Cars in the Night ~ Buenos Aires
Let me introduce you to my new project called
Cars in the Night – Buenos Aires
When I first started roaming Buenos Aires in 2011, obsessed with portraying it naked, defenseless and devoid of people, which years later led to my project ‘Revelaciones – Behind the Scenes, Buenos Aires’, I learned to establish a very intimate relationship with my hometown, as never before in my life.
Apparently I missed that way of connecting with and immersing myself into the city, which led me last year (2019) to unite this recurring need for photographic exploration with my affection for cars, especially those that marked my youth and childhood, that is, those of the late sixties and especially the seventies.
In the federal district of Buenos Aires (Capital Federal) there aren’t many left parked on the street and out in the open. It is like an archaeological exploration that must be faced without destination, attentive to any surprise that may come around a corner.
Nonetheless I did set out to explore all the city’s neighborhoods, which, being forty-eight, are not few and all this on foot. Mostly in the autumn and winter months, when there are fewer people on the streets and the trees are naked, often casting intriguing shadows on the buildings.
This means walking for hours and hours in the dark, with my tripod on my back and my waist starting to hurt in a very unpleasant way. How much I admire photographers like the great Eugene Atget, who did the same up to a very high age by carrying a bulky wooden view camera, a tripod, and glass negatives in heavy wooden holders -almost forty pounds worth of equipment- through the city of Paris…
I talk about the search for cars, but I must say this was immediately combined with the need to find appropriate settings, that is, the images had to be decorated as much as possible by that great variety of facades that are so characteristic of the city.
In addition, these scenes had to be correctly illuminated by the street lamps (meaning that the car had to be parked in the right place, which unfortunately was not always the case), without dazzling the lens.
Not so long ago the city of Buenos Aires introduced LED technology to illuminate its streets, which can give the settings a studio-like lighting which was very welcome by me and allowed me to limit the exposure time of the photos to no more than forty seconds, which was a challenge anyway because traffic in the big city never stops and a period of time of such length may seem like an eternity.
Gerardo has captured this collection with his lens making the car and facade appear as if they were on a stage, ready to present themselves to an imaginary audience.
In the larger picture from a certain point onwards the search became something much more intimate and personal. Walking for so many hours through the darkness, through neighborhoods the Artist had never been before and that were therefore totally unknown to him, almost without people in sight -only the sounds and noises behind windows, doors and closed blinds, and of his footsteps through his worn-out shoes, led to a uniquely enjoyable, mysterious and almost spiritual journey.
As we engage the audience today with virtual exhibitions given the world scenario, this also makes us reflect that even though streets are deserted and life may seem amiss, it is a good time for inner reflection and a mysterious, spiritual journey with ourselves. The parked cars are symbolic of having been forced to park ourselves, in a some sort of timeless limbo. A vehicle is symbolic of movement, but here it represents stillness and harmony. It is important we hold both these frequencies at this time.
Having said that, our romance with Buenos Aires, the so-called Paris of South America continues and for car lovers the models featured of Torino, Dodge, Rambler, Peugeot, Chevy, Chevrolet, among others, of the late sixties and seventies, will be a complete treat. It might be worth mentioning that in all cases the vehicles were manufactured in Argentina, a country that has always had an important automotive industry. And even though they were not necessarily the cars the artist dreamt of as a kid (that was more like Porsches and Ferraris, smile!), they certainly all marked his youth.
The first photo that Gerardo took as part of the project is the one of the dented pick-up, and seeing the condition of the car, the funny thing is the sign in the background that reads CHAPA*PINTURA, which means that a body and paint shop is right there.
And the last photo he took, one morning in early January, is the one of the crumpled yellow station wagon at the riverside of the Río de la Plata – the imminent sunrise, a few days into the new year, as a sign of hope, but of course we had no idea what was coming just three months later…
The artist has also made an appearance for his distinct work in Autoblog. With two million visits per month, Autoblog is the most-read car news website in Argentina and one of the reference websites for car-related contents in Latin America.
About the Artist
Gerardo Korn, a German Argentine who lives in Buenos Aires, is an art photographer.
His father taught him at an early age the basic rules of photography and gave him his first SLR-camera (a Minolta SR-T 101) for his 15th birthday back in 1977 during a trip through Asia. There, in Indonesia, Hong Kong and Japan, he shot his first two film rolls. Since then a lot of water has flowed under the bridge, but he never lost his enthusiasm for photography!
He visited New Delhi, Agra and Calcutta which he describes as indelible memories of a unique country… His projects have been declared of cultural interest by the Buenos Aires City Legislature.
In recent years Gerardo has been dedicated to a street photography project in Buenos Aires that he will begin to publicize this year. Along with the film project “The Goddess in the Pool”, where he shares the story of a fantastic work of art by renowned Argentine painter Guillermo Roux. For the last few months he has been working on an awareness campaign on the subject of ostomies, in collaboration with Gabriela Lavalle, an Argentine tango singer and personal friend, who has been ostomized for 10 years.
Gerardo’s work has been exhibited in Mexico in 2014, at the Guadalajara International Book Fair (FIL), in Buenos Aires in 2016, at the prestigious Centro Cultural Borges, and in Berlin in 2017, at the Argentine Embassy in Germany. His last exhibition took place in Germany last November, at the WinterShall Holding Company in Kassel.
This is his second exhibition in India after the success of ‘Behind the Scenes ~ Buenos Aires” where he has photographed the metropolis of Buenos Aires, timeless, full of beauty, in the absence of people.
Message from The Consulate General and Promotion Centre of the Argentine Republic
“Like Ansal Adams said, “You don’t take a photograph, you make it”. And that is exactly what the Argentine German photographer Gerardo Korn has proved each time when working on ‘Behind The Scenes- Buenos Aires’ or ‘Cars in the Night- Buenos Aires’, where he successfully brings life to everything he captures with his lens. At a time where the world has come to a halt and it seems that there is no way left to pursue our passion for art, the Consulate General of Argentina in Mumbai in collaboration with Cosmic Heart Gallery bring the opportunity to enjoy the magnificent photography of Gerardo Korn, who shows us the underworld of old cars that the watchful eye may still find in Buenos Aires. Indeed a visual treat for the lovers of art.” Guillermo E. Devoto, Consul General and Director of the Trade Centre of Argentina, Mumbai.
The Consulate General and Promotion Centre of the Argentine Republic in Mumbai was opened on 1st April, 2009. Apart from the Embassy of Argentina in New Delhi, this office is the second Argentine Representation in India. Since its inception, it has strived to build and strengthen long-lasting relations between Argentina and India, through a wide range of consular, cultural, trade and investment promotional activities and initiatives.
Read more on: http://cgmum.cancilleria.gov.ar/en