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The Museum of Photography has been a magnet for photography enthusiasts from all over the world since its opening in 2004. In the last few years alone, over 700,000 visitors have flocked to see exhibitions organised by the Helmut Newton Foundation, ranging from 'Sex and Landscapes' to 'Newton, Nachtwey, Lachapelle: Men, War & Peace' and 'Pigozzi and the Paparazzi'.
The Museum of Photography is shared between two main organisers, with a total of 2000 square metres of floor space at their disposal. The first is the Helmut Newton Foundation itself, which occupies the two lower floors that have housed the successful permanent exhibition 'Helmut Newton's Private Property', as well as individual exhibitions on the Helmut Newton's work and his contemporaries. The second is the Art Library's Photographic Collection, which presides over the newly resplendent Kaisersaal on the second floor.
For four years, the Kaisersaal's prevailing state of ruin formed an unusual venue for contemporary art and photography exhibitions held by the Art Library's Photographic Collection. A group of photographers and artists (Raimund Kummer, M+M, Philipp Schönborn, Boris Hars-Tschachotin and Hannes Nehls, Regina Schmeken, Reiner Leist, Raymond Depardon and Simone Mangos) designed spectacular installations specifically for the room that had been severely damaged in the war. Their exhibitions always tested the very limits of photography, its relation to other media such as sculpture and film, as well as its relation to religion and history.
Thanks to its reconstruction by Kahlfeldt Architekten, the Kaisersaal has now been equipped with modern conditioning systems to control air temperature, humidity and light and is now suitable to host exhibitions of all kinds of photography ranging from the 19th to the 21st century. A diverse programme of exhibitions is scheduled that will not only draw from the rich photographic collections of the National Museums in Berlin but also feature outstanding photographers and outline important themes in the history of photography. The exhibitions will be accompanied by a varied programme of guides, lectures and symposia on current research topics.