17.04. - 22.05.2016
In the Fall of 2010, Jona Frank began to make portraits at an amateur boxing club just outside of Liverpool in a suburb called Ellesmere Port.All the boys tried to act tough for the camera and Frank was reminded of a line from the Arcade Fire song Rococo: »They seem wild, but they are so tame.« In the song they are singing about going downtown and watching the modern kids. It made Frank think about how these boys, in this town, are »in« their life. For them, everything is present. This is their 21st Century, their right now, but their faces evoke the past. Many of them, shirtless and sweaty, their hands covered with big, puffy, colorful gloves, look timeless, but the truth is they are like any adolescent who is trying on a role and attempting to find their place. Like the suburb of Liverpool where these photos were made, boxing has a foot in the past while grasping its contemporary purpose. Frank’s photographs provide a record of a sport and a community whose presence is slowly fading.
»Although some of the most gentlemanly people I have ever met are boxers, for Jona to go into a boxing gym as a woman is a very rare thing. I used to visit a gym out in Las Vegas called Johnny Tocco’s that had a sign which read, No Women Allowed. But Jona’s boxers let her have this experience. They wanted to share their moment of glory with her, and she in turn made heroes of them in her photographs. These pictures will be placed on the mantles and the walls in their homes. People will take notice. Their hard work will matter.
Some people might confuse the realism of Jona’s work with a certain anti-romanticism. But she’s just bending the ideal by holding true to the photographer’s mantra: Keep your eyes open and be true to your heart.«
Authors: Bruce Weber
Artists: Jona Frank
Designed by Kehrer Design
24 x 31 cm
43 color ills.