A witness of the radical transformation of the South Californian landscape in the postwar period, artist Lewis Baltz (born in 1945 at Newport Beach) created his first Prototypes in 1967. These silent, compact, precise photographic images record, in black and white, the appearing, within the landscape, of tentacular objects and signs, the proliferation of commercial, anonymous and commonplace architecture. Organizing his images in series, in 1975 he participated in New Topographics, Photographs of a Man-Altered Landscape, a mythical exhibition that relaunched documentary aesthetics thanks to its new approach to landscape and territory. With the start of the 1980s, colour was summoned for a series of works whose social and political implication was made deliberately clear. In The Power Trilogy (1992-1995), the artist interrogated the uses and excesses of new technologies – surveillance, dependency, power... – by assimilating images from diverse sources. Questioning the notion of memory, he compiled the archives of a criminal trial, unending and beat up in the media, for a project on non-defined narrative forms, The Deaths in Newport (1989-1995). Then in Venezia-Marghera (1999-2000), a work made of texts and images, Lewis Baltz explores the devastating proximity between La Serenissima museum-city, the floating cities of leisure, the cargo-ships in disrepair, and the toxic industries, which all share the same laguna.
This exhibition is organized in collaboration with the Galerie Thomas Zander of Cologneand the Deichtorhallen of Hamburg.