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The Photographers' Gallery Presents Wim Wenders' Polaroids

  • Wim Wenders - Selfportrait, 1975
October 20, 2017
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The creative mind behind such landmark movies as Alice in the Cities (1974), The American Friend (1977), Paris Texas (1984), the acclaimed Wings of Desire (1987) and the award-winning Buena Vista Social Club (1999), Wim Wenders is definitely one of the most widely acclaimed German filmmakers of our time. However, although he became famous due to his ability to create moving images, Wim Wenders is also a very talented maker of stills. The show titled as Instant Stories will be dedicated to his craft with photographs and it will offer a rare opportunity to see the personal and previously unseen Polaroid work of the Oscar-nominated filmmaker. Taking place at the Photographers’ Gallery, the show will provide the viewers with a singular insight into the way Wenders’ photographic mind functions, and it will reveal his thought processes, preoccupations and aesthetic inspirations. Instant Stories is a result of a collaborative effort between The Photographers’ Gallery, C|O Berlin Foundation and the Wim Wenders Foundation.

By an unknown photographer, 1971, On the Road to New England, 1972
Left: Wim Wenders – By an unknown photographer, 1971 / Right: Wim Wenders – On the Road to New England, 1972

Instant Stories

Since the majority of Wim Wenders‘ photographic works were available to the public for decades, the organizers of the Instant Stories decided to place the main accent on the filmmaker’s lesser-known photos. This will be the first time he has shown a selection of the many thousands of Polaroid photographs, taken between the early 1970s and mid-1980s. The artist’s fascination with still images can be traced all the way back to the late 1960s when he was learning the craft of film-making, during which time he also experimented with Polaroid stems. To him, pictures were not just a way of testing frames and ideas – Polaroids were a way of keeping a visual journal, like a notebook where he would scribble whatever crossed his mind.

New York Parade, 1972, Sydney
Left: Wim Wenders – New York Parade, 1972 / Right: Wim Wenders – Sydney

A Show For The Ages

Instant Stories will feature over two-hundred of Wim Wenders’ Polaroids encompassing portraits of cast and crew, friends and family, behind the scenes, still lifes, street photography and landscapes. These diary-like impressions are also a form of homage to his artistic inspirations, including the likes of the Pop-art icon Andy Warhol and the filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Although small in format, the images of Instant Stories take us on a vast metaphoric journey through Europe and the United States.

Valley of the Gods, Utah, 1977
Wim Wenders – Valley of the Gods, Utah, 1977

Wim Wenders Art Exhibition at Photographers’ Gallery

Besides featuring many previously unseen photos from Wim Wenders’ portfolio, this show will also present a selection of moving images from his films that reflect moments in his movie canon, revealing further visual narratives that were taking place behind and in front of the camera. A unique show dedicated to Wim Wenders’ craft with still images, Instant Stories will be held within the halls of the Photographers’ Gallery in London, UK, and it will be taking place between the 20th of October, 2017 and 11th of February, 2018. Furthermore, the same works by Wim Wenders are planned to be presented at the C|O Berlin starting at July 7, 2018.

Featured image: Wim Wenders – Selfportrait, 1975. All images © Wim Wenders Foundation.