As a child, he hated museums. At least Franziska Kunj’s mother understood that. So that his daughter does not like to be dragged by hand to the water hyacinth room of Pergamon Museum. So it must have been a surprise when Francisca Kunz told her mother after graduating from high school that she now wanted to study art history and communication science. Did she respond with the same surprise that her daughter is now head of photography and time-based media collections at the Pinnacothek der Modern in Munich? One could well imagine. The biographical episode with Kunz’s mother was published in SZ Kultursalon, which did not take place in Munich at this time, but in Essen’s Villa Hugel.
The head of the SZ culture department, Suzanne Harmansky, invited the art historian, who was born in Rust in 1984, to talk with guests in Munich and Essen about “curating between museums and Instagram today”. The glamorous event room, the incredible 440-square-meter former living room of the industrialist family Krupp, at first seemed to point directly into history. But the villa is not just a former residential and representative building. It also has a huge photo archive. Also, the Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Foundation, which owns the building, offers a comprehensive scholarship and support program.
It also includes the “Museum Curator for Photography” scholarship program. Francisca Cunj completed it from 2017 to 2019, with stations at the Munich City Museum, the Museum Folkwang Essen, the Photomuseum Winterthur and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. What has he learned in two years? “The whole program”, that is, how to show from “roots”. And it should be very effective now because he is responsible for an important photographic collection from 2020 onwards with the work of Carl Blossfeld, August Sander, Jermaine Kroll, Man Ray and David Hockney from Pinnacle. Or for video work by Bruce Nauman, Bill Viola or Pipilotti Rist.
The subject of your doctoral thesis? “Opaque Photograph”, which Kunj deliberately described in a simplified way as the “bad side of documentary photography”. The result of a central study was that “photography is always shaped and formed by” different positions and styles “, so it is always” subjective “. Have you ever photographed yourself? Took a course on analog processes in the century. “And in Griffithswald’s art class they would take pictures of objects. But show his pictures to anyone? He doesn’t want to impose it on anyone.
Too polite? Probably. You could also call it unprecedented, matching the black shirt and white sneakers she wore that evening. And about the way not to play too much on its tip in general. You can believe that he doesn’t see himself as the “great” curator সময়ে la Harald Szeemann at a time when even pea sorting is considered curative, as Suzanne Harmansky says. “In one place with permanent collection” is different though. “Everything that leads to an exhibition, yes, that’s what it does.” And a format like “Collection +” from Pinakothe sometimes spends a lot of time collecting and can come up with “small deep holes” there.
Instagram is a new channel through which you can reach out especially to young people
And Instagram? It’s a “new channel” that allows you to reach “completely different” and, above all, young people, but also where new art can be created. Danger of sensitive overload from social media? He doesn’t actually see it, because “our ability to exploit” is changing with technology. And he finds it extremely exciting “how many photographic artists no longer take pictures” and instead works with the existing pool of images.
Among them is Astrid Jahansen of Lima, from whom he has been exhibiting since May 19. The Peruvians invented and reproduced handmade erotic magazines from 1950 to 1990. And it’s impressive how he “turned the subject”. New topics are also emerging in the presentation of the collection, which, according to Kunj, is currently being reconstructed. They want to “break the chronology” and see: “What can we say with works?” So that it fits today’s times, i.e. Instagram & Co.