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The New Eye: The Interwar Period through the Lens

Culture and languages

Gothenburg turns 400 years in 2021 and as part of the anniversary celebrations the Hasselblad Foundation and GPS400 are launching 'The New Eye'. A unique exhibition at the Hasselblad Center about photography and film cultures during the interwar period and with a specific focus on Gothenburg.

28 May 2021 - 26 Sep 2021
Hasselblad Center


The Interwar period was a turbulent time globally and also in Sweden. The period started with a pandemic, the Spanish flu, which turned out to be one of the worst pandemics the world had ever seen. In Sweden, women gained the right to vote in 1921 and the labour movement kept advancing their position, eventually making it into government. During ‘the Roaring Twenties’, the Western World was a hotbed of economic, social, artistic and cultural movements – coupled with political currents such as internationalism and pacifism. Over time, however, and particularly after the global stock market crash, the drive towards mutual understanding gave way to extreme counter-movements such as fascism and Nazism. 


Photography and film played central roles in the technological, social, political and cultural transformation that occurred during the interwar period. New visual techniques and practices were developed in the fields of art, advertising, industry and science. The international exhibitions held in Sweden during the period became an important platform for defining and spreading knowledge about the new means of expression and applications that photography and filmmaking were creating. The exhibitions united – in a way that is rarely seen today – artistic photography and film, professional portraits, as well as photographic and filmic applications within scientific fields such as ethnography, botany, astronomy, physics and medicine, not to mention areas including law enforcement, defence, communication, propaganda, fashion and advertising.

Taking its standpoint in the photo exhibitions of the interwar period, The New Eye at the Hasselblad Center presents a wide range of photographic and film practices from the years 1919–1939. In highlighting the diversity and breadth of these two lens media, the exhibition material reflects visual cultures not only in Gothenburg and Sweden but also further afield.  

The exhibition opens on Friday 28 May and closes on Sunday 26 September. Information about the guided tours, seminars and panel discussions during the course of the exhibition is available on this website and through the Hasselblad Foundation website.


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