Andreas Mühe
2/16/–6/19/2022

Stories of Conflict

Andreas Mühe is one of Germany’s best-known artists. His photos revolve around sociological, historical, and political themes, which he stages in elaborately constructed, dramatically lit settings.

Please note

Exhibition

About the exhibition

The Städel Museum is presenting a solo exhibition of some 45 works by Mühe, among them better and lesser-known series from his œuvre to date as well as the cycle “Chernobyl II” (2021), here on view for the first time. In his works, he concerns himself with attribution to collective categories such as family, nationality, politics, and culture as constructs of a social order. His portraits of Angela Merkel are iconic: he accompanied the former federal chancellor on many of her travels and undertook an in-depth analysis of her poses. The degree to which these shots are characterized by a political pictorial language is evident in other photographs of Merkel featuring the artist’s mother as a double. The line between real and staged becomes blurred—in the official and the simulated photos alike. In the town of Wandlitz, Mühe also photographed the houses of the one-time leaders of East Germany’s Socialist Unity Party (SED). Surrounded by darkness, they look like mock-ups and belie their historical role. Mühe uses a large-format camera that, on account of its difficult handling, presupposes complex compositions. With a sharply pointed aesthetic, he depicts historical occurrences or their venues in timeless environments. His aim is not to illustrate but to reinterpret the given contents – whether human beings, architecture, or landscape – by pictorial means. Mühe’s photos play with the viewers’ visual habits, an approach also encountered in works in the Städel collection by photographer colleagues of his such as Rodney Graham and Thomas Demand.

Curator: Dr. des. Kristina Lemke (Head of Photography, Städel Museum) in close collaboration with Andreas Mühe

Picture: Andreas Mühe, The Stable, 2021, from the series: Chernobyl II, © Andreas Mühe, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, 2021

“His work is distinguished by his examinations of rifts in society, of violence, of the German-German identity, as well as his interrogations of himself and his own complicated family history. The Städel Museum is devoting its first exhibition of the year 2022 to photographs by Andreas Mühe. We only recently succeeded in acquiring his artwork ‘Under the Tree’ of 2008 for the collection. Few photographers of the present burrow as painstakingly in German history and our remembrance culture as Andreas Mühe.”

Philipp Demandt, Director, Städel Museum

Gallery

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    Andreas Mühe, The Stable, 2021

    Andreas Mühe (*1979)
    The Stable, 2021
    From the series: Chernobyl II
    Chromogenic colour print, 140 × 110 cm
    Andreas Mühe
    © Andreas Mühe, VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2021

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    Andreas Mühe, Under the Tree, 2008

    Andreas Mühe (*1979)
    Under the Tree, 2008
    Pigment print, 167,7 × 135,8 cm
    Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main, property of Städelscher Museums-Vereins e.V.
    © Andreas Mühe, VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2021

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    Andreas Mühe, Chalk Cliffs, 2014

    Andreas Mühe (*1979)
    Chalk Cliffs, 2014
    From the series: New Romanticism
    Chromogenic colour print, 181,4 × 226,4 cm
    Andreas Mühe
    © Andreas Mühe, VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2021

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    Andreas Mühe, Wandlitz B, 2011

    Andreas Mühe (*1979)
    Wandlitz B, 2011
    From the series: Wandlitz
    Chromogenic colour print, 142,8 × 112,8 cm
    Andreas Mühe
    © Andreas Mühe, VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2021

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    Andreas Mühe, Wandlitz I, 2011

    Andreas Mühe (*1979)
    Wandlitz I, 2011
    From the series: Wandlitz
    Chromogenic colour print, 142,8 × 112,8 cm
    Andreas Mühe
    © Andreas Mühe, VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2021

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    Andreas Mühe, Wandlitz J, 2011

    Andreas Mühe (*1979)
    Wandlitz J, 2011
    From the series: Wandlitz
    Chromogenic colour print, 142,8 × 112,8 cm
    Andreas Mühe
    © Andreas Mühe, VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2021

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    Andreas Mühe, Biorobot IV II, 2020

    Andreas Mühe (*1979)
    Biorobot IV II, 2020
    From the series: Chernobyl
    Chromogenic colour print, 140 × 110 cm
    Andreas Mühe
    © Andreas Mühe, VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2021

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    Andreas Mühe, Soldier at the Obersee, 2012

    Andreas Mühe
    Soldier at the Obersee, 2012
    From the series: Obersalzberg
    Chromogenic colour print, 157,4 × 121,1 cm
    Andreas Mühe
    © Andreas Mühe, VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2021

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    Andreas Mühe, Mühe Head X, 2018

    Andreas Mühe (*1979)
    Mühe Head X, 2018
    From the series: Mühe Head
    Chromogenic colour print, 12,7 × 10,2 cm
    Andreas Mühe
    © Andreas Mühe, VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2021

Andreas Mühe

About Andreas Mühe

  • Andreas Mühe, Photo: Stefan Heinrichs

Andreas Mühe (b. in Karl-Marx-Stadt, present-day Chemnitz, in 1979) lives and works in Berlin. Following classical training as a photo lab technician, he went into business for himself as a freelance photographer. He specialized in portrait and magazine photography and spent the first ten years of his career carrying out commissions for Süddeutsche Magazin, Die Zeit, Monopol, Vanity Fair, and other publications. His works have been presented nationally and internationally. Major solo exhibitions have taken place at the Deichtorhallen Hamburg (2017) and the Berlin Nationalgalerie Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwartskunst in Berlin (2019) and caused a sensation. The artist has received numerous photography awards.

“As in a game of deception, Andreas Mühe’s photos always demand a second look. At first sight his works look familiar, but he breaks with expectations and shows how illusory aestheticized pictorial worlds can be.”

Curator Kristina Lemke, Head of Photography, Städel Museum
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