Antonioni's Film Classic and Photography / Antonionis Filmklassiker und die Fotografie
David Bailey » Terence Donovan » Brian Duffy » Arthur Evans » Richard Hamilton » Don McCullin » David Montgomery » Tazio Secchiaroli » Ian Stephenson » Eric Swayne » & others
Exhibition: – 30 Nov 2014
Fri 12 Sep 18:00 - 21:00
Tue-Sun 11am-6pm, Wed 11am-8pm
Antonionís Film Classic and Photography"
Exhibition: 13 September – 30 November 2014
Opening: September 12, 6 - 9pm
The cult film "Blow-Up" by Michelangelo Antonioni (1966) occupies a central position in the history of film as well as that of art and photography. No other film has shown and sounded out the diverse areas of photography in such a differentiated way. The photographic range of ’Blow-Up’ is highly diversified and ranges from fashion photography and social reportage to abstract photography. Film stills are shown next to works that can actually be seen in ‘Blow-Up’, as well as pictures by David Bailey, Terence Donovan, Richard Hamilton, Don Mc Cullin and Ian Stepherson, that illuminate the cultural and artistic frame of the film production, London in the Swinging Sixties. For the first time in Switzerland the exhibition at the Fotomuseum Winterthur presents in several chapters the diverse and differentiated connections between film and photography, thus allowing a trenchant profile of the photographic trends of the 1960s.
Set against the social and artistic backdrop of London’s Swinging Sixties, Blow-Up tells us about a fashion photographer by the name of Thomas (David Hemmings) who secretly photographs two lovers in a park.He later enlarges these pictures and believes that he has coincidentally documented a murder. The blow-ups reveal a man lurking in the trees with a gun and, as Thomas supposes, a corpse.
However, the blow-ups only offer ambivalent proof as they become more and more blurred and abstract by the continuous enlarging. Even photography that supposedly represents reality like no other form of media cannot help in shedding any light on the mysterious events in the park. Pictorial reality – thus Antonioni’s conclusion – is only ever constructed by the medium itself.
The meaning of photography for the film ‘Blow-Up’ is most apparent when Antonioni uses it to characterise his main character Thomas. Played by David Hemmings, Arthur Evans David Hemmings in Blow-Up, 1966 the protagonist is not only a fashion photographer, but is also working on an illustrated book with photographs of social reportage. In order to depict both the main figure and its two areas of work in an authentic way, Antonioni is guided by real photographers of the time; before starting to shoot the film he meticulously researched the work as well as environment of the British fashion (photography) scene. In the course of his preparations Antonioni sent out questionnaires to fashion photographers and visited them in their studios. Thus the main character is modelled after various photographers like David Bailey, John Cowan and Don McCullin; some of them Antonioni asked to cooperate on his film. He also integrated their works, for example Don McCullin’s reportage photographs that the protagonist browses through in the film, or fashion photographs by John Cowan that in the film can be seen in the protagonist’s studio.
The show not only explores the photohistorical circumstances under which Blow-Up was made but also presents “real” works of art Antonioni integrated into his film, as well as photographs he commissioned for the story. The visual translation of the film into stills constitutes another important field thematized in the exhibition.
A cooperation between Albertina, Vienna, and Fotomuseum Winterthur.
Program: film and photography
In cooperation with the Fotomuseum Winterthur, the Filmfoyer Winterthur is showing Antonioni’s work on 35mm film, presenting five additional film classics as part of its September program “The Voyeuristic Gaze.” For a detailed program please see: www.filmfoyer.ch