The Intimate World of Josef Sudek


Josef Sudek. Prague pendant la nuit, c.1950–1959. Musée des beaux-arts du Canada, Ottawa.

The Intimate World of Josef Sudek, Jeu de Paume, Paris

Josef Sudek was the creator of deeply-felt photographs that made use of the streets he frequented and the everyday sights he encountered in order unearth both moments of great beauty and the potential for great destructiveness. The Czech photographer notably became preoccupied with darkness during the Nazi occupation of Prague, taking pictures from his window using the minimal light available during nights of enforced curfew and blackout. Born in 1896, he was an adept of the Pictorialist and Modernist schools of photography, but by the 1940s had developed his own distinct style, abandoning many of the conventions of these movements in the process.

The seven thematic groupings of his work presented at Jeu de Paume in Paris reflect and respect his own practice of working in series, under titles like The Window Of My Studio and Labyrinths. It will be the first exhibition to include a selection of his colour images, as well as his pigment prints on carbon tissue. Though it acknowledges his technical gifts as a photographer using a range of methodologies, it is the emotional communication and the passionate conviction of his work that is most clearly apparent in the exhibition. The Beginnings strand sees the young Sudek creating images of countryside and city using processes such as gelatin silver and bromoil, carbon and gum bichromate, and observing the ethereal and Romantic conventions of the Pictorialist style.. . .

The Intimate World of Josef Sudek, until 25 September, Jeu de Paume, 1 Place de la Concorde, 75008 Paris.

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