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The Dwelling Life of Man. Photography from Margulies collection

22.09.2012 - 06.01.2013

Presentation of a selection from the extensive collection of photography of American collector Martin Z. Margulies, curated by guest curator Régis Durand for the presentation space Foto Colectania in Barcelona. The theme is the way man inhabits the earth, creates himself a home there and forms societies. With many photographers as witnesses to this action.

Group show

Artists: Group show

Kunsthal KAdE will exhibit a selection of 160 works from the extensive photography collection of Martin Z. Margulies in Miami from September 22, 2012 to January 6, 2013. Guest curator is Frenchman Régis Durand, former director of the Jeu de Paume in Paris and the Centre National de la Photographie in Paris. Durand based his choice on a phrase from a poem by the German poet Friedrich Hölderlin (1770-1843): 'Wenn in die Ferne geht der Menschen wonend Leben', translated by him as "The Dwelling Life of Man. The exhibition was shown earlier this year at Spanish institutions Foto Colectania (Barcelona) and Fundación Barrié (Coruña).

Condition Humaine; the 'social' or 'documentary' photography
In his selection, Durand concentrates on photography that focuses on the "condition humaine": both the physical built environment, the people who live and work in it, and the characteristic "signs" found in the human environment. Durand selected world-renowned photographers/artists from the twentieth century. Works on view include: Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, Lee Friedlander, Ed Ruscha, Helen Levitt, Stephen Shore, William Eggleston, Andreas Gursky, Gillian Wearing, Gregory Crewdson, Joel Sternfeld and Roni Horn.

Durand divides the exhibition into three "hatches.
- 'Building, wandering: exploring territories',
- 'Being in the world' and
- 'Movement, signs, symbols'.

Building wanderings: exploring areas (part 1)
In "Building, Wandering and Exploring Territories," the built environment takes center stage. These are the elevations, houses and buildings that man dreamed and created to shape her life and business. Look at the environment man created for himself and it tells something about that man. The section shows architecture as well as the physical condition of cities and living environments. Represented in this section are photographers such as Lewis Baltz, Stephen Shore, Ed Ruscha, Bernd & Hilla Becher and James Casebere. From the Albanian artist Anri Sala shows a life-size video projection documenting an improvement program of a desolate suburb of the Albanian capital, Tirana.

Being in the world (part 2)
'Being in the world' offers a view of the social side of inhabiting the world. What are our living conditions and who lives and works there? This ranges from the street photography of Bernice Abbott and Helen Levitt (including in the black neighborhood of Harlem, NY, in the 1930s) to the (working-class) portraits of Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans, August Sander and Zwelethu Mthethwa. In addition, the depiction of machinery by Albert Renger-Patzsch and Thomas Ruff, as silent witnesses to an industrial context that has been so crucial to 20th century man. The Indian Amar Kanwar in his video work "A Season Outside," depicts the tensions in the border region between India and Pakistan in the form of a train journey between the two countries. A journey fraught with historical relationships (and shared histories). Conflict also organizes living conditions.

'Movement, signs, symbols' (section 3)
This ("Flux, Signs, Symbols") is the most complex of the three hatches. Several themes converge here. Such as the focus on nature, which has great influence on life on Earth. It causes devastation, as by Hurricane Katrina near New Orleans in 2005 (portraits of "survivors" by Jeff Brouws), but is also fragile (photo series of Iceland's "pristine" nature from Olafur Eliasson). Each culture then has its own significant "symbol images. Alec Soth, Joel Sternfeld and William Eggleston (an extensive series of whom will be shown) penetrate deep into the soul of American society with their keen view of characteristic situations. Also Gregory Crewdson shows an "All American Scene," but rigged with a hefty dose of surrealism. Luc Delahaye finally brings us to a contemporary reality: the impact of war (Afghanistan) on everyday life.

Man in his environment
The way people live and live is constantly changing driven by the spirit of the times. Once there were only agricultural communities, where nature dictated how life went. Then came the industrial revolution and the rise of electricity that changed a lot. Today there is digital technology that directs and sometimes dictates human life. Next to that are the economic and social structures that condition how we live. And then there is the overarching nature, which can be destructive or creative. This cocktail of influences - which also varies by "region" - creates the picture of our societies.

Within the hotchpotch of images and influences, there is one constant: man. How does he adapt - time and again - to the circumstances? How does it move - wander - through this ever-changing society? There are numerous interesting sociological and anthropological studies that try to find an answer to this question. Who try to make an analysis in a scientific way. Just as interesting, however, are the artists and photographers who try to grasp life and the spirit of the times with their specific gaze.

Especially in photography, this is a very attractive subject. Photography is a direct reflection of that which takes place before our eyes. A photographic image gives an idea of 'objective' (co-)experience, which is not present in painting, among other things. With his lens, the photographer is the mirror of everyday life. Or rather seems to be, because the medium of photography is also enormously manipulable and therefore subjective. However, the aura of "reality" hangs more emphatically around it. Particularly in the twentieth century, strong currents developed within photography that focused on the 'condition humaine': 'social' or 'documentary' photography. Many great photographers dealt with the subject. At the end of the century, they were joined by a group of photographers who, from the metier of fine art - which is traditionally more autonomous and subjective - began to use photography to represent reality.

About the Martin Z. Margulies Collection
The Martin Z. Margulies Collection in Miami, Florida, has amassed an enormous collection of photographic work (approximately 2,000 pieces) over the past few decades, in which the "condition humaine" is an important constant. The collection spans the entire 20th century, with especially strong cores of American and European photography.

About guest curator Régis Durand
For the Spanish institutes Foto Collectania in Barcelona and Fundación Barrié in Coruña, French curator Régis Durand (former director of exhibition center Jeu de Paume and of the Centre National de la Photograhie, both in Paris) made a selection of 160 photographs from the vast collection on the theme of "the human condition. Durand chose the title "The Dwelling Life of Man," taken from a poem by German poet Friedrich Hölderlin (1770-1843), in which he poetically depicts man's wandering through the world. Durand elaborated his concept in three chapters, "Building, wandering: exploring areas," "Being in the world," and "Movement, signs, symbols. In one of his accompanying texts, Régis Durand writes: "There is a way of looking at the world as an enormous organism, breathing slowly and letting visions, thoughts and words in and out, like a living membrane. If, as Hölderlin says, 'man wanders poetically,' it is precisely in this malleability, man's ability to perceive the secret life of places and things and absorb them into himself. Artists give us an intensified experience of that capacity."

Explanation of title 'The Dwelling Life of Man'
Durand based his choice on a phrase from a poem by the German poet Friedrich Hölderlin (1770-1843): 'Wenn in die Ferne geht der Menschen wonend Leben', translated by him as "The Dwelling Life of Man.


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