Zurich - Until 7 July 2018
Photographs by Thomas Hoepker, Gordon Parks, Marvin Newman, Flip Schulke, Steve Schapiro, Carl Fischer and Eric Bachmann
We are excited to announce the group exhibition “Now You See Me” at Bildhalle, curated by Mirjam Cavegn and Daniel Blochwitz, which marks the second anniversary of Muhammad Ali’s death and—in a homage to him and his life—brings together works by a number of exceptional photographers: Thomas Hoepker (*1936, Germany), Gordon Parks (1912-2006, United States), Steve Shapiro (*1934, American), Marvin Newman (*1927, United States), Flip Schulke (1930-2008, United States), Carl Fischer (*1924, United States) and Eric Bachmann (*1940, Switzerland).
It’s a boxer’s life seen through multiple lenses, which in turn made this great athlete most human. There are photographs that show a fighting, loving, agitating, laughing, praying, caring, posing and playing Muhammad Ali. Some of these images have become icons of pop culture while others depict Ali in a rather unexpected light.
Before his 1974 World Heavyweight Championship match against George Foreman in Kinshasa (Congo), Muhammad Ali famously rhymed, "Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. His hands can`t hit what his eyes can`t see. Now you see me, now you don`t. George thinks he will, but I know he won’t.” Ali challenged and teased his opponent Foreman with these words, but he also backed them up with a tremendous and smart fight - which, some people claim, was the greatest boxing match ever.
However, given the historic situation of African Americans in the United States, the excerpted line “Now you see me”, which lends the exhibition its title, also marks Ali’s courageous stand against a discriminatory reality. For a people and their plight often rendered invisible, a Muhammad Ali in the spotlight echoed the Civil Rights call “I Am a Man!”. His athletic ability, charisma and perseverance earned him fame, which he used to shine a light on social and political wrongs. He assumed it as his responsibility to fight prejudice, bigotry and war. Ali clearly understood, in an attention economy, pointed cameras mean power. So, he began performing outside the boxing ring as well. He performed for the cameras. Now you see me!