, it is an attempt to become as precise as possible using pictorial means—even if this implies, in consequence, allowing an openness of references.

With works by: Om Bori, Samet Durgun, Max Fallmeier, Friederike Goebbels, Miji Ih, Johannes Jakobi, Jeanna Kolesova, Sina Link, Finja Sander, Maximilian Schröder.

Curated by Maren Lübbke-Tidow

A special exhibition of the Kunstbibliothek - Staatliche Museen zu Berlin in cooperation with the Universität der Künste Berlin

Exhibition Series Seen By Seen By #15 is part of the exhibition series Seen By, a joint project presented at the Museum für Fotografie and organized by the Kunstbibliothek, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin and the Berlin University of the Arts (UdK). Its aim is to rethink curatorial and artistic strategies for working with contemporary photography. More information:


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