The exhibition ‘Part Escape, Part Desire’ with works by German Leica photographer Herbert List opened at the Johanna Breede Photokunst Gallery on 29 September. The showcase is one of many exciting presentations displayed throughout the city during the European Month of Photography (EMOP), and will subsequently continue until 25 January 2019.
The year of 1936 was pivotal for Herbert List. With the Nuremberg Race Laws announced the year before, his private life had become the subject of antisemitic scrutiny. Fellow artists such as Andreas Feininger or Erika and Klaus Mann had already fled the country when List, who had been declared a ‘quarter Jew’, received a warning that his openly gay lifestyle and contempt for Nazi rule had drawn the attention of the Gestapo.
Almost overnight, he left his bourgeois existence in Germany, where he had worked for his father’s coffee import company. His journey through Switzerland and along the Italian Riviera yielded photographs such as ‘Sunglasses’ (taken on Lake Lucerne) or ‘Master and Dog (taken in Portofino). These images emanate a sense of peace, tranquility and companionship, paired with an appreciation for the beauty of mediterranean life. However, the summer of 1936 quickly passed – leaving List with the reality of having to rebuild his entire life anew.
The ‘Leica Classics’ section of LFI 2/2018 features a comprehensive profile of the Leica photographer’s life and work.
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Johanna Breede Photokunst
European Month of Photography Berlin 2018