Kodak City

30 Jan 2015 – 21 Mar 2015

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Zürich, Switzerland

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In the series of works KODAK CITY Catherine Leutenegger (* 1983 Lausanne) shows the serious consequences which the advance of digital photography in the industrial city of Rochester (NY). Rochester from George Eastman in 1889 had marketed the first photo films and brought photography in all households. 125 years later, the place is marked by the decline of the main employer and the loss of thousands of jobs.  From 2007 until 2012, when Kodak filed for bankruptcy protection, Catherine Leutenegger explored the company sites of the city, held talks with staff and residents and photographed the remains of the company's empire. The result is a melancholy testimony of media change. The glorious legacy of the Yellow Giant and its decline manifested in the streets of the city and the faces of the remaining residents.

For several years, Catherine Leutenegger examines the medium of photography and its production conditions. In the fall of 2005, she began a project for which she visited many photo studios in French-speaking Switzerland and documented in detailed photographic inventory record. Their intention was to bring the attitude of their professional colleagues and colleagues in relation to the digitization of photography experience. As a representative of the last generation that grew up with the photo film, it was important to her to ask this photographic era. The Series "Hors Champ" ("outside the picture frame") is the convincing result of this work, the photographer in 2007 brought the Manor Prize of the Canton of Vaud.

The impact of digitization Continuing on, Catherine Leutenegger went through a work scholarship to New York and from there to Rochester (NY), the capital of photography, also called "Kodak City". At the headquarters of the world group they grappled with the most famous company that is associated with photography. Their goal was to document how the world's largest film producer got along with the change of media and the advent of digital photography. But Kodak's former size and dominance little remained: Because he misjudged the scope of the digital revolution, the Group is in a deep crisis since 1994. Ironically, Kodak was a pioneer of digital photography, which he co-developed already in his laboratories in the seventies. But further pursued the marketing company in the crucial period not missed the connection and got into an entrepreneurial downward spiral that ended in 2012 in the bankruptcy. Since then, the company has had to tear than a third of its buildings and mined 30,000 points.

Rochester is on the formerly proud tradition of "company towns": The prosperity of the city depends essentially on the course of business of Kodak. According clearly traces the decline can be seen in the pictures of Catherine Leutenegger: A sequence of empty swept streets, dilapidated shops, crumbling houses, about a sad gray sky dominate the images. The ailing photo film industry is reflected in the ailing environment. From a distance the company's headquarters looks impressive. However, the closer you get, the more experience the vast, deserted park fields into view. The inside of the company testifies to the elapsed size and outdated modes.

Catherine Leutenegger's work examines the impact of the digital revolution on a level never before seen, in a surprising way: a sociological look at their loser and production. She touches issues such as the economic crisis and its consequences, unemployment, depopulation, increase in crime. Her work deals with a portion of American industrial history. At the same time she reflects on her own professional life as a photographer and artist who has changed fundamentally. With her work she puts an inventory of photography, its material nature and economic foundations at a turning point of the story is, the most drastic well, since George Eastman helped the photographic film in the last century to conquer.

2012, when Kodak filed for bankruptcy protection, the photographer returned to Rochester, to write the preliminary final chapter of the company as a chronicler. The pictures in 2014 under the title "Kodak City" published as a book published by Kehrer Verlag (Authors: AD Coleman, Catherine Leutenegger, Joerg Bader, Urs Stahel).The exhibition in the Coalmine includes a 35-part series of images and represents the first solo exhibition by Catherine Leutenegger in German-speaking Switzerland.

Catherine Leutenegger studied photography at the Ecole Cantonale d'art de Lausanne (ECAL). She was awarded the Swiss Federal Design Award and the Manor Art Prize. Your photo has been exhibited internationally and published, including the Musée de l'Elysée, Lausanne; Biel Photography Days; Galleria Carla Sozzani, Milan;Aperture Gallery, New York; EXIT Magazine; The British Journal of Photography; Photo District News. In 2007, she participated in an artist residency program in New York and began with the Kodak City project in Rochester. www.cleutenegger.com

The exhibition is curated by Sascha Renner.

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