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Paparrazzi

"Since its beginning in the 1960s, paparazzi photography calls into question the relationship between the private and the public and exercises a substantial influence on the aesthetic of contemporary art production. Paparazzi! offers the first intense look at the people behind the camera—their impulses, aesthetic, and technique—but also at its reception by the public and people's insatiable desire for new images and exclusive news," states Max Hollein, director of the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt.

Photography courtesy of Schirn
www.schirn.de

Friday, 27.06.2014
14:15 (Cet)

 
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With Paparazzi! Photographers, Stars and Artists, beginning on June 27, 2014, the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt presents the most extensive exhibition in Germany on the global phenomenon and the aesthetic of paparazzi photography to date. Around 500 works and documents trace the unbroken fascination with star photography and at the same time reflect its influence on the visual arts and fashion photography. The presentation features "icons" of paparazzi photography that have been permanently etched on our visual memory, including Jackie Kennedy-Onassis during an seemingly casual walk through Manhattan, Lady Di fleeing from a frenzy of flashing cameras, or the younger "favorites" of paparazzi such as Paris Hilton or Britney Spears. Besides works by the most well-known representatives of paparazzi photography, such as Ron Galella, Pascal Rostain, Bruno Mouron, or Tazio Secchiaroli, the large-scale exhibition presents positions by artists such as Cindy Sherman, Gerhard Richter, Andy Warhol, Barbara Kruger, Paul McCarthy, and Richard Avedon, who have critically examined and sounded out the specific characteristics of the paparazzi aesthetic. Using photographs, videos, paintings, sculptures, work objects, documents, and much more, the exhibition tells stories from 50 years of paparazzi photography and sets it sights on the paparazzo himself. The presentation, which has been divided into three chapters, focuses on a profession that is admired and feared in equal measure and which secures its existence for the most part by means of secretly tracking and stalking famous celebrities and has made the tabloid press one of the highest-selling areas in the press sector—always on the scout and with the goal of publishing exclusive pictures of the unsuspected, the ostensibly confidential, and the personal. In the process, the exhibition also reveals the complex relationships and dependencies that occasionally develop between stars and the photographer.

"Since its beginning in the 1960s, paparazzi photography calls into question the relationship between the private and the public and exercises a substantial influence on the aesthetic of contemporary art production. Paparazzi! offers the first intense look at the people behind the camera—their impulses, aesthetic, and technique—but also at its reception by the public and people's insatiable desire for new images and exclusive news," states Max Hollein, director of the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt.

The first section of the presentation, titled "Photographers," is devoted to the craft of the paparazzi and its public impact, and it explains the origin of a modern myth. Focus is placed, among other things, on a series of historical photographs, black-and-white images that document the ingenuity of the paparazzi during their often delicate as well as precarious work: including photographers who take to dizzying heights, or those who screw their cameras onto sawed-off rifle butts in order to shoot the one crucial motif.

The second chapter of the exhibition, "Stars," illustrates how every couple of years the paparazzi focus their attention on selected celebrities. The profession of paparazzo is essentially a male domain. However, its victims are preferably female stars. The stories of six world famous icons of paparazzi photography—Jackie Kennedy-Onassis, Brigitte Bardot, Elizabeth Taylor, Princess Diana, Britney Spears, and Paris Hilton—from the sixties to the present will be used to demonstrate how the style and trends of this type of photograph have changed over the course of its 50-year history.

The third part of the presentation is devoted to the artists. The specific circumstances surrounding the work of paparazzi produce a very unique aesthetic that is regularly assumed and addressed by the art world. Thus, speed and improvisation have had an impact on the pictorial composition of their photographs. Stars protecting their faces with their hands or making obscene gestures in the direction of the camera have become symbols of media encroachment.

The exhibition Paparazzi! Photographers, Stars and Artists was developed and organized by the Centre Pompidou-Metz.

Director: Max Hollein
Curator: Clément Chéroux

Paparazzi!
Photographers, Stars
and Artists
June 27–October 12, 2014

Press preview:
Thursday, June 26, 11am

Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt
Römerberg
D-60311 Frankfurt
Germany





 
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