Dr Barbara Engelbach, born in 1962, studied art history, German and cultural studies in Freiburg and Hamburg. From 1994 to 1997, she held a teaching post at the Universität Bremen in the art history department. In 1997 she wrote her PhD thesis in Hamburg on the subject of body art and video art. From 1997 to 1999, she was an academic assistant at the Westfälisches Landesmuseum Münster, and worked during this period for the "sculpture projects muenster 1997" and was co-curator of the Skulptur-Biennale in Münsterland in 1999. From 1999 to 2004, she was director of the Museum für Gegenwartskunst in Siegen. Here, she developed the concept, set up the museum, and opened it in Spring 2001. The main focus of the institution was photography and video in juxtaposition with more traditional art forms.
Since May 2004 she has been curator at the Museum Ludwig, Cologne and responsible for the contemporary art section of the collection, with the main emphasis on photography and media art. Barbara Engelbach’s publications and exhibitions focus above all on contemporary art, photography, video, and art in public spaces, as well as a media-theoretical exploration of intermedia, media specifics and the history of traditional art forms.
At Museum Ludwig she has curated monographic exhibitions by Rosemarie Trockel (2005), Manfred Pernice (2007) and on the photographic works of Ed Ruscha (2006), as well as smaller-scale presentations by Jeanne Faust, Corinna Schnitt, Ute Behrend and Anna & Bernhard Blume. In 2007 she presented the museum’s collection of contemporary photography in the exhibition “What does the jellyfish want?” and in an accompanying inventory catalogue entitled “Künstler & Fotografien 1959–2007”. Barbara Engelbach is currently preparing a similar exhibition and publication featuring the collection of video and film works at Museum Ludwig, scheduled to be shown in 2010.