Selected authors share their theoretical discussion and examination about the exhibition’s concept and development. Furthermore, news from the exhibition rooms will be published here

»A Process« – short review

May 20th, 2014Author:

Last Sunday, for the last time Der Greif opened the doors to the Neue Galerie in Höhmannhaus.

With this final blog Der Greif would like to take the occasion to thank everyone who was involved in the project. Thank you to all photographers who have submitted their work, thank you Dr. Thomas Elsen for his kind invitation and great support. Thank you to all visitors who came into the gallery and shared their interests and thoughts with us. Thank you also to all sponsors of the exhibition: Stadt Augsburg, Stadtsparkasse Augsburg, Art Collection and Museums of the City of Augsburg, Tecco – Living Paper, Lime Light and dümpel werbetechnik!

For the last two months we have been experimenting a lot. The fact that we have made our work open to the public right from the beginning is food for thought. Having worked in an open space and having been in a constant exchange with visitors to the gallery – who constantly faced unusual and changing exhibition situations – was extremely exciting. Transmitting this kind of work to a gallery space was on the one hand very exhausting but on the other hand very precious. With the work on the exhibition Der Greif made some major steps forward and evolved into something new, more tangible and haptic – both for us and its followers.​​

The intense time in the gallery led us to produce a brand new publication, containing numerous selected and refined combinations of photography and  poetry as well as essays. Pre-order starts today!.

In addition to the publication, Der Greif finally offers six selected editions with combinations of photographs from 18 different photographers coming from 11 countries. These limited editions will be for sale in our online shop, starting tomorrow!

Again, thank you very much!

The editors

Simon, Matti, Leon and Claudio

»A Process« – Closing-event

May 16th, 2014Author:

Dear all, tonight we’re celebrating the closing event of »A Process« at Neue Galerie im Höhmannhaus in Augsburg. We are very much looking forward to seeing you there! We had a great time working on this exhibition, talking to visitors, reflecting the processes that happened inside the gallery and in our studio during the last two months.

Tonight, Dr. Thomas Elsen will talk with us about the exhibition and its unusual concept. We will also present the book that evolves from the exhibition. Pre-Orders will be opened by tomorrow. And there’s another special thing that we will introduce you to.

By the time the closing event starts, you can have a look inside the gallery through the webcam, and we will show you the final result of combinations that we developed for the wall.

Thanks for following and your trust!

Der Greif – Exhibition as a Process [Part 2]

May 14th, 2014Author:

Because it is anyway coming up, the author Cory Doctorow once answered. Due to the monstrosity of the copy, development versions are now storable and available. Handling these versions publicly – like Wikipedia does – shows: They contribute to the quality of the digital product. What would be considered a sign of weakness in the print world, serves as insignia of quality in the digital world: The readers can see for themselves.

That this literally contains an artistic dimension can be seen in the Neue Galerie in Augsburg as well as on the website of A Process: The exhibition organizers unfold the versions of their exhibition. Just as one can browse different article versions in Wikipedia, so one can browse different combinations of the exhibited photographs in the exhibition’s digital timeline. Under the surveillance of a webcam, new combinations of the exhibited pictures are constantly displayed on the central table in the exhibition room – providing the photographs with new contexts and allowing ever new perceptions through the versioning of combinations.

Following this versioning, one quickly realizes its artistic dimension: Visitors become participants in the exhibition, they compare and judge versions and relate images. And this is the second basic principle of the digital world: It is a dialogue; consumers are given a voice, taking part, playing a role. In Wikipedia, each and every one can edit. Because it is technically feasible.

A Process is not edited by each visitor, but every visitor (of the website or the exhibition) establishes his own context of perception – thus playing an obvious role. And playing that role, he can also answer the question for the why. My version is clear: Because it is the most contemporary form to present art.

Note: Dirk von Gehlen writes about the exhibition of Der Greif also on his Blog
Part 1 of the translation of his text can be read here.

The Prose of Images Part 1

May 14th, 2014Author:

Magical thinking is of great appeal.

But the desire to be seduced by the marvelous is in fact fueled by expectations. It is the prospect of sharing secret knowledge or even partaking of secret powers. What is more, magical thinking promotes the obvious. Never before has the obvious been more obvious and at the same time more obscure. Because it is beyond criteria like effectiveness or verifiability. Magical thinking, as ascribed to the 16th century by Foucault, means to acknowledge the truth of perception beyond perceiving. And this truth required no definition, as only concepts and terms needed such. In the 16th century, however, language was inscribed into the world. It was not a system of signs that could be separated from the things they represented. The concept of representation was not (yet) thought.

To combine and (re)arrange photographs also means to relieve the single images of their representative character, which is a typical feature of photographic pictures. This new freedom provides the soil for magical thinking to grow and blossom upon.
But is this magic of arrangement and rearrangement bought with the disenchantment of the original? This question is the core argument of a criticism on exhibiting that has been voiced since the second half of the 20th century. The underlying motive might be the romantic idea that the originality and authenticity of an artwork would provide it with an exceptional aura, the fading of which must be considered a loss.
This criticism, since the 1960s rather a criticism on the institutionalizing and commercialization of art, resulted in two different strategies: to leave the exhibition room or to address exhibiting itself, to display methods and mechanisms – preferably in an ironic manner – of collecting and ordering. In 1972, Marcel Broodthaers exhibited about 300 objects in the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf that either showed an eagle or had one applied. In the same year in the Kunsthaus Graz, he displayed indoor plants where should have been artworks.
Since then, the art world has risen above such criticism. Not by ignoring it, but maybe by appealing to new thought patterns. The objective is no longer to preserve thinking, even less to present it in preserved form. Today, art wants to (re)shape the world. Not explain it. Collections and orders of the already existing are a welcome occasion for this.

The immediacy of magical thinking can also be attributed to prose. The term prose derives from the Latin word pro(r)sus / prosa oratio, which translates as “straightforward, simple, unbound”. That especially its connection to other images reveals its unboundedness contains no irony at all. Because images are no longer binding. Foucault entitled the chapter in which he described magical thinking “The Prose of the World”. With it, he refers to the same-titled book of his mentor Maurice Merleau-Ponty who in turn referred to the respective Hegelian expression. Hegel wrote in his Lectures on Aesthetics:

“This is the prose of the world, as it appears to the consciousness both of the individual himself and of others: – a world of finitude and mutability, of entanglement in the relative, of the pressure of necessity from which the individual is in no position to withdraw. For every isolated living thing remains caught in the contradiction of being itself in its own eyes this shut-in unit and yet of being nevertheless dependent on something else, and the struggle to resolve this contradiction does not get beyond an attempt and the continuation of this eternal war.”

A world of mutability appeals to versions. Still, such versions must possess evidence that can be believed in. This means, magical thinking is closer to faith, which again has a tendency to totality. Foucault speaks of a total relation to the totality of the world. This can be seen in the dealings with images, especially on the internet. But also in the medium of the exhibition itself. A medium that is currently experiencing a boom of unprecedented proportions. A medium that might well be capable of totality.

In a world in which nothing rhymes anymore, prose is the most suitable form of expression. Yet, prose is still just literature. Like every exhibition is just a version.

A Process presents magical thinking as the potential of a truth that needs no definition. And not just as the absurd idea it is often taken for. This exhibition invites its visitors to see and does not make them see. It does not dictate but rather allows to be dictated. It suggests sense instead of taking over the senses. It provides possibilities instead of realities. Versions instead of originals, as Dirk von Gehlen already mentioned in his blog entry. New actors and new rituals join in the field of curating and viewing images. And thereby challenge the old ones.


  • Foucault, Michel: Die Ordnung der Dinge. Suhrkamp: Frankfurt a.M. 1974. French original (Les mots et les choses) 1966.
    Göttert, Karl-Heinz: Magie. Zur Geschichte des Streits um die magischen Künste. Wilhelm Fink: München/Zürich 2003.
    Hegel, G.W.F.: Vorlesungen über die Ästhetik I-III. Suhrkamp: Frankfurt a.M. 1970.

Der Greif – Exhibition as a Process [Part 1]

May 14th, 2014Author:

The fascinating thing about exhibitions is their presence: Hanging up pictures produces dominance. The combinations on the wall carry a force of the factual that is accepted by the visitors – before judging. What is exhibited is given – is done and dusted. But: For how long? And: For whom?

These are the very questions raised by A Process – yet in the presence-based system of an exhibition. That is indeed important because what is exhibited is given – and judged only afterwards. Only after understanding what A Process does, one should ask why it does so. Because only then one will understand that A Process is the artistic attempt to make one of the basic conditions of digitalization graspable and understandable.

What is presently exhibited in Augsburg is a Wikipedia for photography. And this is not to be confused with an encyclopedia or lexical library. Wikipedia as well as A Process are about an underestimated aspect of digitalization: It is all about the version. Thanks to the historical monstrosity of the digital copy, humankind is able to produce versions of digitized artwork: as mashup or remix after its release, and beforehand as the documented process of creation. The latter brought the downfall of the then minister of defense: In the GuttenPlagWiki, everyone could track how he worked.

The concept of an online version of lexica turns the standards of the print world upside down by displaying the history of each contribution. One can browse different versions of an article and thus trace its development. In the print world, this would not only be impossible but also regarded as a weakness. Why should anyone reveal more than the one final artwork that is to be published?

Note: Dirk von Gehlen writes about the exhibition of Der Greif also on his Blog
Part 2 of the translation of his text is here.

The Order of Images

May 12th, 2014Author:

Images are being collected, ordered, arranged in ensembles, and presented. Primarily involved in this process are the main actors of the art scene: Curators produce meaning by constellating already meaningful objects. Gerhard Richter composes his private collection of images on tableaus and presents them as art. Aby Warburg tried, by compiling images in a pictorial atlas, the Mnemosyne-Atlas, to show the remaining traces of the ancient world, establish image constellations as a practice of art theory, and offer a possibility to create meaning differently and novelly.

These rather different, often experimental approaches to images are nowadays widely considered a creative practice rather than a scientific method or a medium of a culture of remembrance. Occasionally, important art exhibitions of the 20th century are themselves treated as art work. Curators see themselves more and more as artists. Collections are no longer simply understood as a cultural practice, but as an art form in itself.

Thus, they also moved beyond the three logics of the order of knowledge, which Foucault identified as main thought patterns: Thinking in resemblances as it can be seen in the cabinets of curiosities and wonder; the perspective of distinction which he assigned to the encyclopedic collections of the Age of Enlightenment and which should promote the most comprehensive collection possible of sources, flora, and fauna; and finally the age of historical thinking that is reflected in historical museums until now. As early as 1966, Foucault asked if we are thinking in new patterns of order, and if so, in which ones.

How is meaning constituted when order follows the logic of artistic practices? When order desires to be understood as a creative process? When order may derive from sheer arbitrariness? When order equals meaning? Will new forms of magical thinking emerge, as Foucault noted for the cabinets of wonder?

Numerous single images (in the plural)

For the arranged order of images, Felix Thürlemann coined the notion of the hyperimage which was linked to the hypertext discourse in literary studies. The latter was responding to internet practices like (hyper)linking or copy and paste. A hyperimage gives the impression to be a big picture consisting of numerous single images; yet, at the same time follows the logic of gaze, i.e. the regime or conventions of viewing, which Lacan differentiates from the view, the act of looking. But this concept is too static to take the dynamics of images into account that constantly re-constitute themselves through ever-changing contexts. After all, a hyperimage is still an image, thus indicating a finality that is not always given. And at the same time it reveals its need for an appropriate categorization. The prefix hyper on the other hand quite accurately characterizes such constellations as the creation of meaning which goes beyond the mere summing of parts.

When single images are arranged on tableaus, one thing above all becomes evident: Resemblance, be it visual or not, always remains in(de)finite. Because resemblance, as well as difference, is only produced when it refers to another resemblance or difference. It does not exist in itself but only in the confrontation. At the same time, the accumulations of affirmations, disappointments, surprises, and conventions – as they might emerge within the tableaus – are unlimited. Therefore, the foundations of images as well as the way we deal with them are built on sand. Yet, to set foot on sandy soil can also be considered brave and visionary: The constant rearrangement of tableaus deconstructs the myth of an immediate comprehensibility of images. This (old) belief that images are easier to comprehend than other media, easier to understand than a text, for example, not only presupposes a similarity between image and object. It also prerequisites the idea that images, however unique or specific, would always mean the same. At all times and in all places.

Of course, this fallacy has long been identified as such. The photographic works are hence not being depreciated but rather appreciated. They fit with different contexts and thus free themselves from the determination of their author who accepts this. He releases them into democratic space to have them exposed to dictatorship again.

Magical thinking does not spring from the specifics and autonomy of images – but from their order.

Still in the age of mechanical reproduction: The work of art has regained its aura. Not by reverting to its status as an original, a single image, but rather by its constellation with other images.


  • Foucault, Michel: Die Ordnung der Dinge. Suhrkamp: Frankfurt a.M. 1974. French original (Les mots et les choses) 1966.
  • Lacan, Jacques: Seminar XI: The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis. W.W. Norton and Co.: NY & London 1978.
  • Thürlemann, Felix: Mehr als ein Bild. Für eine Kunstgeschichte des hyperimage. Wilhelm Fink: München 2013.


Note from the editors: Text translated and proofread by Susann Dettmann.

Basically it’s a game

May 12th, 2014Author:

[…] Die Leibhaftigkeit des gedruckten »Greif« ist Alpha und Omega des Projektes (einer wunderbaren Website zum Trotz, die als riesiges Archiv und ständig wachsendes Wunderkammernetz fungiert). Die Greifer sind knapp unter 30 Jahre jung, gehören also zur letzten Generation, für die Telefone und Kameras unterschiedliche Apparate waren. Sie erinnern sich noch an den leicht säuerlich-scharfen Geruch von Dunkelkammern, an die umgebauten Waschküchen und an Silberbromidabzüge, handgemachte Unikate. Der Gründungsimpuls zu „Der Greif“ aber kam von einem digitalen Screen. Was schon die Surrealisten als Programm ausgerufen hatten – die Schönheit zufälliger Begegnungen – findet auf Monitoren dauernd statt, wenn mehrere Bildfenster gleichzeitig geöffnet sind. Nach einer solchen absichtslosen Visualverkuppelung haben die beiden »Der Greif«-Gründer Simon Karlstetter und Felix von Scheffer einem Impuls nachgegeben, den viele Fotografen kennen: Bilder auf Papier bringen, sie anfassbar machen. Kumpels und Kommilitonen stiegen ein, das Ganze war eine gute Mischung aus kollektivem Stress und kollektivem Spaß, eine Art gehobener Studenten-Gaudi mit Kunstanspruch. Daraus ist nach sieben Ausgaben in fünf Jahren ein etabliertes Magazin mit 2.500 (!) verkauften (!) werbefreien (!) Exemplaren geworden.
Für solch einen Langstreckenerfolg braucht es vor allem ein gut eingespieltes Team. Die Greifer sind immer noch leidenschaftlich bei der Sache. Sie referieren mit leuchtenden Augen über Susan Sonntag und Taryn Simon und Found Footage und Dekontextualisierung und Prozesshaftigkeit; aber sie schreiben auch neue Software, wenn sie welche brauchen, sie organisieren verlässlich einen Monate währenden Arbeitsprozess, sie treiben Sponsoren auf. […] Die Hauptsache aber ist: eine wagemutige Rekombination fotografischer Bilder, in deliktater Balance zwischen vieldeutig und beliebig, von Seite zu Seite neu gelayoutet.

Buchstäblich genommen, ist dieses Verfahren analytisch, sprich: auflösend. Die dokumentarischen Anteile der Fotografie verdunsten in der Reibung, die beim Kontakt der vorher unverbundenen Bilder entsteht. So destilliert »Der Greif« aus visuellem Rohmaterial neue Bedeutungen, Verweise, Beziehungen. Nochmal buchstäblich genommen, betreiben die Experimentatoren dabei pure Theorie, zu Deutsch: Betrachten, Anschauen.

Traurig, was aus Analyse und Theorie ansonsten so geworden ist – verkopftes, unanschauliches Posing mit Begriffsgetümen. Warum denken bloß alle, dies müsse das glatte Gegenteil sein von Poesie, wie sie in »Der Greif« gedeiht. Wo doch poetisch nichts weiter heißt als schöpferisch, und was wäre eine passendere Wahlverwandtschaft für analytische Theoretiker als Poeten?

Womöglich wäre das dann der Sinn der ganzen »Greif«-Übung: Ihre, werter Leser, unsere, meine Begriffe durchzurütteln: Die Begriffe von dem, was schlüssig ist und beliebig, was kreativ und was gesampelt, bedeutsam und belanglos, betrachtend und schöpferisch, was die Welt zerlegt, zusammenfügt, erklärt, deutet, verrätselt. […]

Das ist ein Ausschnitt aus Andreas Langen’s Text »Basically it’s a game«. Der gesamte Text wird in der Buch-Publikation, die in Verbindung mit »A Process« erscheinen wird, vollständig abgedruckt. Englische Übersetzung folgt.

About the current state of »A Process«

May 9th, 2014Author:

We’ve been a bit quiet lately, but only because we withdrew in our studio in order to work on the publication coming along with the exhibition. Last week, we left the gallery taking some time to reflect about what we’ve created on the wall. There will be only slight changes on the wall until next Friday. At the moment we’re 100% inside the content of the book. Based on the combinations we’ve created during »A Process« we’re developing new ones that were just published on the website. Tonight, we’re happy to welcome the participating poets of »A Process«. They will read inside the gallery. Tomorrow, we’ll work together with Andreas Bülhoff on image- and text-combinations.

We’re really happy about what is happening at the moment, about your trust and the possibility to work with so many great works. We’re looking forward to present to you our publication – after »Nowhere« our second book – featuring works from selected photographers and authors who are part of a process, as well as theoretical works by Joerg Colberg, Dirk von Gehlen, Annekathrin Kohout, Andreas Langen and Thomas Elsen.

The finissage of »A Process« will be next Friday. By then we’ll also present you a completely new project of Der Greif that evolved out of the exhibition. It’s gonna be very exciting, we’ll keep you posted!

Der Stein der Weisen

May 4th, 2014Author:

Wall 2014/04/27 18/10/18 – April 27th, 2014 at 19:45

Ein blondes Mädchen, das siegreich ihre Hände faltet. Nicht zu einer Raute, aber doch zeichenhaft. Ihr Haar prophezeit einen Sturz, sie wird hinfallen auf einen glatten harten Boden. In ihrer gefalteten Hand ein splinter, der sich bei dem Sturz tiefer in ihre Haut schiebt. Der auch Splitter heißen könnte oder ein Faustkeil ist, der Mama heißt. Tätowierte Wimpern klimpern und das wird nicht gesehen, sondern gehört. Wie man den Wind hören kann. Oder das Geräusch, wenn ein Faustkeil auf den Boden fällt und zerspringt. Nach so vielen Jahren seiner Erhaltung. Im Blick des blonden Mädchens findet sich keine Erschütterung, sondern Stolz. Stolzer Fels in der Brandung. Horizontal kollidiert mit Senkrecht. Fallen mit Steigen. Zusammengehörigkeit mit Ausschluss. Diesseits mit Abseits. Stein als Faustkeil. Faustkeil als Stein. Stein der Weisen.

Gleichwohl Bilder das Potenzial magischer Wirksamkeit in sich tragen, entfalten sie ihren Zauber erst in der Konfrontation mit anderen Bildern oder Texten. So stellte sich heraus, dass die Magie, insbesondere im Sinne einer Lebendigkeit oder eines Eigenlebens der Bilder, vielmehr zwischen den Bildern zu verorten ist. Dieses Phänomen ist gerade in der Ausstellung A Process zu beobachten. Sichtet man die seit dem 02.04.2014 entstandenen Combinations, so lässt sich ein einstimmiger Gestus des Zusammenstellens rückverfolgen. Alle Konstellationen folgen einer ähnlichen Logik: Kombiniert werden Bilder, die keine offensichtliche Ähnlichkeit besitzen. Die sich dem Augenschein widersetzen. Die möglicherweise sogar am weitesten voneinander entfernt liegen. Differenzen dominieren Ähnlichkeiten. Und sie bieten die Möglichkeit, in ihrer Unklarheit Bedeutung der Bedeutung wegen zu erzeugen. Denn Bilder, die unterschiedlichen Logiken folgen, kommen einander nicht in die Quere, sie stehen sich nicht im Weg, insofern sie sich dem Vergleich auf formaler Ebene entziehen. Folglich regen die Bilder eines Tableaus erst gar nicht zum Vergleich an, sondern vielmehr dazu, zwischen den Bilder zu lesen. Sie weisen den Betrachter von sich ab, von ihrer eigenen Magie, um auf das Nichts um sie herum zu verweisen. Auf die Leerstelle, die es vom Rezipienten anzufüllen gilt.

Vergleicht man diese Praktik des Kombinierens mit anderen Formen des Zusammenstellens, wird der veränderliche Status des Einzelbildes sichtbar.
Entsprechend ließen sich suggestive Bildpaare zu Diptychen zusammenstellen. Diese Form der Konstellation bindet die Einzelbilder aneinander, die sich einer übergeordneten Narration verpflichten. Die Bedeutung, die das Bildpaar erzeugt, hat ohne dieses wiederum keinen Bestand. Bilder und Bedeutung sind unmittelbar miteinender verknüpft. Sie bilden eine gemeinsame Einheit.


Links: Keegan Grandbois: Untitled – 2014; rechts: Aso Mohammadi


Ebenso wäre es möglich, ähnliche Bildmotive in einer Art Sammlung zusammenzustellen. In diesem Fall, stellen Bilder Exemplare eines Bedeutungszusammenhangs dar. Sie ordnen sich der Motivsammlung unter und bleiben dabei austauschbar. Sie dienen einer höheren Einheit.


Von links nach recht, oben nach unten: Albert Grondahl: no title – Marseille, 2013; Katarzyna Parejko: ROSE – Lodz, Poland, 2014; Eva Maria Großmann: 0813062 – Heidelberg, 2013; Denis Kozerawski: Bratislava, 2013; Nina Röder: hand mit ast – Boston, 2012; Malte Ludwigs: #0175 – Im Flugzeug irgendwo über Asien oder Europa, 2012; Jeff Downer: Mom with Lilies – Vancouver, 2013; Agnieszka Gotowała: 2013; Magali Duzant: September – NY, 2013


Eine andere Kombinationsmöglichkeit bieten Bilder, die anhand eines ähnlichen Motivs unterschiedliche Darstellungsmöglichkeiten offenlegen. Diese bleiben als Einzelbild autonom und regen zum Vergleich an. Sie bilden keine Einheit, sondern dienen ihrer eigenen Legitimation.


Von links nach rechts: Alexander Gehring: Vision / Tuch – Berlin, 2013; Luisa Hanika: o.T. – Trzebiatów, 2013; Ina Niehoff: Hotel NEUM – Neum, Bosnien und Herzegowina, 2013


Hiermit seien nur ausgewählte Kombinationstechniken benannt, in denen das Einzelbild einen jeweils unterschiedlichen Status besitzt.

Die Combinations der Ausstellung A Process widersetzen sich jedoch bloßen Motivsammlungen, ebenso wie herkömmlichen hyperimages. Sie scheinen eine Sehnsucht nach Bedeutsamkeit abzubilden, die sich unserem Ordnungs- und Interpretationszwang entzieht. Insofern läuft diese Technik aber auch Gefahr, prätentiös zu erscheinen in Angesicht eines l’art pour l’art.

Wie lässt sich nun die Magie zwischen den Bildern beschreiben? Wie lassen sich Leerstellen interpretieren, wo sie doch leer sind? Der vorangestellte Absatz sei ein Versuch einer solchen Beschreibung. Einer Beschreibung, die in Hinblick auf das Nichts, das beschrieben werden soll, nicht länger eine Beschreibung sein kann. Vielmehr muss sich die Übersetzung der visuellen Informationen in die Sprache von seiner Nähe zum Bild lösen, um Möglichkeiten und Potenziale zu erfinden und gestalten. Wenn eine Beschreibung zur Erfindung wird – und womöglich war sie dies seit jeher – offenbart sich allerdings ihr Faible für magische Kräfte als eine Suche nach dem Stein der Weisen. Einer Suche, die uns beglückt, weil sie abenteuerlich und unvorhersehbar ist.

A Process – Die Verdichtung der Welt

May 4th, 2014Author:

Sebastian Müller wrote an article on entitled »A Process – Die Verdichtung der Welt« about the exhibition-project. It’s really worth reading as we think.

He talks about »a challenge to act«, »local and global public view«, the »website as image of the world« and the »local and global public view«. In doing so, he treats and questions in an exciting and appealing way diverse core aspects of the project. Thank you, Sebastian! Here you can read the article.