Anna Blume

1937 | Bork, Germany
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German photographer.

Anna and Bernhard Blume (1937-2011) met at Staatliche Kunstakademie in Dusseldorf in 1960 where they studied until 1965. B. Blume continued his studies in philosophy in Cologne where she couple settled and worked together. Most of their work is composed of black-and-white photographic series in which they staged themselves inside petty-bourgeois interiors, domestic situations that were always crazy, which drew an eccentric, sometimes supernatural, even cartoon-like vision of the contemporary lifestyle. In Kuchenkoller (1985-1986), a housewife is attacked by a swarm of potatoes; and in Vasenextase (1987), a man is assaulted by a flying vase. The object, whether mundane or sophisticated, as with the abstract and geometric elements in the series Abstrakte-Kunst (2000-2004) and Trans Skulptur, seems to lead the characters, totally overwhelmed or entangled by their material environment, or by natural elements, such as the trees in the burlesque series Im Wald (1987-1990), where the couple saw them in all their colours in a forest at night. But beneath its comical appearance, their work, fuelled by Kantian, Hegelian and Sartrean thought, questions the concepts of normality and madness, the perception of nature and truth, as Luc Desbenoit (Télérama) pointed out.

From a technical perspective, A. and B. Blume refused digital technology and took over the entire photographic production chain: costumes, sets, negative development, retouching – directly on the negative – enlargements. From 1975 onwards they intermittently developed Polaroids, a selection of which were exhibited at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in 2010 (SX 70, Polaroids, 1975-2000); the book Das Glück Ist Ohne Pardon, Joy Knows No Mercy(2003) shows some of these works. The work of A. and B. Blume has been shown extensively, notably at the MoMA in New York in 1989, at the Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin in 2010 on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Federal Republic of Germany, and at the Musée Cantonal des Beaux-Arts de Lausanne during the exhibition Incongru, quand l’art fait rire (2011-2012). They won several prizes, including the Berliner Kunstpreis (2000).

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Anaïs de Senneville

Translated from French by Katia Porro.

From the Dictionnaire universel des créatrices
© 2013 Des femmes – Antoinette Fouque
© Archives of Women Artists, Research and Exhibitions
Anna Blume — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Anna et Bernhard Blume, Kartoffelschrift (Potato-writing), 1985-2003, a sequence of 5 laminated gelatin silver prints, flush-mounted, each image 199.4 x 125.4 cm, private collection

Anna Blume — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Anna et Bernhard Blume, Vasenextase, 1987, photographs in black and white, gelatine-silver print, 199 x 126 cm, Centre national des arts plastiques, © ADAGP, Paris, © Cnap

Anna Blume — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Anna Blume, Triptych from the series – De-Konstruktiv [Triptique issu de la série – Déconstrucif], Inkjet print, 109 x 164 x 2 cm, private collection

Anna Blume — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Anna et Bernhard Blume, Transzendentaler Konstruktivismus [Constructivisme transcendental], 1992 (1994), Gelatine-silver print on PE-paper, 126 x 164 cm, © Städel Museum

Anna Blume — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Anna et Bernhard Blume, Prinzip Grausamkeit [Principe de cruauté], 1998, colour Polaroïd cut out and glued, 11.5 x 10.7 cm, Centre national des arts plastiques, © ADAGP, Paris, © Cnap © Photo : Bruno Scotti

Anna Blume — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Anna et Bernhard Blume, Prinzip Grausamkeit [Principe de cruauté], 1997, colour Polaroïd cut out and glued, 10.7 x 6.8 cm, Centre national des arts plastiques, © ADAGP, Paris, © Cnap © Photo : Bruno Scotti

Anna Blume — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Anna et Bernhard Blume, Prinzip Grausamkeit [Principe de cruauté], 1996 – 1997, colour  photography, Polaroïd, 10.8 x 8.8 cm, Centre national des arts plastiques, © ADAGP, Paris, © Cnap © Photo : Bruno Scotti

Anna Blume — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Anna et Bernhard Blume, Prinzip Grausamkeit [Principe de cruauté], 1996, colour  photography, 10.7 x 8.8 cm, Centre national des arts plastiques, © ADAGP, Paris, © Cnap © Photo : Bruno Scotti

Anna Blume — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Anna et Bernhard Blume, Prinzip Grausamkeit [Principe de cruauté], 1995, colour  photography, Polaroïd, 10.7 x 8.7 cm, Centre national des arts plastiques, © ADAGP, Paris, © Cnap © Photo : Bruno Scotti

Anna Blume — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Anna et Bernhard Blume, Mahlzeit [Bon appétit], 1974, a sequence of 4 photographs (3/4), in black and white, gelatine-silver print on RC Agfa paper, each image 40.1 x 30.4 cm, Centre national des arts plastiques, © ADAGP, Paris, © Cnap, © Photo : Yves Chenot

Anna Blume — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Anna et Bernhard Blume, Mahlzeit [Bon appétit], 1974, a sequence of 4 photographs (2/4), in black and white, gelatine-silver print on RC Agfa paper, each image 40.1 x 30.4 cm, Centre national des arts plastiques, © ADAGP, Paris, © Cnap, © Photo : Yves Chenot

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