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Berlin : Jerry Berndt –Sacred / Profane

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Prostitutes, the sacred and the night create a tense atmosphere around the photographs in this exhibition. At a young age the American artist Jerry Berndt (*1943) acquired a sensitivity to the lonely and despairing aspects of the demimonde. This sensitivity served him well in 1967 when he received a commission from Harvard Medical School: under the title Combat Zone, he photographed black pimps, prostitutes and transvestites in the red-light district of Boston. From 1969 into the 1970s, he captured images in striptease clubs and bars for the series Bar Room. Berndt shows this joyless world of desire with an unspectacular normality, which has its counterpart in the accompanying photographs of people in their spiritual attitudes: in ecstasy, abandon and contemplation. In the Nite Works series, Jerry Berndt demonstrates his capacity for abstraction bordering on the surreal. The artist photographs deserted urban spaces before dawn and makes the objects he depicts reveal their secrets and their relations to one another.

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