The Last Image

Photography and Death

C/O Berlin

Opening: 12/07/2018

Exhibition dates: 12/08/2018–03/03/2019

The exhibition includes works by Christian Boltanski, Bertolt Brecht, Broomberg/Chanarin, Larry Clark, Tacita Dean, Thomas Demand, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Jochen Gerz, Nan Goldin, Douglas Gordon, Peter Hendricks, Thomas Hirschhorn, Damien Hirst, Peter Hujar, Spring Hurlbut, Adolf Laazi, Arwed Messmer, Duane Michals, Lee Miller, Heiner Müller/Brigitte Mayer, Mark Morrisroe, Nadar, Arnold Odermatt, Arnulf Rainer, Timm Rautert, Dirk Reinartz, Gerhard Richter, Schels/Lakotta, Andres Serrano, Andy Warhol and Weegee.

Death is treated in a diverse variety of ways and finds somber and poetic expression in the language of photography. In the exhibition The Last Image . Photography and Death, C/O Berlin will be presenting a unique selection of historic photographs from the nineteenth century up to the present day. The exhibition explores artistic engagement with social, societal, and media questions surrounding the subject of death in photography and its theoretical underpinnings.

Living and dying, loving and letting go—pictures, films, books, and songs about death tap into our deepest fears, confronting us with the finiteness of existence and our own mortality. The photograph represents the death of the moment depicted and the impossibility of ever bringing it back. Preeminent photography and media theorists like Siegfried Krakauer, Roland Barthes, and Susan Sontag have described the “fate of photography” and its immutable relationship with death in their writings. Soon after photography’s invention in 1839, there began to appear numerous photographs of deceased people. Some postmortem photographs were taken for criminological research or other objective reasons, but above all, these images were created to serve in rituals of remembrance. Photographs of the deceased enjoyed widespread popularity across all sectors of society between the 1850s and the 1890s, and remained a common form of visual remembrance into the 1920s. The mediatization of the dead body began in 1914 and increased over the course of the two world wars. Photojournalism reached its zenith with the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps: For the first time, photography provided visual proof of horrors and murders, allowing this evidence to be disseminated widely. LIFE Magazine, one of the most important media in the world at that time, was no longer reporting on war, suffering, and death in a distanced way but showing dead bodies in starkly realistic terms. C/O Berlin

Spring Hurlbut is excited to be showing her Airborne video in the upcoming exhibition The Last Image. Photography and Death curated by Felix Hoffman at C/O Berlin in Berlin. The show will open for private viewing on December 7, 2018. It will open to the public on December 8, 2018 and will run through to March 3, 2019.

Spring Hurlbut, still from  Airborne  (video), 2008

Spring Hurlbut, still from Airborne (video), 2008

The Morgan Library & Museum, New York

The Extended Moment: Photographs from the National Gallery of Canada

February 15 through May 26, 2019

Spring Hurlbut,  A Fine Line, Arnaud 4 , 2016

Spring Hurlbut, A Fine Line, Arnaud 4, 2016

The Extended Moment brings forth around seventy works that reveal the historical, technological, and aesthetic breadth of the collection, which is little known in this country. In the exhibition’s presentation at the Morgan, works of far-flung origins are placed side-by-side to highlight recurring trends and tensions in the history of the medium. Artists include Edward Burtynsky, [Spring Hurlbut, Arnaud Maggs], Julia Margaret Cameron, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Lynne Cohen, John Herschel, Richard Learoyd, Lisette Model, Edward Steichen, and Josef Sudek.

Spring Hurlbut’s photograph, A Fine Line, Arnaud 4, 2018, is her posthumous portrait of Arnaud Maggs. Arnaud Maggs, Self Portrait, 1983, consists of 12 images. These two works will be exhibited side by side.  Spring Hurlbut

Arnaud Maggs,  Self Portrait , 1983

Arnaud Maggs, Self Portrait, 1983

The artist was honoured to have been awarded the Governor General's Award in Visual and Media Arts 2018, resulting in an exhibition opening at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa in 2018.

Here is a link to a short film on her work directed by Scott Dobson.

Spring Hurlbut’s contemplative and eloquent works unsentimentally address mortality and our inevitable destiny in death. Her dedication to a subject so commonly avoided in contemporary Western culture is singular and courageous.

Whether in her use of bones as sculptural material, her work with found objects and museum collections of specimens of natural life, or her photographs of cremated ashes, Hurlbut addresses her subjects with a quiet and patient insistence on recognizing - and for the viewer to recognize - their essence. Minimal, solemn and starkly refined, her work is also richly detailed, emotionally charged and sublimely beautiful. Its affective resonance resides in the tension between the clearly stated and the intractably complex. Hurlbut gives form to loss...picturing the dissolution of life as a boundless continuum.
— Jessica Bradley, curator (nominator)
Spring Hurlbut,  A Fine Line, Arnaud 2 , 2016

Spring Hurlbut, A Fine Line, Arnaud 2, 2016

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