Current

17 September 2021 until 20 March 2022
Hildegard Heise

It was in the 1920s, a decade when new career prospects were opening up for women, that Hildegard Heise discovered her passion for photography.
Photography during this period reflected the upheavals and transformation of society in the wake of the First World War. Heise found innovative ways to picture these developments, often choosing unusual perspectives. In line with the “new” genre of object photography, which showcased the world of things, she emphasised the structure, surfaces and form of her subjects. Heise for example shot the “bathing machines” in the French beach town of Carolles from a plunging angle to highlight their graphic structures, and focused in on the shiny surfaces of technical vessels produced by a Berlin porcelain manufactory.
Heise found portrait models all around her, photographing mainly children and artists. In 1937 she took a long trip through the Caribbean, portraying people in their communities, their home settings and landscapes. A precise observer, she succeeded in painting a multifaceted picture of a foreign, still little-travelled region. Even at an advanced age, Heise was still capturing landscapes with her camera; her last pictures show the view out her window of passing cloud formations.
The exhibition presents the first-ever retrospective of this rediscovered photographer, whose estate is housed at MK&G.

Image: Hildegard Heise (1897–1979), Ulrike von Borries in a deckchair (detail), 1928–1933, gelatin silver print, 39,2 x 29,3 cm, MK&G, © Matthias Biermann-Ratjen