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The museum was founded in 1993 and is dedicated to photography as art form and document, and as a representation of reality. Fotomuseum Winterthur is on the one hand an art gallery for photography by contemporary photographers and artists (with exhibitions by Lewis Baltz, William Eggleston, Nan Goldin, Andreas Gursky, Roni Horn, Boris Mikhailov and many others). On the other, the Fotomuseum Winterthur is also a traditional museum for works by 19th and 20th century masters (with exhibitions by Karl Blossfeldt, Bill Brandt, Dorothea Lange, Lisette Model, Albert Renger-Patzsch, August Sander, Charles Sheeler, Edward Weston, Weegee and others). And finally, it is a cultural-historical, sociological museum of applied photography in the fields of industry, architecture, fashion, etc. (with exhibitions on police photography, industrial photography, dam-construction photography, medical photography etc.). These three orientations form the basis of the museum's exhibition program and accompanying publications and events.
Together with Fotostiftung Schweiz, Fotomuseum Winterthur has been running a Center of Photography since autumn of 2003, with a bistro, a library, seminar rooms, a lounge, and a shop. On the new expanded premises, and in addition to the changing exhibitions, Fotomuseum Winterthur presents changing shows of works from its collection of contemporary photography, including work by Nobuyoshi Araki, Vanessa Beecroft, Lewis Baltz, Daniele Buetti, Larry Clark, Hans Danuser, William Eggleston, Nicolas Faure, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Robert Frank, Nan Goldin, Paul Graham, Andreas Gursky, Roni Horn, Axel Hütte, Urs Lüthi, Boris Mikhailov, Arnold Odermatt, Gilles Peress, Liza May Post, Thomas Ruff, and Annelies Štrba. Fotomuseum Winterthur is located at Grüzenstrasse 44 and 45, in two buildings on opposite sides of the road. Exhibition area: 1000m2. Total area (including the area shared with Fotostiftung Schweiz): 3000m2.
Together, Fotomuseum Winterthur (FMW) and Fotostiftung Schweiz (FSS) constitute the new Center of Photography in Winterthur, which occupies buildings on either side of Grüzenstrasse. The existing premises of the FMW in Grüzenstrasse 44 accommodate the changing exhibition rooms, rooms for museum pedagogics, offices, a workshop, and storage. The new building accommodates the exhibition rooms for the FMW collection and rooms for all joint functions of the FMW and the FSS: library, seminar rooms, collection storage rooms, museum shop, and the museum bistro "George" (run by Chantal Aloui).
Since the foundation of Fotomuseum Winterthur in 1993, building up a collection of contemporary photography has been a major cornerstone of the museum's activities. To date, some 4000 photographs have been purchased, donated or given on permanent loan. Every year since 2003, parts of the collection are presented in specially curated exhibitions accompanied by a series of publications (Set 1, 2, 3, 4 …). The collection can be viewed online and provides a further opportunity of making the ever-growing holdings of the Fotomuseum Winterthur readily accessible to a broader international audience.
The Forum for New European Photography
Each year at the last weekend of January, Plat(t)form, the Forum for New European Photography, takes place in the Fotomuseum Winterthur. This is an extraordinary opportunity for forty-two "emerging artists” each year to introduce themselves to the public and to a team of experts. Young, new, complex visual worlds are presented and publicly discussed. The standard of the young photographers is exceptionally high thanks to a double jury process (nomination and selection). For the photographers and experts, but also for curators, publishers, collectors, gallerists, and the public, this weekend is an exciting visual experience with engaging discussions and intensive networking. The Plat(t)form Databank is a unique online opportunity to learn more about recent European photography.