Soon after the death of artist Ludwig Schönherr (1935-2016), his widow Beatrice Cordua (Schönherr) raised the idea of creating an organization dedicated to the project of caring for and disseminating Schönherr’s little-known body of work. After consultations with film scholar Marc Siegel, who was responsible for the first large-scale presentation of Schönherr’s work (Berlinale/Forum Expanded, 2009) and involved in continual research in the artist’s private archives, and Stefanie Schulte Strathaus, curator and co-director of the Arsenal – Institut for Film and Video Art in Berlin, the idea for Zoom – Ludwig Schönherr Laboratory was born. The laboratory, a non-profit organization founded in 2019, has two main goals: to archive, document and present Schönherr’s work in film, photography and installation and to draw attention to the work of other artists and thinkers who have similarly questioned or resisted the norms and conventions of the presentation, dissemination and marketing of art.
At the time of his death, Ludwig Schönherr remained a relatively unknown figure in German art and film history. Active as a filmmaker, photographer and installation artist from the mid-1960s until his death, Schönherr almost entirely refused public attention and exhibition, preferring instead to revise his theoretical and artistic concepts in private and share his work with friends and other artists. Taking inspiration from this steadfast refusal of the commercialization of art, Zoom– Ludwig Schönherr Laboratory nevertheless strives to bring greater attention to Schönherr’s body of work by situating it in a historical context and in dialogue with related art and critical practices.