ERSTE Foundation presents Erich Lessing’s work for the first time in Croatia. One of Austria’s most renowned photographers and a member of the prestigious photo agency Magnum Photos, Lessing’s photos represent Europe after World War II. About 60 photos will be exhibited: 30 by Lessing and as much by selected authors from Central and South-Eastern Europe.
Lessing’s photos chronicle the way he saw the world and interpreted its people, events, issues and personalities. The emphasis of the exhibition is on Lessing’s work from the Fifties portraying countries of Central and South-Eastern Europe, and exploring the changes that occurred in the area in the decades that followed through the eyes of contemporary artists: Anna Artaker (A), Manfred Willmann (A), Boris Missirkov & Georgi Bogdanov (BG), Anna Fabricius (H), Martin Kollár (SK), Elzbieta Jablonska (PL), Šejla Kamerić (BiH), Ivana Keser (HR), Erzen Shkolloli (KOS), Zaneta Vangeli (MK), Florin Tudor & Mona Vatamanu (RO), Ilija Šoškić (MNE), Tanja Ostojić (SRB) and IRWIN (SLO).
This exhibition is part of a project by ERSTE Foundation “EUROPE: IN BETWEEN DOCUMENT AND FICTION” devised as a vehicle to present past and future of europe in an inspiring way that entices the rethinking of future. It is a synthesis of all three areas of interest of ERSTE Foundation: social inclusion and transformation, cultural diversity and the process of European integration.
ERSTE Foundation is active in Central and South Eastern Europe. Independently or with partners, the Foundation initiates and develops projects in three programmes: Social Development, Culture, and Europe. ERSTE Foundation being the largest shareholder of Erste Group, it is also one of the largest foundations in the area, based in Vienna. The Foundation is determined to act socially and culturally responsibly, thus supporting civil society based on the historical values.
July 15th-27th 2012
the boat leaves Fažana at 6:30PM
Lessing was born in Vienna, Austria, in 1923, to a dentist and a concert pianist. Before completing high school he was forced to leave Austria in 1939 because of Hitler’s rise to power. He immigrated to the British Mandate for Palestine (now Israel). His mother remained in Vienna and later died at Auschwitz. While in Israel Lessing studied at Haifa’s technical college and then worked agricultural jobs on kibbutzim. He then joined the British Army as a photographer and aviator.
After World War II, Lessing returned to Austria in 1947 and joined the Associated Press as both a journalist and photographer. David Seymour invited Lessing to join Magnum Photos in 1951 and Lessing became a full member in 1955. His photographs were published by such magazines as Life, Paris Match, Picture Post, EPOCA and Quick Magazine. He documented politics in post-war Europe, especially in Communist countries. His photographs of Hungarian revolution in 1956 fitness the hope and euphoria of the first days of uprising, as well as grief and sorrow of the brutal clampdown that ensued.
After the disillusionment in the power of photojournalism as a means of change, in the 1960s Lessing turned to more cultural subjects such as art, science, and history, by taking portraits of poets, musicians, physicists, and astronomers. With these photographs, many in large format and full colour, Lessing has produced more than 50 books.
Lessing has taught in Arles, France, at the Venice Biennale, at the Salzburg Summer Academy, at the Academy of Applied Arts in Vienna, and in India as a United Nations Industrial Development Organization specialist. His work has been exhibited throughout the world. He is a member of International Council of Museums and its Documentation Board. He lives in Vienna.