»Bizarre Escapes – Humor in Photography«

The triennial festival »Darmstadt Photography Days« (DTdF) ranks among Germany‘s main events focused on photography. With a focus on international,contemporary photography, it sets relevant topics and facilitates an interdisciplinary discourse in the field of photography. Photo exhibitions, symposia on photography and discussions will add a deeper meaning to the medium of photography.
A comprehensive catalogue traditionally gets published on the opening day of the festival.

Initially, »11. Darmstadt Photography Days« were planned to take place from 24 April to 03 May, 2020 but had to be postponed due to the effects of the international corona pandemic. They wil therefore now take place over the course of autum 2020, with numerous exhibition- and event-venues all over the city center of Darmstadt. All exhibitions and events will be located outside of the campus of TU Darmstadt.

Twelve exhibitions showcasing works by 45 international photographers, two symposia and the photography award »8. Merck-Preis of Darmstadt Photography Days« worth 10,000 Euro invite to encounters between the exhibiting artists and the audience and discussions about the annual topic »Bizarre Escapes – Humor in Photography«. The works selected receive an extended dimension of possible interpretation while new works, added to the festival’s curatorial program, reflect more directly on how to deal with the pandemic.

The festival already kicks off on the weekend of September 12 & 13, 2020 with the exhibitions »HOME SWEET HOME« (curated by Kunstforum of TU Darmstadt) and »Living Together«/ »Heide Stolz. Affairs« (Kunsthalle Darmstadt).

The festival week will begin on Friday, October 23, 2020 with the presentation and award ceremony of the »8. Merck-Preis of Darmstadt Photography Days« at Designhaus Darmstadt on Mathildenhöhe and the opening of the exhibition »Staging Identity. Masquerade, Costuming and Performative Play« at Institut Mathildenhöhe, Museum Künstlerkolonie.
The exhibition trail is complemented by further artists’ contributions showcased in OFF-Spaces all over the city center of Darmstadt.
The international symposium is planned to take place on Saturday, October 24, 2020.
»11. Darmstadt Photography Days« will be extended by video documentation and a solo-exhibition following the »Artist in Residence« program which took place at »Kultur einer Digitalstadt« as a collaboration between »11. Darmstadt Photography Days«, Kunstforum of TU Darmstadt and »Kultur einer Digitalstadt« in spring 2020.

»11. Darmstadt Photography Days« – Overview
12 September to 16 November, 2020: »HOME SWEET HOME«
(curated by Kunstforum of TU Darmstadt)
13 September to 03 January, 2021: »Living together« and »Heide Stolz. Affairs«
(Kunsthalle Darmstadt)
23 October, 2020: Award ceremony of the »8. Merck-Preis of Darmstadt Photography Days« & exhibition opening of the group-show showcasing works by the shortlisted artists (Designhaus Darmstadt)
24 October, 2020 to 28 February, 2021: »Staging Identity. Masquerade, Costuming and Performative Play«
(Institut Mathildenhöhe, Museum Künstlerkolonie)
24 October, 2020: Symposium on the festival’s topic »Bizarre Escapes – Humor in Photography«

ARTISTS participating in the exhibitions

AdeY, Ute Behrend, Katrin Binner, Anna & Bernhard Blume, Candice Breitz, Thorsten Brinkmann, Joachim Brohm, Erik Clewe, Anton Corbijn, Heiko Daniels, Götz Diergarten, Elsa & Johanna, Anja Engelke, Samuel Fosso, Manuel Frolik, Rodney Graham, Martine Gutierrez, Ren Hang, Jana Hartmann, Andy Kassier, Juergen Klauke, Frank Kunert, Ivar Kvaal, Ute Mahler, Mirko Müller, John Myers, Jana Sophia Nolle, Joseph Obanubi, Patricia Paryz, Robert Pufleb & Nadine Schlieper, Christian Retschlag, Pipilotti Rist, Johanna Schlegel, Tom-Oliver Schneider, Cindy Sherman, Alexey Shlyk, Heide Stolz, Iiu Susiraja, Nikita Teryoshin, Lars Tunbjörk, N. A. Vague, Wolfgang Vollmer, Valerie Wolf Gang, Tori Wrånes, Erwin Wurm


Naomi Harris, Erik Kessels, Dr. Sophie-Charlotte Opitz, Kevin Pauliks, 
Juergen Teller

→ Press kit  & informational material

Download the official press release about the festival’s program  (Date: 05.03.2020; dates of exhibitions and events recently changed due to corona-pandemic have not yet been updated in this document. Updates coming soon)

ANNUAL TOPIC 2020: »Bizarre Escapes – Humor in Photography«

Humor and photography have more aspects in common than it might seem at first glance. Both of them probe the status quo, exaggerate events and process experiences from a specifically selected point of view.
With carefully set precision, photography employs odd perspectives in order to visualize the world we live in as concentrated moments or by means of unconventional staging of events.

Humor charmingly takes a look at the everyday, sketching its opposite with a slightly displaced gaze, playing with superficial associations – and causing things below the surface to flare up. Humor or satire in the image are able to visualize comical situations, surprising turns and unexpected contradictions.
The distanced or displaced mode of contemplation conveys new perspectives to us – and ideally, societal action can be derived from the unexpected findings. At all events, these findings make the gravity of life more bearable and query our attitudes, values and prejudices. We look for images and series that seriously and/or comically reveal to us new viewpoints and positions.


After ten editions of the festival, the structure and concept of »Darmstadt Photography Days« was renewed in 2019 by establishing a strong partnership with Kunstforum of TU Darmstadt. Ever since, »Darmstadt Photography Days« have been presented and organised by Kunstforum of TU Darmstadt.

The Kulturfonds Frankfurt RheinMain supports the festival as one of three triennials in the Rhein-Main-region. With its engagement, the Kulturfonds highlights the importance of contemporary photography for the region.