The launch of The La Brea Matrix

On July 21st 1975 the intersection of Beverly Boulevard and La Brea Avenue entered photographic history. This is where Stephen Shore, considered one of the leading protagonists of the New Colour Movement, took his legendary photograph in front of a Chevron gas station. The resulting image, La Brea, constitutes the conceptual core of this project and installation, which is the first presentation in Ireland by the newly formed PhotoBook Museum based in Cologne.
BeverlyBlvd&LaBreaAve_LA, for installation in La Brea Matrix, Gallery of Photography Dublin Ireland, 2015,
BeverlyBlvd&LaBreaAve_LA, for installation in La Brea Matrix, Gallery of Photography Dublin Ireland, 2015,

The Project:

Six young photographers from Germany were invited to Los Angeles in 2009-2010 to search for photographic points of reference to this iconic picture. As the goal of the project is not homage, a conscious decision was made to leave the criteria open. The photographers were allowed to focus on any aspect of the image, for example on iconography, form, aesthetics or its reception in history.
These photographers are Jens Liebchen (Berlin), Max Regenberg (Colonge), Oliver Sieber (Düsseldorf), Olaf Unverzart (Munich), Robert Voit (Munich) and Janko Woltersmann (Hanover).


The La Brea PhotoBook Study:

Developed by Markus Schaden, Photobook Studies are a completely new way of approaching the photobook. Presented in a rhizomatic map, materials are arranged graphically to illustrate the artistic, historical and social origins of the photobook. It is intended to show the people, events and developments that influenced the author within the structure of the book itself. In the case of Shore’s La Brea image, the Photobook study shows the significance of this image in Shore’s work, and its influence on photographic practice and photobooks up to the present.
Studio La-X by Klaus Weidner:
In 2010 German photographer Klaus Weidner started collecting negatives from the estate of an anonymous photographer at auction. Several thousand photographs have been discovered, all shot between 1956 – 1979 in Los Angeles. Weidner give the pseudonym LA-X to the unknown photographer, whose presence is evident only in shadows cast or reoccurring cars, presumably belonging to the photographer. The style and the high technical quality of these photographs stays stable over a twenty year period but their function and purpose remain enigmatic. It seems they were made as visual evidence for contexts like mapping, surveying and forensics. The systematic approach to documenting streets and intersections apparent in this archive visually references some of the works by Ed Ruscha and the New Topographics Movement, but it also prefigures more contemporary visual phenomena like Satellite imagery and the aesthetics of Google Street View.

The Photobook Museum:

The Photobook Museum was founded by Markus Schaden in 2014 as a tribute to this central form of expression within photography. Its first incarnation was housed in the massive Carlswerk space, a former industrial site in Cologne which was filled with containers full of photobooks; a selection of individual PhotoBook studies; a book research lab run by Dortmund university; workshop areas and an almost-to-scale replica of ‘Café Lehmitz’ immortalised by Anders Petersen’s book of the same name. This installation for Gallery of Photography Ireland was curated by Markus Schaden and Linn Seeger.


About the Gallery of Photography Ireland

Established in 1978 the Gallery of Photography is Ireland’s centre for contemporary photography. The Gallery has exhibited many of the leading names in international photography and provides an important platform for emerging artists from Ireland and abroad. In addition to exhibitions, the gallery also provides photography courses, a specialist photography bookshop, membership programme, fully serviced studio/darkrooms and digital printing and scanning facilities all of which are available for hire at subsidised rates. The Gallery is non-profit arts organisation. It is funded by the Arts Council and Dublin City Council, and also welcomes donations, sponsorship and support from all those interested in promoting photographic arts.

Gallery of Photography Ireland

Markus Schaden Talk: Friday 4th September 5pm
Private View Reception: Friday 4th September 6.30pm
Gallery Guided Tour by the curators, Markus Schaden and Linn Seeger: Saturday 5th September at 1.15pm

Meeting House Square
Temple Bar – Dublin 2


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