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PHOTOMONTH IN KRAKOW — 2010 Photomonth_kropki_duze





The Afterlife project presented at ZPAF & Co. Gallery is an auteur statement by a  photographer duo: Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin. They have been collaborating for over a decade, in a series of exhibitions in prestigious museums and galleries (including the Stedelijk Museum, The Photographer’s Gallery, The International Center of Photography and The Hasselblad Center), and in the publication of six photography monographs: Trust (2000), Ghetto (2003), Chicago (2006), Mr. Mkhize’s Portrait (2006), Fig (2007), and their most recent publishing project (along with painter and art critic John Berger), entitled So This Is Life, which will be out in 2010.


The point of departure for Afterlife was a photograph showing a firing squad one moment before the shooting of eleven masked Kurdish prisoners. Taken on August 6th, 1979 in Teheran, a few months before the outbreak of the Islam revolution in Iran, it soon appeared on the front pages of newspapers, and became emblematic of the historic transformations in Iran. A year later it was given the Pulitzer Prize, though the photographer remained anonymous. It was only in 2006 that Jahangir Razmi, the owner of a photography studio in the suburbs of Teheran, confirmed himself to be the photographer. Three years later, Broomberg and Chanarin met with Razmi, and the collage series presented here came about on the basis of the other photographs he took during the course of the execution in 1979.
Using the collage technique – cutting out only fragments of the prints (generally human figures) and placing them without backgrounds between two glass plates, the artists deconstruct the spatial relationships existing in the frame. This arbitrary gesture casts doubt upon the documentary status of photography as an objective witness to events and a ‘window to the world’. The gesture of modifying the photographs taken by Razmi compels the viewer to get involved in recreating the story behind them. The strategy is meant to oppose the passive reception of press photography, showing the tragic incidents in remote parts of the globe in as effective a way as possible.

Broomberg and Chanarin critique the mainstream of press photography, which concentrates on capturing exceptional and attention-grabbing events. In photographing key sites for contemporary geopolitical conflicts (Israel, Afghanistan, Iraq), they insightfully explore the conditions in which photographs emerge. At the same time, their works always  raise issues affiliated with the medium of photography as such.




Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin - Afterlife

Coordinator: Agnieszka Olszewska

Grand opening: 9.05.2010, 7:30 p.m.
Galeria ZPAF i S-ka, 24 św. Tomasza st.
Exhibition dates: 8.05–19.06; TUE-SAT: 12:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m., THU: 12:00 a.m.–8:00 p.m.