But from the mid-1880s, the Viennese company Bernhard Wachtl supplied decorative pieces for photographic studios throughout the monarchy, which cost much less than armchairs, carpets or curtains usually did because they were mass-produced. They were ordered – as were »rocks, stones and tree trunks made of papier-mâché,« wood-carved animals, flower arrangements made of paper or »backgrounds painted in oil« – from a mail-order catalog of some 1500 pages. Touted »for their extraordinary beauty, solidity, and lightness,«these pieces served primarily as ambiences for portraiture across all social classes. The exhibition explores strategies of staging by photographers as well as those of selfportrayal by the photographed in the midst of this artificial world.
The exhibition was created in cooperation with Mila Palm (Milaneum), Vienna. Curators: Monika Faber together with Susanne Miggitsch