Matt Black. American Geography Deichtorhallen

MATT BLACK AMERICAN GEOGRAPHY

25 SEPTEMBER 2020 – 3 JANUARY 2021
HOUSE OF PHOTOGRAPHY/ DEICHTORHALLEN HAMBURG

The American Magnum photographer Matt Black has continually documented the connection between migration, poverty, agriculture, and the environment in his native California and in southern Mexico. For his project AMERICAN GEOGRAPHY, he traveled over 100,000 miles through 46 states, including California, Oregon, Louisiana, Tennessee, and New York.

The American Dream – A myth

His photographs show a America that has nothing to do with the land where everything is possible. The myth of the American dream, the idea that if you just work hard enough, one day everybody has the possibility to succeed, stays just a dream for most of the Americans. In reality 40 million people are struggling with poverty and unemployment.

Matt Black: Commemoration of the Wounded Knee Massacre, Pine Ridge, South Dakota, USA, 2016
Matt Black: Commemoration of the Wounded Knee Massacre, Pine Ridge, South Dakota, USA, 2016

Black: “My region, and many across the country, are not represented by the great American myth.”

During his road trip, Black visited communities with a poverty rate of over 20 percent, forming geographic areas that can be connected on a map. Black thus succeeded in portraying poverty as a collective element in the United States which links people whose lives take place beyond the American dream. »The most important key to understanding this work and why I’m doing it is where I come from,« Black says about the project. »My region, and many across the country, are not represented by the great American myth, the basic idea of America.«

A country far from unlimited possibilities

78 photographs and objects from these trips form the focus of the exhibition AMERICAN GEOGRAPHY, curated by Ingo Taubhorn along with the photographer, which will be presented as a worldwide premiere from 25 September 2020 to 3 January 2021 in the House of Photography at the Deichtorhallen Hamburg. »With the exhibition AMERICAN GEOGRAPHY by Matt Black in the House of Photography, following Lauren Greenfield and Paolo Pellegrin, we are continuing the series of committed documentary photographers who focus on sociopolitical and social conditions of life. With his large-format, square, black-and-white pictures and overwhelming landscape panoramas, Black shows us a country far from unlimited possibilities and an American society that is largely characterized by poverty, lack of opportunity, and political resignation,« says Ingo Taubhorn, curator of the House of Photography.

Matt Black: El Paso, Texas, USA, 2015 © Matt Black/Magnum Photos
Matt Black: El Paso, Texas, USA, 2015 © Matt Black/Magnum Photos

Desperation: A nationwide topic

AMERICAN GEOGRAPHY focuses on the most disadvantaged places and their inhabitants in the United States, with photographs ranging from the deserts in the southwest to the Black Belt in the southeast and the post-industrial former factory towns in the Midwest and northeast. The results are impressive: while photography can help to humanize facts and figures, maps show the extent of the problem. This demonstration of individual cases of desperation becomes a spotlight for a nationwide topic

Matt Black has received numerous awards, including the W. Eugene Smith Award (2015), the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award (2016), and most recently in 2018 a prize for his work in Puerto Rico. He has received additional awards from the Magnum Foundation Emergency Fund, the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, and the Center for Cultural Innovation.

After its presentation in Hamburg, the exhibition AMERICAN GEOGRAPHY will be shown at the Kunstfoyer of the Versicherungskammer Kulturstiftung in Munich and the International Center of Photography in New York.

At the same time, the exhibition Beautiful America by the American photographer Jerry Berndt will be presented in the House of Photography. Both projects Both projects take place simultaneously with this year’s presidential election campaign in the United States.

For more information visit deichtorhallen.de