"Eugène Atget: Select Works" are on exhibit at London's James Hyman Gallery from 12 October12-November 12 with a Private view on October 11 at 6-8 p.m.
The exhibition coincides with Anna Fox's "RESORT" and Lynne Cohen's "There's Always Something". The gallery is located at 5 Savile Row, London W1S 3PD; phone: 0207 494 3857.
In many ways Atget was the first conceptual artist in his approach to the modern metropolis. Atget's apparently prosaic photographs often present a dream-like ambiance and possess a strange stillness in what was otherwise a bustling urban center.
Atget often cataloged these spaces thematically and formed a valuable visual encyclopedia of the time. This archive presents a stock record of a disappearing Paris, which now exists in collections around the globe.
Today, Atget is recognized less for the document itself than for his unique perspectives, which some mark as the first 'modern' points of view presented through the lens. This classification of subjects, such as staircases, also anticipates the typographies of the Bechers.
Critic Walter Benjamin described how Atget's photographs operated outside their 'documentary' purpose. These works avoid the 'perfection' of academic photography. They use vignetting and tangential perspectives to reposition their subjects while still retaining fidelity to detail.
The photographs presented in this exhibition are all vintage and are available for the first time in London as part of James Hyman Photography's ongoing commitment to presenting vintage artworks in the U.K.