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Double exhibition of works by Julian Röder and Robert Capa opens at Kunsthalle Erfurt
Julian Röder, Genua, 2001, aus der Serie The Summits, 2001 - 2008, C-Print, 210 x 140 cm © Julian Röder, courtesy Russi Klenner, Berlin.
ERFURT.- As part of its photo exhibition series “CC – Classic Contemporary“, the Kunsthalle Erfurt presents a double exhibition of works by Julian Röder (*1981) and Robert Capa (1913-1954). Both photographers focus on such themes as “socio-political processes of change” in which “conflict and war” serve as the catalysts or consequences of these processes. Like Capa, Röder is not only fascinated with the (potential) violence or military engagement, but rather the tensions of human interaction and co-existence which precede these.

Röder is particularly interested in social changes and upheavals that are driven by historic-political events, in other words, in their “real” visible form, which, to some extent, can be attributed to the artist’s background. Yet by focusing on the East-West German conflict, he also documents transformation processes around the world, driven in large part by globalization. In his photos, he presents those empty phrases and catchwords of bygone, post-modern phenomena and their consequences in a very concrete way. However, Röder’s photos also play on the contrasting aesthetics of paintings of historic battles, advertising images and photo-journalism. He makes reference to our viewing habits and points of view, and consciously creates ambiguity of perspective. This might make his (recent) works appear more artistically motivated that the iconic (war) reporting and propaganda photos by Endre Ernö Friedmann. But it wasn’t only the “Americanised” pseudonym which made Robert Capa a legend. In hindsight, it was his life story and physical appearance which gave the photographer and co-founder of Magnum Photos such charisma, evident even in his self-portraits. These portraits reflect Capa’s eventful life, his politically motivated “bravado and daredevil camera work”. His auratic B/W photos are proof of how “close-up” Capa literally was in each scene. What is also fascinating was his ability to capture that immanently “right” moment – the spectacular moment. Yet Capa was also strongly influenced by the aesthetics of the classical avant-garde (and its proximity to propaganda and advertising), as we see in his photos of life in Russia and that of Ukrainian peasants after World War II.

As part of its CC – Classic Contemporary series at the Erfurt Kunsthalle, this double exhibition includes almost all of Julian Röder’s past photo series and comparatively presents them alongside selected works by Robert Capa.

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