Ludwig Wittgenstein

Photography as an analytical practice


It is not Ludwig Wittgenstein’s seminal philosophical writings or their radiant influence on visual art that is at the centre in this publication but rather Wittgenstein the photographer – that is, the author, collector, and arranger of photographs.

Included in this catalogue are, aside from his famous photo album from the 1930s, the shots of the house in Vienna’s Kundmanngasse that he co-designed for his sister Margarete, and the composite portrait of the Wittgenstein siblings.

Also featured are pieces that were previously all but overlooked, like a sequence of pictures from a photo booth and other staged philosopher, his serial photographic recordings of places and people, excerpts from his Nonsense Collection as well as a selection of his picture-postcard correspondences, which show a style of communication that is always also reflective of the medium’s pictorial level.

Against the backdrop of several reflections on photography – among them his project of writing a ‘Laocoon for photographers’ – the annotated materials on show invite a fruitful contemporary re-viewing of Wittgenstein’s understanding and use of the medium.

The exhibition at Leopold Museum in Vienna, thus places Wittgenstein’s photographic practice in dialogue with photographic or photography-reflective works of contemporary artists.

Published on the occasion of the exhibition, ‘Ludwig Wittgenstein: Photography as an analytical practice’ at Leopold Museum, Vienna (12 November 2021 – 6 March 2022).

English and German text.

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