With the exhibition of Krass Clement’s photobooks, ARoS Aarhus Art Museum wishes to pay homage to photobooks and the work of one of Denmark’s finest photographers, Krass Clement.
The exhibition is part of Photobook Week Aarhus 2018 – the only photography festival in Denmark dedicated to the photobook and its discourse. It is connected with the exhibition The ARoS Collection – displayed on level six at the ARoS Aarhus Art Museum’s library – which presents a curated selection of the museum’s collection of photobooks and artists’ books.
World-famous Danish photographer Krass Clement, born 1946, is among the Danish photographers who have published the most photobooks. In his long career, he has prioritised books over exhibitions, which has resulted in the publication of a large number of books. Through a distinct phenomenological photography, the publications describe people along with the towns and places from which they have sprung.
With an educational background as film director (National Film School of Denmark, 1973), Clement works with narratives in photographic series, which often associate the film medium and its visual expression.
Clement made his debut as photographer in 1978 with the book Skygger af øjeblikke (Shadows of Moments); since then, the photobook has been his preferred medium.
Skygger af øjeblikke introduces a visual language and a photographic vocabulary characteristic of Clement’s later work and signature style. With its dark, melancholic black-and-white photography, it draws on both a Scandinavian and a French tradition within photography. Clement’s photography can, in terms of genre, be classified as a specific form of documentary and street photography. Rather than striving to capture a decisive moment in his pictures, Clement aims at creating images that convey atmospheres and moods. They are poetic and subjective, and Skygger af øjeblikke consists of a series of charged and slightly uncanny portraits. They come into their own in the intimate format of the book, which allows a longer, more coherent narrative to unfold.
The photographs were taken between 1963 and 1977 in and outside of Denmark. In subsequent publications, Clement has used thematic frameworks for his work. A thematic starting point was to provide structure in books like Gentagelsens Fest (1984), Ved Døden (1990), Et Danmarksbillede på Storebælt (1999), and Påskesøndag mellem 11 og 16 (2001), which all present images of Denmark and Danish life. Clement has also worked with specific places and cities, including Copenhagen, Dublin, Berlin, Paris, Moscow, and Lisbon. The books Berlin Notat (2000), Paris: Carnet de Recherche (2010), and Dublin (2017) contain narratives about cities. They generally offer a different perspective on the well-known places, focusing on the unexpected and the marginalised.
Clement has travelled and photographed in many countries. For several years he lived in Paris for part of the year. Starting out with black-and-white photography, Clement has persisted in developing his artistic expression so that his production today also includes works in colour. LYDHØRT, which contains images from the 2003 Roskilde Festival, is, therefore, just one of several books of colour reproductions. Like many of Clement’s photobooks, it contains no written text – with the exception of its ambiguous title.
Internationally acclaimed for his eminent work as a photographer, Clement’s books are today much sought after by collectors worldwide. His photography is represented in collections and museums around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, and Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris.
This exhibition consists of twenty-four books, on loan from Danish libraries and private collections.
It showcases the entire photographic oeuvre of Clement in book form.