After Eden
Photography from The Walther Collection

la maison rouge, Paris
10/17/2015 — 1/24/2016

SM-1053_Mofokeng_Chasing Shadows_Eyes Wide Shut

About the exhibition

After Eden is the most extensive exhibition to date drawn from the collection. Curated by Simon Njami and presented by la maison rouge, the exhibition includes more than 800 images from the 1880s to the present. After Eden imagines a fallen, post-paradisiacal world in which photographic practices of documentation, categorization, and sequencing reflect the human thirst for knowledge.

BHB-404_Walther Collection_Becher Bernd Hilla_Hochoefen-Blast-Furnaces_grid_1969-95
Bernd & Hilla Becher, Blast Furnaces, 1969–95

Illustrating the evolution of German conceptual photography at the turn of the twentieth century, the exhibition considers the profound influence of Karl Blossfeldt, August Sander and Bernd and Hilla Becher, artists associated with establishing the visual language of systematic and objective imagery. At the same time, the exhibition presents works by contemporary artists who appropriate and disrupt such regimes to stage interventions in their local communities, in the world at large, and in the history of photography.

David Goldblatt, Unemployed men and Krugerpark government housing scheme for lower and middle class whites, Pretoria, Transvaal, "Structures," 28 October 1986
David Goldblatt, The monument at left celebrates the fifth anniversary of the Republic of South Africa. The one at right is to J G Strijdom, militant protagonist of White supremacy and of an Afrikaner republic, who died in 1958. At rear is the headquarters building of Volkskas (The People’s Bank) founded in 1934 to mobilise Afrikaner capital and to break the monopoly of the English banks, Pretoria, "Structures," 25 April 1982

The concept of seriality and the format of the photographic essay, as a guiding principle for the development of The Walther Collection itself, are represented by landscapes of southern Africa, inventories of urban spaces and vernacular architecture, masterworks of twentieth-century portraiture, and multiple variations on the performance of identity by artists from Africa, China, Japan, Europe and North America.

Mi S-45-04_Subotzky_Ponte City_Windows
Mikhael Subotzky & Patrick Waterhouse, Stills from "Windows, Ponte City," 2008–11
Mi S-25-06_Subotzky_Ponte City_Windows
Mi S-36-05_Subotzky_Ponte City_Windows

Works in video deploy the music and ceremonial events that give rise to cultural mythologies, while a view into a nineteenth century archive of ethnographic photographs and scientific books brings to light the earliest uses of photography to codify races and genders. Through comparative juxtapositions, this exhibition makes visible the dynamic signs, masks, structures, and patterns of social expression.

Artworks on display

    Artists on display

    About la maison rouge

    La maison rouge was a private contemporary art foundation dedicated to exhibiting art collections and monographic shows of the work of contemporary artists in all mediums. It was founded in June 2004 by Antoine de Galbert, a French art collector, and closed in October 2018.

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