Scotiabank - Photography Award

2012 Winner

Photo credit: Lutz Dille

Arnaud Maggs, Toronto

Arnaud Maggs began his career as an artist in the mid seventies at the age of 47, after success as a graphic designer and then a commercial and fashion photographer. His early work used portraiture to catalogue the geometry of the face. Works in this series include Joseph Beuys, 100 Profile Views and Joseph Beuys, 100 Frontal Views, shot in 1980 at the artist’s studio in Düsseldorf, each work comprises one hundred different, but surprisingly similar, photographs of the artist. Other works in this series include the students at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, Yosuf Karsh, Northrup Frye, Andre Kertesz, and numerous members of the Toronto arts community.

In the 1980s the interest in cataloging and systems of identification continued in works like the Complete Prestige 12” Jazz Catalogue, recording the complete set of inventory numbers for the twelve inch jazz albums issued by the Prestige label or the Köchel Series, letterpress prints (ie. K.421) reproducing the numbering of Mozart’s compositions established by Ludwig von Köchel.

For the past thirteen years Arnaud has created work from documents related to child labour at the turn of the century, French mourning stationary, the address book of Eugène Atget, a tradesman’s sample kit, and a series of invoices from 1891 documenting the clothing purchases of a couple from Lyon named Gendot. Also for the first time, he photographed in colour – a subtle understated use of the medium. As with Arnaud’s earlier work, the means of presentation (the arrangement of photographs in grids) persists, as does the general concern of classification. Even with the absence of an actual image of a person, these works create a poignant portrait of life’s traces. His work has been shown and collected throughout Canada and Europe (mainly France). In the United States he was included in Charles Stainback’s Special Collections: The Photographic Order from Pop to Now organized and toured by the ICP in New York.

Arnaud Maggs is represented by Susan Hobbs Gallery in Toronto.

Interview with Arnaud Maggs

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