by Josef Koudelka
Exiles and Panoramas places the Exiles series in contrast to a personal selection of Koudelka’s panoramas, taken as of the mid eighties. While he had been entirely dedicated to 35mm photography for his previous work, a panorama camera now gave him the opportunity to discover the world in a new way: with pictures of expansive landscapes and coastal shorelines taken in Europe and the Middle East, he searches for traces of the past in areas that have undergone sometimes devastating changes due to industry, conflict or simply the passage of time. These grandiose visual worlds appear devoid of any people, yet they bear witness to human existence in a disturbing yet beguiling way.
With a total of 68 works, the exhibition at the Ernst Leitz Museum offers a focused insight into Koudelka’s oeuvre. The groups of work reflect an exciting dialogue between humanity and fate, liveliness and dead matter, contemporary history and timelessness.