Joachim Schmid


26 September – 19 December 2015

After the exhibition Where the trees line… curated by Chris Sharp, which featured the work of three young artists, P420 presents the first solo show in Italy by the German artist Joachim Schmid (Balingen, 1955), already seen at the gallery in 2013 in the exhibition Lumpenfotografie curated by Simone Menegoi.

Active on the German scene since 1980 as a photography critic, essayist and publisher, in 1982 Schmid founded Fotokritik, a completely self-produced magazine that immediately became a vehicle for the expression of his theories. During the same period he began to collect photographs found in the street, purchased at flea markets or obtained from anyone who wanted to dispose of photographs in their possession.

An obsession with photography, not with individual brilliance or museum masterpieces but with the very nature of the medium, with everything that is “left out” and therefore is not, and does not aspire to be, “art photography.” Schmid searches for the deepest identity of photography, manifested when millions of cameras produce billions of images.

A systematic collection of photographs, without scientific or taxonomical ends, but with the simple intention of revealing the enormous potential embodied in photographs not produced in an art context. This activity has led to two of his most extensive projects, Bilder von der Strasse (developed over a period of thirty years and including photographs gathered in public places from 1982 to 2012), and Archiv (a monumental tribute to photography, catalogued by species, from 1986 to 1999).

No new photos until the old ones are used up” he wrote in a text from 1989 that immediately became an exemplary definition of his poetics. For over thirty years, Schmid’s research has ironically short-circuited the recognized canons of photography, widening its boundaries, skeptically questioning the role of the author and artistic intention with respect to the results achieved.

The exhibition, entitled Souvenirs, presents a selection of works – from the past and made for the occasion – that share the theme of travel, the trips made by the artist himself for more than thirty years, which in this context become the fundamental opportunity for a representation of photography that is as general as possible.

There will also be the presentation of the new artist’s book by Joachim Schmid, Viaggio in Italia.

Exhibition Works

Joachim Schmid, Viaggio in Italia, 2015, 8 pigment ink prints, cm.40x30 each, ed.3+AP
Joachim Schmid, Bilder von der Straße , 1982-2012, photographs mounted on card, cm.29,5x21,5 each, detail
Joachim Schmid, Security Check, 1985–1987, 8 b-w photographs, cm.13x18 each
Joachim Schmid, Archiv #648, #678, #713, 1986-1999, found photographs mounted on card, cm.40x50 each
Joachim Schmid, Archiv #648 , 1986-1999, found photographs mounted on card, cm.40x50, detail
Joachim Schmid, Archiv #678, 1986-1999, found photographs mounted on card, cm.40x50, detail
Joachim Schmid, Archiv #713, 1986-1999, found photographs mounted on card, cm.40x50, detail
Joachim Schmid, Reisefotografie, 1984, 9 b/w photographs, cm.30x30 each
Joachim Schmid, Souvenirs , 2010, 32 c-prints, cm.13x18 each, ed.3+AP


  • Viaggio in Italia
  • Lumpenfotografie.  Per una fotografia senza vanagloria
  • Traballos Fotographicos 1982-2002
  • Retratos Decisivos
  • The Hierarchy of Images
  • I have been living
  • Kunstgeschichte für alle
  • Bilderbuch
  • Lambe Lambe
  • Illustriertes Tierleben. Eine allgemeine Kunde des Tierreichs von Joachim Schmid
  • Souvenirs1983-2008
  • One Day in May
  • But Is It Art?
  • X Marks the Spot
  • Sixty-eight minutes on the sunset strip
  • Photogenetic Drafts 1991
  • O campo
  • Photoworks