Sheroes of Photography (Part VI)
Monika von Boch
Since 2021, Kicken Berlin has been committed to presenting the exhibition series Sheroes of Photography, which focuses on female creativity in the history of photography and contemporary photography, a subject that is inexhaustible to this day. The neologism shero stands for the explicit appreciation of the achievements of female artists in photography. The sheroes of photography unite the self-evident practice of a modern medium with diverse perspectives on reality—from the beginnings of the medium until the present.
Monika von Boch is certainly the most important female protagonist of the international movement of subjective photography following World War II. She is also a unique proponent of Concrete Art in the 1960s and 1970s. Von Boch pursued the path to abstraction with photograms, negative prints, and other experimental methods, yet she remained dedicated to her starting point in figuration. Alienating industrial scenes and products are as much a part of her work as nature and landscape. Although her works are part of important collections such as the Museum Folkwang Essen and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, her varied oeuvre deserves to be rediscovered in its entirety.
The artist, who was born into the porcelain dynasty Villeroy & Boch in Saarland, Germany, studied with legendary photographer Otto Steinert in Saarbrücken between 1950 and 1957 and participated in the second exhibition on subjective photography held there in 1954. Women were a minority among the students, and von Boch was an exceptional one. Steinert, who at mid-century was the key figure in the photography avant-garde, inspired her experiments with photography and sharpened her sense of composition. Our exhibition Sheroes of Photography VI: Monika von Boch presents pictures from the artist’s estate, most of which are unpublished. Over three decades, she created an incomparable oeuvre of photo-artistic work.