We are going global as we round-up the must-see international exhibitions this February.
From explorations of self portraits to Japenese elegance here are some of our top picks for the month ahead.
Subtle Shadows of Bamboo on Bamboo
Artistic duo Angel Albarrán and Anna Cabrera travel to and stay in Japan frequently.
Their time spent in the country has strongly influenced the aesthetic content of their work and printing techniques.
This exhibition at IBASHO shows works from their series Mouth of Krishna and Kairos.
The title derives from the renowned Japanese 14th-century playwright and theorist of the Nōh-theater, Zeamie Motokiyo, who used it as a metaphor the Japanese aesthetic value Yügen.
Yügen entails three elements, which can be seen in Albarrán and Cabrera’s works: a traditional sense of elegance, a mysterious depth of the universe, a feeling of sadness because all things are transient.
The duo use a wide range of processes and materials. They handcraft their prints using classic printing methods, such as platinum and silver halide or invent new ones, such as pigment prints on gold leaves.
The resulting prints are poetic and sensual in nature.
Subtle Shadows of Bamboo on Bamboo, IBASHO, Antwerp, Belgium, until March 10.
Mark Steinmetz − united states
Through his 40 years of consistent work, Steinmetz has become an influential personality for many photographers around the world.
Yet this overview of his work is the first solo exhibition in Austria.
Excerpts from the most important work cycles of the last three decades, and a collection of all 16 of his published photo books, illustrate the discreetness and poetic vigour that shape his works.
Steinmetz fascinates as a chronicler.
In his pictures, he characterises discreetly deliberate states of an American everyday life.
Many of his explorations are located in the sweaty Dixie, the hard-bitten southern States with their ramshackle elegance.
Yet the encounters are characterised by curiosity, respect and restraint. His scenic observations and portraits are almost intimate.
The work catalogues, almost casually, the ATMs, telephone booths, fast food places and automobiles that intertwine our present with space and time. Nevertheless, everything seems detached.
Steinmetz once called his homeland a ‘half-grown, adolescent country’. In that sense his accounts of the dilemmas of youth carry more humour and complexity than most comparable genre photos.
Mark Steinmetz – united states, Fotohof, Salzburg, Austria, until March 23.
Main image: Mark Steinmetz – Athens, Georgia 1996
Your Mirror: Portraits from the ICP Collection
From 19th-century daguerreotypes to 21st-century selfies, portraiture has dominated the medium of photography.
Drawn from ICP’s collection, this exhibition surveys the nuanced ways people present themselves for the camera.
“We live in a hyper-photographic culture, where we are creating and capturing images of ourselves and others at a rapid pace,” says Erin Barnett, ICP’s director of exhibitions and collections.
“With Your Mirror, which explores the historic context of portraiture, we aim to gain understanding of the ways in which people made – or didn’t make – decisions about how they were presented for the camera and for society.
“There couldn’t be a more important time to examine the ways in which photography shapes our ideas about others and ourselves.”
The selection includes studio portraits, snapshots, and documentary photographs.
From a deathbed daguerreotype by Southworth & Hawes to Samuel Fosso’s self-portraits and FBI wanted posters, every portrait serves a different purpose.
Each one offers the opportunity to investigate the ways photography shapes our ideas about ourselves and others.
The exhibition is curated by Barnett and Claartje van Dijk, assistant curator, collections.
Your Mirror: Portraits from the ICP Collection, ICP Museum, New York, February 8 to April 28.
Luigi Ghirri: The Map and the Territory
This first retrospective of photographs taken outside his native Italy by Luigi Ghirri focuses on the 1970s.
It covers a decade in which Ghirri produced a corpus of colour photographs unparalleled in Europe at that time.
Ghirri, who was a trained surveyor, began taking photographs at weekends in the early 1970s, devising projects and themes as he roamed throughout Modena.
He cast an attentive and affectionate eye on the signs of the outside world, observing, without openly commenting on them.
By the end of the decade, Ghirri had accumulated thousands of pictures and developed a unique style and complex conceptual framework for his work.
That first decade concluded with two high points: the publication, in 1978, of Kodachrome, a truly exceptional book of photographs, and a major exhibition, Vera Fotografia, held in 1979 at the exhibition centre of the University of Parma.
Organised by Arturo Carlo Quintavalle and Massimo Mussini, it presented 14 projects and themes to illustrate Ghirri’s distinctive philosophy and methods of action.
This exhibition is based on the poetic map of the 1979 exhibition.
Ghirri had an unshakeable fascination for representations of the world – for reproductions, pictures, posters, models and maps.
He was intrigued by the way in which these representations were incorporated into the world, as signs in the heart of the city or in the landscape.
For Ghirri, the mediation of experience through images in an Italy torn between the old and the new was an inexhaustible source of study.
Luigi Ghirri: The Map and the Territory, Jeu de Paume, Concorde, Paris, February 12 to June 2.