Lisette Model – Photographs 1934–1960
No human weakness escaped Lisette Model´s watchful eye: in her photographs, the clothing, gestures and faces of the subjects of her observation – whether beggars or millionaires – are condensed into characteristic clarity that points beyond the individuals to the social circumstances in which they live. The Viennese photographer Lisette Model (1901–1983) created icons of the 20th century that have influenced several generations of photographers, from Larry Fink via Diane Arbus to Nan Goldin.
Lisette Model’s photographs, which at first sight seem more akin to caricatures than reportage photos, communicate what can hardly be expressed in words. Thus the rich, idle stranger reclining on the Promenade des Anglais (Nice, 1934) takes on the aspect of an almost surrealistic theatrical image, a symbol of a society degenerating in the morass of its own arrogance. In the photographs of the impoverished population in the South of France (from 1933), or later, after her emigration to the USA, in New York’s Lower East Side (from 1939), Model observes her subjects with a conspicuously down-to-earth lack of either idealization or sentimentality.
The exhibition was curated by Monika Faber. Realisation in Winterthur: Urs Stahel. A cooperation with the Kunsthalle Wien.
Main sponsor: Dr. Carlo Fleischmann Foundation