Walker Evans died in 1975, but his photographic oeuvre has remained the most influential and relevant worldwide to this day, says David Campany, curator of the Biennale for Contemporary Photography. That is why the Biennale is dedicating a large exhibition to the photographer of the American “Great Depression” in the Kunsthalle Mannheim.
According to Campany, the interesting thing about Walker Evans is that he used everything from professional equipment to simple snapshot cameras: “That’s the reference – you use the camera to make the images as clear and accessible as you are it can. “
Icons of photography – yesterday and today
David Campany has moved the central exhibition of the International Photo Biennale to the Mannheim Kunsthalle. “Walker Evans Revisited” – on the one hand, it is a re-encounter with his trademark, the precise depiction of ordinary people.
Dozens of his black and white pictures, which have become icons of photography, can be found on the tour. Among them the most important: the picture of a young farmer’s wife from Alabama, taken in 1936, at the height of the American economic crisis – the “Great Depression”.
19 contemporary photographers take up this look and this review of the work of Walker Evans. Develop what fascinates them about Walker Evans to this day.
The look behind the photographs
Jessica Potter went to the archive and took another picture of the complete series of Walker Evans “Labor Anonymos ׅ”. In order to get even closer to these men and women on the way to work, she selected details, compiled them into large tables and added texts.
Australian artist Patrick Pound is also on the trail of the secrets behind Walker Evans’ pictures. His work is about The Cliff House, a spectacular and strange hotel building on the coast of San Francisco. Walker Evans had depicted it several times in an article on postcards. And now Patrick Pound has pinned all available postcards and other photos about “The Cliff House” to the wall in a wall installation.
The human being in the center
Walker Evans is present everywhere in this exhibition with his original photos. The references are strongest in the field of social photography today. Times may have changed, but we humans always seem to have stayed the same.
Whether in the small-town photo series by Ute Mahle and Werner Mahler, in the poster series “Americans Parade” by George Georgiou or in the 56-minute color video by James Nares, who drove through the streets of New York with a car camera – this too a homage to Walker Evans, according to curator Thomas Köllhofer.