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Hamburg 2015: When there is Hope. Images of Utopia at the Hamburger Kunsthalle


The 6th edition of the Hamburg Triennial of Photography questions the relationship between photography and the future. While photography is an art form of receiving the present, a memory of its forms, human variety and cultural landscapes, it is also the projection of our dreams. It tells the story of our imagination, reflecting our search for social identify, our hidden hopes, our shattered illusions, our expectations for the future.

Under the evocative title When there is hope, the Hamburger Kunsthalle has sought contributions from socially engaged and internationally renowned photographers for this touching exhibition about immigration, exile and cultural adaptation. In an era of increasing globalization and immigration, the Hamburg exhibition is a visual report that reveals photography’s ability to reveal the latent contradictions of Utopia.

There’s Clemens von Wedemeyer’s remarkable video project, Otjeds (2005), and the mixed media work by Yto Barrada.  The deeply autobiographical video installation by Adrian Paci, Centro di Permanenza temporanea (2007), illustrates metaphorically the existential suspense of migrants awaiting relocation. In the video, a series of close-ups shows a line of passengers climbing a staircase to an airplane. The camera pans out to reveal that the staircase leads to nothing, and the nameless crowd is suspended in the middle of nowhere.

Postcards from Europe, by German photographer Eva Leitolf, also questions the legitimacy of the European Union’s immigration policies, tacitly criticizing its indifference towards individual suffering. This ongoing project began in 2006. The photographs are taken from Leitolf’s long “pilgrimage” from Spain, Italy, Greece and Morocco to the Hungarian border with Serbia and Ukraine.

Read the full article on the French version of L’Oeil.

From June 19th to September 13th, 2015 at Galerie der Gegenwart, 2nd floor, Hamburger Kunsthalle.

Works by : Yto Barrada (b. 1971), Zohra Bensemra (b. 1968), Mohamed Camara (b. 1985), Cao Fei (b.1978), Carlos Garaicoa (b. 1967), Nan Goldin (b. 1953), Shilpa Gupta (b. 1976), Roni Horn (b. 1955), Astrid Klein (b. 1951), Eva Leitolf (b. 1966), Almut Linde (b. 1965), André Lützen (b. 1963), Annette Messager (b. 1943), Rivane Neuenschwander (b. 1967), Roman Ondák (b. 1966), Adrian Paci (b. 1969), Anri Sala (b. 1974), Dayanita Singh (b. 1961) and Clemens von Wedemeyer (b. 1974).

 Rita Peritore


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