Magnum (here): While many photographers made images of the anti-Mubarak protests in Cairo in 2011, Paolo Pellegrin’s series was one of the few to turn away from the faces of the demonstrators. Looking down at piles of stones, improvised barriers, twists of wire, and plywood constructions, his pictures tell the indirect story of revolution, capturing the abstract beauty of left over materials rather than the heat of emotions. Priced at €12000 for the set of 8 prints.
Robert Morat (here): Jessica Backhaus’ photograph of undulating curtains creates optical magic via the classic figure and ground exercise. Her striped curtains carve out a series of peaks that might be waves or mountains, the light peeking out from underneath adding highlights on the crests. Her unlikely vantage point makes the illusion smartly effective. Priced at €3400.
Les Douches (here): Lest we ever forget the astounding color saturation of the dye transfer process, this 1951 image from Ernst Haas should provide an excellent reminder of its power. While the composition of the boys, the baby carriage, and the ship in the background offers its own interest, it is the swaths of electric orange paint that make this image so eye poppingly bold. Priced at €28000.
Polka (here): Andreas Gursky’s famous 99 Cent Store is an obvious precedent for Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre’s image taken inside the old Rivoli Theater in Berkeley. In this case, the brightly fluorescent lit 99 cent store has colonized the ornately vaulted space, creating an intense contrast between old and new. And in a stroke of additional referential irony, there is a poster of Gursky’s original image to be found on the far wall. Priced at €7000.
Camera Obscura (here): Gilbert Garcin’s photomontages are full of playful visual trickery. Here the artist and his wife (both in long overcoats) seem to have been shrunk to miniature size, lifting the edges of square Malevich-like black and white sheets of paper. Garcin’s surrealism is light and approachable, masking its clever photographic craftsmanship. Priced at €2050.
Particulière (here): Laurent Millet’s glossy modern ambrotypes combine a largely forgotten antique process with sophisticated geometric constructions, creating a world of fanciful architectural imaginings. This swirling vortex of transparent three dimensional triangles and squares seems to float in the air like a dream or a holographic projection. The contrast of the subject matter and the process gives the works the feel of rediscovered artifacts documenting impossible thinking. Priced at €3000.
M Bochum (here): Simone Nieweg’s 2010 apple tree uses extreme crispness and all-over composition to extend the nature photography genre. The image recalls some of Eliot Porter’s photographs of forests, where subtle colors emerge from the thickets of underbrush. Priced at €10000.
Gitterman (here): This 1922 carbon (pigment) print by František Drtikol is a fine example of the artist straddling the normally separate camps of Pictorialism and Modernism. While the nude pose is defined by its pared down lines, the surface of the print has a lusciously soft texture. Priced at €52000.
Scheublein + Bak (here): This data-driven abstraction by Dan Holdsworth turns his photograph into a sculptural wedge in three dimensions. Gradients of deep blue intersect with puzzling angled shadows, flattened by the perfection of the glossy surface. Priced at €52000.
Camera Work (here): This 2001 portrait of Gilbert & George by Anton Corbijn captures the wry humor of the artist pair. Backed by a carved inscription encouraging metaphorically thirsty followers to come to Jesus and drink, Gilbert & George are seen holding quintessentially British tea cups, patiently awaiting the arrival of the liquid.
Imane Farès (here): This recent diptych by Sammy Baloji collapses more than a century of time in the same location. The archival image on the left from 1898 shows a station roll call with crisp uniforms and a military band, while the image from 2010 shows the charred remnants of a Belgian colonial monument destroyed during mining explorations. Seen together, they encapsulate the remnants and consequences of repeated intervention. Priced at €12000.
ArteF (here): Xanti Schawinsky’s 1944 photomontage turns a female face into a swirling weather map, with fronts and pressure systems moving in competing directions. It’s like a map of resistance in the context of war. Priced at €28000.
Thessa Herold (here): Barbara Morgan’s 1947 dark still life of a corn leaf turns the mundane plant into a gracefully sinuous silhouette. Twisting and turning as it rises like a strand of DNA, its form is simplified down to an essence of movement. Priced at €5800.
Richard Saltoun (here): Helena Almeida’s The Secret from 1976 turns the invisible (an idea, a whisper, a history) into a physical presence. In the series of four performative images, she slowly pulls an entire tissue out of her mouth using a thin black string as a tangible tugging point. As visual metaphors go, it’s an elegant manifestation of something hidden inside being (potentially painfully) brought out. Priced at €126000 for the set.
Jablonka Maruani Mercier (here): Nobuyoshi Araki’s overpainted nudes take a series of his sexually explicit black and white images and interrupts them with gestural bright colors. The expressive paint changes the dynamics of the works, pushing them away from the provocative details of bodies and bondage, toward an additional layer of brash artistic interpretation. Priced in sets, with 5 for €25000 and 10 for €50000.
Bendana-Pinel (here): Pablo Lobato’s series of Israeli soldiers with their hands behind their backs is a simple formal exercise that finds interest in the overlooked. Hands cross, grasp, tuck in, and support, all in the intimate context of green fatigues, finding a balance between tension and rest. Priced at €7000 for the set.
Flatland (here): This unique work by Paolo Ventura uses overpainting to further streamline his imaginative storytelling. Starting with meticulously staged photographs as the baseline for his dream-like histories and memories, he then uses painting to reduce the pictorial detail further, creating pared down scenes that channel and enhance the emotional tenor of the moment. Here a sense of lonely isolation takes center stage, the single figure flanked by little more than the evocatively dingy buildings nearby. Priced at €19000.
M97 (here): Wang Ningde’s all-over image of flowing waves is a marvel of construction. Hundreds of fragments of tiny negatives jut out perpendicularly from the surface of the work, aligned and cut to heights of painstaking precision. When light is shone down on the work from above, it casts shadows through the individual negatives, reconstructing the complete image. Wang is leveraging the fundamental photographic idea of using light to create an image, but doing so in a manner we haven’t seen before. Priced at €20000.
Robert Koch (here): Hungarian photographer István Kerny’s billowing smokestack hits all the 1930s Modernist high points – triumphant industry, crisp vision, unusual angle. The warm shine of the metal and the bright contrast between black and white give this image additional punch. Priced at $8500.
Laurence Miller (here): This Ray Metzker composite not only turns a female nude into a jittering set of dark silhouettes, it allows those forms to intermingle like ghosts. Transparent white scrims seem to shuffle back forth, isolating a hand here or the angle of an arm there, further abstracting the bodies. A sublime work of photographic craftsmanship, priced at €126600.
Ingleby (here): Garry Fabian Miller’s large scale grid of leaf images turns the typology form into a nuanced color study. 120 still lifes of individual winged hawthorne leaves (half from spring and half from fall) are crisply aligned into sections of green and yellow/orange, making the cyclical passing of time into a dissection of color transformation. Priced at €115000.
Bruce Kapson (here): Half of this booth was filled with some of the original copper photogravure printing plates from Edward Curtis’ iconic project The North American Indian. These one-of-a-kind historical artifacts were astonishingly detailed, the chemical etching process creating subtle detail and sparkling depth. Haunting Joseph from the Nez Perce never looked so bright and shiny. POR.
Zilberman (here): This platinum palladium print by Ahmet Elhan collapses roughly a dozen images of male and female subjects into one genderless composite. Backed by a 12th century Ottoman tapestry in a similar pose, the composition deliberately muddies past and present. Priced at €7500.
Purdy Hicks (here): Jorma Puranen’s images of painted portraits channel our attention away from the subject and deliver it onto the surface of the object. There a dense textural topography of crackles, bumps, striations, and glares emerges, showing us a resolutely physical painted surface rendered as a perfectly flat photograph. Priced at €6300.
NextLevel (here): While the annoying reflective glass on this John Chiara print did it no favors, the image underneath was a subtle composition of a yellow tree and telephone pole in the warm afternoon delight, interrupted by swooping ethereal fingers of lovely colored glare. Priced at €7500. As an aside, a monograph of Chiara’s Mississippi work was recently published by Rose Gallery.
Peter Fetterman (here): This booth featured a solo presentation of modern Lilian Bassman prints, set against eye-catching mustard colored walls. This 1949 Dior couture image is all ruffles, seen in the impressionistic high contrast which has become Bassman’s signature. Priced at $15700.
Esther Woerdehoff (here): This booth was filled with work exploring modern takes on surrealism and magical oddity. While Marc Sommer’s playful image of rabbit ears in a coffee cup was gathering most of the attention, his self-muffling partially finished knitted morph suit had a darker edge. Priced at €3800.
Benrubi (here): This pleasingly disorienting composition by Stéphane Couturier digitally weaves together multiple images. Mixing jungle scenes and modern housing found in Brasilia, the image creates a push and pull between the curves of nature and the hard lines and corners of man made structures. Priced a €5000.
Grafika La Estampa (here): This 1913 portrait of Emiliano Zapata by Hugo Brehme bristles with revolutionary swagger. The bandoliers and sash, the rifle and sword, the sombrero and bushy moustache, it’s a portrait of defiant confidence. No price, as it was already sold.