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by Harry Gruyaert
Sep 15 - Oct 31 2015
Magnum Print Room
63 Gee Street
London, EC1V 3RS
The first solo UK exhibition of work by Magnum Photographer Harry Gruyaert will open at the Magnum Print Room in September. The exhibition will showcase over 30 works by Gruyaert who is known for his revolutionary and experimental use of colour.
The exhibition will span Gruyaert’s work from 1972 to 2004, shot in diverse locations including Bosnia, Belgium, Egypt, France, Ireland, Mali, Russia and the US. Greatly influenced by the American tradition epitomised by Saul Leiter, William Eggleston and Stephen Shore, and by the cinema aesthetics of François Truffaut and Michelangelo Antonioni, Gruyaert created a highly personal palette of saturated tones. His work helped to define a new territory for color photography: an emotive, non-narrative, and boldly graphic way of perceiving and communicating the world.
Also on display will be a small selection of Gruyaert’s photographs from his distorted television images series, shot directly from a broken television screen on which he could manipulate the colours. The four works on show are of the 1972 Munich Olympics and are a parody of the conventions of the current affairs photostory. This body of work was controversial when first exhibited in Paris in 1974, viewed as a disrespectful assault on the culture of television with a radical challenge to the conventions of press photography. Gruyaert himself views these works as the closest thing to journalistic photography he has ever made.
The exhibition coincides with the launch of the first English language monograph of Gruyaert’s work. Harry Gruyaert, published by Thames & Hudson, includes a foreword by François Hébel and 80 colour illustrations, RRP £40.
Harry Gruyaert, born in Antwerp (Belgium) in 1941, studied at the School of Film and Photography in Brussels from 1959 to 1962. He became a photographer in Paris in his 20s and joined Magnum in 1981. In the 2000s, Gruyaert abandoned film to shoot on digital, experimenting with early inkjet printing which opened up new possibilities for his work and the assertion of true colour. To this day, Gruyaert continues to travel on assignment for Magnum as well as commissions including the Hermès S/S 2015 campaign. His work has been included in numerous international exhibitions including A Question of Colour at Somerset House, London Tokyo Today at Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Magnum In Our Time at Palais de Tokyo, Paris and The New Color Photojournalism at the Walker Art Centre Minneapolis. His work is held in public collections including Centre Pompidou, Paris; Metropolitan Museum, Tokyo; MAST, Bologna, and Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris.