Babel Tales

photo by Peter Funch

With the series Babel Tales Addendum exhibited at V1 Gallery in relation to Copenhagen Photo Festival the highly respected Danish photographer Peter Funch manipulates everyday situations from New Yorkers lives in order to tell stories, document and discuss fiction vs. reality

They are all looking in the same direction: women and men at the very same street corner in New York City. They are looking out of the frame of the picture, so we as spectators of the photo are not able to tell, what they are seeing. It is up to us to create a story about, what can be so interesting.

photo by Peter Funchphoto by Peter Funch

Peter Funch, the Danish photographer, who has lived and worked in New York for several years, and is represented at the Danish Pavilion at the EXPO in Shanghai in 2010, has created different set-ups from the city life. He has consequently been shooting photos at the same street corner, or cross over, for several weeks. Afterwards manipulating the photos and putting several layers together composing one picture focusing on one aspect: people eating ice cream, wearing white or black, running, carrying stuff, or as already mentioned looking in the same direction. Peter Funch, in this way, completely ruins the idea of the photograph as a certain moment in time captured by the photographer, as seen in the modern photo master Cartier Bressons work.

photo by Peter Funch

As a spectator, you are also, in this quite funny way, a bit of a detective at the exhibition. Standing in front of the pictures trying to find the similarity aspect in each photo, since it is not always revealed at first glance.

photo by Peter Funchphoto by Peter Funch

Living as individual and community

The photos concentrate on the stories from the city; the relations and interactions between city people, how our life and world is structured and created through the architecture and the people living in it.

In the photos we see the soft human bodies surrounded by the majestic, cinematic and well-known surroundings of New York’s architecture. How the people in the city are trying to live together as a community, but also making room for the individual. We see very concretely how people are similar in their differences. Even though they are all wearing black or eating ice e.g., they are still very different from each other.

But the photographs also depict strange and poetic city details, such as the photo with the beautiful palette and lightning High Noon, where the spectator can notice by taking a closer look, that almost all of the men are handcuffed.

photo by Peter Funchphoto by Peter Funch

Fiction vs. reality

Thereby Peter Funch, as the exhibition title suggests, gives references to the biblical story of Babel Tower and Paul Auster’s famous trilogy City of Glass. In Babel Tales Addendum’s, 16 monumental, horizontal and amazing pieces at V1 Gallery, structure and make patterns out of the absolute haphazardness of the modern city life.

And in this manner, Peter Funch’s pictures discuss fiction vs. reality. Interestingly and concretely the photos show us how our world of pictures and medias construct our reality, and perhaps as well, how we similarly construct our own reality by constantly changing and rewriting our own modern city life stories.

photo by Peter Funch