Anna Blume

1937 | Bork, Germany

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).

Anaïs de Senneville

Translated from French by Katia Porro.

From the Dictionnaire universel des créatrices
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© Archives of Women Artists, Research and Exhibitions
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