b&w photography in Antibes

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Do Not Refreeze - Photography Behind the Berlin Wall

Do Not Refreeze - Photography Behind the Berlin Wall


Sibylle Bergemann, Kirsten, Hoppenrade, 1975.

MANCHESTER, UK.- Cornerhouse presents Do Not Refreeze - Photography Behind the Berlin Wall with artists Ursula Arnold, Sibylle Bergemann, Arno Fischer, Helga Paris, Evelyn Richter, Maria Sewcz, Erasmus Schroeter, Gundula Schulze-Eldowy,and Ulrich Wüst. The exhibition will be on view through June 17, 2007 and was curated by Matthew Shaul. Do Not Refreeze brings together a group of photographers whose extraordinary contribution to European photography has been 'frozen out' by the Cold War. Almost completely unknown in Britain, these artists developed their practice in the former East Germany negotiating its omnipresent secret police to create imagery, increasingly compared to that of luminaries such as Henri Cartier-Bresson, Diane Arbus and Paul Strand.

Disparate in background and experience, their works use an unforgiving documentary aesthetic to convey both the harsh realities and remarkable richness of life behind the iron curtain. The stunning images convey a glimpse of day-to-day life and evoke the claustrophobia, rage, envy and ideological pomp of the Communist era as well as its unexpected personal warmth, tenderness and exoticism.

Sticking closely to the mantra of 'realism' - the state-directed creed that defined what was artistically acceptable - these photographers circumnavigated a rigid system of censorship to produce the most insightful and openly critical visual arts output in East Germany's forty-year history. Had they been painters, sculptors, authors or playwrights, these photographers would have been arrested or imprisoned for their brazen portrayals of the underbelly of the socialist experiment. However, as photography was not considered by the East German authorities to be 'art', these artists were, incredibly, not only able to work and have ongoing professional contact with their western contemporaries such as Robert Frank and Henri Cartier Bresson, but sometimes also to publish and exhibit in this police state.

All these photographers had at their disposal were the pared down range of motifs, locations and subject matter, of East Germany, the Soviet Union and its satellite states. The resulting images reveal the humour, stoicism and resignation with which East Germany's citizens dealt with their lives.

Do Not Refreeze is a touring exhibition from the University of Hertfordshire Galleries. Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, Arts Council England, and IFA - the German Government's Institute for Foreign Relations. With support from Goethe Institut, Manchester and Staatliche Galerie, Moritzburg Halle, Landeskunstmuseum, Saxony-Anhalt.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Sale of Photographs at Sotheby's New York

Sale of Photographs at Sotheby's New York


Edward Weston, Nude on Sand, 1936, est. $200/300,000. © Sotheby's 2007.

NEW YORK.- Sotheby’s April 26th sale of photographs from various-owners will feature a selection of outstanding works by many 20th-century photographers, including work from the early part of the century, fashion photography, as well as an assortment of notable contemporary photographs. The sale is expected to bring $3.7/5.5 million*. Two additional single-owner sales of photographs will also be held in April: An Important Collection of Photographs by Eugène and Adalbert Cuvelier (April 13) and Photographs from the Private Collection of Margaret W. Weston (April 25-26).

Among the 20th-century works on offer is an impressive selection of photographs by Diane Arbus. Most notable among these are two prints of exceptional rarity. The first, an early print of what may be the artist’s most famous image, Identical Twins, Roselle, New Jersey, 1967 (est. $400/600,000), is dedicated ‘for Harold’ by the photographer in the margin. The inscription is to Harold P. Hayes, the architect of the New Journalism movement and legendary editor of Esquire who, with art director Robert Benton, assigned Arbus her first photographic essay, published in the July 1960 issue of the magazine. The other is an early print of Triplets, New Jersey, 1963 (est. $150/250,000), which comes originally from the collection of Ann Ray Martin, a reporter for Newsweek who interviewed Arbus for the magazine in 1967. Also offered in the sale is a selection of posthumous prints made by Neil Selkirk, including a print of Child with a toy hand grenade in Central Park, N.Y.C., 1962 (est. $100/150,000), among others.

Also on offer are works by early 20th-century masters. Among these is a mounted and fully-signed early print of a particularly rare image from 1936 by Edward Weston from his series of nude studies of Charis on the dunes at Oceano (est. $200/300,000). This print comes originally from the collection of famed gossip-columnist and screenwriter Louella Parsons. Another early 20th-century highlight of the sale is an early print of Laszlo Moholy-Nagy’s Berlin (from the Radio Tower), 1928 (pictured here, est. $120/180,000). Early examples of this important image are rare, and the present print shows more of the original negative than is seen in most other versions. In addition, it has an exceptional provenance, coming originally from the photographer Moï Ver.

Another highlight of the sale will be a portfolio of 302 photographs by Bob Seidemann, The Airplane as Art, 1986-97 (est. $200/300,000). This impressive group of images documents the history of the airplane and its creators. It includes photographs of abandoned aircrafts, planes in flight, and portraits of the most important men in the history of aviation, many of which are signed by the sitters.

A number of Irving Penn’s most desirable images are represented in this sale, including platinum-palladium prints of Woman in a Moroccan Palace, 1951 (est. $200/300,000), Cuzco Children, 1960 (est. $200/300,000), Girl Drinking (Mary Jane Russell), 1949 (est. $80/120,000), and a mural-sized, four-section, platinum-palladium print of Cigarette #37, 1972 (est. $120/180,000), among others.

Among the late 20th-century and Contemporary pieces on offer are several unique Peter Beard works, including an oversized print of Natives with Crocodile Skin, 1970s (est. $60/90,000). Other artists represented in this group are Henry Wessel, Sally Mann, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Christopher Bucklow, Adam Fuss, and Thomas Struth, among others.