“When people laugh and cry at the same time when looking at my pictures, that’s precisely the reaction the pictures evoke in me. The things are neither fundamentally good, nor bad. I am always interested in portraying both extremes.”—Martin Parr
The English photographer Martin Parr is considered one of the most important representatives of contemporary documentary photography and a chronicler of our time. From July 19 to November 10, 2019, the NRW-Forum Düsseldorf will present the most comprehensive retrospective to date of the British photographer who scans the world with a precise and loving eye and at the same time holds up a mirror to it.
Martin Parr's favorite motif is the human being in their everyday or individually chosen environment. His photographs often seem exaggerated, shrill, colorful, sometimes grotesque. There is often something bewildered and ruthless in his view of people. Paired with the typical English humor, he photographs the world and the people who live in it in the most dazzling colors.
With over 400 works, the exhibition is the most comprehensive retrospective of the British Magnum photographer to date. In addition to works from famous series such as The Last Resort, Think of England, Luxury, Life's a Beach, and Common Sense, the exhibition in Düsseldorf also includes early photographs from his debut series Bad Weather. The Martin Parr Retrospective not only shows the photographer as a satirist, but also focuses on his photographic skills and the contemporary use of the medium of photography. The series Kleingärtner (Allotment Gardeners), which Martin Parr photographed in the greater Düsseldorf area, was created especially for the exhibition at the NRW-Forum.
For his photographs, Martin Parr, who has been a member of the Magnum Photos agency since 1994, goes to people's favorite places: the beach, tourist attractions, excursion destinations. He searches for places with extremes and is a master at uncovering networks of relationships and social structures. Using the stylistic device of exaggeration, he presents clichés in detail and likes to show people’s often obscene self-presentation or consumer behavior. At the beginning of his career in the 1970s, he documented the immediate surroundings of his homeland in high-contrast black-and-white photographs. At the beginning of the 1980s he increasingly used color, changed his style, and switched from a 35mm camera to the new Plaubel 6x7 medium format camera. His project The Last Resort, begun in 1982 and first published in 1986, documented British beach life in New Brighton and is now regarded as a milestone in photography and brought him international recognition. The touching and often disturbing photographs show the everyday life of the British seaside resort in a completely new way. They question the concept of beauty and examine the beautiful in the ugly and the ugly in the beautiful, stylistically supported by Martin Parr's typical use of the camera flash in daylight.
The exhibition was developed and curated by Ralph Goertz, director of the IKS—Institut für Kunstdokumentation (Institute for Art Documentation), who has already featured at the NRW-Forum with the exhibitions Joel Meyerowitz Retrospective and Lindbergh/Winogrand: Women on Street.
Martin Parr Retrospective
Duration: 19/07 – 10/11/2019
Opening: 18/07/2019, 7 pm
Press Preview: 1870772019, 11 am
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