"Let's take a selfie." You've probably heard this phrase many times - or said it yourself. It has become normal for us, to use our smartphones to take a quick souvenir photo of ourselves with friends, family or colleagues. An estimated amount of 93 million selfies are produced every day. The (digital) self-portraits have found their way into advertising, politics, business, art and culture worldwide. The temporary exhibition "Always Me. Fascination Selfie" is dedicated to this global contemporary phenomenon.
Our visitors enter the exhibition through a mirrored tunnel that reproduces their own image many times over. The tunnel leads to a large-format screen on which countless selfies are displayed. Some of them "went viral," meaning they were shared many times over - online as well as in traditional media outlets, sometimes fueling debates. This includes the picture of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who agreed to take a selfie with a Syrian asylum seeker in the middle of the debate on refugees in 2015/2016 or that of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei taking a selfie upon his arrest in 2009. The picture, which was later disseminated via Twitter, reached people around the world in solidarity with the dissident.
What began almost 20 years ago with the triumph of the smartphone (the term "selfie" first appeared in 2002) is now the subject of controversial debates in politics, the media, sciences, and even in arts and culture. Are selfies still a thing - or already dead? Do they foster our narcissism - or do they help us find our own identity? Are selfies annoying - or are they just fun?
Among other things, our exhibition explores the question of what a selfie is and where its historical models lie. Who am I? Who do I want to be? Artists have always dealt with these questions in paintings, sculptures, graphics and photographs. Would Rembrandt van Rijn, the famous 17th-century Dutch painter and master of the self-portrait, possibly reach for his smartphone today?! "Always Me. Fascination Selfie" illustrates which new gestures have been imprinted in all of us or how funny, unusual or perfect a selfie has to look in order to be noticed in the flood of digital images.
We would like to invite you to take a selfie at two interactive selfie points in the exhibition, to upload it with the hashtag #FacinationSelfie and thus become part of the exhibition. So: bring your smartphone and take a selfie. We look forward to seeing you.