7th July - 16th december 2018
In the wake of the recent exhibition at the Jeu de Paume Gallery in Paris - Raoul Hausmann, un regard en mouvement [Raoul Hausmann: A Roaming Eye] - Rochechouart Museum of Contemporary Art continues exploring Raoul Hausmann's output of varied photographic works.
Born in Vienna, Austria in 1886, Raoul Hausmann was one of the founders of the Berlin Dada movement in 1918. He abandoned painting in favour of new techniques such as collage, photomontage and sound poetry. By the mid 1920's photography had become a major pursuit of his, continuing till the late 1950s in Limoges where he had settled.
“We're not photographers !” famously declared Raoul Hausmann in his 1921 Manifesto, underlining the vital need not to limit photography to merely optical phenomena but instead open it up to all its possibilities. He underlines the experimental nature of his work and many parallels can be found connecting the varied techniques he used as he ranged from optics and almost abstract experiments with light to recording the body in movement and pictures of vernacular architecture.
The exhibition We're Not Photographers presents over 250 original works drawn from the museum's archive collection plus additional documents and previously unpublished writings by Raoul Hausmann. More than 30 years of his photographic production are represented, from 1927 to 1957, including works made on Sylt Island in the North Sea, on Ibiza where he sought refuge between 1933 and 1936, photos taken in 1937 while in Czechoslovakia and in France from 1939 onwards. Throughout his creative life, from 1918 in Berlin to 1971 and his last breath in Limoges Raoul Hausmann remained unclassifiable. With an estimated 3000 photos produced in his lifetime, he is considered to be one of the major photographers of the 20th century.
Since opening in 1985, Rochechouart museum has housed the largest collection in France of art by Raoul Hausmann with over 700 items (paintings, drawings, collages, sound works, video, photos and photomontages) providing a record of the artist's prolific production from his earliest works up until the later pieces made while residing in Limoges after the war. The museum has also acquired extensive archives that include critics' articles, manuscripts, the artist's notebooks, letters and photographic negatives which combined make Rochechouart a major centre for research into Raoul Hausmann and the artistic movements he lived through.