Vestiges by Josef Koudelka
An unprecedented exploration of ancient Greek and Roman sites
Since 1991, Josef Koudelka has embarked on a long and patient journey leading
him through all twenty countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea and more than
two hundred Greek and Roman archeological sites. This exploration is without
precedent. No one before him has ever attempted to portray the vestiges of History
through photography quite as extensively and with such persistence.
In the nineteenth century, Romantic painters had a predilection for ruins. Their
paintings glorified this melancholy atmosphere. Koudelka also creates images of
ruins. However, he is not a Romantic and does not need melancholy to inspire his
art. These relics are not the poignant remains of things that die. They are signs of
a situation that art seeks to recreate in the present. (…).
Extract from an introduction by Bernard Latarjet
Was born in Czechoslovakia in 1938. His first photographs were taken while he was working as an aeronautical engineer. He followed Czechoslovakian Gypsies until 1970 and photographed theatrical performances. He became a full-time photographer in 1967. In August 1968, he took photographs of Warsaw Pact troops invading the streets of the Czechoslovakian capital and putting an end to the Prague Spring. Initially anonymous, his images were published around the world. They earned him the Robert Capa Prize. In 1974, he became a member of Magnum Photos. In 1975, an important exhibition of his work took place at the New York Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). Ever since, his works have been shown in numerous exhibitions around the world including the Hayward Gallery in London, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and the Palais de Tokyo in Paris to name a few. His most important publications are Gypsies (1975- 2011), Exiles (1988-2015), Chaos (2000), Invasion Prague 68 (2008), Lime (2012) and Wall (2013).