Through a series of black-and-white photographs, printed the size of large landscape paintings, visitors to Josef Koudelka’s exhibition at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France’s François Mitterrand site encountered a world emptied of its inhabitants. The images in “Ruins,” from Tunisia, Libya, Spain, Greece, Italy, Turkey, and Syria, show ceremonial avenues trailing off into the distance and ancient city squares standing empty. Temple precincts are reduced to forests of truncated columns; the rows of empty stadium seats pile up like geological strata. At one time communal and ritual focal points, these ruins now seem haunted by the ghosts of those who once moved through them. These would be striking images regardless, but in a city, and wider world, that has been in on-and-off indoor isolation since last March, this was an exhibition of the ancient world with much to say about the current one.
(IMAGE: Josef Koudelka: Amman, Jordanie, 2012 - Josef Koudelka/Magnum Photos)
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