Presented within the Foto/Industria Biennale, Curated by François Hébel, Josef Koudelka’s Industrial landscapes is a selection of 40 photographs presented at the Museo Civico Archeologico in Bologna, Italy.
At the end of the 1980’s, Koudelka completely overturned his approach to photography and turned most of his attention to landscapes and its transformation by contemporary man, for which he chose a panoramic format. He started to accept various invitations extended to him, particularly in France, from the DATAR territorial mission, from the Usinor/Sollac steel manufacturer, and from the Transmanche mission.
He always demanded to visit the sites before accepting the commissions and to have complete freedom in making his pictures.
Back in his own country after the Velvet Revolution, he went back to the Black Triangle, a corner of Bohemia devastated by mining operations. Then began a world tour, lasting ten years, of the limestone mills of the Lhoist group. In these grandiose sites, he found material for an extraordinary collection of new and spectacular graphic constructions, in a format that few photographs can rival. With their powerful solemnity, these images examine the massive transformations of the landscape generated by the industrial revolution.
In his introduction to the book Black Triangle, playwright and former Czech president Vaclav Havel wrote that they illustrate that “Man is not an omniscient master of the planet who can get away with doing whatever he likes and whatever may suit him at the moment.”
Koudelka’s best industrial landscape photographs are brought together at Foto/Industria for the first time. Since 1991, the photographer has applied himself to rediscover the beauty of the Greek and Roman world through the vestiges in the Mediterranean basin.
Text by François Hébel
12th of October through the 19th of November, 2017
Museo Civico Archeologico
Via dell’Archiginnasio, 2 – Bologna, Italy
Exhibition Catalogue published by Éditions Xavier Barral
Image Copyright © JOSEF KOUDELKA/MAGNUM PHOTOS