Instant Stories / Wim Wenders’ Polaroids
Oct 20, 2017 – Feb 11, 2018

“A love letter to the Polaroid” –British Journal of Photography

This exhibition offers a rare opportunity to see the personal and previously unseen Polaroid work of Oscar-nominated filmmaker, Wim Wenders (b.1945, Germany) and provides a singular insight into the artist’s thought processes, preoccupations and aesthetic inspirations.

Whilst his larger photographic works are well known, this is the first time he has shown a selection of the many thousands of Polaroid photographs taken, both on and off location, between the early 1970s and mid 80s. Wenders’ fascination with the Polaroid stems from his early adoption of the format while he was learning the craft of film-making in the late 60s. Polaroids operated as a visual notebook – a way of testing out frames and ideas – but more than that they offered him a kind of liminal space between the subject and the photograph, the photographer and the act of taking a photo, the intention and the outcome.

“The entire Polaroid process (and procedure) has nothing to do with our contemporary experience, when we look at virtual and vanishing apparitions on a screen that we can delete or swipe to the next one. Then, you produced and owned ‘an original’! This was a true THING, a singular object of its own, not a copy, not a print, not multipliable, not repeatable. You couldn’t help feeling that you had stolen this image-object from the world. You had transferred a piece of the past into the present.”

–Wim Wenders / Autumn 2017

Wim Wenders

Instant Stories presents over 200 of Wenders’ Polaroids encompassing portraits of cast and crew, friends and family, behind-the scenes, still-lives, street-photography and landscapes. Alongside diary-like impressions and homages to his artistic inspirations, including Fassbinder and Warhol, the small format images take us on a literal and metaphoric journey through Europe and the US. From his first trip to New York, his fascination with American TV, views from rooftops (he’d never been so high up before), shop-fronts, roads, cars and many other visual recordings, Wenders’ Polaroids reflect a distinctive and lyrical vision – at once both intimate and portentous.

The exhibition will also feature a selection of moving images from his films, reflecting moments in Wenders’ canon, where Polaroid cameras and still photographs form a vital part of the narrative, such as the photo-obsessed protagonist in Alice in the Cities (1974).

Instant Stories. Wim Wenders’ Polaroids is a collaboration between The Photographers’ Gallery, C|O Berlin Foundation and the Wim Wenders Foundation.

Wim Wenders’ films include Alice in the Cities (1974), The American Friend (1977), Paris Texas (1984) and the acclaimed Wings of Desire (1987). He has also directed award winning non-fiction including Buena Vista Social Club (1999), Pina (2011) and most recently The Salt of the Earth (2015). His photographs have been exhibited internationally.

 

Instant Stories. Wim Wenders‘ Polaroids
October 20, 2017 –  February 11, 2018 / The Photographers’ Gallery
Please visit the exhibition page >

Dalton Paula: Portraits
Jul 29 – Oct 30, 2022
Dalton Paula works in painting, drawing, video, performance and sculpture around Afro-Brazilian histories and experiences. This exhibition focus in...
+
ARTPIL / Prescription .130
The Summer's End
The summer's end is upon us, the respite from a life on pause rounded out. The pandemic in the...
+
Art Will Set You Free
Conversation with Photographer Bill Phelps
As life was turning constantly during this past year, one of the things that constantly kept me looking, hoping...
+
Futurities, Uncertain / 2022 Cornell Biennial
Jul 13 – Dec 18, 2022
Inviting celebratory imaginations and enactments, the 2022 Cornell Biennial performs an artistic call and response to counter singular utopic...
+
Rencontres d’Arles 2022
Jul 4 – Sep 25, 2022
Artists who use the medium are there to remind us of what we want to neither hear nor see....
+
Bernd & Hilla Becher
Jul 15 – Nov 6, 2022
Bernd & Hilla Becher changed the course of late 20th century photography. Working as a couple, they focused on...
+
Our 5th Year Anniversary
ARTPIL / Prescription .129
We are rounding out our fifth year with nearly 3 million visits strong. A very exciting journey it has...
+
Deana Lawson
Various / 2022–2023
This exhibition is the first museum survey dedicated to the work of Lawson, a singular voice in photography today...
+
Dalton Paula: Portraits
Jul 29 – Oct 30, 2022
Dalton Paula works in painting, drawing, video, performance and sculpture around Afro-Brazilian histories and experiences. This exhibition focus in...
+
ARTPIL / Prescription .130
The Summer's End
Pack up the beach bags and the picnic baskets. Count the votes. Back to school, return to work, live the new normal.
+
Art Will Set You Free
Conversation with Photographer Bill Phelps
As life was turning constantly during this past year, one of the things that constantly kept me looking, hoping...
+
Futurities, Uncertain / 2022 Cornell Biennial
Jul 13 – Dec 18, 2022
Inviting celebratory imaginations and enactments, the 2022 Cornell Biennial performs an artistic call and response to counter singular utopic...
+
Rencontres d’Arles 2022
Jul 4 – Sep 25, 2022
Artists who use the medium are there to remind us of what we want to neither hear nor see....
+
Bernd & Hilla Becher
Jul 15 – Nov 6, 2022
Bernd & Hilla Becher changed the course of late 20th century photography. Working as a couple, they focused on...
+
Our 5th Year Anniversary
ARTPIL / Prescription .129
We are rounding out our fifth year with nearly 3 million visits strong. A very exciting journey it has been, indeed.
+
Deana Lawson
Various / 2022–2023
This exhibition is the first museum survey dedicated to the work of Lawson, a singular voice in photography today...
+