Josef Koudelka is one of the world’s most influential and distinguished photographers in recent decades. His visual language is incomparable, intense and extraordinary. Born in Boskovice (Czech Republic) in 1938, and currently living in Paris and Prague, the photographer’s impressive work will now be presented in a concise solo exhibition at the Ernst Leitz Museum in Wetzlar.
Exiles and Panoramas place the Exiles series in contrast to a personal selection of Koudelka’s panoramas, taken as of the mid-eighties. While he had been entirely dedicated to 35mm photography for his previous work, a panorama camera now gave him the opportunity to discover the world in a new way: with pictures of expansive landscapes and coastal shorelines taken in Europe and the Middle East, he searches for traces of the past in areas that have undergone sometimes devastating changes due to industry, conflict or simply the passage of time.
These grandiose visual worlds appear devoid of any people, yet they bear witness to human existence in a disturbing yet beguiling way.
With a total of 68 works, the exhibition at the Ernst Leitz Museum offers focused insight into Koudelka’s oeuvre. The groups of work reflect an exciting dialogue between humanity and fate, liveliness and dead matter, contemporary history and timelessness.
The Ernst Leitz Museum
The Ernst Leitz Museum is being developed into a central cultural institution of national and international importance at which the numerous different facets of photography can be encountered and discovered.
In accordance with the Code of Ethics of the International Council of Museums (ICOM), its work is centered on the acquisition, conservation, study, popularisation and exhibiting of important examples of photography, photographic art, and photographic technology and equipment. Here, the focus is tightly set on researching and communicating the past, present, and future of modern photography.
The Ernst Leitz Museum is situated on the flexible boundary between the roles it plays as a company museum and a museum of photography. In view of this, it stands for multifaceted and profound scientific work, which not only embraces exhibitions of photography but also projects relevant to the company’s history or technological aspects of photography. It addresses questions relevant to photography and establishes connections that have a bearing on current discourse and debate on photographic topics.
The museum will systematically advance and develop its work as a vibrant, future-oriented institution with a view to expanding the circle of persons with an interest in photography and a passion for its various facets. Correspondingly, it will be offering its guests and visitors an increasing number of orchestrated exhibitions and experiences. In the future, this will also include the presentation of many topics in digital form.