On a blog dedicated to colour I make no excuse for featuring black and white prints that document the traumatic period in Germany from the end of the first world war up to the second world war. I have captioned the shots as they were, originally. I have only posted a fraction of the images on show. It is truly worth visiting the exhibition. MEN WITHOUT MASKS photographic exhibition of work by the late August Sander, a forefather of conceptual art and a pioneering documentary maker of human diversity. The exhibition features a selection of his work made between 1910 and 1931.
August Sander (b.1876) was born in Herdorf , a mining town east of Cologne. While working at a local slagheap as a youth he serendipitously encountered a visiting landscape photographer and was fascinated by the ‘magic box’ through which he saw the world.
With some financial assistance from his uncle, Sander purchased a camera. He went on to work as a photographers assistant before setting up his own studio. In a lifelong project entitled ‘People Of the 20th Century’, Sander documented contemporary German society.
The exhibition features an extensive range of large-scale Sander photographs. Made between 1910 and 1931, the portraits on view paint a picture of Germany’s complex socio-economic landscape in the years leading up to the Weimar Republic.
In 1927 alongside the Cologne Artist Group, Sander showed 100 photographs of his work in an exhibition entitled ‘People of the 20th Century.’ The show was positively received by the press.
Shortly after Sander published his first book ‘Face of our time’. The book featured 60 photographs that was a representation of a heterogeneous German society. In 1936 the Nazi’s destroyed the printing blocks of the book and destroyed any unsold copies.
Sander set out to depict,with eloquence and empathy, the faces of his world. At the same time, he embarked on a massive conceptual project predicated upon the existence of typologies around profession and social class that can, and do, reduce faces to masks.
Hauser and Wirth 23 Savile Row W1S 2ET 18th May – 28th July Tuesdays 10am-6pm