Martin Parr: Assorted Cocktail

10 Feb – 16 May 2011

The DOX Centre for Contemporary Art presents to the Czech audience the exhibition of the outstanding British documentary photographer, Martin Parr.
A member of the prestigious agency Magnum Photos, he is one of the most highly respected and discussed contemporary artists who has influenced an entire generation of photographers. His specific point of view, his gently ironic sense of humor and his use of intensely saturated colors, create the unmistakable signature style of this artist who operates on the borders of various genres. Parr is a successful photojournalist, but he also often works on conceptual projects, as well as fashion and commercial photography.

“When people laugh and cry at the same time when looking at my pictures, that’s precisely the reaction the pictures evoke in me. The things are neither fundamentally good, nor bad. I am always interested in portraying both extremes”. (M. Parr)

Parr initially became widely-known for his photographs from the 1980s depicting everyday life of the British middle class which provoked a wave of controversial reactions. Since the 1990s, his cooperation with Magnum Photos has allowed him to travel more extensively and to cover a broader range of themes beyond the borders of the United Kingdom. His photographs focus on the global issues of mass consumption, tourism and communication. He explores individual national characteristics and the increasing uniformity of today’s world. Parr’s concept of photography creates a new form of contemporary social-critical document. 

Martin Parr plays a significant role within a broader artistic context. During his career, he has published over sixty books and organised countless exhibitions of his own work. He continues to be a very active photographer. In addition, he makes documentary films and frequently serves as an editor and curator of other photographers’ work. Martin Parr is a passionate collector and owner of one of the largest collections of photographic books. He also collects prints with particular emphasis on British photographers as well as postcards and ephemera. The exhibition in Prague is accompanied by various objects and souvenirs reflecting upon the social and political scene – such as a teapot in the shape of Margaret Thatcher´s head, watches with Saddam Hussein or a toilet paper with Osama bin Laden. Parr’s collecting activity corresponds to his photography that he himself regards as a form of collecting. 

The Assorted Cocktail was presented for the first time at the Photokina Fair in Cologne, Germany in 2006 where the artist was awarded the Erich Salomon Prize. The exhibition represents Parr’s outstanding thematic cycles from the years 1983—2009, such as Last Resort, Small World, Bored Couples, Common Sense, Think of England along with the series Think of Germany, Knokke le Zoute, Mexico, Glasgow, Phone Project and the more recent Luxury cycle.