Courtesy Galerie Karsten Greve Cologne Paris St. Moritz
Galerie Karsten Greve is pleased to present an exhibition dedicated to one of the major photographers of the 20th century: Herbert List (1903-1975). This is a debut for Herbert List at Karsten Greve's Cologne gallery space. Photo essays, photo reports, and portraits from the artist's estate will be on show, including around 80 vintage gelatin silver prints, based on photographs taken during Herbert List's stays in Italy between 1934 and 1961.
In the 1930s, creating works of homoerotic sensuality in line with classical aesthetics, Herbert List took photographs of vigorous boys worshiping the sun on the beaches and coasts of Liguria. He dealt with age, loneliness, and death in a 1938 picture essay about Casa Verdi, the old-age residence and final destination for many singers and musicians at La Scala in Milan.List's photographs taken in the catacombs of Palermo's Capuchin monastery with skeletons wrapped in robes whose bizarre facial expressions gain an uncanny presence thanks to close vision and lighting effects, date from 1939. Another photographic essay shows the grotesque monster monuments overgrown with moss and leaves in the Sacro Bosco of Bomarzo (Lazio), which is used as a pasture and playground.
Herbert List uncovers, and, at the same time, ironically comments on, the monumental character of architecture in Rome, by juxtaposing it with people or animals. In 1952, the camera artist first used a 35 mm camera (Leica) with a telephoto lens to candidly capture events on the piazza in the Trastevere district for his View from a Window series. For a photo report about Naples, Herbert List went on photographic forays through the city starting in 1957. His sympathy was with the local residents. A native of Naples, director and actor Vittorio De Sica interviewed the people List portrayed. Their collaboration resulted in Napoli, an illustrated book published in 1962; featuring photographs of authentic everyday occurrences and quotations from the people shown, it provides an overall picture of the southern Italian metropolis interspersed with social criticism.
As a specialty of Herbert List's photography, the exhibition presents vintage gelatin silver prints of portraits of contemporary artists, writers, and intellectuals from List's circle of acquaintances.
Accompanying the exhibition, a publication is available: HERBERT LIST Italia,text: Matthias Harder, Galerie Karsten Greve, Paris, 2020, 12 euros.