Everything Was Moving: Photography from the 60s and 70s


13 September 2012 – 13 January 2013


Barbican Art Gallery

Barbican Centre Silk Street London EC2Y 8DS

Opening Times: 11am – 8pm, except Wednesdays 11am – 6pm

Open late every Thursday 11am – 10pm

Admission: Standard £10 online/£12 on the door, Concessions £7 Online/£8.00 on the door Secondary school (groups of ten or more) £6, Under 12s free

Red members: unlimited free entry for member + guest
Orange members: Unlimited free entry for member
Yellow members: 30% off which is £7 online/£8.40 on the door

For Further Information: 0845 120 7550/art@barbican.org.uk

From the 13th of September Barbican will be displaying a major photography exhibition that surveys the medium from an international perspective, and includes renowned photographers from across the globe, all working during two of the most memorable decades of the 20th Century. Everything Was Moving: Photography from the 60s and 70s brings together over 400 works, some rarely seen, others recently discovered and many shown in the UK for the first time.

The exhibition includes key figures of modern photography including Bruce Davidson, William Eggleston, David Goldblatt, Graciela Iturbide, Boris Mikhailov and Shomei Tomatsu, as well as important practitioners whose lives were cut tragically short such as Ernest Cole and Raghubir Singh.

‘The exhibition is set in one of the defining periods of the modern age – a time that remains an inescapable reference point even today. The world changed dramatically in the 1960s and powerful images of the 1960s and 1970s make us look at the world again. Everything Was Moving explores a spectrum of different photographic approaches, and asks if, in the early 21st century, we are finally prepared to erase the distinction between art photography and documentary photography.’

The exhibition presents an exciting collection of works by the Chinese photographer, Li Zhensheng, some never before revealed in public before. As Li Zhensheng worked throughout the fearful decade of the Cultural Revolution (1966 –1976) for the Heilongjiang Daily, the local newspaper of Harbin in the far North East of China. Li Zhensheng took a great risk photographing in secret, and managing to store in his furniture and floorboards some 30,000 negatives. This vital material only became fully revealed in the West at the end of the 20th century and it has now become the most complete visual record known of this extraordinary period of human history.

In a contrasting response to dictatorship, acclaimed conceptual photographer, Boris Mikhailov who lived and worked in Kharkhov at the height of Soviet domination of the Ukraine. Mikhailov developed a distinctive artistic approach, with which to evade the censors and to satirize Soviet occupation, as well as the tenets of socialist realism. The exhibition includes the first UK showing of his very first series, Yesterday’s Sandwich, 1968 –1975, a collection of his unusual and sometimes humours montages.

Considered a pioneer of colour, Indian artist Raghubir Singh (1942 –1999) strived to create photography that was distinctively modern and Indian. He broke abruptly with the colonial tradition of single-point perspective, picturesque, depopulated landscapes – to describe an India which was peopled, frenetic and luminous. His so- called theory of ‘Ganges modernism’ pitted colour and spirituality against the monochromatic angst and alienation of Western figures such as Robert Frank and Diane Arbus. The work of Singh has never been thoroughly evaluated in the UK, and this selection includes rarely seen images from the extraordinary archives from the early part of his career.

Johannesburg-based photographer David Goldblatt, is, noted for his documentation and portrayal of South Africa during the apartheid. Over five decades, Goldblatt has forged a complex, contradictory tableau of South Africa’s fractured society, during and after the apartheid. For this exhibition, Goldblatt has personally revisited his major series of the 1960s and 1970s, from On the Mines (with Nadine Gordimer), to Some Afrikaners Photographed, and In Boksburg, displaying some rarely seen work.

This exhibition will also be displaying an incredible collection of vintage prints by the black South African Ernest Cole (1940–1990) that was recently rediscovered and will be shown for the first time in Britain at Barbican Art Gallery. Cole somehow persuaded the Race Classification Board that he was not ‘black’ but ‘coloured’ (he changed his name from Kole to Cole) and was therefore able to practice as a photographer at a time when many black photographers were persecuted and imprisoned. Cole’s courage and determination were matched by his artistic talent. On May 9th 1966 Cole escaped South Africa, and in exile he published the House of Bondage in New York, 1967, a permeant record of what it was to be black under apartheid. Cole was never able to return home and he died in poverty, his negatives given away, it is believed, in substitute of an unpaid hotel bill.

Time of Change, 1961–1965, which has become one of Bruce Davidson’s most powerful series, has never been exhibited in the UK. On May 25th, 1961 the 28-year old photographer joined a group of Freedom Riders making a terrifying journey by bus from Montgomery, Alabama to Jackson, Mississippi. This became the starting point of a four-year project for Davidson, in which he captures the mood and the events of the civil rights struggle. Davidson was interested in the human reality of the south, in contrast, William Eggleston, a native of Memphis, Tennessee, perplexed the critics with his seeming lack of subject matter, lack of composition – and lack of a photographic agenda. Now, he is widely viewed as a brilliant innovator who revolutionized photography with his ‘democratic’, non-hierarchical vision, his ‘shotgun’ aesthetic and his radical use of colour. Eggleston’s classic pictures of the period – affectless, brooding images of the Deep South, saturated in vivid colour, and shot through with a sense of menace, equally conjure the mood of the time.

Also included in the exhibition: major contributions by Hasselblad-award winners Graciela Iturbide (Mexico) and Malick Sidibé (Mali); a little-seen allegorical work by Sigmar Polke (Germany); Shomei Tomatsu, an iconic figure in Japanese photography (Japan) and a selection of Larry Burrows’ (UK) powerful Vietnam portraits.

Information courtesy: Barbican