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01/08/17

Josef Koudelka / Hans Hansen / Optical Illusions

Josef Koudelka . Invasion / Exiles / Wall
Prague, Wenceslas Square, August 22, 1968: An arm is thrust into the picture. The watch on its wrist indicates the time. In the days before, tanks of the Warsaw Pact had entered the city to the screech of tank tracks on the cobblestones. This photograph by Josef Koudelka fits chronologically into his series Invasion, in which he shows the passionate resistance of his compatriots to the Red Army’s determination to quell by bloody means the democratic fervor of the Prague Spring. But it is also the first photograph in his book Exiles, published twenty years later, in 1988, by Robert Delpire. 1968 was a pivotal year—both in the West and in the East. Koudelka’s photographs leave a lasting impression of these historical events, conveying a vibrant immediacy and intimacy with the situation and the depicted people that goes beyond  all documentation.
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Hans Hansen . Still Life
A VW Golf, built in 1988, neatly dismantled into around 7,000 pieces, graphically arranged glass blocks, the silhouette of a flower, or the captured image of a Japanese wooden mask—Hans Hansen’s view of things is greatly reduced, linear, and simultaneously full of energy. He always treats industrially manufactured products, natural objects, and everyday objects with the same precision and dedication. Technical accuracy and graphic minimalism lend the objects a visual life. Since the 1960s hardly any other photographer in the profession has shaped our perception of the everyday world of things as decisively as Hans Hansen.
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Optical Illusions . Contemporary Stil Life
Set tables, elaborate floral arrangements, ostentatious compositions of books, trophies, glasses, and instruments count among the well-known motifs of classical still lifes and have for centuries been a canon of European art history. These once precious and symbolically charged objects have gradually given way to everyday objects. Meanwhile, perfume bottles, marbles, soft candy, hair shampoo, Starbucks cups, and pizza boxes are the objects of today’s still lifes.
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