Dieter Appelt- Der Fleck auf dem Spiegel, den der Atemhauch schafft (The Mark on the Mirror Breathing Makes), 1977 Courtesy The Walther Collection and Gallery Kicken, Berlin
Throughout the modern era, photography has been enlisted to classify the world and its people. Driven by a belief in the scientific objectivity of photographic evidence, the logics utilized to classify photographs-in groups and categories or sequences of identically organized images-also shape our visual consciousness. In the twenty-first-century new digital technologies and globalization have radically transformed the applications of photography, making the reconsideration of photographic information systems ever more urgent. "The Order of Things" proposes a political and philosophical basis for understanding recent organizational methods in global photography, examining not only the ambivalent meanings of documentary photography but also the social conditions of the image in contemporary culture. The first survey exhibition to investigate this critical cross-cultural direction in photography, The Order of Things shows the diverse ways that photographers have engaged sequential organizing strategies-or sought to subvert them.
Nobuyoshi Araki, 101 Works for Robert Frank (Private Diary), 1993
Courtesy The Walther Collection and Anton Kern Gallery, New York
The exhibition's approach upends conventional histories of photography, which until recently have focused primarily on the single photograph and the so-called "decisive moment." The Order of Things looks closely at the widespread uses of the multiple images in sequence. Setting early modernist photographers August Sander and Karl Blossfeldt in dialogue with contemporary international photographers such as J.D. 'Okhai Ojeikere and Ai Weiwei, the exhibition examines how conceptual structures of photography, serial portraiture, and time-based performance have developed around the globe.
Zanele Muholi, Phila Mbanjwa, Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu Natal, 2012
Zanele Muholi, Dorothy Magome, Mafikeng, North West, from "Faces and Phases"
Courtesy The Walther Collection and Stevenson, Cape Town and Johannesburg