DANA LIXENBERG: Imperial Courts 1993−2015
Exhibition run: 2 August − 28 September 2019
FOTOHOF is showing the groundbreaking work Imperial Courts, 1993−2015 by Dutch photographer Dana Lixenberg, its first such presentation in Austria. The project, featuring residents of Imperial Courts, a public housing project in Watts, South Central L.A., was produced over the period of twenty-two years.
Lixenberg's highly committed project came about in the aftermatch of the riots of 1992, which were the consequence of the acquittal of the four LAPD officers who had used brutal violence against Rodney King, an African American motorist, during his arrest. In the wake of the riots, Lixenberg made a series on the rebuilding of South Cental L.A. for a Dutch publication. This trip was the genesis of her Imperial Courts work. She became interested in exploring life in the projects through a stripped down and de-sensationalized approach, and returned to the area in the following year. After being introduced to Tony Bogard, leader of the PJ Watts Crips gang, and securing his approval, she found her way into the community of Imperial Courts and slowly gained the trust of the residents. Using a large-format camera and black-and-white film, all portraits were made outdoors with natural light, with the subjects depicted as both self-assured and vulnerable.
Her portraits are sustained by a sense of mutual respect, in a relationship lasting more than two decades. What changes over that period of time is not just the physiognomy and the bearing of the protagonists (due to their apparel and/or hairstyles), but also the appearance of the housing estate and its architecture.
Over the time span of the project some in the community were killed while others disappeared or went to jail. Children featured in earlier photographs had grown up and established families of their own. Lixenberg expanded the project with video and audio recordings to create a nuanced portrait that is also sociological in its scope and impact. In this way, Imperial Courts constitutes a complex and evocative record of the passage of time in an underserved community.
Dana Lixenberg, born 1964 in Amsterdam; 1984 London College of Printing; 1987 Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam; lives and works in Amsterdam and New York.
PLAYING THE PAST − Iryna Pap, Valery Miloserdov, Dima Sergeev
Exhibition run: 9 August − 30 November 2019
An interactive installation featuring Ukrainian press photographs from the period 1957 to 1971 invites you to play with the past. The main part of the exhibition is comprised of photographs from the archive of Iryna Pap, a press photographer born in 1917 who worked for the Soviet newspaper Izvestia, among others. Her work is representative of a social realism in Soviet photography that ranges from photographs of smiling factory workers and new urban building projects to documenting congresses within the Party. In its context the affirmative imagery can be seen both as a form of documentary and as a document per se.
The second part of the exhibition consists of an installation entitled Unfixing. Projected in this section are two visually distorted black-and-white films which the photographers Valery Miloserdov and Dima Sergeev discovered in their own family archives.
Both parts of the exhibition showcase different ways of documenting and recalling historical events. Firstly, the official press photography and its kinship to propaganda; secondly, private amateur films featuring a public spring-cleaning campaign and the swearing-in of recruits.
Sparkassenstraße 2, 5020 Salzburg
Opening hours: on appointment only