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Josef Koudelka


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In 1968, Josef Koudelka photographed the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia, publishing these images under the initials P. P. (Prague Photographer). Koudelka left Czechoslovakia in 1970, became stateless, was then granted political asylum in England, and shortly thereafter joined Magnum Photos. Koudelka has published eleven books of photographs focusing on the relationship between contemporary man and the landscape, including Gypsies (1975), Exiles (1988), Black Triangle (1994), Invasion 68: Prague (2008), and Wall (2013). Significant exhibitions of his work have been held at the Museum of Modern Art and the International Center of Photography, New York; Hayward Gallery, London; and Palais de Tokyo, Paris. Koudelka is the recipient of the Medal of Merit awarded by the Czech Republic (2002) and numerous other awards. In 2012, he was named Commandeur de l Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture. He is based in Paris and Prague. Ray Dolphin is a researcher and writer. He has written numerous reports on the Wall for the UN, and is author of The West Bank Wall: Unmaking Palestine (2006) and Jerusalem: Military Conquest by Architectural Means (2006). He has lived in the West Bank and Gaza for over twenty years. Gilad Baram is a photographer and video artist whose work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in Israel and Europe and who has won a number of prizes, including the Shpilman Prize for Excellence in Photography and the Sharett Foundation Award. He was born in Israel and is based in Berlin and Jerusalem.


The vistas are resolutely grim, and Koudelka makes no attempt to aestheticize them, yet his sweeping photos are overwhelming. The moral chasm that opens between the sheer impact of the visual and knowledge of what is being depicted is fully intended: an invitation to consider, rather than to simply turn the page in horror and sadness. "The New York Times" Here he has produced a remarkable collection of panoramic photos (each 29-by-10-inch spread is a single picture) of the barrier that has been erected over the past decade in defiance of the internationally recognized border. "The New York Times" Josef Koudelka's "Wall" is not a neutral assessment of Israel's construction of a 430-mile barrier separating Israel from the West Bank. His panoramic, black-and-white photographs of the structure and other significant landmarks, made between 2008 and 2012, are disorienting and brutal, utilizing motion blur, angled horizons and perspectives ranging from expansive to intensely close-up to contemplate the barrier's material and psychological effects. The captions for the images and other texts, written by researcher and writer Ray Dolphin, by and large focus on the questionable route of the wall and the hardships it's imposed on West Bank Palestinians. "PDN" Individually, these photographs of the 'security fence' (as Israelis call it) or the apartheid wall (as it is known by the Palestinians whose lives and landscape are blighted by it) have a stark and spectacular beauty. Taken together they create a daunting feeling of visual incarceration so intense, on a scale so massive, that the sky itself is by turns implicated, outraged. Geoff Dyer, "Time" "

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