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The Lives and Loves of Images

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For its 2020 outing, the Biennale für aktuelle Fotografie (Biennale for Current Photography) is curated by David Campany around a set of thematically distinct exhibitions taking place in three cities and six museums. The catalogue, The Lives and Loves of Images, introduces each of the exhibitions, the photographers and the projects behind the works on display. The result is an engagement, verbal and visual, with aspects of contemporary photography. It is commonplace to say that we inhabit a culture dominated by images but, notes Campany, ‘really it is an image-text culture’. We look at pictures and they speak when responses to them are put into into words. He begins with ‘Reconsidering Icons’, conversations of a photographic kind between artists and iconic images. The ‘dialogues’ take form, for example, in the reworkings by the Swiss duo Cortis & Sonderegger of well-known pictures from photojournalism and photographic art. Another very specific instance is Broomberg & Chanarin’s Afterlife series, re-reading the 1979 image of 11 blindfolded Kurdish prisoners being executed by firing squad. Away from icons, ‘Yesterday’s News Today’ considers the way old...

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