press release

Robert Frank (Zurich, 1924) is regarded as one of the most influential contemporary photographers. He developed a unique style which had a deep impact on the photographic language of the postwar years. The exhibition at MACBA, Robert Frank. Storylines, includes over 270 works, some of which had never been shown outside the United States before.

Robert Frank’s career began in the forties when he worked as a reporter for Fortune, Harper’s Bazaar and The New York Times, among others. After travelling around Peru, Bolivia, Spain, England and France, producing series of photographs, in 1950 he returned to New York, where he took part in the exhibition 51 American Photographers at MOMA. In 1952, he published the book Black White and Things, which was a clear indication of his interest in combining realism and the narrative potential of photographic sequences, capturing the poetic qualities of everyday life.

Also featured are original works from the critically acclaimed publication The Americans, published in 1958. After its publication, Frank abandoned traditional photography and concentrated on making films, such as Pull My Daisy (1960) and Conversations in Vermont (1969). In the seventies he returned to photography, to make complex constructions, containing multiple prints in black-and-white and colour, as well as stills from films and videos. His more recent images show the world “inside looking out”, exploring the processes of looking, feeling, thinking and ageing through metaphors.

In 1994, he was the first living artist to be given a retrospective by the National Gallery of Art in Washington. That recognition of his great influence on the development of photography in the postwar years came in the shape of the Hasselblad Award, one of the most prestigious international prizes in the field.

The show at MACBA will include photographs from this London series (1951-52), which offers a fascinating view of a historical era in the city, and Wales (1953), which focuses on a miner and his family and how they struggle against the harshness of their life in a remote mining town. It also includes artist’s books such as Peru, 1949, and Black White and Things, 1952. The narrative and cinematic nature of Frank’s works will seem particularly relevant when set alongside the film Conversations in Vermont (1969) and the recent photographs Stories (2002).

Robert Frank. Storylines is showing at Tate Modern in London from 28 October 2004 to 23 January 2005. After this stage at the MACBA, it will travel to the Fotomuseum Winterthur/Fotostiftung Schweiz and to the Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome.


only in german

Robert Frank. Arguments
Kuratoren: Vicente Todoli, Philip Brookman
Produktion: Tate Modern, London; Museu d´Art Contemporani, Barcelona