Current exhibition

Searching for traces of Munich - the exhibition

Searching for traces of Munich - the exhibition
After almost four years, Galerie Gerhard Grabsdorf is once again showing one of the very popular exhibitions (not only) with historical Munich photographs by Herbert Wendling.

A photographic search for traces, a journey through time and a walk through more than 90 years of Munich's city history.

Exhibition duration: 01.03.2024 - 09.05.2024

Tracing Munich - the exhibition
Photography moves - and so do the pictures of Herbert Wendling, a Munich city and contemporary city photographer, who created photo series of the Bavarian capital with his camera during and after the Second World War.

The city and its streets were one of Herbert Wendling's favorite motifs. On his tours through Munich's districts, he photographed a wide variety of buildings, squares and the life that took place there. This resulted in snapshots of the city in the pre- and post-war period up to the end of the 1960s.

Taken together, they show the fascinating transformation of Munich over the decades. It also becomes clear that the "good old days" often bear this name unjustly: Herbert Wendling's pictures, e.g. from the Au, show the poorest conditions; the houses appear run-down, their inhabitants do their laundry in the Auermühlbach.

Virtually no information has survived to tell us exactly when the photographs were taken, hardly any information about the exact locations or other helpful notes. Wendling's grandson set out on a search (for traces) and researched the locations. This resulted in the illustrated book "Munich 1930 - 1960", which is now out of print. He also recorded the changes photographically and documented them in a second illustrated book (Spurensuche München) and an interactive city map online (

Both historical Munich photographs and selected juxtapositions will be on display in the upcoming exhibition.

Tracing Munich - The shop window
In April and May, in addition to the exhibition in the gallery, there will be an external exhibition extension in the Donisl-Passage in one of the #kreativmuenchen shop windows (

Tracing Munich - the illustrated book
In December 2023, the illustrated book Spurensuche München was published, in which Gerhard Grabsdorf juxtaposes his own photographs with those of his grandfather Herbert Wendling.

Cities are subject to constant change. Houses, places and squares change, disappear or remain as they have always been. Caused by war destruction and reconstruction, by the spirit of the times, the need for new housing, trade and commerce, climate change, greed and many other good and bad reasons.

This transformation of the city between the 1930s and 2020s is documented in 58 juxtapositions in the book.

Tracing Munich - The homepage invites you to go for a walk! is an interactive, cross-temporal city guide (in development) for Munich.

In the first version, the juxtapositions from the book "Spurensuche München" are displayed on a city map.

Using the interactive map, you can determine your own location and thus go on a journey of discovery to the places and squares described in the illustrated book and trace the changes over time using the historical and current photos as well as the current situation on site.

The places and squares will be successively expanded. As part of the exhibition, they will be supplemented with photographs by Karlheinz Scherff from the 1970s and 1980s.

Further additions with material from the book "Munich 1930 - 1960" and beyond are planned.

Vernissage & accompanying program

Friday, the 01.03.2024, 19.00 o'clock

Gerhard Grabsdorf Gallery, Aventinstr. 10, 80469 Munich

Admission free, no invitation required

Reading with texts on the topic of Munich with Swiss journalist and writer Fabienne Pakleppa
Friday, the 15.03.2024, from 18.00 o'clock

The multi-award-winning writer (Ernst Hoferichter Prize of the City of Munich, Würth Literature Prize, etc.) lives in Munich and writes novels, radio plays, short stories, glosses and poetry. Most recently she read "von, über und mit Bier" at the Theater im Fraunhofer.

Evening opening
Thursday, 04.04.2024, 6.30 pm

Meeting at the #kreativmuenchen shop window in the Donislpassage at Marienplatz 1 followed by a visit to the gallery (until 9.00 pm).

Finissage with concert by the Munich band Oktober Folk Club
Thursday, 09.05.2024 (Father's Day), from 18.00 hrs.

Oktober Folk Club is the band for the time after the nuclear phase-out: their music doesn't need electricity, because it is the electricity - their charge consists of archaic rhythm'n'blues, country, jazz and doo-wop. All the party music from the time before rock'n'roll, when in some places the lights were still switched off with a bucket. Banjo, fiddle/harp, washtub - that's it. Unamplified.

Read more!

Pallas Athene - Ausstellung Spurensuche München Pallas Athene - Ausstellung Spurensuche München

About the Gallery

From the desire to exhibit the historical Munich photographs of his grandfather Herbert Wendling and the possibility to expand his studio space, the Gallery Gerhard Grabsdorf was born in 2010 and 2011.

After a provisional " construction site" in the still unrenovated rooms, the first Munich exhibition then took place in 2011 in the Valentin-Karlstadt-Musäum.

The first years of the gallery were characterized by great experimentation. From street art, often whimsical sculptures and objects, classical painting, comic and pop art to caricatures and, of course, photography, newcomers, but also established artists - mainly coming from Munich - were shown in group and solo exhibitions.

Since 2014, the gallery has focused on kinetic art, historical and contemporary photography, and selected artists from various art genres such as painting and sculpture.

Exhibition Philosophy

Over the years Gerhard Grabsdorf developed his own exhibition philosophy for his gallery.

The exhibitions should not put any artificial obstacles in the way of the visitors. They should invite people to visit the exhibitions, even if they are not primarily art enthusiasts. They should be designed in such a way that they also encourage passers-by in passing to visit the exhibition spontaneously.

The experience and the exchange are put in the foreground. In the case of the kinetic machines, for example, visitors often have to get into action themselves in order to set them in motion. With the photographs, the exchange between visitors about what they have experienced and seen is essential. The exhibitions can be compared more to modern museum exhibitions than to classical sales exhibitions, as they are known from the conventional gallery business.

The exhibits tell stories and/or evoke memories.

"Behind the machine, it is about the human - For man begins where purpose ends" (analogously after Schiller's "Letters on Aesthetic Education"). "Only beyond purpose and duty does he become free."

The success of the philosophy is evident in the diverse groups of visitors. The age range extends from kindergarten groups to mid-agers to aged seniors. The majority of visitors come from Munich and the surrounding area. However, visitors from other European countries - some of whom travel specially - are also welcome guests. The mostly extensive press coverage does the rest. In addition to the Süddeutsche Zeitung, the Bayerische Fernsehen, the Bayerischer Rundfunk, the Global Art Magazin, and Das Münchner Kunstjournal, the Münchner Merkur, the Abendzeitung, the TZ, the Münchner Feuilleton and many others have reported on the gallery.

One of the most outstanding (OFF-topic) projects of the gallery is the "LowTech Instruments Museum". A temporary museum for kinetic art machines by Charly-Ann Cobdak.

Read more!

Books, Calendars, etc.

Since 2011, a Munich calendar with historical photographs by Herbert Wendling has been published annually.

2020 came the illustrated book „Munich 1930 -  ...

Visual Arts

Painting & Sculpture Also occupy an important part of the gallery portfolio.

For example, regularly with the sculptures sawed (with a chainsaw) or formed from wire and  ...

Kinetic Art

As one of a few galleries, the gallery places one of its focuses on kinetic art.

Characteristic of kinetic art is objects in motion with the help of mechanical,  ...

Contemporary Photography

Photography serves as an important medium for documenting urban development. It influences the perception and opinion about places and cities.

With his urban photography  ...

The Gallery Offers ...

... exclusive and individual reproductions of historical and contemporary photography, illustrated books, catalogs, puzzles and calendars in its online store and gallery spaces.

See the offers

Visit the Gallery

Gallery Gerhard Grabsdorf

Gerhard Grabsdorf
Aventinstr. 10
80469 Munich - Germany
(Available by phone: Tues. - Fri.: 11:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. and Sat. 3:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.)

Opening Hours

Thursday & Saturday, from . 3:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m..

Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday is regularly open in the afternoon.

(Available by phone: Tues. - Fri.: 11:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. and Sat. 3:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.)