The Unphotographable at Fraenkel Gallery

© Wolfgang Tillmans: Mental Picture #972001, unique chromogenic print.

© Wolfgang Tillmans: Mental Picture #972001, unique chromogenic print.

Fraenkel Gallery is pleased to announce The Unphotographable, an ambitious survey exploring the history of that which cannot be photographed. Comprised of approximately fifty works, the exhibition interweaves prints by artists as wide ranging as Alfred Stieglitz, Sophie Calle, Man Ray, and Glenn Ligon, as well as works by anonymous and virtually unknown photographers from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

The Unphotographable will be on view from January 3 through March 23, 2013, and will be accompanied by a 124-page hardcover book.

More than a century of attempts to depict, through photographs, a reality beyond appearances is testament to a stubborn conviction that what can be seen is not all there is. In the book’s introduction Jeffrey Fraenkel writes, “From the moment of its invention almost 175 years ago, photography has proven adept at depicting the photographable: the solid, the concrete, that which can be seen. […] But another tradition exists, a parallel history in which photographers and other artists have attempted to describe by photographic means that which is not so readily seen: thought, time, ghosts, god, dreams. A vast array of strategies has been employed to bring such pictures about, tactics that have intersected and enriched the strains of modern art.”

The exhibition will be installed in all three of the gallery’s spaces. Visitors will encounter Jakob Ottonowitsch’s Spark captured on the surface of the body of a well-washed prostitute, Tom Friedman’s Caveman, T. Glendenning Hamilton’s portrait of The T’zan Teleplasm, and Bruce Conner’s ethereal depiction of an angel. Among other works included are Wolfgang Tillmans’s Mental Picture from 2001, Frederick Sommer’s portrait of Max Ernst as a vanishing spirit, and Gerhard Richter’s attempt to depict the incomprehensibility of 9/11, titled simply September.

Other artists whose work will be on view include Robert Adams, Diane Arbus, Walead Beshty, Mel Bochner, Sophie Calle, Jay DeFeo, Liz Deschenes, Kota Ezawa, Adam Fuss, Paul Graham, Idris Khan, Richard Learoyd, Christian Marclay, Richard Misrach, and Hiroshi Sugimoto.

Venue: Fraenkel Gallery, 49 Geary Street, 4th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94108

Open: 3 January – 23 March 2022

For more information visit:

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