FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Exhibition: "Florian Bohm: Wait for Walk" September 10 - October 18, 2008
Artist's Reception: Wednesday September 10, 6-8 PM
The Cohen Amador Gallery is pleased to announce the exhibition "Wait for Walk", color photographs by internationally renowned German photographer Florian Bohm from his book of the same title. Born into the tradition of post-war German photography, Bohm tenaciously grasps the objective formalizing methodologies of his predecessors and reworks their techniques through the socially engaged photographic styles of the conceptual, American, post-modern epoch. In the series, Bohm's temerity manifests itself in photographs of New Yorkers literally waiting for the walk signal to cross the street. A process of such banality, it casually escapes the attention of those waiting.
Bohm's technique underscores the repetition involved in waiting for the walk signal. Using a medium format 6 x 7 or 6 x 17 camera, Bohm positions himself across the street from his waiting subjects. Going largely unobserved, he shoots at the same level as his subjects, in well-lit conditions, at busy intersections thereby establishing a photographic paradigm that illuminates similarities and differences between his photos and the subjects. Though certainly influenced by American street-photography, Bohm's methods recall Bernd and Hilla Becher, whose style highlighted the individuality of things through strict, repetitive photographic tactics. Bohm's focus on people in the schizophrenic network of New York City, however, highlights the commercial urbanism of the 21st century in a conceptual manner reminiscent of Philip Lorca Di Corcia. The shared experience of waiting becomes a sociological platform upon which, as German sociologist Georg Stimmel puts it, Bohm investigates "the attempt of the individual to maintain the independence and individuality of his existence against the sovereign powers of society".
With regard to these "sovereign powers of society", the prevalence of shopping bags in Bohm's work serves as the most obvious signifier. A group of Asian tourists giggle and grasp their identical Coach bags, all caught up in the casual whimsy of spending the day shopping. Lord and Taylor, GAP, red plastic bags from Chinatown corner markets, businessmen and women on their lunch break with bags from Mangia, Subway, Hale and Hearty: it all bespeaks the dominating power of 21st century consumerism. Store signs loom enticingly in the background marking their territory and appropriating the urban environment. It is as though Baudelaire’s flaneur, out for a pleasant stroll in 19th century Paris, has become a hyper-consumer, chugging caffeine while on his or her cell phone on the way to Saks. Yet, it is here, amidst the depersonalizing powers of the city, that the subject’s individuality displays itself most clearly. Gestures, posture, body language all come into relief. By focusing on this momentary cessation of action, Bohm simultaneously elucidates the individual in the subliminally daunting metropolis, while highlighting a moment of social, economic and racial transcendence: everybody has to wait as the cars speed by: individuality, through the mannerisms exhibited during the simple act of waiting, flourishes.
Florian Bohm has exhibited widely throughout Europe and the US including Kunstwerke Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin, Store Front Art and Architecture in New York, Fondazione Adriano Olivetti in Rome and Fondation Cartier pour l'Art Contemporain in Paris. He is the author of several books and was co-founder of the project EndCommercial / Reading the City, a visual record of modern urban life lauded in journals and papers such as the New York Times and Art Forum.
The Cohen Amador Gallery is located in the landmark Fuller Building at 41 East 57th Street on the 6th floor. Gallery hours are 11 AM to 6 PM Tuesday through Saturday and by appointment. For additional information, please contact the gallery at (212) 759-6740, visit www.cohenamador.com or contact us at email@example.com.