Josef Koudelka – Ruines
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Josef Koudelka – Ruines

by Atelier EXB


Through nearly 200 photographs, this important work traces the entirety of Josef Koudelka’s work on the ancient sites around the Mediterranean. The result of 28 years of peregrinations through 20 countries, Koudelka photographed 200 archaeological sites in the same panoramic format. For some, he returned several times, sometimes even ten times, over different periods, in search of the “best image”.

Beyond a romantic and picturesque vision of these sites, Josef Koudelka’s astonishing framing, often flush with the ground in plunge or counter-plunge, and his black and white with powerful contrasts make us rediscover some mythical places like Delphi and Pompeii. Among Koudelka’s photographs, some show sites that have disappeared or been mutilated as a result of recent conflicts in the Arab world, such as Palmyra or Bosra. This exceptional corpus reveals the homogeneity of an empire, ruled from Rome, for centuries, the fascination we have for the ruins and for a civilization founding ours.

To accompany these photographs, the Hellenist Alain Schnapp has drawn from ancient literature and that of travel writers ancient and modern quotations that cast a different light on antiquity and its ruins, and put into perspective our vision of the past. Several texts also shed light on this work: Héloïse Conésa examines the photographer’s singular approach and recontextualizes it in the history of art, Bernard Latarjet recounts Koudelka’s interest in the panoramic format and his fascination with ruins, while Alain Schnapp traces the history of ruins and what they have represented for societies over the centuries.

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SKU: FIS-BOK-014 Category:

Co-Publishers: Atelier EXB with BNF
Release: September 2020
Texts : Héloïse Conésa, curator of the exhibition, curator at the BnF’s Photography Dept.
Bernard Latarget, former director of the DATAR mission
Alain Schnapp, historian and archaeologist, specialist in the Greek world

Width: 31,5 mm
Height: 24 mm
Pages: 368 pages, 170 B&W photographs

Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris
September 15 – December 13, 2020
Ara Pacis Museum, Rome

Additional information

Dimensions 31.5 × 24 cm

Atelier EXB

Atelier EXB / Éditions Xavier Barral publient des ouvrages abordant les formes nouvelles de la photographie, de l'art contemporain et des sciences. Fondée en 2002 par Xavier Barral, la maison d'édition conçoit chacun livre où le fond et la forme racontent une histoire étonnante et singulière.

Susciter la curiosité par l'image et faire découvrir des écritures artistiques, des sujets propres à notre histoire. L'exigence esthétique et la philosophie réunissent et font se croiser de nombreux artistes et auteurs du monde entier tels que Valérie Belin, Daniel Buren, Sophie Calle, Clément Chéroux, asphalte Dallaporta, Raymond Depardon, Masahisa Fukase, Rinko Kawauchi, William Kentridge, Josef Koudlka, Sergio Larrain, Erik Orsenna, Alberto Manguel, Annette Messager, Martin Parr, Eric Reinhardt, Hiroshi Sugimoto et Jeff Wall.

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