Huis Marseille

Variétés. Photography and the Avant-Garde

24 June 2023 until 22 October 2023


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Step back in time to the 1920s with Huis Marseille's extraordinary collection of avant-garde and surrealist photographs. Rediscovered after 30 years, these prints from Variétés magazine feature pioneering photographers such as Man Ray, Germaine Krull and Berenice Abbott.

The spirit of a new age

The vintage prints were rediscovered in the archives of the Flemish daily Vooruit and were originally published in Variétés, an influential Belgian art magazine. The collection includes work by photographers such as Man Ray, Germaine Krull, Berenice Abbott, László Moholy-Nagy, Florence Henri and Eli Lotar, and reflects the spirit of a new age. Variétés was the creation of Paul-Gustave van Hecke and E.L.T. Mesens, who curated the magazine's surrealist signature and international network. Photography played an important role in the magazine, presented in innovative ways, such as images printed on glossy paper in groups of two or four, creating new connections and interpretations.

A panorama of avant-garde and surrealism

The exhibition presents a panorama of avant-garde photography and film from the inter-war period, including vintage photographs, magazine spreads and film fragments. The photo sections of Variétés combine anonymous photos, postcards, film stills, anthropological documentaries, fashion or sports shots with signed images by avant-garde photographers to create poetic, ironic and enigmatic photo pages. The exhibition is a great opportunity to experience a new photographic language that emerged in the 1920s, characterised by unusual camera angles, strong diagonals and extreme close-ups, as well as the use of machines and lifeless objects that sometimes seemed to be possessed by supernatural forces.

The exhibition Variétés. Photography and the Avant-Garde is based on Variétés, Revue d’avant-garde – Berenice Abbott, Florence Henri, Germaine Krull… de Amsab-collectie onthuld, a co-production of Amsab-Instituut voor Sociale Geschiedenis, Gent, Tijdsbeeld, Gent, and Les Recontres d’Arles. (Curator Sam Stourdzé in collaboration with Robby Gobyn and Damarice Amao.)

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24 June 2023 until 22 October 2023

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Huis Marseille

Keizersgracht 401
1016 EK Amsterdam
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020 - 53 18 989

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