Sleeping by the Mississippi
July 16 – August 14, 2004
Wohnmaschine is proud to present the first exhibition of the photographer Alec Soth outside the USA. Certainly since his participation at the "Whitney Biennale" 2004 Alec Soth (*1969) has attracted much attention in the USA.
The series "Sleeping by the Mississippi" is composed of portraits, interiors and landscapes, which were captured by a wide screen camera during the course of various journeys Soth undertook along the Mississippi – North America’s longest and probably most famous river. Soth is originally from Minneapolis the city, which geographically marks the most northern part of the Mississippi River. This was also his point of departure from which he began to travel south searching for his motives in areas beyond the large cities and industrial areas. His gaze was focused on the unpretentious and with his camera he managed to capture the very particular characteristics of life along the varying riversides. It is not only the inhabitants of these spaces that appear bizarre and enigmatic but also the landscapes in themselves. Religion, crime and prostitution are reoccurring themes in Soth’s images. Criticism is, however, not placed at centre stage, but only visible at second glance as an integral part of the picturesque compositions. Poetry plays a key role in Soth’s work. It is in his eyes the medium most closely related to photography and frequently comes to speak in his commentaries on particular works. In his formal approach Soth looks towards the heroes of American 20th century photography, such as William Eggleston, of whom we can find a portrait in the series "Sleeping by the Mississippi", Robert Frank or his teacher Joel Sternfeld. In comparison, however, Soth’s images are not solely marked by the hundredth of a second of a photographic moment. His works instead create a poetical melancholic portrait of the geographically central states of the USA.
The catalogue Alec Soth – "Sleeping by the Mississippi", will be published autumn 2004 by the Steidl Verlag.