Chasing Stories: ‘Eyes wide open! 100 years of Leica photography’ featuring Julia Baier The stories behind the images, by curator Hans-Michael Koetzle at Eyes Wide Open! in Madrid

Following its enormous success in Germany, Austria, Belgium and Portugal the spectacular exhibition ‘Eyes Wide Open! 100 years of Leica photography’ is now visiting Spain on the next stop of its tour and can be seen in Madrid from May 11th to September 10th, 2017. More than 400 original prints are being shown in Madrid. Photographs by Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Nick Út, Alfred Eisenstaedt, Robert Lebeck, Julia Baier and François Fontaine document significant moments in the history of art and culture from 1914 to the present day. The exhibition showcases significant moments of the past century of Leica photography. Chasing Stories are written by curator Hans-Michael Koetzle and the exhibition will take place at Espacio Fundación Telefónica in Madrid.

 © Julia Baier: Untitled - work cycle „Geschwebe”, 2014
© Julia Baier: Untitled – work cycle „Geschwebe”, 2014

Julia Baier: untitled

From the Geschwebe (Suspension) cycle, 2014

Born in Augsburg in 1971, Julia Baier is now at home in Berlin. She is counted among an ambitious new generation of aspiring Leica photographers, whose work deliberately strives to explore new directions. The Geschwebe (Suspension) cycle is a threefold lesson. To start with, for Baier it is not about documenting the world or world events. As far as she is concerned, daily life has been documented more than enough. It is the medium itself that interests her. In her work she is asking how photographic images function, and how our seeing and perceptions are shaped. It is not about information, but about irritation. It is also not about clarification, but rather about a doubt in the honesty of a photographic iconography. In second place, Baier does not see herself as documentarian like the photographic generation before her. Instead she sees herself as an artist, seeking deeply personal answers to complex questions. Thirdly, Baier proves that there is no need to go on long, arduous journeys to exotic lands, to produce compelling images. In our case, Baier presents us with a simple courtyard in Berlin.

Someone has shovelled the snow, the side walks are clear. We see a few bicycles, garbage cans, an entrance to a home; but it does take some time to fully decode the black and white images – and that is precisely Baier’s artistic objective. In a time where vibrant, suggestive imagery flashes constantly before our eyes, she back tracks, challenging our perception through visual riddles, inviting us to delve deeper, to linger, to think, and see more consciously. Her photography seems to trip us up, force us to look more closely, which also means taking a step back. This too is part to the young photographer’s post-modern concept: that she confronts us with large formats, with a camera artistry reminiscent of panel-painting – in her case, in black and white of course.

Visit this website for more information about ‘Eyes Wide Open! 100 years of Leica photography.’

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