Friday, 29 May 2015

Review of André Kertész in Europe at James Hyman Gallery

André Kertész in Europe
James Hyman Gallery
13 May – 13 June 2015

André Kertész (1894-1985) is probably best known for his pioneering modernist work produced in Paris during the late 1920s/early 1930s, including his Distortion series, featuring two nude models with their reflections caught in carnivalesque mirrors, and his later Washington Square images, capturing clouds and silhouettes. His fascination with and dedication to light (“I write with light”, he is quoted as saying) and shadow carry through all of his career, from his earlier photographs taken with an ICA box camera in pre-war Hungary, showing his almost ultra-sensitivity to the lot of his fellows, particularly the poor, the working class and the peasantry (for example, Lovers, Budapest, 1915 and Bocksay-Ter, Hungary, Oct 1914 – the earliest dated print in this exhibition) to his later shots in London in the 1980s.

This May exhibition at James Hyman is aptly time-framed with the largest work in the exhibition, a unique oversized enlargement of Muguet seller, Champs Elysees, May 1st 1928, printed by Kertész around 1960, portraying an amputee war veteran selling the traditional May flower, lily of the valley, on the steps to a metro station. The show focuses solely on Kertész’s European photographs, some well known, some previously unpublished. Delightful in its insights into the photographer’s life and times, with numerous shots of his contemporaries and their studios, this exhibition refutes the fact that Kertész seldom travelled after moving to New York in 1936. Here we have evidence of many trips to Europe, and, on each occasion, Kertész is seen to do as Kertész always did: to observe the world as if through a lens and to reflect back his unusual vantage point with depth both of field and perception.

To read the rest of this review, please go to:


Au Bon Coin, Paris, 1929 
The Estate of Andre Kertesz 2015
Courtesy James Hyman Gallery, London

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