mohit.art is proud to present a selection of books submitted to the German Photobook Award (Deutscher Fotobuchpreis, Stuttgart) at Hasht Cheshmeh Art Space, Kashan.
A project by mohit.art in collaboration with Hasht Cheshmeh Art Space, Kashan and Emkan Gallery, Tehran.
Exhibition: Dec 17, 2021 – Jan 16, 2022, open daily 5-9 pm
Address: 1floor, No 44, 5th Alley, Mollafatollah St, Kashan-Iran
In an article from December 3, 2021, Clément Chéroux, Chief Curator of Photography at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, posed the question: “Has the photobook become more interesting than photographs themselves?” This is remarkable. It shows the extent to which attention has shifted towards photography books in recent years.
Some years ago I spent quite some time working in the photobook library of friends, Leo Fritz (1908–2005) and Renate Gruber (*1936) in the German city of Cologne. In his functions for Koelnmesse, photokina, the German Photographic Association, and as an exhibition-maker, Fritz Gruber was a central figure in shaping the perception of twentieth-century photography both in Germany and internationally well into the late 1980s. It would have been nearly impossible to find a museum director or curator – at the time there were hardly any of them specialized in photography! – who could match Fritz and Renate Gruber’s global network. The Gruber library reflects the history of the medium: thousands of photobooks from Europe, the United States, and Japan but also from the USSR, China, India, Israel, Southeast Asia, South and Central America, and Turkey. But not a single book about or from Iran. This conspicious detail seems to be confirmed when we open the volumes of The Photobook: A History by Gerry Badger and Martin Parr published by Phaidon in 2004 and 2006: Iran doesn’t make a single appearance in them. The same is true for the still unsurpassed standard works by Hans-Michael Koetzle: Das Lexikon der Fotografen. 1900 bis heute, Knaur, 2002, Photographers A–Z, Taschen, 2011, and Eyes Wide Open! 100 Years of Leica Photography, Kehrer, 2014. Let’s take another work, one generation prior: Helmut Gernsheim’s The Origins of Photography, Thames and Hudson, 1982. Negative on all counts, not even the slightest mention of the word “Iran.” Was there no photography in Iran? Or did book printing not exist on this part of the planet? As we know, the case is quite the opposite! What we see is an example of the Western tradition of blanking out.
With our network, mohit.art, we work towards a better understanding and practical cooperation. We selected “photobooks” as one of the key issues to follow through different formats over a longer time frame.
In cooperation with Hasht Cheshmeh Art Space – Kashan, Emkan Gallery – Tehran and German Photobook Award (Deutscher Fotobuchpreis, Stuttgart), mohit.art presents an exhibition of German and European photobooks. It will be on view at Hasht Chechmeh Art Space, Kashan from December 17, 2021 until January 16, 2022, and continue in March in Tehran. mohit.art will present parts of the exhibition online in conjunction with online lectures, texts and panel discussions. In 2022, mohit.art will expand its exploration of photobooks and their role in Iran and neighbouring countries in relation to European and Western practices.
We are honoured by the invitation of Hasht Cheshmeh Art Space and Emkan Gallery to present photobooks from Germany in Iran, and very thankful to Hans-Michael Koetzle, the most distinguished author and expert in the field who speaks to you on the subject.
Bernd Fechner, December 17, 2021
Hans Michael Koetzle