Men Without Masks by August Sander

Men Without Masks by August Sander
#Exhibitions

The sociological and economic portrait of Germany in the years leading up to and during the Weimar Republic, with its inhabitants and sometimes dramatic urban landscapes, takes form in the intense photos of a pioneer of a clean and spartan photographic aesthetic, capable of portraying human diversity and a profound empathy with his subjects. Taken between 1910 and 1931, the portraits on display at the Hauser & Wirth, capture a crucial moment in the artistic evolution of the German photographer that immortalised the people of the village he was born in, placing them “according to their essential archetypes, with all the characteristics of humanity in general." The boxer, the architect and the aviator are placed alongside industrialists, the diversely-able and the homeless - “men without masks” categorised to reflect Germany during a period of rapid socio-economic changes. The artist, once described as “the Balzac of the objective lens”, author of a powerful conceptual project based on the existence of types according to professions and social classes that can, and do, reduce faces into masks, was a great source of inspiration for modern and contemporary photographers such as Walker Evans and Diane Arbus, with a profound influence on new generations of visual artists.
Samantha De Martin - © 2018 ARTE.it for Bulgari Hotel London