Rome, Utrecht, Saint-Petersburg, Paris, Stockholm: the spectator may not recognize them, but these are some of the places visited in City Diary, the Jena Stadtmuseum’s current exhibition, devoted to the work of Swedish photographer, Anders Petersen. The series, in large-format and (like all of Petersen’s work) black-and-white, displays 100 of his photographs like a personal journal written during his travels from 2004 to 2010.
Always interested in the “imperfection” of his subjects, Petersen’s images depict the most diverse characters, animals and places, but always with one thing in common: the strict identification of the artist his with models. This is the very basis of his work. Petersen once said of an earlier project, “Sometimes, I think my images say more about myself than about their subjects.”
A clear example of this identification is his famous series from the 1960s, Café Lehmitz, a sort of “family album” for a café in the Hamburg slums. For these photographs, he became a regular himself, documenting the café and its clients over the course of three years.
His fascination with the margins of society would hardly end there. On the contrary, his books present a world filled with prostitutes, sleepwalkers and alcoholics, entering into the confines of prisons and psychiatric wards. Petersen establishes with his subjects a relationship that is more emotional than intellectual, and the resulting images are realist, stripped of drama, in search of what he simply calls the “normalcy” of his models: “I don’t want there to be a separation between us. What I’m after is the chance to identify with them.”
Anders Petersen, City Diary
Until November 20, 2011
Kunstsammlung im Stadtmuseum Jena
07743 – Jena