The Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg presents with „PIETER HUGO. Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea“ the first institutional solo exhibition of the South African photo artist Pieter Hugo in Germany.
What divides us and what unites us? How do people of all colors live with the shadows of cultural repression or political dominance? The South African photographer Pieter Hugo (* 1976 in Johannesburg) explores these questions in his portraits, still lifes, and landscapes.
After solo exhibitions at the Hague Museum of Photography, the Musee de l“Elysee Lausanne, Müpa Budapest, and the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson Paris, the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg will be the first museum in Germany to present a comprehensive overview of the series with which Pieter Hugo achieved recognition, for example „Looking aside“, „Kin“, „The Hyena & Other Men“, „Permanent Error“, „There“s a Place in Hell For Me and My Friends“, and „Nollywood“ as well as his recent „1994“, „Rwanda 2004: Vestiges of a Genocide“ and „Californian Wildflowers“ projects.
Raised in post-colonial South Africa, where he witnessed the official end of Apartheid in 1994, Hugo has a keen sense for social dissonances. He perceptively makes his way through all social classes with his camera, and not only in his native country but also in places like Rwanda, Nigeria, Ghana, China and the United States. How do people of all age groups and from the most diverse origins deal with their historical baggage and living conditions? Pieter Hugo“s socio-cultural portraits record the visible traces and scars of lived biography as well as lived-through national history. He is particularly interested in social subcultures, the gulf between the ideal and reality. His pictures feature the homeless; albinos; AIDS sufferers; men who tame hyenas, snakes, and monkeys; people who gather electrical scrap metal in apocalyptic scenarios; costumed Nollywood actors in striking poses, in addition to his own family and friends.
His photographs are non-hierarchical; everyone is treated with the same amount of respect. More artist than anthropologist or documentarian, Hugo captures the „moment of voluntary vulnerability“ (Pieter Hugo) with a pronouncedly detached, but at the same time also empathetic, concise visual language, creating in this way true to life portraits of powerful directness. In many cases, this humanity stands in sharp contrast to the hardships of the social reality engulfing the subjects of his pictures. Entirely in this sense, Pieter Hugo“s photographic still lifes and landscapes occasionally seem like social commentaries or metaphors, complementing his socio-cultural portraits.
PIETER HUGO. Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
Ralf Beil, Uta Ruhkamp (eds.)
With an introduction by Ralf Beil, an essay by Uta Ruhkamp, as well as texts by the artist on all of his photographic series to date. German and English edition, 304 pages with 242 illustration, gatefolded paperback, 25 x 30,5 cm, Design Bureau Mario Lombardo, Prestel Verlag, In bookstores 49.95 EUR, in the Museum Shop 32 EUR.
Press preview on Thursday, February 16, 2017, 11:15 a.m. The artist is present.
Opening on Saturday, February 18, 2017, 7 p.m. The artist is present.
Photo: Pieter Hugo, Ashleigh McLean, from the series „There“s a Place in Hell for Me and My Friends“, 2011-2012, 2011, platinum print, arches platine paper © Pieter Hugo, Priska Pasquer, Köln.
Das Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg wurde im Jahr 1994 eröffnet und kann bereits heute auf eine einzigartige Geschichte mit einer Vielzahl maßgeblicher Ausstellungen und Veranstaltungen zurückblicken. Es ist in kurzer Zeit gelungen, das Haus regional zu verankern und gleichzeitig international Beachtung zu finden. Das Museum ist der Kunst aus Gegenwart und Moderne gewidmet und es vereint die verschiedensten Medien, angefangen von Malerei, über Skulpturen und Fotografie, Video und neue Medien bis zu Mode und Design. Das imposante, modernistische Gebäude im Zentrum der Stadt gelegen, präsentiert auf 3500 qm Ausstellungsfläche sowohl wechselnde Ausstellungen als auch Werke aus der Sammlung.
The Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg was opened in 1994 and can already look back at a unique history with numerous authoritative exhibitions and events. Within a brief period of time, it has been possible for the museum to position itself locally and find international recognition at the same time. The museum is dedicated to modern and contemporary art, combining diverse media ranging from painting, photography and sculpture and the new media to fashion and design. The striking modernist building located in the heart of the city presents temporary exhibitions as well as works from its own collection on 3,500 square meters.