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Broken dream of the free body Photo essay on interwar body culture

AnamorFose


Š 2009 Xavier Debeerst The use of text and photos from this publication requires preliminary approval from the publisher. The editors aim at the reliability of the published information, but can not be held responsible for its content. Publisher: AnamorFose Photo Gallery, Nieuwstraat 11, B-8870 Izegem Special thanks go to Eric Min and Norbert Poulain More information on the photos can be found on www.anamorfose.be Cover photo: Edith Boeck, Male athlete in action, +/- 1930

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Interwar body culture Dance, gymnastics and sport Germany as the home of the body culture The Free Body Linkebeek, 1931 The Olympic Games, Berlin, 1936 The exhibition Biographies Bibliography

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“C’est une drôle d’idée de vouloir vivre sans vêtement. Mais c’est bien rigolo tout de meme.” Roger Salardenne, Le culte de la nudité, 1930

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Introduction The interwar period initiated many trends in art still relevant to our times. It was a melting pot of new ideas and insights closing off the previous, rather bourgeois era. The First World War is known as a confronting turning point in modern history. In the Twenties and Thirties political and technological evolutions mixed up the existing securities. Man felt abandoned and sought a new way of life. Many subcultures started to arise. In this period a new body culture, with its roots in the last years of the 19th century, flourished. A healthy and radiant body had become a purpose for many. A lot of time and means were invested in the achievement of this ideal. This renewed attention for the body occurred all over the world. This ‘body culture’ originated in the pursuit of a new and ideal world. But at the end of the interwar period the fragile dream was brutally destroyed and abused by Nazism and its race policy, with the Endlösung and the concentration camps as a consequence. A healthy body had become the symbol of a powerful nation: the body had become the subject of the Nazi propaganda campaigns. Nowadays body culture is still very much alive. Models and actresses are today’s heroes; they are the icons of a certain popular culture. As its social impact has increased enormously, the stardom of the models in advertising and in fashion photography is controversial. Hence the parallel with the interwar period: a basically ‘healthy’ phenomenon generating perverse consequences. In photography the human body has always been a rewarding subject. On the other hand the medium photography is historically an important instrument in the promotion of an idealized image. We shouldn’t be surprised that the body culture of the interwar period was extensively captured in photography and film. In this period photography experienced the same formal liberation as the other media. The source of today’s photographic language of the body is in the interwar period. The modern part of the exhibition are the photos “Elle était si belle” by Gabrielle de Montmollin. The Canadian photographer comments on present day body culture by using dolls in her photographs.

“In my photographs I try to suggest interior states which can also be projected as behaviors or conditions in the world around us. In my series “Elle était si belle”, I am exploring the theme of physical beauty, and all its enthralments and provocations. This work also raises questions regarding celebrity, voyeurism, female identity and the cult of youth.” Gabrielle de Montmollin

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Elle était si belle # 1 Gabrielle de Montmollin, (id 3286,0) 2008, Canada Lambda Print Mint 20,2 X 30,3 cm Edition of 8 prints Comment made by Gabrielle de Montmollin about this photos: “In my photographs I try to suggest interior states which can also be projected as behaviors or conditions in the world around us. In my series “Elle était si belle”, I am exploring the theme of physical beauty, and all its enthrallments and provocations. This work also raises questions regarding celebrity, voyeurism, female identity and the cult of youth.”

Elle était si belle # 2 Gabrielle de Montmollin, (id 3287,0) 2008, Canada Lambda Print Mint 15,4 X 25,7 cm Edition of 8 prints

Elle était si belle # 3 Gabrielle de Montmollin, (id 3288,0) 2008, Canada Lambda Print Mint 16,3 X 20,2 cm Edition of 8 prints

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Elle ĂŠtait si belle # 4 Gabrielle de Montmollin, (id 3289,0) 2008, Canada Lambda Print Mint 16,2 X 20,2 cm Edition of 8 prints

Elle ĂŠtait si belle # 5 Gabrielle de Montmollin, (id 3290,0) 2008, Canada Lambda Print Mint 16,7 X 20,2 cm Edition of 8 prints

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Interwar body culture In the Twenties and Thirties the term “Body Culture” gets its modern meaning. Due to the awkward living conditions in most European cities, especially in Germany, a broader awareness of the body as a measurement for health arises. After the First World War many people turn their backs on narrow-minded, bourgeois ideas: from now on everything would be possible. The liberation of the body is a part of this awareness. A lively and very diverse body culture manifests itself in many different fields: medicine, nutrition, sports, dance, nudism etcetera. In a certain way we can speak of a real popular culture with a broad social basis, born out of the many sub cultures from the end of the previous century. But not everyone supports this modern, progressive and hopeful thought in their expectation of modern times. At the same time there is a conservative movement, craving for the innocence of the “lost”, heavenly rural country. Many of these subcultures go back to the antique Greek principle ‘a healthy mind in a healthy body’. In the Thirties with the paid leave and the grown impact of the media, the physical awareness leads to a broad social movement. It won’t take long for the political establishment to pick up this social phenomenon. On the right wing the healthy body becomes the symbol of a healthy and strong nation. The left wing claims the right for light and air for the blue collar workers. The free body becomes a means of propaganda.

Dance, gymnastics and sports Physical exercise was an important part of the body culture. Especially for the inhabitants of the larger cities, who had little or no exercise, this was revolutionary. Athletes and sportsmen became the new heroes. There are many analogies with the present day situation: the focus on a healthy body, the (re)discovery of the countryside, recreative sports… Today the focus is on the individual. During the interwar period, however, the focus was on the masses and the community and the individual was of minor importance. The willingness of the people to participate in the mass spectacles inspired many political parties. Mass spectacles were (mis)used for political purposes. One of the major examples here are the Olympics of Berlin inn 1936. In the Forties Gerhard Riebicke photographed a similar mass spectacle in Berlin. In his photographical report we can clearly identify the relationship between gymnastics and dance. Dance lived indeed a new élan. The new scientific and philosophical insights had led to a modern body language. Especially Rudolf von Laban (1879 – 1958), founding father of the study of motion (Eukinetik), was the main innovator. The line between dance and gymnastics became more vague. The further liberation of the body and nude dancing were logical consequences. In the exhibition this phenomenon is documented by a rare series of photographs made by a student at the Labanschüle in Hamburg in 1927. Von Laban also contributed to the choreography of the Olympic Games in Berlin. One year later he fled to the United Kingdom. Under the influence of the photography of sports and gymnastics, dance photography evolved from portraits of the dancers to images of the dance as such. Movements and choreography became more and more important. All attention was drawn to the

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expression of the body. Light, cadrage and extreme angles contributed to an expressive form. Proportionally the dancer became smaller in the image providing more space to the environment. Montage and collage became the obvious next steps. Examples of this evolution are the pictures of Edith Dewilde, by Jozef DesirĂŠ Massot. Obviously also artistic and intellectual circles shared the enthusiasm for the mania for physical movement. Dance became a new source of inspiration for painters, sculptors and photographers. The sports photos by the Russian photographer Igor Kotelnikov (Russia, 1903), used by Vladimir Lebedev as sources of inspiration for his paintings and book illustrations are good examples of the interaction between the different arts. Film and photography fully used this new body language and founded a new movement photography.

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Edith Dewilde Josef Désiré Massot, (id 664,0) 22/02/1927, Belgium Vintage silver print Very Good 26,0 X 54,0 cm

450 Euro 3 photos (11,4 X 17) of the dancer Edith Dewilde beautifully mounted together. Total dimension: 26 X 54 cm.

Laban Schüle Hamburg # 1 Unknown photographer, (id 3116,0) 1927, Germany Vintage silver print Good 5,1 X 5,2 cm

150 Euro Glue traces on the back

Laban Schüle Hamburg # 2 Unknown photographer, (id 3117,0) 1927, Germany Vintage silver print Good 5,0 X 5,6 cm

150 Euro

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Laban Sch端le Hamburg # 3 Unknown photographer, (id 3118,0) 1927, Germany Vintage silver print Good 5,2 X 5,5 cm

150 Euro

Laban Sch端le Hamburg # 4 Unknown photographer, (id 3119,0) 1927, Germany Vintage silver print Good 5,1 X 5,0 cm

150 Euro Glue traces on the back

Laban Sch端le Hamburg # 5 Unknown photographer, (id 3120,0) 1927, Germany Vintage silver print Good 5,0 X 5,1 cm

150 Euro Glue traces on the back

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Choreography #1 Mirielle Robaye, (id 3121,0) 15/7/1930, Belgium Vintage silver print Good 8,0 X 11,0 cm

150 Euro

Choreography #2 Mirielle Robaye, (id 3122,0) 15/7/1930, Belgium Vintage silver print Good 8,2 X 10,8 cm

150 Euro

Dualismus Gerhard Riebicke, (id 3234,0) 1925, Germany Real Photographic Postcard Very Good 8,6 X 13,4 cm 100 Euro Verlag “Ross” Wege zu Kraft und Schönheit, Film der UfaKultur-Abtg. Hedwig Hagemann, Hamburg. Reference Bodo Niemann, Gerhard Riebicke, Photographien, Galerie Bodo Niemann, Berlin, 2000, page 47 Wege zu Kraft und Schönheit, Die Schönheit, 1925, page 242

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In der Sonne Helmy Hurt, (id 3235,0) 1925, Germany Vintage silver print (rppc) Very Good 8,6 X 13,5 cm

100 Euro Verlag “Ross” Wege zu Kraft und Schönheit, Film der UfaKultur-Abtg. Reference Wege zu Kraft und Schönheit, Die Schönheit, 1925, page 246

Harmonische Gleichgewichtsübung Gerhard Riebicke, (id 3236,0) 1925, Germany Vintage silver print Very Good 8,6 X 13,7 cm

100 Euro Verlag “Ross” Wege zu Kraft und Schönheit, Film der UfaKultur-Abtg. Reference Bodo Niemann, Gerhard Riebicke, Photographien, Galerie Bodo Niemann, Berlin, 2000, page 46 Wege zu Kraft und Schönheit, Die Schönheit, 1925, page 243

No title Gerhard Riebicke, (id 3241,0) +/- 1925, Germany Vintage silver print Very Good 11,8 X 16,3 cm

650 Euro Bodo Niemann, Gerhard Riebicke, Photographien, Galerie Bodo Niemann, Berlin, 2000

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Nude gymnasts # 1 Josef Bayer, (id 3174,0) +/- 1927, Germany Vintage silver print Excellent 8,9 X 13,8 cm

650 Euro Similar photos published in “Die Schönheit, 9”, 1927 page 375

Nude gymnasts # 2 Josef Bayer, (id 3175,0) +/- 1927, Germany Vintage silver print Excellent 8,9 X 13,8 cm

650 Euro Similar photos published in “Die Schönheit, 9”, 1927 page 375

Nude gymnasts # 3 Josef Bayer, (id 3176,0) +/- 1927, Germany Vintage silver print Excellent 8,6 X 13,6 cm

650 Euro Similar photos published in “Die Schönheit, 9”, 1927 page 375

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Opening of a sport institute # 3 Willy Kessels, (id 3103,0) 03/1937, Belgium Vintage silver print Excellent 7,5 X 10,6 cm 250 Euro “Inauguration de l’institut d’Education Physique Foundation Hugo Audrieu” Album traces on the back of the photo. References Ronny Gobyn, De massa in verleiding, De jaren ’30 in België, Ludion, ASLK, Brussel, 1994 Geheugenverlies / Amnesie, Willy Kessels, photographe, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Bruxelles, 1997 Christine De Naeyer, Willy Kessels, Musée de la

Opening of a sport institute # 4 Willy Kessels, (id 3104,0) 03/1937, Belgium Vintage silver print Excellent 7,5 X 10,6 cm 450 Euro “Inauguration de l’institut d’Education Physique Foundation Hugo Audrieu” Album traces on the back of the photo. References Ronny Gobyn, De massa in verleiding, De jaren ’30 in België, Ludion, ASLK, Brussel, 1994 Geheugenverlies / Amnesie, Willy Kessels, photographe, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Bruxelles, 1997 Christine De Naeyer, Willy Kessels, Musée de la

Opening of a sport institute # 5 Willy Kessels, (id 3105,0) 03/1937, Belgium Vintage silver print Excellent 7,5 X 10,6 cm 250 Euro “Inauguration de l’institut d’Education Physique Foundation Hugo Audrieu” Album traces on the back of the photo. References Ronny Gobyn, De massa in verleiding, De jaren ’30 in België, Ludion, ASLK, Brussel, 1994 Geheugenverlies / Amnesie, Willy Kessels, photographe, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Bruxelles, 1997 Christine De Naeyer, Willy Kessels, Musée de la

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Opening of a sport institute # 1 Willy Kessels, (id 3108,0) 03/1937, Belgium Vintage silver print Excellent 11,9 X 16,3 cm 650 Euro “Inauguration de l’institut d’Education Physique Foundation Hugo Audrieu” Album traces on the back of the photo. References Ronny Gobyn, De massa in verleiding, De jaren ’30 in België, Ludion, ASLK, Brussel, 1994 Geheugenverlies / Amnesie, Willy Kessels, photographe, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Bruxelles, 1997 Christine De Naeyer, Willy Kessels, Musée de la

Opening of a sport institute # 2 Willy Kessels, (id 3109,0) 03/1937, Belgium Vintage silver print Excellent 11,8 X 16,3 cm 650 Euro “Inauguration de l’institut d’Education Physique Foundation Hugo Audrieu” Album traces on the back of the photo. References Ronny Gobyn, De massa in verleiding, De jaren ’30 in België, Ludion, ASLK, Brussel, 1994 Geheugenverlies / Amnesie, Willy Kessels, photographe, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Bruxelles, 1997 Christine De Naeyer, Willy Kessels, Musée de la

Athlete in action Igor Kotelnikov, (id 3149,0) +/- 1935, Russia Vintage silver print Excellent 22,7 X 16,7 cm

500 Euro Stamp of the Lebedev Archive on the back

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Hammer-throwing Igor Kotelnikov, (id 3148,0) +/- 1935, Russia Vintage silver print Excellent 22,4 X 15,6 cm

500 Euro Stamp of the Lebedev Archive on the back

Russian shot-putter Igor Kotelnikov, (id 3164,0) +/- 1930, Russia Vintage silver print Excellent 17,7 X 11,7 cm

500 Euro

Two swimmers (fiance of Lebedev ?) Igor Kotelnikov, (id 3157,0) +/- 1930, Russia Vintage silver print Excellent 13,5 X 18,8 cm

900 Euro Stamp of the Lebedev Archive on the back

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In Licht und Sonne #1 Kurt Reichert, (id 3043,0) 1935, Germany Vintage silver print Very Good 17,2 X 12,2 cm 300 Euro from the portfolio “In Licht und Sonne”.

In Licht und Sonne #2 Kurt Reichert, (id 3042,0) 1935, Germany Vintage silver print Very Good 17,3 X 12,3 cm 900 Euro from the portfolio “In Licht und Sonne”. Selected bibliography Brigitte Leierseder, Dieter Löbbert, Das Aktfoto, Bucher, München, 1985, page 323 David Leddick, Male Nudes, Taschen, Köln, 2001, page 64 David Leddick, The Male Nude, Köln, 1998, page 178

In Licht und Sonne #3 Kurt Reichert, (id 2550,0) 1935, Germany Vintage silver print Very Good 17,3 X 12,3 cm 300 Euro from the portfolio “In Licht und Sonne”. The photo has been removed from its original mount. Some traces of glue on the back of the photo.

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In Licht und Sonne #4 Kurt Reichert, (id 3044,0) 1935, Germany Vintage silver print Excellent 8,2 X 5,2 cm 75 Euro from the portfolio “In Licht und Sonne”. Is a smaller print from the same image from the portfolio. It’s very rare to find the smaller size images.

In Licht und Sonne #5 Kurt Reichert, (id 3045,0) 1935, Germany Vintage silver print Excellent 8,2 X 5,2 cm 75 Euro from the portfolio “In Licht und Sonne”. Is a smaller print from the same image from the portfolio. It’s very rare to find the smaller size images.

No title #2 Gerhard Riebicke, (id 3242,0) 1925, Germany Vintage silver print Very Good 16,4 X 11,9 cm

650 Euro Bodo Niemann, Gerhard Riebicke, Photographien, Galerie Bodo Niemann, Berlin, 2000

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Six male athletes with medical ball Gerhard Riebicke, (id 3165,0) 1925, Germany Vintage silver print Excellent 10,7 X 16,7 cm

650 Euro Reference Fritz Giese, Geist im Sport, Delphin Verlag, M端nchen, 1925, illustrations 16 and48 Bodo Niemann, Gerhard Riebicke, Photographien, Galerie Bodo Niemann, Berlin, 2000

Couple at the trapeze Unknown photographer, (id 3184,0) +/- 1930, Germany Vintage silver print Excellent 15,3 X 10,3 cm

300 Euro

Das Fest der deutschen Sch端len Unknown photographer, (id 3147,0) +/- 1935, Germany Vintage silver print (Press photo) Very Good 17,1 X 24,2 cm 120 Euro

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Portrait of an Athlete Unknown photographer, (id 3156,0) +/- 1930, Germany Vintage silver print Excellent 16,9 X 12,0 cm

150 Euro

Soldiers exercise Unknown photographer, (id 3173,0) +/- 1930, Germany Vintage silver print Excellent 12,7 X 7,9 cm

250 Euro

Soviet runner Unknown photographer, (id 3160,0) 1929, Russia Cyanotype Excellent 9,0 X 6,5 cm

900 Euro

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Streck-Ub端ng mit Holzreifen Unknown photographer, (id 3182,0) +/-1925, Germany Vintage silver print (Press photo) Very Good 11,8 X 16,2 cm 250 Euro

Fashion photo for bathing suit Edith von Loew, (id 3168,0) +/- 1930, Germany Vintage silver print Very Good 28,5 X 22,2 cm 200 Euro

Male athlete in action Edith Boeck, (id 3152,0) +/- 1930, Germany Vintage silver print Very Good 11,3 X 8,0 cm

250 Euro

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Germany as the home of the body culture The Lebensreform movement was the strongest in Germany. The need of the inhabitants of large cities such as Berlin, Leipzig and München to escape the miserable living conditions was huge. People started to go to the countryside. Especially the lakes and the Ostsee were very popular with the townsmen. Also artists, scientists and educators were involved in this movement. Everywhere there were organisations, camps and schools focusing on different aspects of the new body culture. Initially these initiatives were non-political and purely socially inspired. They fitted in the larger search for a new national identity. The individual was replaced by the masses, the people and the nation. This was expressed in spectacles and impressive meetings. Nudism is certainly the most explicit form of body culture. Nudism and naturism were very popular in Germany from the Twenties onwards. It is said that there were over 100.000 registered nudists. This movement is called “Freikörperkultur” (FKK). During the Weimar Republic there is a certain tolerance. Various cities even have naturist camps. When the Nazis seize the power in 1933, the situation becomes ambiguous. On the one hand government sees nudism as a threat but on the other hand the new authorities consider it as a means to realise the political ideal of the Ubermensch. This ambiguity leads to the banning of the movement and the members are asked to become members of a new organisation, controlled by the government.

The Free Body Nudism was a logical consequence of the philosophical and ethical evolutions of the end of the Nineteenth Century. All over Europe nudist schools, institutions and camps were founded. A full and well-organised nude culture became a fact with its own organisations and publications. During the interwar period nudism grew spectacularly, especially in Germany. Until the Thirties there was a social basis and a political tolerance. Nudism was accepted and the publications could be sold freely. Only the Church and the bourgeois establishment had their occasional objections, but the critics were not strong enough to break up the movement. There were nudists in all layers of society. In the beginning the FKK had two tendencies: a labour movement with communist sympathies and a more intellectual movement, based on different philosophical ideas. Only a minority of the nudists supported the racial issues. With the rise of the Nazist society in 1933 there was a period of juridical uncertainty. Nudism was no longer compatible with the ethical theses of Nazism. The political powers also feared a too large influence of communism. On the other hand the Nazi ideologists recognised nudism as a possible ally for their racial doctrine. From 1933 to 1936 nudism was banned and the members of FKK were obliged to become members of a politically controlled organisation. The effect of the ban was very small. The influence of nationalsocialism could however be noticed in the activities of the nudists. There was a lot of focus on gymnastics and sports. Present-day nudism has no relation at all with the fascist doctrines.

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Rücksitzen Gerhard Riebicke, (id 3240,0) +/- 1930, Germany Vintage silver print Very Good 13,3 X 8,2 cm

650 Euro Reference Ulf Erdmann Ziegler, Nackt unter Nackten, Verlach Dirk Nishen, Berlin, 1992, page 43 Bodo Niemann, Gerhard Riebicke, Photographien, Galerie Bodo Niemann, Berlin, 2000

Rumpfdrehen Gerhard Riebicke, (id 3239,0) 1925, Germany Vintage silver print Very Good 11,1 X 17,0 cm

500 Euro Reference Wege zu Kraft und Schönheit, Die Schönheit, 1925, page 236, illustration 1776 Bodo Niemann, Gerhard Riebicke, Photographien, Galerie Bodo Niemann, Berlin, 2000

Der Mensch und Die Sonne in natürlicher Nacktheit Unknown photographer, (id 2977,0) 17/09/1933, Germany Vintage silver print Excellent 22,7 X 16,7 cm

350 Euro

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Javelin pitcher Unknown photographer, (id 2968,0) +/- 1930, Germany Vintage silver print Very Good 15,9 X 10,7 cm

150 Euro

Kraft und Schรถnheit Unknown photographer, (id 2926,0) 30/06/1933, Germany Vintage silver print Excellent 12,2 X 17,0 cm

150 Euro

naked couple in a gymanstic pose Unknown photographer, (id 2984,0) +/-1930, Germany Vintage silver print Excellent 17,3 X 12,4 cm

250 Euro

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Naked couple outdoor in acrobatic pose Unknown photographer, (id 2925,0) +/-1930, Germany Vintage silver print Excellent 7,0 X 12,3 cm

150 Euro

Naked man with medical ball Unknown photographer, (id 2933,0) 28/06/1935, Germany Vintage silver print Excellent 13,1 X 7,9 cm

150 Euro Is an enlargment from “Naked couple playing outdoor with the ball #2�

Naked woman reclining Unknown photographer, (id 2985,0) 04/08/1935, Germany Vintage silver print Excellent 8,2 X 5,5 cm

150 Euro

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Ostsee (Naked woman enjoying the sun) Unknown photographer, (id 2991,0) 07/1939, Germany Vintage silver print Excellent 5,3 X 8,4 cm

150 Euro

Outdoor nude man Unknown photographer, (id 3231,0) +/- 1930, No country indicated Vintage silver print Excellent 18,0 X 13,0 cm 250 Euro

Sommerfrenden Unknown photographer, (id 2988,0) 28/06/1935, Germany Vintage silver print Excellent 83,0 X 54,0 cm

200 Euro

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Elegant outdoor nude (?) R. Gotzheid, (id 3217,0) +/- 1925, Germany Vintage silver print Excellent 14,9 X 10,0 cm 150 Euro

Outdoor nude Lotte Herlich, (id 3212,0) +/- 1925, Germany RPPC Excellent 8,5 X 13,6 cm

100 Euro Information printed on the back: Verlag der Schรถnheit, Dresden - A.24 Serie 126: Lotte Herlich

Woman and the sea van Jan, (id 3229,0) +/- 1925, Germany RPPC Excellent 8,5 X 13,6 cm 100 Euro Information printed on the back: Verlag der Schรถnheit, Dresden - A.24 Serie 130: van Jan Reference Ulf Erdmann Ziegler, Nackt unter Nackten, Verlach Dirk Nishen, Berlin, 1992, page 54

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Linkebeek, 1931 Nudism was not only popular in Germany. Also in Ghent and Linkebeek there were nudist camps on isolated private grounds, well-hidden from the curious public. The nudist camp in Linkebeek is mainly known through Willy Kessels’ photos (1898 1974), out of which the exhibition show a number of unknown photographs. In 1931 the camp was closed down by the police and the nudists were arrested. Precisely on that moment Kessels was making his pictures. The photograph of the door destroyed by the police is a silent witness. Next to Kessels’ photographs from Linkebeek, we also present a reportage made by the nudists themselves. This reportage illustrates the activities in the camp very well.

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Nudist Camp Linkebeek # 50 Willy Kessels, (id 3110,0) 1931, Belgium Vintage silver print Excellent 22,8 X 17,1 cm 800 Euro The nudist camp “Mieux Vivre” in Linkebeek, Brussels was founded on 13/04/1930. It was closed down in 1931 by the police. At that moment Willy Kessels was there and photographed the arrest of the members. References Ronny Gobyn, De massa in verleiding, De jaren ’30 in België, Ludion, ASLK, Brussel, 1994 Geheugenverlies / Amnesie, Willy Kessels, photographe, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Bruxelles, 1997 Christine De Naeyer, Willy Kessels, Musée de la

Nudist Camp Linkebeek # 51 Willy Kessels, (id 3111,0) 1931, Belgium Vintage silver print Excellent 22,9 X 17,1 cm 900 Euro The nudist camp “Mieux Vivre” in Linkebeek, Brussels was founded on 13/04/1930. It was closed down in 1931 by the police. At that moment Willy Kessels was there and photographed the arrest of the members. References Ronny Gobyn, De massa in verleiding, De jaren ’30 in België, Ludion, ASLK, Brussel, 1994 Geheugenverlies / Amnesie, Willy Kessels, photographe, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Bruxelles, 1997 Christine De Naeyer, Willy Kessels, Musée de la

Nudist Camp Linkebeek # 52 Willy Kessels, (id 3112,0) 1931, Belgium Vintage silver print Excellent 23,3 X 17,0 cm 550 Euro The nudist camp “Mieux Vivre” in Linkebeek, Brussels was founded on 13/04/1930. It was closed down in 1931 by the police. At that moment Willy Kessels was there and photographed the arrest of the members. References Ronny Gobyn, De massa in verleiding, De jaren ’30 in België, Ludion, ASLK, Brussel, 1994 Geheugenverlies / Amnesie, Willy Kessels, photographe, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Bruxelles, 1997 Christine De Naeyer, Willy Kessels, Musée de la

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Nudist Camp Linkebeek # 53 Willy Kessels, (id 3113,0) 1931, Belgium Vintage silver print Excellent 23,0 X 17,0 cm 800 Euro The nudist camp “Mieux Vivre” in Linkebeek, Brussels was founded on 13/04/1930. It was closed down in 1931 by the police. At that moment Willy Kessels was there and photographed the arrest of the members. References Ronny Gobyn, De massa in verleiding, De jaren ’30 in België, Ludion, ASLK, Brussel, 1994 Geheugenverlies / Amnesie, Willy Kessels, photographe, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Bruxelles, 1997 Christine De Naeyer, Willy Kessels, Musée de la

Nudist Camp Linkebeek # 54 Willy Kessels, (id 3114,0) 1931, Belgium Vintage silver print Excellent 23,0 X 16,7 cm 450 Euro The nudist camp “Mieux Vivre” in Linkebeek, Brussels was founded on 13/04/1930. It was closed down in 1931 by the police. At that moment Willy Kessels was there and photographed the arrest of the members. References Ronny Gobyn, De massa in verleiding, De jaren ’30 in België, Ludion, ASLK, Brussel, 1994 Geheugenverlies / Amnesie, Willy Kessels, photographe, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Bruxelles, 1997 Christine De Naeyer, Willy Kessels, Musée de la

Nudist Camp Linkebeek # 55 Willy Kessels, (id 3115,0) 1931, Belgium Vintage silver print Excellent 23,1 X 17,2 cm 850 Euro The nudist camp “Mieux Vivre” in Linkebeek, Brussels was founded on 13/04/1930. It was closed down in 1931 by the police. At that moment Willy Kessels was there and photographed the arrest of the members. References Ronny Gobyn, De massa in verleiding, De jaren ’30 in België, Ludion, ASLK, Brussel, 1994 Geheugenverlies / Amnesie, Willy Kessels, photographe, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Bruxelles, 1997 Christine De Naeyer, Willy Kessels, Musée de la

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The arrest of the members of the Nudist Camp Linkebeek Willy Kessels, (id 3085,0) 1931, Belgium Vintage silver print Excellent 8,5 X 12,5 cm 200 Euro The nudist camp “Mieux Vivre” in Linkebeek, Brussels was founded on 13/04/1930. It was closed down in 1931 by the police. At that moment Willy Kessels was there and photographed the arrest of the members. References Ronny Gobyn, De massa in verleiding, De jaren ’30 in België, Ludion, ASLK, Brussel, 1994 Geheugenverlies / Amnesie, Willy Kessels, photographe, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Bruxelles, 1997

The police destroyed the entrance of the Nudist Camp Linkebeek Willy Kessels, (id 3084,0) 1931, Belgium Vintage silver print Good 12,8 X 8,5 cm 200 Euro The nudist camp “Mieux Vivre” in Linkebeek, Brussels was founded on 13/04/1930. It was closed down in 1931 by the police. At that moment Willy Kessels was there and photographed the arrest of the members. References Ronny Gobyn, De massa in verleiding, De jaren ’30 in België, Ludion, ASLK, Brussel, 1994 Geheugenverlies / Amnesie, Willy Kessels, photographe, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Bruxelles, 1997

Nudist Camp Linkebeek # 15 Unknown photographer, (id 3060,0) +/- 1931, Belgium Vintage silver print Very Good 11,8 X 16,8 cm

250 Euro The nudist camp “Mieux Vivre” in Linkebeek, Brussels was founded on 13/04/1930. It was closed down in 1931 by the police. At that moment Willy Kessels was there and photographed the arrest of the members.

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Young archer # 17a Unknown photographer, (id 3291,0) +/- 1931, Belgium Vintage silver print Very Good 5,9 X 8,5 cm

350 Euro Set of 3 small and poetical photos of a boy archer. The nudist camp “Mieux Vivre� in Linkebeek, Brussels was founded on 13/04/1930. It was closed down in 1931 by the police. At that moment Willy Kessels was there and photographed the arrest of the members.

Young archer # 17b Unknown photographer, (id 3269,0) +/- 1931, Belgium Vintage silver print Very Good 5,9 X 8,5 cm

Young archer # 17c Unknown photographer, (id 3292,0) +/- 1931, Belgium Vintage silver print Very Good 5,9 X 8,5 cm

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The Olympic Games 1936, Berlin The healthy and powerful body as the symbol of a nation was masterly depicted by Leni Riefenstahl (1902 – 2003) in the film “Olympia”, a photo reportage about the Olympic Games in 1936 in Berlin. The antique roots of the games became the model for an ideal society. Riefenstahl turned the ceremony into a ritual, and at the same time into perfect propaganda for the Nazi regime. Although Riefenstahl remains very controversial up until today, her films and books are still references. There are a lot of picture postcards and official publications about the Olympic Games of 1936. In this exhibition, however, we have chosen to show the Games from the perspective of the spectator. The amateur photos provide a more intriguing image of the atmosphere and the political impact. For her film “Olympia” Leni Riefenstahl was inspired by that other cult film, “Wege zu Kraft und Schönheit” (1925) of Wilhelm Prager. Riefenstahl was involved in both productions: in “Wege zu Kraft und Schönheit” she acted, in “Olympia” she would direct as well. There are many analogies in the language of both films. “Wege zu Kraft und Schönheit” was a promotion picture to the modern body culture. The new health cult goes back to different myths. The German civilian is depicted as a fat bourgeois living an unhealthy and unethical life. The film had to motivate spectators to develop a healthy mind in a healthy body. Only fit and balanced individuals could save the nation. Gerhard Riebicke (Germany, 1878 – 1957) was the photographer on the set of “Wege zu Kraft und Schönheit”. Same of the photographs he made then have now become icons of present day nude photography. In the exhibition we show both film, next to a large number of original documents and photographs by Gerhard Riebicke.

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Olympic Games Berlin # Unknown photographer, (id 3061,0) 1936, Germany Vintage silver print Very Good 8,1 X 11,1 cm

150 Euro

Olympic Games Berlin # Unknown photographer, (id 3068,0) 1936, Germany Vintage silver print Very Good 5,3 X 8,4 cm

80 Euro

Olympic Games Berlin # Unknown photographer, (id 3074,0) 1936, Germany Vintage silver print Very Good 5,3 X 3,8 cm

65 Euro

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The exhibition This unique exhibition is the result of over two years of research and collecting the necessary photographs and publications. Many of the works have been exhibited before in monographic or thematic international exhibitions but now they are confronted in a larger context for the first time. The exhibition does not have the ambition to be a full scientific or historical research into body culture during the interwar period – the subject is too extensive – but a photo essay on the origin of the interwar body culture. The exhibition shows vintage prints from Germany, Belgium, Holland, France and Russia, and is illustrated with two films: “Wege zu Kraft und Schönheit” (1925) and “Olympia” (1936). For the first time in over fifty years in Belgium! Film stills and historical publications will also be on show. The interwar body culture is mainly shown through the eyes of the people involved. These amateur photographs are completed with professional ones, which became real icons.

Biographies Rudolf von Laban (Austria, 1879 – United Kingdom, 1958) Studied art in Paris in 1907. During the First World War he lived on the Monte Verità in Switserland, a famous artists’ colony. There he was influenced by different philosophical and esoteric trends. On the Monte Verità he started his career as a choreographer and dancer. Von Laban is mainly known by the ‘Laban-notation’, and the art of movement carrying his name. He was also influenced (and influenced himself) by other artists from various fields. He collaborated closely with photographers to capture his art of movement. Von Laban founded different schools of dance. In 1936 he contributes in the Olympic Games in Berlin. In 1937 he moved to the United Kingdom. Leni Riefenstahl (Germany, 1902 – 2003) Leni Riefenstahl started her career in the Twenties as a dancer and as an actress. In the thirties she was on the other side of the camera as a director. She was a very controversial person, mainly because of her personal relationship with Adolf Hitler and her propaganda films for the Nazist regime. As a director she was very important and developed a very strong and poetical language. Her outspoken artistic talents combined with her assignments for the Nazis make her even more controversial. In 1936 she made her most important film “Olympia”, on the Olympic Games in Berlin. In the exhibition there are no photos by Riefenstahl for the simple reason that she never photographed herself. Most photographs were made by Rolf Lantin for Ufa. After the Second World Ware ze made nature films and an impressive photo book on the Nuba.

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Wilhelm Prager (Duitsland, 1876 – 1955) Wilhelm Prager started his career as an actor with different German theatres. In 1919 he started working as a film director for Ufa. In 1925 he made “Wege zu Kraft und Schönheit”, the most important FKK-film and his main success. Gerhard Riebicke (Duitsland, 1878 – 1957) Sports photographer from Berlin known especially from the nudes from the film “Wege zu Kraft und Schönheit” (1925). In 1940 large parts of his archives were destroyed during a bombing. Vintage Riebicke prints have become very rare. Kurt Reichert (Germany, 1906- ?) Little is known about Kurt Reichert apart from two very important publications: In Licht und Sonne (1935, portfolio with 12 vintage prints, various versions) and Von Leibenszucht und Liebensschönheit (1940, the first full colour publication on nudism in Germany). His nudes match the Nazi ideal much more than Riebicke’s. His discus thrower has become an icon of male nude photography. Gabrielle de Montmollin (Canada) Female Canadian contemporary art-photographer using a specific technique and language to create her own world and to comment on the role of the female in society. Gabrielle de Montmolling is a typical studio photographer creating a new world with manipulated dolls. These dolls have their own character and metaphorical meaning. She puts the dolls in realistic or surreal settings. The images, mainly in black and white, are manipulated afterwards in order to increase the depth and alienation. “Elle était si belle” (2007-2008) is her most recent work in which glossy advertisements are the setting for Babie-like dolls. Which is more weird: the dolls or the real models in the ads? Willy Kessels (Belgium, 1898-1974) With no doubt the most important Belgian modernist photographer. After a career as an architect and a sculptor, Willy Kessels started his career as a photographer. In the beginning of the thirties especially with publicity photography and photomontages. Later he evoluated towards socially inspired documentary photography. At the same time he started with experimental photography, which he continued to do after the Second World War. Already during his life Willy Kessels was a well-known and well-appreciated photographer. He met Le Corbusier and was a friend of Germaine Krull. His prints are now in different international collections. Like Leni Riefenstahl, Willy Kessels was controversial because of his alleged sympathy for the German occupier. For the present exhibition we only selected his documentary photography on the nudist camp of Linkebeek. Some of these prints have already been published but most have never been published or on exhibition before. Igor Kotelnikov (Russia, 1903-?) We have very little information on Igor Kotelnikov. Only his relationship with the Russian boxer and painter Vladimir Lebedev was publicly known. In this exhibition we present some unique sports prints.

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Bibliography Brigitte Leierseder, Dieter Löbbert, Das Aktfoto, Bucher, München, 1985 David Leddick, Male Nudes, Taschen, Köln, 2001 David Leddick, The Male Nude, Köln, 1998 Karl Toepfer, Empire of Ecstasy, University of California Press, Los Angeles, 1997 Alessandro Bertlotti, Nudo, I Libri Fotografici, Contrasto, Roma, 2007 Paul Wombell, Sportscape, The evolution of sports photography, Phaidon, London, 2000 Klaus Honnef, e.a., German Photography 1870-1970, Power of a Medium, Dumont, Köln, 1997 Bodo Niemann, Gerhard Riebicke, Photographien, Galerie Bodo Niemann, Berlin, 2000 Ulf Erdmann Ziegler, Nackt unter Nackten, Verlach Dirk Nishen, Berlin, 1992 F. Valentine Hooven, Beefcake, The Muscle Magazines of America, Taschen, Köln, 2002 Peter Lacey, The History of the Nude in Photography, Bantan Books, New York, 1964 Dominique Gaessler, Regards sur le sport, Trans photographic press, Paris, 1998 Pool Andries, Willy Kessels, Trans Photographic Press, Paris, 1998 Christine De Naeyer, Willy Kessels, Musée de la Photographie, Charleroi, 1996 Françoise Leplus, & Alain Paviot, Willy Kessels Photographies, Galerie A. Paviot, Paris, 1990 Albert Samoy, Kunstfotograaf Willy Kessels, een levensschets, Anon publisher, 1974 Geheugenverlies / Amnesie, Willy Kessels, photographe, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Bruxelles, 1997 Michel Peeters, Beelden voor de massa, Kunst als wapen in het Derde Rijk, Houtekiet, Antwerpen, 2007 Ronny Gobyn, De massa in verleiding, De jaren ’30 in België, Ludion, ASLK, Brussel, 1994 Chad Ross, Naked Germany. Health, race and the nation, Berg, Oxford, 2005

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Broken dream of the free body