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Atlanta: Bruce Davidson –Gordon Parks


By bringing together two series by Bruce Davidson taken fifteen years apart—one in New York’s Central Park in the early 1990s, the other in the gardens of Paris in 2005-2006—the Jackson Fine Art gallery offers visitors a political reading. City parks are indicative of the local culture. In New York, they are places to relax and reflect. The architecture of the city makes a few brief appearances, setting the context, but it is the emotion of this man-made nature that dominates, the artificial hills correspond to the curves that people come to the park to show off. In Paris, the roles are reversed: the artifact gives way to the monumental nature, and human intervention is visible in the different structures. Abstract forms triumph and the majestic trees contrast with pieces of Parisian architecture: fountains, the Eiffel Tower, the Haussmanian buildings. The proportions can be deceiving, giving the trees a colossal and sculptural aspect. The visitors who take shelter in the shade are seen from afar, their variegated clothes covering the grass like autumn leaves. Two cities, two natures, each revealing the characteristics of their populations.

Although a certain poetry can be found in the social documentary work of Gordon Parks, also on display at the gallery, the human condition there is portrayed in all its harsh reality: coeducation gives way to segregation, concrete buildings to the Alabama woods, the relatively peaceful modern-day race relations to the racism of the 1950s. Seen in their original color format, 12 photographs from the famous 1957 series published in Life recalls the striking power of a work of reportage we have mainly seen in black and white. In a time and place where “color” was confronting black and white, the artist symbolically took the side of color.These photographs, by the force of their empathy, served to condemn racial injustice and contributed, to some extent, to the change that Davidson seized upon with a bit of humor a few decades later.

Laurence Cornet

Bruce Davidson – Gordon Parks
From November 30th 2012 to February 2nd 2013
Jackson Fine Art
3115 East Shadowlawn Avenue
Atlanta, GA 30305
Tél. : +1 404 233 3739

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