Magnum's First: The Face of Time
"Magnum’s First: The Face of Time" is the very first group exhibition of Magnum Photos which is considered a photographic myth of the 20th century, time and again inspiring new generations of photographers.
Until just recently, it was thought that the earliest group exhibition of Magnum photographers was the one curated by Fritz Gruber for the photokina in Cologne in 1956 … but then a spectacular discovery was made in 2006.
The first stop for the exhibition was in June and July 1955 at the Institut Français in Innsbruck. Its next station was very appropriate: the Würthle Gallery in Vienna, where Gesicht der Zeit was shown in late September. The arrangements were probably made with the help of influential Viennese sculptor Fritz Wotruba, who had been operating the famous art gallery since 1953, and also kept up a correspondence with Henri Cartier-Bresson. Between October 1 and 16 the exhibition was presented in Bregenz. Another stop was the Joanneum in Graz, where a gallery space was provided between January 21 and February 5, 1956. Thanks to the initiative of a well-established local amateur photographers’ club, 21 the Joanneum agreed to host the exhibition. The final station was probably the Neue Galerie in Linz, which returned the exhibition pieces to Innsbruck on February 17 where in 1956 it sank into oblivion in the cellar of the French cultural centre for exactly half a century. In 2006, this superb collection of original vintage photographs was rediscovered, restored and exhibited in Vienna.
The selection of Magnum’s First exhibition includes 83 original black-and-white vintage photographs by world renowned photographers, including, among others, the founders of Magnum Photos: Robert Capa, Marc Riboud, Werner Bischof, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Ernst Haas, Erich Lessing, Jean Marquis and Inge Morath.
The photographs by Henri Cartier-Bresson depict the last days in the life of the great Indian leader Gandhi and his funeral. Ernst Haas is the author of the photographic story on the making of Howard Hawks’ monumental epic film The Land of the Pharaohs in 1955. Genuine images of London’s high society during the early 1950s are captured in a series of photographs by the Austrian artist Inge Morath, whilst the French photographer Marc Riboud managed to catch the carrying of a large portrait of Tito amidst the bustle of Dalmatian streets. Robert Capa, who might well be considered the most famous photojournalist of all time, contributed three photographs of the Basque Country to Magnum’s first exhibition, whereas the most exotic are the images from the photographic diary of Werner Bischof taken in Peru, Chile, Japan, Cambodia ... Erich Lessing and Jean Marquis are again presented with images taken from an environment closer to us, the former with photographs of Viennese children and the latter with vedutas from Hungary.
Founded two years after the end of World War Two, Magnum was formed by five committed photojournalists (Robert Capa (1913–1954), David Seymour (1911–1956), George Rodger (1908–1995), Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908–2004) and William Vandivert (1912–1989)) who, deeply influenced by the apocalyptical time, were well aware of the immense power of the medium in which they recorded events they encountered on their way. They aimed to present people in their actual environments and conditions. They believed in photojournalism as a medium capable of raising awareness, educating and thereby contributing to a better world. Apart from rejecting sensationalism they advocated the principle of supranationality. It was this attitude that enabled Magnum Photos to distance itself from both national and ideological stereotypes which often result in bloodshed of global dimensions. We might call this attitude “photographic humanism”: it has decisively marked the world history of photography and laid the foundations for photojournalism, which is indispensable in recording everyday images of times both past and present.
Magnum Photos was initially an exclusive club, limited to a maximum of ten members.These days, the circle of photographers whose membership is extended every two years has widened. During the 55 years of its active existence, it facilitated many superb photojournalists to work in all parts of the world, thereby making an indelible impression on the visual memory and our knowledge about the inhabitants of our civilisation.
Photographs by: Robert Capa, Marc Riboud, Werner Bischof, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Ernst Haas, Erich Lessing, Jean Marquis, Inge Morath
Curator: Marija Skočir
Magnum Photos: Andréa Holzherr (exhibition programme), Léonor Matet (exhibition coordinator)
Graphic and exhibition design: Bojan Lazarevič (Agora Design)
Realisation of the exhibition: Technical Service MGML, RPS d.o.o.
Conservation service: Katarina Toman Kracina
Expert assistance: Dejan Sluga, Helena Srakočić
In cooperation with: Photonic Moments – Month of Photography 2012
Tuesday–Sunday: 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
1 January, 1 November, 25 December: Closed
24 and 31 December: 10. a.m.-2 p.m.
Adults: 5 €
Students, people over the age of 60, unemployed, people with disabilities: 3 €
Family ticket: 9 €
ICOM, PRESS, SMD, students of the Academy of Fine Arts and Design, VIST – Higher School of Applied Sciences, Faculty of Natural Sciences and Engineering – OTGO, Faculty of Design: Admission free
We recommend buying a combined ticket for the Jakopič Gallery and the Ljubljana City Museum: €10 / €7
Combined family ticket: 18 €
The price of the combined ticket also includes public guided tours, which include visits to both sites.
Guided tours of the exhibition: every Saturday at 4.30 p.m., start at Jakopič Gallery
Join the Friends of the Jakopič Gallery. The 9 €* annual membership fee includes numerous benefits and exclusive events. Click here for more information.
(*from 1. January 2024 on the membership will cost 12 €)