MAX SCHELER: from Konrad A. to Jackie O.

June 8th, 2011

The exhibition “From Konrad A. to Jackie O.” at the Willy-Brandt Haus in Berlin will show for the first time a cross section of the work of Magnum photographer Max Scheler. On display throughout June and July are 140 images that document the distinct view of this artist who preferred to stay in the background. From this intimate eye-level position, he witnessed his time and documented its events with impeccable framing and allure.

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USA, 1963, Washington, John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy receive the Moroccan king Hassan II
© Max Scheler Estate, Hamburg Germany

I remember Max Scheler with one of his beloved Davidoff cigarillos smoldering away nearby. He was an impressive character, with an elegant dryness that one would be tempted to account being Hamburgian, yet he was born a boy from Cologne. In his later years Max had dedicated his time entirely to taking care of the Herbert List estate – the iconic work of the photographer who shaped and mentored him. On one of my visits to the archives we went through folders and boxes of photographs and came so across prints of Max’ work for the first time, almost by accident. I had not been aware of his photography then, though i knew he had worked at Merian and founded the magazine GEO at Gruner & Jahr, introducing colour reportage to the wider audience.

I’ve talked with co-curator Olaf Richter, head of the estates of both Herbert List and Max Scheler about Max, his background and the relationship to Herbert List and the current exhibition

RENÉ HABERMACHER: How did this exhibition come together- and why right now?
PEER-OLAF RICHTER: The idea of this show was born in February 2003 – the month Max Scheler died.  It took us about 6 years to finish this project.  Why did it take so long?  Max Scheler was humble if not neglecting his own work. He stopped working as a photographer in 1975 and since then had turned the tables. He rather worked to publish other photographers work, than his own.

I took quite a bit of effort to rediscover what was going on in his life as a photographer. The negatives from the late 50s until the mid 70s were in a rough chronological order, but before that, the first 8 years, were all over the place.  For us the first period was especially interesting, because it told us something of where he was coming from. He learnt photography from another photographer: Herbert List.

Herbert List printed the images that he considered important. The Estate had a rich base of vintage prints that covered all the projects he worked on in his life time. These prints were frequently titled on the back. The main books on List that had been on the market had all been made with these prints as a basis.

For Max Scheler things are very different. There is not that much vintage material, and it is hard to say if these old images reflect his personal choice or some editors preference. So we went back to the negative and contacts and researched there. Unfortunately the negative have only a rough labelling, and therefore it took a lot longer to make a selection, research locations and titles.

Max would always put Herbert’s work ahead of his own – which was something that I never understood. Why this hesitation?
I guess he felt that his work of that period, was the work of a pupil, while the work of his teacher, was really what was worth remembering. It is interesting how close the two worked together. After an initial year or two as an assistant on the road and in the darkroom, Scheler started getting his own assignments, gained some respect, moved from Munich to Paris, met Robert Capa and  even became a junior member of Magnum.

MAX_SCHELER_EXHIBIT

How did the relationship of the two evolve after the first meeting during war in Munich: personally and professionally? I am also asking that as I have a special interest in the idea of the “stimulating” mentor.
I guess stimulation needs at least to prerequisites. At first the receiver of the stimulus needs to be in a situation of wanting to open up, receive a certain change in her/his perception and possibly even her/his life. And the stimulus must also be desireable and fit the pattern of interest of the receiver. If the stimulus is too foreign or threatening it might be rejected. I think these things fell in place when Max Scheler met Herbert List.

He was very young then- it must have been the shaping experience…

Max and his mother left Cologne in 1941, when Max was 13 or 14 years of age. Around the same time List left Athens, because Germany invaded Greece. He had tried to immigrate to the USA but failed and had to return to Germany. Max was raised without a father, since he died the year Max was born.  The sudden presence of a male person of authority in the life of Max and his mother was quite welcome. Not to be misunderstood all three of them were very liberal, unconventional and forward thinking persons. None of them wanted to construct a classical family. It was more the realisation of his mother that this very sophisticated photographer in his forties did spark some certain interest and outlook in the young max’ life, that she possibly could not, because the was too close. She of course realized that he was gay and therefore no husband material. But she might have also understood that the conventional reaction of a mother to not allow her son to have contact to a 25 years-older gay man, would have been rather short-sighted.

So through the turmoil of the war they kept close contact.

The stimulation we talked about earlier, that caused Max Scheler to learn a craft, languages and a certain ‘savoir vivre’ from Herbert List, developed through that time.

And I think that it was manyfold. I am not sure if photography was really the most potent influence here. And I am not sure what was going on between the two of them emotionally. Did they fall in love? That is speculation, but I guess it safe to say that a certain amount of love and trust is necessary to allow oneself to be stimulated.
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SAVE TOKYO CREATION

May 24th, 2011

This week, under the helm of curator Takafumi Kawasaki, 18 hot Japanese fashion brands and 10 photographers team up in Tokyo for SAVE TOKYO CREATION. As the official Tokyo fashion week was cancelled due to the recent events, stylist Takafumi Kawasaki initiated this show to give young designers an opportunity showing their collections from May 27th to 29th at EYE OF GYRE, Omotesando, Tokyo. Accompanying the show, artworks by Tokyo Posse ENLIGHTMENT will be on display, and a fanzine produced.


Poster of SAVE TOKYO CREATION by ENLIGHTMENT. Photography by Yasuyuki Takaki

The 18 designers produced special pieces for the project to be auctioned for donation. Among the designers showing, is much beloved Jun Takahashi for UNDERCOVER, YOSHIKO CREATION, famous for her unique pieces to Lady Gaga, TOGA, N.HOOLYWOOD and emerging designer JOHN LAWRENCE SULLIVAN, among others as ANREALAGE, G.V.G.V., KEITA MARUYAMA TOKYO PARIS, MAME, MINTDESIGNS, SACAI, SOMARTA, KOLOR, PHENOMENON, TAKAHIROMIYASHITATHESOLOIST, ISVIM, WHITE MOUNTAINEERING and YOSHIO KUBO.


SAVE TOKYO CREATION Photography by Keiichi Nitta

The designers AW 2010 designs were picked up by Photographers and lensed especially for that show: Akira Kitajima, Chikashi Kasai, Tajima Kazunali, Keiichi Nitta, Leslie Kee & Ryan Chan, Masahiro Shoda, By P.M. Ken, Yasumasa Yonehara and Yasuyuki Takaki.

The Stimuleye spoke with Takafumi Kawasaki


SAVE TOKYO CREATION Photography by Leslie Kee & Ryan Chan

RENÉ HABERMACHER: What was your intention with this exhibit?
TAKAFUMI KAWASAKI: SAVE TOKYO CREATION supported by NARS is a big feature of Japanese fashion designers, most of whom lost a chance to exhibit their 2011AW collection because of the earthquake impact.
It’s a charity but not a money-donated oriented.
I wanted to provide Japanese fashion designers a chance to show their 2011AW collection that could not be shown on catwalk because of the earthquake.
As a fashion director & stylist, I believe it is a form of charity that only I can produce to provide those designers with the opportunity to present their creation in public.


SAVE TOKYO CREATION Left: Photography by Kazunali Tajima. Right: Akira Kitajimat

How did the earthquake and its aftermath affect you personally?
The earthquake made me find the huge scepticism about Japanese government and the power of citizens. I would say I feel my approach to fashion and my styling works became more clearer and straight forward.
It may sound a little funny but I became more optimistic about the life. What already happened, happened, even if it’s a massive tragedy, there is no way to change or dismiss it. I feel there is no point to keep crying over that. But what we should do now, is to step forward.


SAVE TOKYO CREATION Photography by Yasumasa Yonehara

Do you feel there is a different mood now among japanese society? I am asking as Japanese people expressing in the past to feeling alienated to their fellow countrymen…
Yes, “alienation” is a serious issue after the quake. Japanese people appear to be longing for the tightly-bound feeling.
Not only real communication and society, but also they are keen to make bonds with others in virtual community, such as Facebook, Twitter and other numerous social media networks. Some people are obsessed about that too much.

Generally speaking, however, I think the Japanese people have found what is important and what is less in life. I believe this is a great chance to reform the typical Japanese convenience-oriented life.They appear to have started making their lives a little slower and calmer, too.
It’s really a big shift of the country.


SAVE TOKYO CREATION Photography by Chikashi Kasai

What is the last thing that stimulated you?
I would say THE EARTHQUAKE in Japan.

The exhibition is held from May 27th to 29th at EYE OF GYRE, Omotesando, Tokyo.


SAVE TOKYO CREATION Photography by Masahiro Shoda

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Lori Pauli | Behind the 19th-Century British Photographs.

March 19th, 2011

Lori Pauli is the Associate Curator of Photographs at the National Gallery of Canada, home to more than 25,000 photographs in a collection that started in 1967.

She has recently put together the exhibition 19th-Century British Photographs; the third in a series of five exhibitions of selected masterpieces of the collection of the National Gallery. This exhibition traces the development of photography in Britain over the course of the Victorian era; from early, salted paper prints, to daguerreotypes, to magnificent turn-of-the-century platinum prints.

I met Lori at a guided tour of the exhibition. Ann Thomas, also a curator at the National Gallery, whom I had met in one of the events I organized introduced me to her and we briefly talked about meeting up to chat about Mexican artists included in the collection amongst other things.

Not too long after we met and talked about astrophotography, the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Ron Mueck, her twin sister and some of the cultural differences I have noticed while in Canada.

For my first contribution to The Stimuleye, I will be sharing some of the questions I had for her on the exhibition.

Miguel Batel: How did the idea for this exhibition came together?

Lori Pauli: Basically, with our drawings collection we started a series of exhibitions based on our holdings, so we decided for photographs we would do the same thing. The first one was modern photographs from the collection, then we did 19th-Century French, and after this it will be American Photography from 1900 to 1950.

The fifth probably will be either American 1950 to the present, or possibly our holdings of Canadian photography.

Will this exhibition be travelling?

It will, I’m not sure exactly where it’s travelling, we have had interest from across the country,  and we are just deciding where its going to end up.

How many photographs did you have to go through, and how many are currently exhibited?

There are about 112 photographs in the show, and I think I went through 2,000 in terms of 19th-Century photographs from the collection, so there was quite a bit to choose from, which was great.

The exhibition features some of the earliest photographic techniques. Which are some of the photographs you would consider to be the most important?

Well, of course some of the earliest would be the daguerreotypes, and we have a really great daguerreotype, that is quite large format; I don’t know if you remember it, but its of a man called John Berret Nelson and its around 8” by 10”, its fairly large compared to what normal daguerreotype sizes are. It’s called a mammoth plate, its beautifully created – masterfully crafted- and it comes with its original frame as well, so that is a real gem in the collection.

In terms of British we have a lot of salted paper prints by William Henry Fox Talbot, so those are other also really important pieces, because that’s the inventor of paper photography, it’s really great to have those.

Are there any borrowed items?

No, it is all from the collection.

You acquired some photographs for this exhibition, any specially difficult one to get?

One of them was the piece of armour, we think its by a woman called Jane Clifford. She was married to Charles Clifford, who was the most important photographer working in Spain. He made a lot of use of Queen Isabelle II construction projects and he did use of her armoury and her treasures. We recently acquired that.

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sensibility embedded in its fabric

March 10th, 2011

The Victoria and Albert Museum presents one of the most influential and enigmatic fashion designers of the last forty years: Yohji Yamamoto. Shortly before the opening, THE STIMULEYE caught up with V&A Contemporary Curator Ligaya Salazar, curator of this installation-based retrospective, exploring the work of a designer who has challenged, provoked and inspired with designs that have rewritten notions of beauty in fashion.

Photography_Nick_Knight_Art_Direction_Peter_Saville
YOSHJI YAMAMOTO Photography Nick Knight, Art Direction Peter Saville

“The timeline will consist of a mixture of clips of key fashion shows from the last 30 years of his illustrious career, some bits about his main collaborations in film, performance and photography and some very special extras. I hope that this will help shed light on Yamamoto’s extraordinary approach to collaboration” – Ligaya Salazar

On display are 80 women’s and menswear garments, which are most representative of his work that is recognised for subverting gender stereotypes and has featured women wearing garments traditionally associated with menswear. The exhibition also includes  menswear items from the Autumn/Winter 1998 season which was famously modelled on women.

Accompanying the exibition, Ligaya produced a series of images with Nick Knight, styled by Katie Grand, and edited a stunning Book that also sheds light on Yoshji Yamamoto’s relationships with other creative collaborators: including Peter Saville, Marc Ascoli and M/M (Paris), Pina Bausch and filmmakers Takeshi Kitano and Wim Wenders.

René Habermacher sat down with curator Ligaya Salazar for a chat on this and her curatorial work on the projects…

RENE HABERMACHER: Hello Ligaya! how is things? Tense, so short before the opening?

LIGAYA SALAZAR: Ha! We are actually a little ahead of schedule, awaiting Yohji’s visit

Now i am impressed!

Yes he will be coming to the V&A after his Ready-to-Wear show to check everything is in order and to paint on the gallery walls!

I would assume usually that would come first- the painting….

Oh no — not painting the gallery walls, he will be painting life-size silhouettes on the wall behind and amongst the mannequins. It will be very special.
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