Birds or Der Traum vom Fliegen

Birds have been revered in many cultures throughout history

Birds or “Der Traum vom Fliegen”

Humans across the ages have dreamed of flight, inspired by the movements of birds and the passage of clouds. The history of aviation goes back more than two thousand years – to early kite flying in China that can be traced to several hundred years BC. The tradition of flying a kite spread around the globe and is considered to be the earliest form of human flight. Kites represent a meeting place of man and elements, similar to the way in which sailboats harness the power of the wind to propel their motion.

In the 15th century, Leonardo da Vinci’s fascination with flight accompanied him from his youth throughout his entire life. He was devoted to finding ways to allow man to fly, making numerous studies and observations of birds, analysing their flight technique and the structure of their wings. 
He created countless sketches, drawings and models in the attempt to create a flying machine that could be propelled by a human, but he came to understand that a solitary person wouldn’t be capable of producing enough energy to move the wings, so another form of mechanical flight would be necessary. 


The first hot air balloon flights took place in the 18th century, a time of rapid developments and discoveries that contributed to our understanding of aerodynamics. Balloons were also deployed for military purposes from the end of the 18th century. From the earliest days of aviation, flight has been associated with both adventure and war.
The dream of flight led to modern aeronautics, with the Wright brothers’ first successful aeroplane flight in 1903. 


This swiftly led to record-breaking moments in history and technological innovations that played a huge role in the conflicts and connections that have shaped our contemporary world. 

Birds have been revered in many cultures throughout history
Around the world, birds have been revered and considered symbols of life, death and fate. They have appeared in folklore and popular culture, from prehistoric cave paintings to national flags. They’ve been the focus of superstition, myth and worship in many indigenous cultures and were regarded as expressions of God in early African and Egyptian cultures. 
As a theme they have inspired many artists, manifesting as motifs and signs. 
Birds have represented freedom, pride, the afterlife. They have been portrayed as mystical and mundane. They’ve made countless appearances in stories and films.



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Other Diversions

Die Zauberflöte Film 'The Maltese Falcon' „Surfin Bird“ by The Trashmen Bird Watching in Georgien Walther von der Vogelweide „Aphorismen“ Nationalapark Wattenmeer

W. Eugene Smith (1918-1978), "Iwo Jima, Airfield Is Life-Saver for B-29´s", March 31, 1945
W. Eugene Smith (1918-1978),
“Iwo Jima, Airfield Is Life-Saver for B-29´s”, March 31, 1945, ©W. Eugene Smith, courtesy Daniel Blau, Munich
Charles Marville (1816-1879)

“Chateau de Bagatelle”, 1857/64 albumen print from glass negative,
35,9 x 26,2 cm

Unidentified Photographer

“Chataîgniers à Hostel (Ain)”, ca. 1870 albumen print,
16,4 x 11,9 cm

Unidentified Photographer

“Avenue des tilleuls à Hostel”, ca. 1870 albumen print,
15,7 x 11,7 cm

Unidentified Photographer

“Oliviers à Nice”, ca. 1870 albumen print,
11,7 x 15,6 cm

A. Brothers

“Landscape”, late 1850s,
albumen print from glass negative, 26,3 (33,4) x 20,4 (27,0) cm

Charles Bodmer (active 1860-1896)

“Barbizon Tree Study”, c. 1870-75 albumen print,
19,8 x 25,8 cm

Felice Beato (1833-1907)

“Tokaido, Japan”, c. 1870 albumen print,
19,1 x 23,9 cm

Felice Beato (1833-1907)

“Tokaido, Japan”, c. 1870 albumen print,
19,1 x 23,9 cm

Hortus Magicus

Hortus Magicus

Hortus Magicus, the new studio exhibition from DANIEL BLAU, is devoted to one of artistic photography’s first true genres: landscape. From some of the earliest, often anonymous photographic studies, though monumental 20th-century travel scenes, to the famous flower Polaroids of Araki, Hortus Magicus brings together twenty-three outstanding photographic witnesses to the magic of nature and the enchanting simplicity of a lens turned to the unbuilt world.
Emerging trends and tendencies in art photography of the mid-nineteenth century encouraged an exploration of and head-on engagement with new themes. The depiction of nature and landscape had, up until this point, remained largely reserved for the painter, but increased involvement with and interest in the world beyond ever-more industrializing cities opened a place among the arts that photography was perfectly positioned to fill. “Barbizon Tree Study,” by Charles Bodmer, illustrates this shift perfectly: the most essential elements of its design show a direct line and relationship back to techniques of landscape painting, to the immediate engagement with nature that define the teachings of the Barbizon school.
Especially impressive as testimonies to the mid-nineteenth century’s drive towards discovery are the two photographs that compromise Felice Beato’s “Tōkaidō Road.” At the time, photographs that felt truly ‘authentic’ were considered revolutionary: the difference between a photograph made in the studio and reworked and retouched there afterwards, and a photograph taken outdoors and left to speak for itself on its own merits, was clearly noticeable. Beato’s insistence on the later approach is what makes him today be considered among the first true documentary photographers. Japan exerted a particular fascination upon him. As the main connection between Kyoto, the imperial capital, and Edo (now Tokyo), the capital of the Tokugawa shoguns, the road known as Tōkaidō played an important role in the history, literature, and art of Japan. Beato’s photographs and accompanying captions explore the famous ancient highway through the lens of the living history and culture of Beato’s own time.
Ansel Adam’s large-format photograph of Sentinel Rock in Yosemite National Park bears a special defining aesthetic about itself. Adams, internationally renowned landscape photographer and photo writer, experienced with a wide variety of cameras and regularly experimenting with new processes and approaches, was a founding member of one of the most forward-looking photography collectives in the United States – called f/64 – and an influential representative of the style known as straight or pure photography. Adams sought in nature visual echoes to his own intuition; in this vivid, sharply detailed photograph, he allows the massive summit of Sentinel Rock to fill nearly the entire image, seeming somehow cradled there even in its cragged immensity.
The color Polaroids of Nobuyoshi Araki, undoubtably among the contemporary world’s most important photographic practitioners, complete our exhibition. Araki’s unique, intimate images of flowers in close detail reflect the forms and shapes of an ideal natural order, hinting towards the similarities and relationships we might all sense in our own human bodies.


Exhibition: Temporarily closed due to construction work July 14 – September 13, 2022 / by appointment only

11am – 6pm | mon – fri
Maximilianstraße 26, 80539 München

All images are available for purchase. Prices upon request.
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