May 5 – June 11, 2011

Opening reception:
Thursday, May 5, 2011
6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
ClampArt is pleased to announce “The City of Children,” an exhibition of photographs by Monika Merva—the artist’s first solo show at the gallery. The exhibition coincides with the release of the monograph of the same title from Kehrer Verlag Heidelberg—Berlin (Hardcover, 112 pp., $45).

The City of Children, or more formally Gyermekközont, is on the former grounds of Count Istvan Karloyi’s palace in Hungary. It was seized by the government and transformed into a housing facility for children seeking help away from their dysfunctional and poverty-stricken families. More simply, it is an orphanage of sorts. Photographer, Monika Merva, who is of Hungarian descent and speaks the language, visited the City of Children on many occasions over a number of years since 2002, often spending time with the same young people again and again.

Curator, Anne Wilkes Tucker, writes: “Children generally know whom to trust, especially those who’ve experienced hardships. Monika Merva brought empathy and compassion as well as skill to this project and we can feel it in the children’s responses. They allowed her into their private spaces and she’s honored their trust with vivid, memorable portraits.”

Shot with a medium format camera, unposed, and in natural light, Merva’s photographs are refreshingly sensitive and tender. The artist comments: “I believe home is where our strength lies. It’s the source of everything—where all our fears, questions, love, and a sense of belonging originate.”

Merva’s work is represented in the permanent collections of the Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris; Hungarian Museum of Photography, Kecskemét; Worcester Art Museum, Massachusetts; and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

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