Yousuf Karsh, Marshall McLuhan, 1974
Impossible and the Westlicht Museum of Photography announce the showing of the International Polaroid Collection in Vienna, 17 June to 31 August 2011.
Thanks to the commitment of Impossible, innovative producer of new analog instant film, the Vienna based WestLicht Museum of Photography purchased this famous International Polaroid Collection of over 4.400 artworks from 800 artists from Ansel Adams to Andy Warhol and will exhibit a selection of these iconic images combined with some new contemporary works shot on new Impossible instant film from June 17th, 2011 through 31 August 2011.
The collection, created between 1972 and 1990 by the original Polaroid Corporation, lay dormant for 20 years in the archives of the Swiss Musée de l’Elysée in Lausanne.
Peter Coeln, of the WestLicht Museum, has saved the Polaroid Collection which had been put on the market by the liquidators dealing with assets of the insolvent company. For almost two years the future of the unique Polaroid collection was fairly uncertain but now the spectacular acquisition at the last moment secures the continued existence of this historic collection and presents it to a broad public for the first time.
Dr. Florian Kaps, founder of the Impossible Project, says: “Most important is the fact that we finally found a perfect solution for not only celebrating the incredible potential of all the existing artworks, but that we also formed a great setup to re-start the original concept by inviting contemporary artists to join this ongoing project by supplying them with the new generation of Impossible instant films”.
This exhibition will for the first time show never-before shown pieces, combined with the first results of the new Impossible Collection, the magic of instant photography will enter the next level os analog photography.
About the Collection
During the late 1940s, physicist and Polaroid founder Edwin Herbert Land revolutionized photography with the invention of instant photography. An estimated 300 million Polaroid cameras are still in use worldwide today. From the beginning, Land invited famous photographers and artists to experiment with Polaroid cameras and film. In these years, the company built two unrivaled collections, one based in Europe and the other in the United States. After Polaroid’s insolvency in 2008, both collections were at risk of being lost forever. Sotheby’s in New York auctioned rarities from the American collection in 2010. Due to the commitment of Impossible and WestLicht, the European collection was saved from suffering the same fate. The gems of the collection are 1,400 20x24-inch large format Polaroid photographs. These images were taken with a special custom made camera and film material not available on the market. Czech photographer Jan Hnizdo, chief operator of Polaroid, travelled to selected photographers and artists with this camera. Conceptual art such as collages, opulent arrangements and trendy staging reflect the zeitgeist of the 70s and 80s. Next to the big names, there are also many works of outstanding photographers unknown on the art market until now. “I am both happy and proud,” Peter Coeln says, “that it was possible to keep the collection intact in its entirety and make it finally accessible.” The surprise coup was realized in a very special 10th anniversary year for the museum located in Vienna at Westbahnstraße 40.
Helmut Newton, 1976