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Koen Wessing. The indelible image


The decolonisation, violence and brutality in Latin America, the collapse of the Soviet bloc, the war in Yugoslavia, the apartheid in South Africa, the resurgence of China... Wessing's extensive photographic work is a brilliant chronicle of post-Second World War history. The Jeu de Paume - Château de Tours presented until mid-May a selection of 80 prints of the photographer, as well as screenings and a filmed interview with Dutch filmmaker and director of photography Kees Hin.

Koen Wessing was born in Amsterdam in 1942 during the German occupation. Many of his generation were highly aware of the violence, misery and genocide that only ended immediately before or after their birth; they were brought up in the climate of reconstruction, resilience, optimism and social progress that shaped their teenage years. A younger generation of Dutch photographers, Ed van der Elsken, his Hungarian wife Ata Kandó, Johan van der Keuken and many others, began travelling and working abroad at that time, and Wessing taught himself to become a photographer, working as an assistant to Ed van der Elsken for two years.

A born globetrotter, Koen Wessing began by hitchhiking across Europe. Some of Wessing's images don't seem to relate to a particular moment in the past, but to something more universal. His photos show us the "god-forsaken of the earth", but without dehumanising them, without making victims of them: they remain fellow human beings. His work is, in essence, a mosaic of indelible images.


25 avenue André Malraux
37000 Tours. France

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