New objectivity: from nature to industry

 

 

 

© Albert Renger-Patzsch

 

 

Renger-Patzsch (1897-1966) approaches to photography by his father´s influence, an amateur photographer. He studied Humanities and, after his military service (where he collaborated as a scientific assistant), he started Physics at the University of Dresde. However, he gave up his studies to dedicate entirely to photography. He also felt attracted to writing (he wrote more than thirty photography books). Foremost among these is “Die Welt ist schön” (The world is beautiful), 1928, that is a classic of modern photography. 

 

 

© Albert Renger-Patzsch

 

 

The exhibition is organised in several sections that presents an overview of his artistic career, which combine his personal projects with commercial practices. Renger-Patzsch was a relevant figure of the German New Objectivity, an artistic movement that emerged after the end of World War I as a reaction against the Expressionism that preceded it. This current strove to represent the world in the most objective way possible in a period in which Europe was going through numerous changes. He considered photography as a technical invention that belonged to the field of science.

 

 

© Albert Renger-Patzsch

 

 

In a first period, he worked for a publisher by making photographies of plants and flowers in a very severe and technical way. Neutral, dark or blurred backgrounds allowed focusing on details. He developed a careful and thoughtful method which lets him represent an objective and faithful reality. His first photographs are compilated in the book “Die Welt ist schön”, formed by 100 images that show nature and human developments: plants, landscapes, objects, architecture, city, industry, etc. These artworks enhance the importance of the industry and seriality, highlighting the perspective and the contrast of lights and shadows.

 

 

© Albert Renger-Patzsch

 

 

It can be seen how the artist keep on eye on the modern city. This is consider the place where the new and the old violently coexist. Using geometry he propose complicated frames. Lately, he focused on the peaceful feeling that nature brings; he used to walk a long time to find out the best conditions to take his pictures. Then, he paid attention to organic shapes in nature, such as the different textures that contrast with industry pulid surfaces.

 

 

© Albert Renger-Patzsch

 

 

Renger-Patszch proposes a view that focuses on the new era. His photographs can be visited during summer months until the 10th of September in Mapfre Foundation Recoletos Hall, where can also be enjoyed an exhibition about portrait in the 20th century, in which different artists from all around the world and historical moments approach to the human figure in a variety of ways.

 

 

© Albert Renger-Patzsch

 

 

The CEART opens this Thursday, November 14th in the room A an exhibition dedicated to this master of photography, which will be open to the public until February 9th. The show includes one of the artist's latest projects, focused on the hard work carried out by the miners of Serra Pelada, an open gold mine in the heart of Brazil where employees daily risked their lives.

Immigration, poverty, marginal life, slave labour, man's relationship with the land, the use of natural resources... are issues that have always fascinated Salgado. From the beginning of his career as a photographer, his work has opted to give visibility to the most disadvantaged groups and to create with his images a vivid and impressive visual story without fakes. With a raw black and white, this author's work transits between photo-reportage and naturalistic photography.

And the idea that permeates all his work is human dignity. Salgado portrays employees, miners and gatherers from a purely humanistic approach that wants to value their integrity, their strength and their resilience.

“If you photograph a human, so that he is not represented in a noble way, there is no reason to take the picture. That is my way of seeing things.”

Salgado entered this discipline long after completing his studies in economics between Brazil and the United States, and a doctorate in statistics in France. But in 1973 his life took a turn, and he decided to start his career as a photographer. He achieved to work at the Gamma Agency and Magnum Photos for more than 15 years until in 1994 he founded his own agency “Amazonas Imagen”.

With the “Gold” project, the photographer portrays a harsh reality that takes place in the Serra Pelada mine, a name given to a totally devastated and anarchically excavated mining enclave, the world's largest open-pit gold mine, through which more than 50,000 people have passed. In the heat of the legends about the mysterious “El Dorado”, the enthusiasm for this precious metal led to the development of strenuous exploitation practices for the workers and to originate tales of grief and glory, of human victory and defeat between the soil, the tunnels and the cargo baskets.

The CEART exhibition brings together Salgado's full portfolio in his characteristical black and white and large-format photographs that leave no one indifferent.