All posts tagged: New Objectivity

Class struggle at the Centre Pompidou, Paris

From 07 November to 04 February, the Centre Pompidou in Paris is showing a striking exhibition on a little-known aspect of the roots of 20th century social documentary photography, Photographie, arme de classe [which roughly translates as ‘Photography as a weapon in the class struggle’]. Curated by Damarice Amao, Florian Ebner and Christian Joschke, the show deals with a comparatively unknown period in French photo history, from the end of the 1920s to the arrival of the Front populaire government of 1936 – when the socialist, communist and radical parties formed a short-lived coalition to govern France, with the tacit backing of the Soviet Union.

Photographer and activist Henri Tracol (1909-1997) was the first to formulate the idea that photography could be an “arme de classe”, in the tract he wrote for the photographer’s section of the Association des Écrivains et Artistes Revolutionnaires [‘Association of Revolutionary Writers and Artists’ aka the AEAR], formed in 1932. Although this communist front, Moscow-sponsored organisation only lasted a few years, it attracted many of the leading figures of the day from art, theatre, literature, architecture, and particularly photography. Those who joined were either fellow travellers or politically attached to communism, seeing it as a bastion against the twin evils of the time – fascism and capitalism.

2018-11-23T11:51:01+00:00

In Paris: Things, a celebration of Albert Renger-Patzsch at the Jeu de Paume

A prolific artist whose career spanned over 45 years, Albert Renger-Patzsch (1897–1966) was a leading pioneer of photography and of New Objectivity. Creating a new photographic realism characterised by extreme simplicity and originality, the German image-maker lead a revolution in seeing that remains influential today. Now a new retrospective at the Jeu de Paume, Paris, is celebrating his legacy by showing 154 photographs taken from the breadth of his career. Many were shot in the 1920s and 30s, or are rooted in his work from that time, and reflect an era in which industry was thriving and technology becoming widespread. “To do justice to modern technology’s rigid linear structure, to the lofty gridwork of cranes and bridges, to the dynamism of machines operating at one thousand horsepower – only photography can do that,” he wrote in an essay featured in Das Deutsche Lichtbild [The German Photograph] in 1927. “…The absolutely correct rendering of form, the subtlety of tonal gradation from the brightest light to the darkest shadow, impart to a technically expert photograph the magic of experience.” But Renger-Patzsch …

2017-11-10T15:07:23+00:00

BJP Staff