Brassaï (1899- 1984) created countless iconic images of 1930s Parisian life. He was famous for capturing the grittier aspects of the city, but also documented high society, including the ballet, opera, and intellectuals – among them his friends and contemporaries like Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí and Henri Matisse.
The exhibition at Foam traces his career with over 170 vintage prints, plus a selection of drawings, a sculpture and documentary material.
A journey through his provocative and enigmatic sceneries chronicles the urban lifestyle of Paris as a true metropolis between the two world wars.
Brassaï’s reputation rests on contributions to both commercial and avant-garde photography. He was close to many pre-eminent artists of his time – an enduring relationship with Picasso in particular yielded many famous portraits of the artist, as well as important books.
His first photo-book, published in 1933 and entitled Paris de nuit (published in English as Paris After Dark), remains the most famous exploration of the city’s hidden underbelly, and is considered a classic of early street photography. His series of photo-books of Paris graffiti have also been hugely influential.
Brassaï (born Gyula Halász) was called “the eye of Paris” by his friend Henry Miller, nodding to his fascination with discovering and disecting the complexities and hidden sides of French society and culture. Brassai’s intimate candor and tireless storytelling is still striking today.
This exhibition gathers a broad range of the artistic facets of the photographer, from photos to drawings of female nudes.
It is organized in twelve thematic sections: Paris by Day, and by Night, Minotaure, Graffiti, Society, Places and Things, Personages, Sleep, Pleasures, Body of a Woman, Portraits – Artists, Writers, Friends and The Street. Each is very different from the next – reflecting the diversity of Brassaï’s photographic work.
Through 04 December