Canadian Cultural Centre Paris

Centre Culturel Canadien | 5 rue de Constantine
F-75007 Paris

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press release

Opening: June 25th at 6pm

The Canadian Cultural Centre in Paris, in collaboration with Equinox Gallery (Vancouver, Canada), presents the first solo exhibition in Europe by German-born photographer Fred Herzog, who immigrated to Canada in 1953. This European premiere follows the showing of Vancouver Photographs, the successful retrospective exhibition of the artist’s work presented at the Vancouver Art Gallery in 2007. The photographs of Fred Herzog were shown at ARCO this year by TrepanierBaer Gallery (Calgary) and were presented at two major exhibitions this past spring, at the Equinox Gallery and the Laurence Miller Gallery in New York.

Vancouver brings together a selection of prints from the large photographic body of work that Herzog dedicated to his adoptive city, Canada’s West Coast capital. In them, we see the development, the expansion, the projects, the people, the extraordinary lights, and also the darker side of a city that experienced uncommonly rapid development in the span of only a few decades, mainly due to immigration, predominantly from Asia. Herzog spent more than half a century wandering through the streets of Vancouver with his camera. His lens focussed particularly on marginal areas, peripheral to the splendours of the budding city: second-hand shops, abandoned lots, barber shops, greasy spoon diners, crowded areas full of dreams, but also of disillusion.

Fred Herzog’s splendid images deploy a photographic vocabulary with roots in traditional documentary photography. Yet they are also, in some way, founders of the sought-after genre of Vancouver street photography, which many conceptual Vancouver photographers formalised by appropriating its codes and refusing all lyrical inclinations in its outcome. The bold use of vivid colour – uncommon in the 1950’s and 1960’s when art photography was essentially in black and white, and colour reserved for advertising – contributes to the visual power of this considerable body of work, which also constitutes an exceptional record of one of the most fascinating West Coast cities in North America.

Fred Herzog is represented by Equinox Gallery (Vancouver) and by TrepanierBaer Gallery (Calgary).,

Born in Germany in 1930, Fred Herzog emigrated to Canada in the early 1950’s and settled in Vancouver where in 1953, he began producing his first colour slides and photographs of the city. Herzog worked as a medical photographer before joining the University of British Columbia’s (UBC) Department of Biomedical Communications, which he directed for more than 20 years. He also spent seven years teaching photography at Simon Fraser University (Victoria) and then at UBC.

In 1960, Herzog’s work began gaining the recognition of the Canadian professional art world. In the same year, he was awarded a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts, collaborated on the Pilesproject by N.E. Thing Co. (Iain Baxter&) and participated in Extensions, his first group exhibition at the UBC Gallery. Extensions was later presented at the National Gallery of Canada and subsequently toured across the country. His first solo exhibition was presented at the Mind’s Eye Gallery (Vancouver, 1972). His recent shows include: Vancouver Collects - From Sun Pictures to Photoconceptualism: Photography from Local Collections, Vancouver Art Gallery (2001); Unfinished Business: Vancouver Street Photographs 1955-1985, Presentation House Gallery, Vancouver (2003);Place, Evergreen Cultural Centre, Coquitlam (2006); Fred Herzog : Vancouver Photographs, Vancouver Art Gallery; Fred Herzog: Colour Photographs 1950’s – 1960 ’s, Equinox Gallery, Vancouver (2007). Public collections include: the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa), the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Art Bank of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Vancouver General Hospital, the UBC Hospital Foundation, the National Film Board (Montreal) and Library and Archives Canada.

Fred Herzog: Vancouver