As part of the ongoing series of presentations dedicated to the Mudam Collection, Subjects of Life highlights a selection of emblematic artworks from the museum’s collection of photography. This selection encourages a reflection on the medium through questions of representation and the effects of the image on our perception of reality, notions of territory, and the represented subject. Including works by twelve artists from Europe, Asia, the Middle East and North America, the presentation also underscores the varying approaches to photography within the broader scope of contemporary art practice.
Bernd and Hilla Becher (1931–2007 / 1934–2015) use rigorous shooting protocols that enable them to create an inventory of a disappearing industrial world. This archival dimension in the work of the Bechers is also present in the photographs of Luxembourg shop windows by Valérie Belin (1968) whereas the photographs by Martin Parr (1952) move between the world of reporting and visual art, and capture with acerbity aspects of contemporary life.
Operating somewhere between investigation and fiction, Sophie Calle (1953) and Pasha Rafiy (1980) exploit, through their respective tours around Venice and New York, the narrative potential of images, while the fanciful staging of anonymous fashion aficionados by Kyoichi Tsuzuki (1956) recreates a new reality. His images, which reveal as much their personalities in a sensitive manner, find resonance in the intimist atmosphere of the portraits of Nan Goldin (1953) and the lush images from the personal and global universe of Wolfgang Tillmans (*1968) that evoke painterly traditions of portraiture.