Ben­jamin Katz be­came known in the 1980s as a fix­ture of the art scene in West Ger­many. He took por­traits of artists such as Ge­org Baselitz, James Lee Byars, A.R. Penck, Cindy Sh­er­man, and Rose­marie Trock­el, pho­to­graphed the bustling art scene at open­ings, and doc­u­ment­ed the cre­a­tion of ma­jor ex­hi­bi­tions such as West­kunst in Cologne in 1981, doc­u­men­ta 7 in Kas­sel in 1982, and von hi­er aus in Düs­sel­dorf in 1984.

On the oc­ca­sion of the eighti­eth birth­day of Ben­jamin Katz (born on June 14, 1939, in An­tw­erp, Bel­gi­um), the Mu­se­um Lud­wig will pre­sent his se­ries of pho­to­graphs Ber­lin Havel­höhe (1960/1961), which has nev­er be­fore been shown in its en­tire­ty. The se­ries was re­cent­ly ac­quired di­rect­ly from the artist’s archive. Even be­fore Katz de­vot­ed him­self pro­fes­sio­n­al­ly to pho­tog­ra­phy, he cap­tured his sur­round­ings in 1960 and 1961 dur­ing an eigh­teen-month stay at the Havel­höhe hos­pi­tal. Suf­fer­ing from tu­ber­cu­lo­sis, he spent his time there as a pa­tient and pho­to­graphed ev­ery­day life: his fel­low pa­tients, the hos­pi­tal staff, the build­ings built dur­ing the Nazi era as an air force acade­my, and the sur­round­ing area. The pho­to­graphs rep­re­sent a so­cio-his­tor­i­cal as well as an artis­tic and per­so­n­al doc­u­ment, since they re­cord Katz’s be­gin­n­ings as a pho­to­g­ra­pher. Ber­lin Havel­höhe al­so ex­em­pli­fies the im­age of the artist as a young man.

Di­rec­tor Yil­maz Dziewior: “The Mu­se­um Lud­wig has a large col­lec­tion of Katz’s por­traits of artists span­n­ing sev­er­al de­cades. It al­so in­cludes his ex­ten­sive doc­u­men­ta­tion of the 1981 ex­hi­bi­tion West­kunst as well as pho­to­graphs from the in­s­tal­la­tion of many ex­hi­bi­tions. I am all the more de­light­ed that we were able to ac­quire Ber­lin Havel­höhe, a sig­ni­f­i­cant ear­ly se­ries by Katz. We would like ex­press our warmest thanks for his trust and for shar­ing his me­m­ories with us.”

The en­tire se­ries will be shown in the form of for­ty-one pho­to­graphs print­ed in three dif­fer­ent sizes and 318 vin­tage prints mount­ed on A4 pa­per. On the first floor, as part of the per­ma­nent col­lec­tion, the Mu­se­um Lud­wig will al­so pre­sent Katz’s well-known por­traits of artists, which he took dur­ing his stu­dio vis­its be­gin­n­ing in the 1980s, in­clud­ing Ge­org Baselitz, A.R. Penck, Ger­hard Richter, and Rose­marie Trock­el.

Ben­jamin Katz: Ber­lin Havel­höhe, 1960/1961 is the sixth pre­sen­ta­tion in the pho­tog­ra­phy room, which since 2017 has fea­tured chang­ing se­lec­tions of the ap­prox­i­mate­ly 70,000 works from the Mu­se­um Lud­wig pho­tog­ra­phy col­lec­tion. The pho­tog­ra­phy room is lo­cat­ed in the per­ma­nent col­lec­tion on the se­cond floor.