— from 11 June until 31 July 2016, Kunstverein München presents ‘the continuing story of life on earth’ as it appears through the collective lens of a cyclops called Hamburger Eyes.
15 years ago, on Valentine’s Day, Ray Potes and his brother David printed a selection of black and white photographs on a San Diego photocopier, folded and stapled them into a zine, and called itHamburger Eyes. Today, it’s still a family affair, just a much larger family. The network of photographers expanded cross-country, then overseas, while the publication and the conditions shaping it slowly morphed — from Xerox to offset, from analog 35mm to cell phone cameras, from 24-hour Kinko’s to Last Gasp Publishing and Powerhouse Books, from punk houses to a publishing house called Burgerworld to a lab called Photo Epicenter to a distribution channel called Zine Kong, from the San Francisco mothership to an alien pod in Los Angeles.
Ray remains the Editor, so Hamburger Eyes remains raw. It’s still grainy, grimy, garish, and gorgeous. 20 issues later, it’s still draining every drop of black ink from the cartridge. Still maintaining a distinctive and uncompromising aesthetic that’s more Eddie Adams than Ansel Adams, as Robert Capa as Robert Frank, and as Weegee as Winogrand — Mad Magazine meets Maximumrocknroll meetsMagnum Photo. Yet Ray’s editorial position is truly steeped in the legacies of National Geographic and LIFE Magazine. Ray selects images for their almost unexplainable impact, for their ‘epic’ qualities that exceed understanding, that surpass language…
The Continuing Story of Life on Earth will be the largest exhibition to date by Los Angeles-based photography collective and magazine, Hamburger Eyes (and the first in Germany). Spanning all three of Kunstverein München’s exhibition rooms, a lattice of tables will display over 1000 unframed and uniformly-scaled black and white inkjet prints of images by photographers Ricky Adam, Daniel Arnold, Bill Burke, Megan Cullen, Stevie Dacanay, Jason Roberts Dobrin, Ryan Florig, Ryan Furtado, Mike Hernandez, John Oliver Hodges, Troy Holden, Kappy, Uri Korn, Alex Martinez, Sean Maung, Dennis McGrath, Oscar Mendoza, Mark Murrmann, David Potes, Ray Potes, Ted Pushinsky, Lele Saveri, Stefan Simikich, Andrea Sonnenberg, Brian David Stevens, Jai Tanju, Elmo Tide, David Uzzardi, and Tobin Yelland, among others.
Each image is being printed in a standard US Letter format, and will be exhibited unframed and face up on tables, as if a zine were being collated. The focus is on the quality of a given image, rather than on the quality of its framing or installation. Hamburger Eyes editor Ray Potes and curators Chris Fitzpatrick and Post Brothers will organize this monumental procession of images in an abstract taxonomy — bizarre and non-hierarchical categories that emphasize the symbolic and technical languages within this immense inventory. After all, for Hamburger Eyes, photography is a craft, an art form, and a legacy to be furthered, but it’s also a necessary tool for recording the world and deciphering the results.
A selection of Hamburger Eyes-related publications, such as Celly Brain or The Wormholes, and video projects, such as Stinky Streetsor Darkroom Prophecies, will surface and resurface in various ways, in and out of the Kunstverein, throughout the duration of the exhibition. Kunstverein München and Roma Publications will also release a corresponding publication on the work of Hamburger Eyes— the sixth in the Kunstverein’s Companion series.
The opening event will feature Dj performances by cldbld (Berlin) alongside Hamburger Eyes co-founders Ray and David Potes, from 9pm-2am.