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Larry Sultan

05.02. - 17.05.2015

Although Californian photographer Larry Sultan is one of the most prominent positions of the so-called “post-conceptual” photography in the United States, in Germany he has only been known among connoisseurs so far. Sultan was born in New York in 1946, but grew up in San Fernando Valley close to Los Angeles. His teaching career includes a professorship for photography at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco. He died in 2009.

Already in 1977, Sultan made an important contribution to the modern history of photography, when he and Mike Mandel created the media-critical series “Evidence.” With the help of “documentary” means Sultan’s early works question the limit of exactly this kind of photography and our naïve belief in the photograph.

His later series, which are no longer black and white, mark a change in the artist’s work by reflecting a new position of photography as a form of art in general. Beginning with the series “Pictures from Home,” a mixture of “documentary” and “staged” photography can be identified that leads to a psychologically diverse inquiry into family life. At the beginning of the 21st century, Sultan caused a sensation in Europe for the first time when publishing his book “The Valley” – a series taking a look behind the scenes of the American porn industry.

The exhibition organized by Kunstmuseum Bonn is the artist’s first solo show in a German museum and is part of an exhibition series about modern American photography (i.e. Mitch Epstein, Lewis Baltz). The exhibition will be accompanied by a substantial catalogue on Sultan’s work published in cooperation with S.M.A.K. in Ghent which will also present a solo exhibition of the artist this spring.

Larry Sultan, Dad on Bed, 1984, C-print, 100 x 75 cm, From the series Pictures from Home © The Estate of Larry Sultan, courtesy Galerie Thomas Zander, Cologne

Larry Sultan, Iselton, 2009, C-print, 145,3 x 173,5 cm, From the series Homeland © The Estate of Larry Sultan, courtesy Galerie Thomas Zander, Cologne

Larry Sultan, Sharon Wild, From the series The Valley, 2001 © The Estate of Larry Sultan, courtesy Galerie Thomas Zander, Cologne