Society of the spectacle or Age of the hyperspectacle, this is today’s world in a nutshell. It is saturated with images and messages of all types, wherein commercial productions are most often governed by the logic of spectacular. From painted walls to the ubiquitous screen, including the Hollywood Sign, advertising imagery has reinvented itself, surfing from the object to entertainment all the way to events. Max Regenberg has been interested in this heady omnipresence of the advertising image in our public space since the late 1970s. He scrutinizes the appearing of these images, from which the day-to-day landscape is woven. These are images that cross our minds everyday but which we pay no special attention to; images most often glimpsed out of the corner of the eye; commercial images that are at once the mirror and the uninterrupted fabric of our pseudo-needs. Images designed to seduce in the instant and that live chiefly via the repetition of discriminatory and sexist clichés.
There is always another image in Max Regenberg’s photographs. In his travels through Germany, France, Belgium, Canada and the United States, seeing advertisements everywhere, he photographed the giant posters to be found in towns and lining country roads. Almost identical, what these billboards in all languages conveyed, as Jeff Rian (1) underscores, were the signs and symbols of the same photographic algebra. Max Regenberg draws up the inventory of this algebra, in the manner of an anthropologist or of someone exiled in a world in which all becomes image. Influenced by photographers such as August Sander, Bernd & Hilla Becher, Walker Evans, Robert Adams and even Stephen Shore, summoned by the approach of artists such as Lewis Baltz, Barbara Kruger, Richard Prince or Mike Mandel and Larry Sultan… Fascinated by this flux of images, by the aleatory constellations that emerge between nature, architecture, poster content and urban context, these photographs – as the artist observes – register the cultural and political shocks of our consumption society. Fair use, the exhibition, whose title is a direct reference to the US law on the proper use of others’ images, gathers together a large number of Max Regenberg’s images for the first time, including: Big Brother, one of his very first photographs; a photo story peopled with figurines in stereotyped poses in the manner of Jacques Tati; posters photographed in black and white; others in colour and even cut-out silhouettes of the archetypal virile cowboy M, on the fringe of their original landscapes.
An exhibition of Max Regenberg's work, Der Gebrauch der Landschaft, was held at the Städtische Galerie of Wolfsburg in 2013, and another at the Centre de la Photographie in Geneva in 2014. The exhibition at the Fondation A Stichting is organized in cooperation with the Galerie Thomas Zander.
A Bozar initiative, as part of the Summer of Photography 2014.