BERLIN.- C/O Berlin, International Forum for Visual Dialogues, presents through December 7, 2008 photographs from the private collection agnès b from France. The exhibition is on view at the Postfuhramt on the corner of Oranienburger Straße and Tucholskystraße.
Rapidly executed chalk drawings on interior walls, text fragments scrawled on paper, deep footsteps in the sand, faces brimming with an inner contentment people inscribe themselves in the most varied ways on their environments, leaving behind traces and stories. They transform both the environment and themselves in the process, from within and without.
It comes as no surprise that a fashion designer would be attracted to haptic-visual themes such as surface and body. Illusion and reality as the definition of human existence: without promoting a hierarchy of values, the Collection agnès b. devotes itself not only to the person as a surface projection of the Self, but to the social, cultural, and aesthetic conditions of life in all its facets captured in diverse photographs from different epochs.
The exhibition offers a unique contrast between renowned photographers and more recent perspectives, spanning the period from the emergence of the medium to contemporary independent photography. Diane Arbus, Andy Warhol, Nan Goldin, Brassaï and Robert Mapplethorpe are represented in the collection as well as Ryan McGinley and Ingar Krauss. Through the direct and honest view the photographers take of their human subjects, and the intimacy of the everyday, an unstaged panorama of human life is opened up. agnès b. has carefully assembled the collection piece by piece: some photographs are famous ones, others are only of value to her personally. Each photograph is an echo to the other and thus, over the last 20 years, a coherent and consistent collection came up.
The Collection agnès b. is among the most renowned contemporary photographic collections. C/O Berlin will present about 200 photographs from this collection for the first time outside of France.
agnès b. was born in Versailles. She began work as junior editor for the french magazine Elle. She was then employed as a designer for Dorothée bis, VdeV, and Pierre dAlby. In 1973, she founded her own fashion label. Following the opening of her first boutique in Paris in 1975, she established numerous branches in Europe, Asia, and the USA. Since the mid-1980s, agnès b. has devoted herself intensively to art. In 1984, she opened the Galerie du Jour in Paris, offering space for diverse art forms. As a passionate patron of the arts and engaged gallery owner, she collects, promotes, supports a wide range of artists. She currently lives and works in Paris.