Here are the works of three photographers from Germany who, driven by the violent wind of history, exiled themselves in the late 1930s to South America. They had previously followed a photographic training in the climate of intellectual and artistic fervor that accompanied the Weimar Republic: while one attended the legendary Bauhaus school, the other two enrich their experience in the studio of Paul Wolff – whose name is closely associated with the famous brand Leica -. Then they began to work in different European cities: Frankfurt, Berlin, Paris and London. But when anti-Semitism and war made life and work truly impossible, they chose to cross the Atlantic, each to a different country on the South American continent: Grete Stern joined Argentina in 1936, Hildegard Rosenthal Brazil in 1937 and Jeanne Mandello Uruguay in 1941.
These three destinies have in common a desire for freedom in more favorable territories, sacrificing past lives and, more concretely, abandoning a studio and archives. It is also for the three of them a time to give their practice of photography a new impetus, in a very different context but nevertheless marked by the presence of many Europeans. Grete Stern uses her experience of photomontage to illustrate the psychology column of a women’s magazine, Hildegard Rosenthal plays with the lightness of the small format – which she learned from Paul Wolff – to explore the contrasting city of São Paulo, and Jeanne Mandello enrich her practice of photogram and solarization while working on assignments on tourism and architecture. They embody the many facets of the photography of their time, carrying with them the heritage of research on form, techniques and points of view that have deeply marked this art, both in Germany and France. This exhibition follows their path from one continent to another.
On the Other Side – Jeanne Mandello, Hildergard Rosenthal, Grete Stern
October 12 – December 20, 2018
Maison de l’Amérique Latine
217, Bd Saint-Germain