Artist: Lynne Cohen
Venue: Jacky Strenz, Frankfurt
Date: September 4 – October 31, 2020
Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.
Images courtesy of Jacky Strenz, Frankfurt
“My work has always been about psychological, sociological, intellectual and political artifice. This is apparent in the early pictures, but in recent years it is clearer still. I am now more preoccupied by deception, claustrophobia, manipulation and control… I take my work to be social and political but there is no concrete message. Perhaps that is why I feel much closer in spirit to Jacques Tati than to Michel Foucault.”
– Lynne Cohen, 2001-
To mark the start of the 2020 season, we are showing a solo exhibition by US-Canadian artist Lynne Cohen (1944- 2014) with black and white photographs taken between 1988 and 1993 -original silver gelatin prints framed according to the design and instructions of the artist.
The exhibition is held in close cooperation with Lynne Cohen’s widower Andrew Lugg, who administers the artist’s estate. It is the first exhibition of Lynne Cohen’s work at the gallery and the first solo exhibition in Germany since her death.
Lynne Cohen is one of the most important representatives of conceptual documentary photography, which draws on the tradition of Walker Evans.
Starting in the early 1970s, she photographed men’s clubs, classrooms, bathrooms, police schools, military installations, laboratories, and other semi-public and private interiors. Cohen’s images depict a technical and managed world that requires highly specialized activities, while simultaneously conveying a sense of alienation and isolation. Although most of these activities take place our midst and have a clear function, they are often unknown to us and occur in secret.
However, the photographs are not solely sociological or psychological. They are equally characterized by a pointed sense of humor. Lynne Cohen did not stage any of the subjects or intervene in the scenarios. What she depicted was what she found. Her approach, as thoroughgoing / systematic as it was precise, enabled her to create unique photographs in a form both dense and seemingly inevitable. Her work has proved to be a style-forming influence for a whole generation of photographers.
The Spanish Mapfre Foundation dedicated a major retrospective and travelling exhibition to her in 2015. In Germany the work still remains mostly to be discovered.