John Gossage & Hermann Vogel

September 21 – October 28, 2000

A limited-edition book published by Nazraeli Press available.

Andrew Roth is pleased to announce the opening of “Empire,” a two-person exhibition of photographs by the contemporary photographer John Gossage and the 19th-century photographer Dr. Hermann Vogel. Nazraeli Press has published Empire in a limited edition of 1000 copies.

On view will be a selection of black-and-white silver prints by Gossage taken in Washington, D.C., of the Capitol Mall, adjacent monuments, and official buildings between 1987 and 1993. Vogel’s photographs are culled from an album (owned by Gossage) of albumen prints made in Egypt on an archeological expedition sponsored by the German government in 1868. Gossage has published over eight books, not including numerous unique publications made by hand with original photographs. Empire is the fifth book he has published with Nazraeli Press. As excerpted from Empire: “I photographed the places that government uses to preserve its past and, by implication, lay claims to its current power. This is, of course, exactly what Dr. Vogel photographed when he was sent by the Kaiser to Egypt to bring back pictures of a great and ancient civilization. Vogel’s technique was to go closer than had anyone before him (into the tombs by the light of magnesium flares or revolving mirrors) – whereas I was to push for greater distance.” Frustrated by photography’s insistence on the present and in an attempt to shift the immediate into history, Gossage optically distances himself from his subject by constructing a handmade telephoto lens with a 1,200-millimeter focal length and photographs with surveillance film. Empire investigates, albeit symbolically, the architectural fortresses constructed by great civilizations for the promotion and preservation of authority.

Vogel is best known for having taught Alfred Stieglitz the fundamentals of photographic technique at the Royal Technical College of Berlin in 1883. There, he established and held the position of Professor of Photography, creating a new photochemical laboratory. From 1867 to 1893, he acted as deputy judge in the photographic section of the great International Exhibitions in Paris, Vienna, Philadelphia, and Chicago and during his prolific career wrote numerous books and articles on photographic technique, chemistry, and lighting. Vogel’s prints are rare. To our knowledge, this is the first time they will be mounted in an exhibition.

Gossage has been exhibiting in one-person and group shows since the early ’70s. He was part of the Castelli stable of artists in New York from 1976 to 1987. His work is integrated into many prestigious collections, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the Sprengel Museum in Hannover, Germany. Obscenity In Thy Mothers Milk, a critical work on Gossage by Gus Blaisdell, is forthcoming in 2001 from Nazraeli Press.