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PORTFOLIO

01.03.2015

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Patti Smith, Robert Mapplethorpe, Sam Shepard: at the end of the sixties they were all totally unknown, still searching for their particular form of artistic expression. Judy Linn belonged to the same circle of friends and, with her Leica M4, captured intimate moments of their life together. Above all, she shared a close friendship with Patti Smith, today a famous punk rock icon and artist. Improvising together in front of the camera, Linn, who had just finished her studies of art, discovered photography as her medium. “I took these photos before I knew how to. At the beginning it wasn’t so much a matter of who we were, but who we wanted to be.” Even today, it is the spontaneity and authenticity that gives life to these pictures, reflects the mood of the era, tells the story of the Bohemian, underground grandezza of the Chelsea Hotel, the longing, the profiling and the realities of everyday life.

The pictures taken by Judy Linn (*1947 in Detroit) are now on display in Berlin for the first time. For a long time, the photographer was not allowed to show the intimate pictures of Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe from their time together in New York, as Smith was not keen that her children see images in public of her wild days, when, without money but with lots of energy, she struggled to survive in New York.

Three of Linn’s groups of work are being presented at the Haus am Kleistpark under the multiple-meaning, associative title as if it is as it is of. In addition to people (Patti and friends, 1969–1976), the exhibition also includes place (edge of Detroit, 1972/73) and things (art and artefact, 1969–2014). In many of the pictures it is easy to recognize how Linn used the chance moment as her most important stylistic means. Today she no longer works exclusively with her analogue Leica camera, but has also taken on digital, of course. “If you think, it’s already too late. The chance moment is the best one; chance is perfection. It’s what you start out hating, but end up loving.” U.R.


The exhibition is running until March 15, 2015, at the Haus am Kleistpark, Grunewaldstr. 6–7, 10823 Berlin. Open Tues–Sun, 10am to 7pm. Free entry.
www.hausamkleistpark.de
„Laundrobag Patti as Dylan“, early 70’s; © Judy Linn
Patti Smith, 1976; © Judy Linn. Spontaneous role playing in front of the camera. Judy Linn preferred to use Kodak Tri-X film in her Leica M4 with Summicron 35 mm
Patti and Sam, early seventies; © Judy Linn. Patti Smith shared a close friendship with Sam Shepard even before he began his career as an actor and playwright
Patti hugs pillow, early seventies; © Judy Linn. The publication in 2010 of Patti Smith’s book Just Kids was a literary sensation, offering a direct and unsentimental glimpse into her beginnings as an artist in the New York of the seventies
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