Curator: Valentín Roma and Gillermo Zuaznabar
Opening: Friday 22th March, 7 pm
Held in collaboration with the August Sander Archiv belonging to Die Photographische Sammlung / SK Stiftung Kultur in Cologne, People of the 20th Century constitutes the most comprehensive exhibition ever staged in Spain on August Sander’s project of the same name, and one of the most exhaustive overviews to have been made to date in Europe outside Germany.
In addition to the 184 photographs organised following Sander’s typological patterns, a series is included that is practically unprecedented in the museum field, with pictures of some of his models’ gestures, looks and postures.
The exhibition is completed with a documentary section showing handwritten letters from the photographer, the portfolios made at the time for some sections and a variety of bibliographical material. A large graphic display has also been produced to convey the scale of the vast atlas of German society that was People of the 20th Century, the complex system of classification conceived by August Sander, the sociological and political density of the individuals that he photographed.
August Sander (Herdorf, 1876 – Cologne, 1964) occupies an absolutely tutelary position in the history of photography. From Walter Benjamin to Susan Sontag, from Roland Barthes to John Berger and Siegfried Kracauer, a significant part of the great narrators of images measured their theoretical apparatus before Sander’s unsentimental – and therefore politically incisive – photographs.
People of the 20th Century (Menschen des 20. Jahrhunderts) is his most legendary project, a huge archive of professional typologies that reflects the productive fabric of German society from the 1920s to the end of the 1950s, between the Weimar Republic and the downfall of Nazism after the Second World War.