Since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union,
Communism seems like a thing of the past: relegated to the dustbin of
history. But photographer Jan Banning’s Red Utopia looks at various corners of the world, where the ideology that so determined the course of the twentieth century is still alive and kicking.
Jan Banning (b. 1954) set off in search of locations in five countries (India, Italy, Nepal, Portugal and Russia) where the ghost of
Communism still walks abroad and sometimes even dominates local mind-sets. In cities and (sometimes
isolated) towns and villages, he recorded the interiors of Communist Party offices with their often exuberant iconography: red flags and banners, portraits of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Mao, and pictures of national party leaders
and ideologues. Sometimes he has also photographed local party activists, staring solemnly into the lens from behind their desks.
Banning’s images are distinguished by their careful composition and lighting.
Red Utopia is a beautifully executed big format art photo book
Format: 280 x 370 mm = 11 x 14.5 inch
Design: Peter Jonker
Publisher: Ipso Facto, NL and Nazraeli, CA, US (co-published)
Price: € 49,95
Jan Banning is a Dutch autonomous artist/photographer, based in Utrecht, the
Netherlands. He made many photo books, such as the famous Bureaucratics (Nazraeli Press). Among his other well-known books are Comfort Women; Traces of War: Survivors of the Burma and Sumatra Railways; Down and Out in the South; and Law&Order.
Banning’s art work is in the collections of numerous museums and it has been published in a wide range of print and online media.
For more information about Jan Banning, please visit:
“Banning’s work carefully walks a line between document and art, banter and serious critical inquiry, showing a sophistication that marks him as one of the great portrait documentarians of our time.” Brett Abbott, former curator of the Atlanta High Museum of Art, about the Bureaucratics exhibition.