Ulrich Schmitt, born in 1959 and living in Munich, is an artist with a conceptual approach to photography.


Beginning of the 1980s, he started off studying painting and graphics at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich but soon began using the medium of photography as a means of artistic expression.

A study visit for one year, granted by the DAAD in London, encouraged him in his artistic endeavors. Works on the subjects of architecture and landscape with sculptural and/or installation aspects informed his early career. Later on, his photographs of plants moved more and more into the foreground and became one of his main photographic research subject.


Since 2002 Ulrich Schmitt has been working on a project which he calls “Photographic Chemistry.” Josef Maria Eder (Austrian,1885-1944)[1] one of the most important photo chemists of his time, as well as contemporary artists like Sigmar Polke have inspired Schmitt to explore the physical and chemical processes of the medium.


Schmitt is particularly interested in the chemical processes for the colored redevelopment of black-and-white photographic papers, which were introduced at the end of the 19th century, a time when this elaborate artistic research project took off. These techniques originally served to increase the durability of photographs but were soon applied, even before the invention of color photography, as a means of creative use to explore the extensive spectrum of colors.


Schmitt in his work uses precious and rare metal compounds made from palladium, gold, uranium, antimony, lead, copper, iron, chromium, and mercury salts, which are reminiscent of long-forgotten alchemical experiments.


For a long time the choice of motifs concentrates on pictorial representations of plants, which are often photographed over several weeks.

The special range of colors in the work and the division of the motifs into individual strips lead to abstract image composition.


Most recently Schmitt has also been creating monochrome photographic works in large formats in which he investigates pure color surfaces and surface texture. Sketch-like smaller works, which are also provided with handwritten notes in pencil, show the often time-consuming attempts and sometimes also the failure of the planned project but always lead to surprising results.


Throughout his artistic career he has been working on many commissions for insurance and financial companies.


As a lecturer at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, it is important to him to convey the renewed interest in analogue photography with almost forgotten processes from the 19th and 20th centuries on a scientific basis. His special focus is on environmentally friendly further processing of photo materials.


[1] Johann Maria Eder, 1885-1944, was probably the most important photochemist of his time, including the silver gelatine process and a large number of toning processes co-developed and published.



Grants : 

Stipendium des DAAD für London, 1987 | Förderstipendium des Kunstfonds e.V., 1996 | Projektstipendium der Landeshauptstadt München, 1999 | Erwin und Gisela von Steiner Stiftung 1994/2008 | Prinzregent Luitpold Stiftung, 1994 | Kulturfonds Bayern, 2010 | 



In collections : 

Art collection Munich Re | E.ON art collection | Art collection Continentale Versicherung | MEAG art collection |  Art collection Versicherungskammer Bayern |  Art collection Versicherungskammer Bayern |  Art collection of Landesregierung Tirol |  Art collection Würth | Keller und Kalmbach art collection |  Art collection BMW AG |



Some exhibitions :

installations, Goethe-Institut, New York, 1988 | fünf räume, Kunstverein Göttingen 1989 | provisorium, Staatsgalerie Moderner Kunst, München 1992 | am saarweg, Kunstverein Langenhagen, 1993 | selestart, junge Fotografie aus Frankreich und Deutschland, Selestat, 1993 | ihr portrait, Internationale Fototrienale Esslingen, 1998 | en plein air, Rathausgalerie Kunsthalle, München 1999 | privatpublic, Gasteig, München 2001 | the hinterland, Neue Galerie Dachau, 2005 | arbeiswelten, Bundes-Kunsthalle Bonn 2005 | photos, Luftmuseum Amberg, 2013 | 

munich highlights, Galerie f5,6, 2015 | aipad photography show, New York, 2016 | photochemistry, Galerie f5,6 2017 | image and imagination, Galerie Parotta, Köln und Schloss Lede, Bonn | aipad photography show, New York, 2019 | munich highlights, Galerie Ira Stehmann Fine Art, München 2021



Some interventions : 

bain meets artists, photo work Sirona, Bain and Company, 1999 | Wall design in the head office of Bilfinger+Berger AG, München, 2000 | 

group portrait, Bain and Company, München, 2000 | Documentation new building site Versicherungskammer Bayern, Giesing 2001-2003 | haus florian, artistic design for a Munich Reinsurance conference center on Lake Schliersee 2007 | deutschland landschaft, extensive wall design over 6 floors for two office buildings of E.ON AG in Hannover