Bernhard Prinz

Year of birth, place
1953, Fürth, Germany
Role at the ZKM
in the collection
Bernhard Prinz was born in Fürth in 1953. He studied (1976-81) at the Akademie der bildenden Künste, Nuremberg, having initially embarked on studies of Art History, in Erlangen, in 1975. He has received numerous awards and prizes, most recently the Villa Massimo Prize (1994), allowing him to spend a year in Rome. He lives in Hamburg.

Prinz's sculptural works, consisting of pieces made for public spaces and of specific exhibition environments, are invariably prepared and explored through preliminary fantastical architectural schemes made out of cardboard and plywood, initially conceived merely as accessories for the artist's photographs. As photographic motifs, these either become components in the overall arrangement, in the manner of a seventeenth-century still life, or they are the attributes accompanying the apparently flawless posing human figures. These are sometimes isolated, but are often incorporated within the constructed settings as allegories of concepts such as ideology. Prinz draws the inspiration for such pictorial arrangements from the sumptuous display of Mannerist and Baroque painting, often alluding to particular works. On account of their emphatic staging, Prinz's photographs are overtly self-referential; but their aestheticism is never complacent. His early work in particular - which is notable for his photographs of imposing Fascist architecture - reveals his concern to illustrate very clearly the scope for manipulation by means of effective staging. Such devices allow him to call into question photography's traditional claim to represent reality.

Individual exhibitions (selection)
1980 Galerie Traude Näke, Nuremberg
1982 Institut für moderne Kunst, Nuremberg
1984 »Die vierte Wand« (with Klaus Kumrow), Produzentengalerie, Hamburg
1985 »Birnen am Weidenholz«, Galerie Barbara Jandrig, Krefeld
1986 Galerie Achim Kubinski, Stuttgart; »Schein und Alibi«, Kunsthaus, Hamburg
1987 »Drei Skulpturen: Purpur - Piz Buin - Pik Acht«, Produzentengalerie Hamburg, subsequently at Institut Mathildenhöhe, Darmstadt
1988 Serpentine Gallery, London; »Steine im Acker, Teil I«, Kunstraum, Munich; The Fruit Market Gallery, Edinburgh; Orchard Gallery, Londonderry
1989 »Stilleben, Teil II«, Kunstraum, Munich, subsequently at Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin; »Idee, Ideal, Ideologie«, Kunsthalle, Nuremberg; Galerie Sten Eriksson, Stockholm; Deweer Art Gallery, Otegem
1990 »Hautgout«, Produzentengalerie, Hamburg
1992 »Sieben Anordnungen«, Kunstverein, Hannover
1994 »Rebellen«, Overbeck-Gesellschaft, Lübeck; »Tupperware«, Galerie Sfeir-Semler, Kiel
1995 Galleria Pranz Paludetto, Turin
1996 Kunstraum Neue Kunst, Hannover; »Ungut«, Galerie Andreas Weiss, Berlin; Produzentengalerie, Hamburg; Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg; Galleria Valentina Moncada, Rome
Group exhibitions (selection)
1982 »Künstler arbeiten mit Fotos«, Kunsthalle, Kiel
1984 »Der versiegelte Brunnen«, Kunststichting Rotterdam
1987 documenta VIII, Kassel; »Stipendiaten 86«, Kunsthaus, Hamburg
1988 »Arbeit in Geschichte. Geschichte in Arbeit«, Kunsthaus and Kunstverein, Hamburg
1989 »32 Portraits. Photography in Art«, Contemporary Art Foundation, Amsterdam; »Das konstruierte Bild«, Kunstverein, Munich, subsequently at Kunsthalle; Nuremberg, Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe
1990 »Beyond the photographic frame«, Art Tower Mito Contemporary Art Gallery, Mito
1992 »Photography in Contemporary German Art: 1960 to the Present«, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, subsequently at Dallas Museum of Art, Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Dallas; The Saint Louis Art Museum/Forum for Contemporary Art, Missouri; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum SoHo, New York, and at venues in Los Angeles, Cologne, Basle and Humlebaek; »Erfundene Wirklichkeiten, 2. Internationale Foto-Triennale«, Galerie der Stadt Esslingen, Villa Merkel, Esslingen; »Humpty Dympty's Kaleidoscope. A New Generation of German Artists«, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney
1994 »Zwanzig Jahre«, Kunstraum, Munich; »Los Generos de la Pintura/Genres in Painting«, Centro Atlantico de Arte Moderno, Las Palmas, subsequently at Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Sevilla, Sala del Antuguo Museo Espagnol de Arte Contemporáneo, Sevilla; »Einstellung 23 - Photographie aus Deutschland«, Raab Galerie, Berlin
1995 »Virtue & Vice«, National Institute for Photography, Rotterdam, subsequently at Untitled Gallery, Sheffield; »Wasser und Wein. Die Dinge des Lebens«, Kunst.Halle.Krems, Krems; »Babele«, Villa Massimo, Rome
1996 »(Landschaft) mit dem Blick der 90er Jahre«, Mittelrhein-Museum, Koblenz; Museum Schloss Burgk/Saale; Haus am Waldsee, Berlin; »Doppelt Haut«, Kunsthalle zu Kiel; »Abenteuer Kunst«, Städtische Kunsthalle, Göppingen

[Konstantze Thümmel, 1997]