Arthur Tress. The photograph as magical image 1956-2006

15 November 2013

This exhibition is a selection from the oeuvre of the American artist, Arthur Tress from 1956 till 2006, and is presented for the first time in Greece in collaboration with Château d' Eau in Toulouse and Contrejour publications, as part of the museum exhibition series "Great Masters". October 2013 – January 2014.

Arthur Tress is one of the pioneers in "staged" photography and came to the forefront in the beginning of the 1970s, along with Duane Michals, Diane Arbus, Les Krims and others.

He began to photograph during his adolescence and confronted photography as a means of social satire and commentary, aiming at political change. Inspired by the photographers of "social landscape" – Robert Frank, Bruce Davidson and Danny Lyons, he considered photography as a weapon to fight against injustice and inequality against racial and social minorities which he had also experienced because of his Jewish origin and sexual identity – resulting in what he called "melancholic alienation".

Αfter numerous travels around the world, Arthur Tress worked as a professional photographer for magazines and newspapers. During the 1960s he focused on street photography, in the center of New York, in the suburbs, in the grey zones near the bridges that connect Brooklyn to Manhattan, while after the 1970s and onwards he worked on specific topic, often inclining towards surrealism.

Throughout his sixty year course he stood in between two worlds, which occasionally united: the real with the imaginary, the conscious with the subconscious– without fear of oscillating between the two and not belonging to any of them.

In this exhibition both aspects of Tress's work unfold: one can discern the "San Francisco, 1964″ series, which were rediscovered in 2009, depicting a young man's outlook on the events taking place on the streets, the political rallies and the tension. Accordingly, the emblematic pictures representing the dream world of children, often oblique and scary and the allegorical staged photographs stand out, revealing Tress's power to disclose the imaginary and impose it as real.

In this manner Tress belongs to the photographers whose life moves in parallel with their artistic practice –beyond conventions. A ceaseless artist, he has created an immense archive and has published more than twenty monographs.

This exhibition with its special writing and visual metaphors opens the Main Programme of the Museum's Photobiennale, which revolves around the topic of Logos ; it also includes a film on his work entitled "Tresspassing", directed by Raleigh Souther (duration 14:12'').

Publication: "Transréalités" (Contrejours editions, with the participation of Château d' Eau, 24×32 cm, 112 pages, French-English, texts by Claude Nori, 2013).

Some of the artworks may offend public sensitivity. Minors under 18 should be accompanied during their visit.

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