The cult film “Blow-Up” by Michelangelo Antonioni (1966) occupies a central position in the history of film as well as that of art and photography. No other film has shown and sounded out the diverse areas of photography in such a differentiated way. The photographic range of Blow-Up is highly diversified and ranges from fashion photography and social reportage to abstract photography. Film stills are shown next to works that can actually be seen in Blow-Up, as well as pictures by David Bailey, Terence Donovan, Richard Hamilton, Don Mc Cullin and Ian Stepherson, that illuminate the cultural and artistic frame of the film production, London in the Swinging Sixties.
For the first time in Switzerland the exhibition presents the photographs that the fashion photographer by the name of Thomas (David Hemmings) secretly took of two lovers in a park. He later enlarges these pictures and believes that he has coincidentally documented a murder. The blow-ups reveal a man lurking in the trees with a gun and, as the protagonist supposes, a corpse. However, the blow-ups only offer ambivalent proof as they become more and more blurred and abstract by the continuous enlarging. This filmic exploration of the representational power of images and their ambiguous meanings has served as inspiration to many contemporary photographers. Antonioni’s film classic remains a cryptic work, which is no less relevant today than when it was first created in 1966.
Submitted by Daniela Schwendimann