Dienstag, 12. Mai 2015, 18:30 - 22:00 iCal

La Couleur des années 1950

Fotografien von Martin Karplus

Hauptgebäude der Universität Wien, Senatssaal
Universitätsring 1, 1010 Wien


Laufzeit der Ausstellung / Duration of the exhibition: 12. Mai 2015 – 12. August 2015 / 12. May 2015 – 12. August 2015

Martin Karplus is a world famous American chemist, Professor emeritus at Harvard University, and Nobel laureate who has spent the past fifty years consumed by a passion for documenting humanity in thousands of photographs. Sourced from Europe, Asia, and the Americas, his photographs capture societies at pivotal moments in their cultural and economic development in rich Kodachrome color.

In 1953, the Austrian-born, American Karplus received his uncle’s Leica camera as a gift from his parents and headed to Oxford University on a fellowship. In the following years he would spend months exploring the globe, documenting what he describes a “vision of a world, much of which no longer exists”. Images from the Netherlands, Denmark, Greece, Italy, France, Yugoslavia, and Germany present the closure of a bygone lifestyle as societies modernized and rebuilt in the wake of World War 2 and the dawning of the Cold War. Further travels throughout the 1950s took him to the Americas, where he photographed the exuberance of suburban Californian prosperity alongside Native and Latin Americans living a way of life uninterrupted for centuries, yet largely unheard of today.

Born in Vienna in 1930, Martin Karplus immigrated with his family to the United States in 1938. He is now Professor Emeritus in the Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA and Professeur Conventionné at ISIS, Université de Strasbourg, France. He was a pioneer in the application of nuclear magnetic resonance to chemistry and developed what is now known as the ‘Karplus Equation’. He is also famous as a scientist for the introduction of molecular dynamics simulations of proteins, a technique now used world-wide in fundamental research and drug design. After he completed his Doctorate at ‘CalTech’ (California Institute of Technology) in 1953, his parents presented him with a Leica IIIC camera and he began to experiment with it. A postdoctoral fellowship from the National Science Foundation supported his continued scientific research at Oxford University, England, between 1953-55. Between University ‘terms’, Dr. Karplus travelled extensively throughout Europe and recorded his vision of the peoples and places he saw with the Leica on Kodachrome film. In the following decade, he continued photographing during trips to South America and Asia, and across the United States.

This exhibition is comprised of about a hundred images from among the thousands of photographs taken during the period 1953-1965. The original Kodachrome slides, many of which are now over 50 years old, were scanned by Paul Sims, a master craftsman. The photographs on display are prints made from the scans of the original slides. They show the inquiring mind and profoundly humanist vision of their author.

The exhibition plates were made by the Laboratoire Picto.

Bild / Image: Martin Karplus, Portrait Martin Karplus, Marineland of the Pacific, California, 1956, ©Martin Karplus Photography

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Universität Wien


Dr. Anna-Marie Hermann
Universität Wien