Industrial photography in the Alps: The Milan photographer Antonio Paoletti documented the power plant buildings of Girola from the 1930s. A discovery.

PRIMAL is a series of over 1200 close-ups of advertising posters in Zürich photographed by Anna Stüdeli. Roughly 120 of them have been selected for this first glimpse into the artist’s copious archive. In PRIMAL, Stüdeli reflects on the surfaces of Western advertising aesthetics through an exploration of the ways in which images are produced, reproduced and distributed. In rehashing the same visual tropes over and over again, the advertising industry reveals the dumbing down of our consumer society, a society steeped in clichés, sexual stereotypes, the objectification of the (usually female) body and the commodified sexualization of food. The artist’s macro shots expose details that undercut the conventions of commercial enticement and generate an interplay between the deconstruction and redefinition of normative patriarchal concepts. On closer scrutiny, however, the hyperrealism of the original posters gives rise to an unsuspected physicality —and an associated morbidity. In a manner similar to the empty claims of marketing, the high-resolution details seem to anticipate and document the incipient decay of the bodies portrayed. It’s as though we were watching the gradual demise of these bodies in the pixel depths and grid depths of their wrinkles, folds and bulges. Disgust and desire conflate in this field of tension. According to the artist, PRIMAL is a “tribute to desire” that seeks to articulate a holistic and openended conception of desire—stripped of classifications and hierarchies. This series thus becomes a photographic appropriation of advertising posters as an act of re-framing, over which looms a nagging question: What role should photography play now, amid the seemingly endless glut of images in the wake of everincreasing digitization?

Giorgio Wolfensberger was born in 1945 in Zürich, grew up in Winterthur and died in 2016 in Umbria, which he’d made his adoptive geographical and political home. He was not only an industrial photographer, filmmaker, slide-show specialist, expert on and writer for the Swiss modern dancer and dance teacher Suzanne Perrottet, sleuth extraordinaire for archival photographs; he was also a collector and photographer equipped with a seventh sense for the things of this world. He seems to have been a magnet for the peculiarities of everyday life, departures from the norm, the play of objects, the humorous and the grotesque, as though his eyes, nose and fingers were probes immersed in physical reality. Whether on assignment for an exhibition project or a book, roaming freely on the prowl in the city or driving around the countryside, he always discovered something unusual in the commonplace, something of his own in the general, something rich in the poor, something strange in the norm. This book brings together his artistic freelance photography for the first time, to form a cabinet of curiosities, a variegated cabaret of things. Beginning with the black-and-white documentary photography of his first years in Italy, he gradually developed a rich, humorous, colorful photo povera, an enchanting, pensive dance of “poor” plain things.

The fields of photography and architecture have long been closely linked: photography provides a powerful way for architecture to be appreciated from a distance, and the camera lens alters and enhances buildings so that they can be appreciated anew, even by those already intimately familiar with them. Concrete: Photography and Architecture explores this deep and often complex relationship, with particular attention paid not only to how photography influences the perception of architecture but also the very design itself. Beginning with the invention of photography in the nineteenth century, this volume presents iconic images of urban architecture and townscapes that are organized thematically rather than simply chronologically. The editors have assembled over two hundred images from numerous notable photographers, including: Georg Aerni, Adolphe Braun, Balthasar Burkhard, Lynn Cohen, Walker Evans, Lucien Hervé, Germaine Krull, Stanley Kubrick, Hiroshi Sugimoto, and William Henry Fox Talbot. Originally published to coincide with an exhibition celebrating the Fotomuseum Winterthur’s twentieth anniversary, Concrete: Photography and Architecture is an exhaustive investigation of architectural photography and is as beautiful as it is informative.  

This is the first U.S. release of this widely praised book. New Europe seeks to dig beneath the utopian dream of a united continent arising to face the dawn of the 21st century. Paul Graham’s photographs reflect on the inescapable shadow of history that falls over each nation’s conscience, from the dictatorships of Franco and Hitler, to the Holocaust and the Irish conflict. Thus burden is interwoven with a questioning of the banality of modern day consumption-led culture. Neither a narrative nor a conventional documentary, this body of photographs builds into a visual poem that resonates across the social and psychological landscape of Europe today.

Photographer Zoe Leonard practices a type of cerebral roaming combined with carefully considered observation. For more than 20 years she has crisscrossed nature and culture, cityscapes and museums, always searching for signs that say something about structures, about natural and cultural conditions and the contradictions, parallels and connections between them. Leonard’s photographs of anatomical wax figures, fashion shows, trees and fences present figures in sparse black-and-white images that open up visual fields of thought and reveal within them our visible world–the concrete and established structures that make up our reality. Leonard first created an international stir at the Documenta 9 exhibition in Kassel, Germany, in 1992, when she placed black-and-white photographs of female genitalia in the context of a male-dominated museum. Since then, the political aspects of her work have formed a backdrop for her constant struggle with shape, imagery and the union of symbols and content. This is the first book to showcase Leonard’s complete oeuvre.

To enter Roni Horn’s realm requires courage. But you only become aware of this after the fact, when it’s already too late to back away, to erase the ever-repeating images from your mind. Attracted by the endless pictures of water or blurring images of clouds and clowns, seduced by dozens of young girl faces and pairs of eyes, you enter her realm somewhat unsuspectingly. And then the lock clicks behind you, almost silently, and you are standing all alone in front of a work that upon closer inspection suddenly seems rather dry and reserved, perhaps even repetitive. But somehow you know it’s not. In this volume Elisabeth Lebovici, Bell Hooks, Thierry de Duve, Urs Stahel, Paolo Herkenhoff and Barbara Kruger contribute essays on the elusive work of Roni Horn. Through their essays begins a dialogue with a work that at first seems eloquent because of its sequential polyphony, but grows increasingly complex with the realization that it breaks almost immediately with any suggested narratives.

Gregory Crewdson’s photographic series capture a particularly American state of normalcy–in dissolution. The viewer, at first seduced by what appears to be an idyllic scene, soon discovers subtle off-kilter elements more akin to Film Noir than an NBC comedy. In a work from his Twilight series, yellow school buses are parked outside white wooden houses, and students stand and lounge around in seeming passivity. Something is happening–what, we don’t know. The vision is familiar yet unfamiliar, seemingly benign yet threatening. Crewdson goes to great lengths in dramatizing his disturbing suburban scenes, employing elaborate lighting, cranes, props, and extras, espousing a level of behind-the-scenes preparation more akin to the making of a Hollywood movie than the making of a still image. Here perhaps is one place to locate the eerie unreality and narrativity of his pictures, the creepy attention to detail so out of place, in the ordinary settings he evokes. Middle-class reality meets the other side of the normal here–by way of Sigmund Freud.

Markus Raetz is one of the most prominent contemporary swiss artists. He accomplished to get his early works included in documenta 4 and 5 and his works were represented in Harald Szeeman’s seminal exhibition When Attitudes Become Form. In his works Raetz discusses the human perception, using various materials and media. This volume collects texts on several works by (among others) Jean-Christophe Ammann, Harald Szeemann, Theo Kneubühler, Dieter Koepplin, Richard Häsli, Reinhardt Stumm, Wolfgang Bessenich, Erika Gysling-Billeter, Bice Curiger, Margrit Staber, Theo Kneubühler, Wilfried Skreiner, Niklaus Oberholzer, Toni Gerber, Jürgen Glaesemer, Annemarie Monteil, Johannes Gachnang, Ad Petersen, Gijs van Tuyl, Jörg Zutter, Walo von Fellenberg, Bernhard Bürgi, Francois Grundbacher, Matthias Vogel, Max Wechsler, Beat Wismer, Gilbert Lascault, Toni Stooss, Alain Cueff, Urs Stahel

Nan Goldin shoots campaigns for Prada, David LaChapelle does Camel cigarette ads, and Jurgen Teller got his start photographing models in “i-D”, “W”, and “The Face”. The debate between aesthetic images and commercial pressure has perhaps never been so relevant and complex as it is today, with the increasing commercialization of the art world, the not insignificant exploratory aspects of fashion photography, and our constantly expanding realm of visual references. To study these tensions and overlaps, “Chic Clicks” invited some 40 photographers to present both their free work and their published editorials from fashion magazines and advertising campaigns. Photographers well-known for their commercial work offer personal and exploratory prints; those who gained prominence in the fine arts display work they were subsequently hired to do for fashion companies and magazines. Accompanying essays approach fashion photography from various perspectives, from that of cutting-edge fashion magazines to the field of contemporary art photography. The photographers: Fred Aufray, Anuschka Blommers & Niels Schumm, Jean-Francois Carly, Donald Christie, Philippe Cometti, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Corinne Day, Horst Diekgerdes, Nathaniel Goldberg, Alexei Haye, Inez van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin, Tom Lignau & Frank Schuhmacher, Richard Prince, Blaise Reutersward, Cindy Sherman, David Sims, Mario Sorrenti, Hannah Starkey, Larry Sultan, Ike Ude, Erwin Wurm, and others Edited by Ulrich Lehmann & Jessica Morgan. Essays by Gilles Lipovetsky, Urs Stahel, Valerie Williams, Olivier Zahm. Introduction by Jill Medvedow. Photographers include: Fred Aufray, Anuschka Blommers, Jean-Francois Carly, Donald Christie, Philippe Comet, Corinne Day, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Horst Diekgerdes, Nathaniel Goldberg, Alexei Haye, Inez van Lamsweerde, Tom Lignau, Vinoodh Matadin, Richard Prince, Blaise Reutersward, Frank Schuhmacher, Cindy Sherman, Niels Schumm, David Sims, Mario Sorrenti, Hannah Starkey, Larry Sultan, Ike Ude, Edwin Wurm.

Artists: MORA, Gilles, SEKAER, Peter, HILL, John T., MODOTTI, Tina, ALBERS, Patricia, STOURDZE, Sam, SAYAG, Alain, NIXON, Nicholas, GALASSI, Peter, FUKASE, Masahisa, YAMAGISHI, Koko, WESTON, Edward, TUGGENER, Jakob, GASSER, Martin, SOMMER, Frederick, DURAND, Régis, MATTER, Herbert, HEINECKEN, Robert, PITTS, Terence, STAHEL, Urs, ALBEROLA, Jean-Michel, DRAHOS, Tom, MILLET, Bernard, GRANCHER, Valéry, RONIS, Willy, BONHOMME, Pierre, RIGOLINI, Luciano, MILOVANOFF, Christian, BAZZOLI, François, BAUDRILLARD, Jean, GUNTHERT, André, CLERGUE, Lucien, ALDRICH, Stephen, COLEMAN, A.D., FURUYA, Seiichi, FABER, Monika, FUCHS, Daniel and Geo, WILLIAMS, Val, CALLE, Sophie

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