THE ILLEGAL IMAGE – Photography between image prohibition and self-censorship

6. February 2020 17. May 2020

With works by: Merry Alpern (USA), Jan Dirk van der Burg (The Netherlands), Espen Eichhöfer (Germany), William E. Jones (USA), Carola Lampe (Germany), Beat Streuli (Switzerland)

Today, more than ever, taking photos and being photographed are part of our daily life. And yet, those who take pictures of passers-by without asking for permission run the risk of being sued. Photographs taken without the consent of the person portrayed are in conflict between the personal right and that of artistic freedom. Thus, the following questions arise: What is more important, the right to one’s own image or the right to take pictures? Where are the ethical boundaries of photography? Where does artistic freedom end? 

The photographer Espen Eichhöfer was faced with an injunction after exhibiting a photograph that had been taken on the streets of Berlin. This case, which ended in 2018 before the Federal Constitutional Court, shows how important it is to deal with this contemporary issue.

THE ILLEGAL IMAGE offers a range of snapshots taken in secret, images that fell victim to censorship, to socially critical reports and conceptual studies of the medium of photography. Six artistic positions illuminate the question of legal and illegal images – between social taboo, social relevance and artistic freedom.

The exhibition is curated by Espen Eichhöfer, Katharina Mouratidi and Natascha Pohlmann.

Photo: © Espen Eichhöfer.