February 10 to June 11, 2023


Counter images

What image do young photographers create of the world? In the new edition FIRST PAGES of the exhibition series Counter Images | Gegenbilder international photographers take a look at their surroundings in the form of photo books. In doing so, they provide personal interior views of public and private places and events. For example, the photographer Shirin Abedi accompanied young women in Iran who dance ballet against all odds and prohibitions. Eyad Abou Kasem documented his flight from Syria with his camera, one of the few pieces he took with him from his homeland. Arafat Siraji restaged his family memories in Bangladesh because his sister burned the albums as a child.

No matter where we look today - images accompany our everyday perception and shape our image of people and places. The photographs in FIRST PAGES are highly topical and mostly taken in the immediate surroundings of the photographers. Through their immediacy, they counteract outdated historical images. The works show our present from many perspectives. In this way, they also take a counter-position to the RJM's historical photo collection. The focus is on four thematic areas: flight, migration and the history of interconnectedness; family stories; narratives of structural change; and perspectives on motherhood, body politics, neurodiversity and mental challenges.
In FIRST PAGES, the RJM presents over 40 photographic projects as photo book prototypes, so-called dummies. The small presentation is a collaboration with the Hanover University of Applied Sciences and Arts (HsH) and the Dortmund University of Applied Sciences and Arts. The works shown here were created between 2018 and 2022 as part of the national and international photo book classes under the joint direction of the photographers and designers Thekla Ehling, Frederic Lezmi and Paul Spehr.
The bound book often takes on a new meaning in the digital world, although photography has long since become an everyday medium. The images are arranged and woven into a narrative. The artists' experimental photo book projects are unique and fascinate with their different narratives, formats and forms.
Visitors can actively browse through the works and immerse themselves in polyphonic visual worlds. Step by step, the museum library is transforming itself from its image of silence to a lively place for socialising. It becomes a place of meeting and discovery.
The supporting programme focuses on the production and reproduction of photographs. In the now predominantly digital image reality, the presentation creates a haptic experience.

The exhibition series Counter Images | Gegenbilder takes a critical look at the medium of photography and offers international artists and curators a platform for decolonial approaches and counter-positions to customary modes of representation. With the exhibition series, we want to question old images and give space to new images at changing locations in the museum.

We cordially invite you to the press conference in the library of the RJM on
Thursday, 9 February 2023, 11 a.m.
Some of the artists will be present in digital or analogue form.
Thursday, 9 February 2023, 7 pm
OPENING, Library of the RJM

Long Thursdays
LIVE SPEAKER: Curators and artists will be on site and look forward to talking to interested visitors.
Thursday, 02.03.2023, 06.04.2023, 04.05.2023, 01.06.2023
18 -22 h

Saturday, 15.04.2023
for young people between 10 and 16 years.
Through artistic means such as photography, collage, appropriation and image & text combinations, exciting photo books can be created. The two-day workshop invites you to create a photo book from pictures and texts you have photographed yourself or brought along. A cooperation with the youth centre Treffer.
Registration at: treffer@diakonie-koeln.de | 0221-645558

Sunday, 14.05.2023, 11 am - 3 pm
Ideas jam, project infarction, design pain? The specialist team Thekla Ehling, Paul Spehr and Frederic Lezmi will treat all kinds of photo book emergencies during the Photszene Festival.
Bring your book project patients to the museum. Cure guaranteed. All box offices.
Place: Library

Thursday, 20.04.23, 6 pm
Iranian photographer Hannah Darabi talks about the political situation in her home country and the role of photography in protests.

Further information
Participating artists
Somaya Abdelrahman, Shirin Abedi, Kaisar Ahamed, Hannah Almstrup, Kseniya Apresian, Arafat Bin Siraji, , Lucas Castel, Daniel Chatard, Gino Dambrowski, Khadra Farah, Rabbi Fatiq, Anna Fritsche, Andy Happel, Nanna Heitmann, Nicole Heinsohn, Allison Hess, Lukas J. Herbers, Elias Holzknecht, Victoria Jung, Carsten Kalaschnikow, Eyad Abou Kasem, Josh Kern, Yannis Konstantinos, Katrin Kutter, Inji Lada, Moritz Lehmann, Karsten Maatz, Hader Mahmoud, Mathilde Mahoudeau, Jana Mai, Viola Maiwald, Helena Manhartsberger, Mehdi Moradpour, Sina Niemeyer, Prova Noorjahan Nizamy, Aslı Özçelik, Emily Piwowar, Tripty Tamang Pakhrin, Anna Roters, Amelie Sachs, Tabea Scherzberg, Chantal Seitz, Anastasia Shvachko, Ashutosh Shaklam, David Speier, Kira Tanita, Benjamin Thieme, Tatsiana Tkachova, Malte Uchtmann, Robic Upadhayay, Angelina Vernetti, Tim Wagner, Daniel Vogl, Fares Zaitoon

Project team
Thekla Ehling, Lucia Halder, Frederic Lezmi and Paul Spehr

Nanette Snoep

Concept exhibition series
Lucia Halder

Design, Visual Identity and Campaign
Lisa Baumgarten

Design in space
Martha Schwindling, Lisa Baumgarten