Robert Lebeck


March 4, 2018 – September 23, 2018



“The year of the student protests took place without me.”In his autobio­graphy, the German photo­jour­na­list and collector Robert Lebeck (1929 – 2014) described how he experi­enced the year 1968: “When the barri­cades were burning in Paris, I was working in Florida on a series about two murdered students; when students began protes­ting in front of the Springer Building, I was photo­gra­phing the chris­tening of Hildegard Knef’s baby; and when Russian troops marched into Prague, I was accom­panying the pope’s visit to Bogotá.”

A closer exami­na­tion of the contact sheets, prints and repor­tages made by Robert Lebeck during this epoch-making year on behalf of “Stern,” one of Germany’s highest-circu­la­tion magazines at that time, reveal the extent to which his incisive photo­graphs, despite his own assess­ment, truly reflect the changes in society that were going on at that time. Upheaval, protest, perse­ver­ance and failure: In “Robert Lebeck. 1968”, the leitmo­tifs of that year that are not always visible in the mythi­ci­zing retro­spec­tive view are made tangible in exemplary photo­gra­phic series taken in places like New York, Bogotá, Kassel, Belfast or Wolfsburg. Many of the exhibited photos – which is part of their special attrac­ti­vity – have never been published and are comple­tely unknown. Whether dealing with “Divorced Women,” Rudi Dutschke in Prague, Robert F. Kennedy’s funeral or Joseph Beuys at the documenta, concen­trated contem­porary history encoun­ters bold photo repor­tages and photo­gra­phic art in Robert Lebeck’s works.

The exhibi­tion “Robert Lebeck. 1968” is a coope­ra­tive project with the Institute of Contem­porary History and City Presen­ta­tions Wolfsburg.

The Catalogue

The exhibi­tion catalogue, edited by Ralf Beil and Alexander Kraus, designed by Cordula Lebeck, is being published by Steidl Verlag, Göttingen. It features essays on the history of 1968, photo­jour­na­lism and photo­graphy by Ralf Beil, Michael Glasmeier, Fabian Köster, Alexander Kraus, Aleksandar Nedel­kovski, Stefanie Pilzweger-Steiner, Stephan Ruderer, Annette Vowinckel, Martina Winkler and Ulf Erdmann Ziegler in addition to an extensive selection of previously unpublished photo­graphs and contact sheets as well as the most important photo repor­tages from the year 1968. Hardcover, 360 pages, 226 illus­tra­tions, 24 x 30 cm, German and English edition, 38 Euro in the museum shop.