Josef Koudelka for the first time in Sofia

His exposition Exiles will trace the themes of banishment, wandering, conflicts, and nature as changed by human activity

Photographer Josif Koudelka

On 7 May, the iconic photographer of the Prague Spring, Josef Koudelka, arrives in Bulgaria to inaugurate his exhibition titled Exiles.The exposition, which will be on view till 9 June at the Sofia City Art Gallery thanks to partnership between Institut francais de Bulgarie and Centre Pompidou, will show 75 photographs by Koudelka which will be exhibited outside of France for the first time. The photos were made in the 1960s, 70s and 80s and are presented under the common title Exiles.

These iconic images illustrate the deeply humane character of Koudelka's creative work tracing the themes of banishment, wandering, conflicts, and nature as changed by human activity. On the sidelines of the exhibition, the visitors will also have a chance to see a collection of all editions of the Exiles monograph, as well as the 19 self-portraits of the legendary artist.

Josef Koudelka is the man who risked his life to document the Soviet invasion in Czechoslovakia in 1968, a person without citizenship who wandered around Europe from 1970 to 1987, to leave to posterity his deeply convincing photo documents illustrating the genesis of Europe and the continent's fears. After four decades of roving, in 1987, Koudelka was finally granted French citizenship and, as a token of gratitude to France, he donated his 75 photos from the Exiles series to Centre Pompidou - National Museum of Modern Art/Industrial Design Centre. It is exactly this series, emblematic for his entire work, which will be the focus of the exposition in Sofia.

A cross between art photography and photo journalism, the exposition is a poetical evidence of Joudelks's trips - from Ireland to Spain and from Spain to Poland - far away from his native land. The photos of deserted and scattered articles, images of homeless animals and people, illustrate the author's quest for the human boundaries and identity. Apart from that, Koudelka also throws new and different light on the challenges and fears of the contemporary European community.

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