070408: Fotohof, Leica Galerie Salzburg

Fotohof, Leica Galerie Salzburg: Erich Lessing At an arm's-length Erich Lessing’s photographs sometimes appear, lets say, like Brueghel’s “The Peasant and the Nest Robber” (Vogeldieb): the apparently important things become insignificant and vice versa. Similar to Brueghel’s composition, in which the peasant is positioned in the centre of the painting and you are not really aware of the nest robber at first glance, Lessing composes his photos around insignificant objects. At first you perceive a young man, seemingly self-confident with two guns at his side – and only later do you notice his peg leg. Or a soldier, standing boldly with his legs wide apart, is positioned in the foreground, while corpses are heaved onto a truck behind him. Both photos were made during the Hungarian Revolution in 1956. Photos with a totally different context are also shown at the Fotohof, thereby somewhat reducing the dramatic quality of the described works. Among them are the less exciting photos made during the Opera Ball 1958, which prove that Lessing’s strength lay in street photography, or the works made at the Salzburg Summer Academy: an aging Oskar Kokoschka, whose vanity is both underlined as well as ridiculed by the adoring glances of his female students. Sometimes Lessing catches baffling moments, such as the woman who is hanging her linen in front of scaffold houses in Warsaw 1956. And it is not really clear where this photo has been taken and where the woman comes from. But Lessing does not always have a closeness to the people he photographed. This is for example no surprise when you regard the photos he made of Herbert von Karajan: Lessing, who was forced to flee from Vienna because he was Jewish and whose mother was murdered in Auschwitz, took pictures of this man in 1957 – a man whose role during the Nazi regime is more than notorious. These works, presented in the newly opened Leica Galerie prove Blessing’s distance: they show Karajan jumping from balustrades, grandly gesticulating and behaving in a dramatic way, mainly conveying his talent for self-staging much more than anything about the person Karajan. Fotohof 5020 Salzburg, Erhardplatz 3, until 19.04.08 www.fotohof.at

Fotohof (alter Standort)
5020 Salzburg, Erhardplatz 3
Tel: 662 - 849296, Fax: 849296 - 4
Email: fotohof@salzburg.co.at
Öffnungszeiten: Mo-Fr 15.00-19.00 Uhr, Sa 10.00-13.00 Uhr

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