The human face is surprisingly full of expression and we tend to “scan” it in order to differentiate between the smallest changes in mimics of others.
The recognition of human faces and mimics is so important that an entire area in our brains is devoted solely to this task. So it is not too surprising that the portrayal of the human face also takes up a great role in art.
Since ancient times, artists have been producing portraits not only of rulers, but also of prominent figures of public life. These portraits have mostly been used in the absence of said person and gave that person a sort of symbolic presence, in which they continued living through their representations. They did not only reflect the prominence of said persons, which is mostly connected to an illusion of success and luck, but also with intelligence, beauty and talent. Through this tradition a cult of celebrities evolved, which has undergone rapid changes in the course of the last centuries. The changes and developments in technology play a great role in this process. One of the most important inventions in said field was of course the invention and development of photography. This medium, which has been a quite new invention back then, was to supersede painting, especially in regards to portraiture, in the course of the 19th century.
Bruno Bernard (Bernard of Hollywood) | Patrick Demarchelier | Elliott Erwitt | Abe Frajndlich | Greg Gorman | Thomas Hoepker | Arnold Newman | Irving Penn | Marc Riboud | Dietmar Schneider | Jeanloup Sieff | Karin Székessy
With the the exhibition “famous faces”, the visitor may appropriate to portraiture in photography in a way that has never been done in the in focus Galerie. One can see the most important faces of the 20th century, portrayed by the best photographers of that time. Those masters behind the camera are photographers like Elliott Erwitt, Jeanloup Sieff and Arnold Newman, who most likely belong to be best-known photographers of the 20th century. They are accompanied by works by Greg Gorman and Patrick Demarchelier, two significant fashion- and celebrity- photographers known all around the globe. The exhibition is completed through famous portraits by the magazine-photographers Abe Frajndlich and Thomas Hoepker, the best-known German Magnum-photographer. Celebrities of the 1950s and 60s have been portrayed by Bernard of Hollywood, while German authors and artists have been the center of Karin Székessy’s and Dietmar Schneider’s work.
In this exhibition the visitor can see: actors such as Marilyn Monroe, Sophia Loren and John Wayne, models such as Twiggy or Iman, musicians such as Stravinsky and Barbra Streisand, artists such as Andy Warhol, Joseph Beuys and Picasso, authors such as Lenz, Grass or Böll, but also politicians such as John F. Kennedy and Mao Tse Tung. These works do not only focus on the outward appearance of the portrayed person, but also their personalities and offer an insight in their contemporary lives.
“famous faces” manifests a wide range of contemporary portrait-photography, moving between documentary up to staging, from the reformulation of ikonographic traditions up to the artistic and conceptual aspects of photography.
In Focus Galerie
9 September – 29 October 2017
Hauptstrasse 114 . 50996 Köln