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Alec Soth’s “Gathered Leaves” at FOMU in Antwerp

“Gathered Leaves” showcases four of Soth’s most important photographic series.

For Alec Soth, a member of the prestigious Magnum collective of photographers, photobooks are the basic building blocks of his photography and in Antwerp he explores the relationship between the book and the wall. The exhibition “Gathered Leaves” is constructed around what Soth calls his four primary products: the photographic series “Sleeping by the Mississippi” (2004), “Niagara” (2006), “Broken Manual” (2010) and “Songbook” (2014) that each have their dedicated room at the FOMU.

Alec Soth: “Gathered Leaves” comes from a line out of Walt Whitman’s poetry. I didn’t want to present a retrospective, but preferred to focus on the four photobooks that are primary for me. The “gathered leaves” are all pieces of paper that have been gathered together; it was like raking leaves into four rooms. Each room displays the prints from a particular photobook on the wall, but there is also a table with the photobook and other materials.”

“Sleeping by the Mississippi” is the oldest photobook on show in Antwerp.

Alec Soth: “Like “Niagara” and Niagara Falls, the following photobook, the Mississippi is a location that evokes something special for Americans: It reminds us of Mark Twain, of boyhood and the romance of travel. The book and the prints displayed on the wall are the result of several road trips along the Mississippi, a river that has its source in my home state of Minnesota and flows across America all the way to Louisiana.“

The book table displays several editions of this photobook as well as a video screen that allows you to flip through the photobook. “I wanted to show the feel of the book” Soth says.


Flandersnews.be / Expatica