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Joan Crawford by Eve Arnold

The Body Observed: Magnum Photos at the Sainsbury Centre

The Body Observed is a major new photography exhibition organised by the Sainsbury Centre and Magnum Photos, will include over 130 works from the 1930s to the present.

The exhibition, from March 23-June 30, will explore how Magnum photographers have turned their lens to the human body, examining issues such as identity, intimacy, sexuality and ritual, to voyeurism and performance amongst others.

The exhibition will include well-known images such as Eve Arnold's portraits of Hollywood icon Joan Crawford, and Philippe Halsman's Dalí Atomicus, a work selected for TIME magazine’s “100 Most Influential Images of All Time” in 2016.

Dali Atomicus by Philippe Halsman

Magnum Photos was founded in 1947 by the photographers Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa, George Rodger and David ‘Chim’ Seymour. A cooperative, Magnum was initially established in New York but offices soon followed in London and Paris. They are now recognised as one of the best-known photo agencies, whose members include many of the world’s leading photographers.

Joan Crawford by Eve Arnold

The body has been a recurrent subject throughout the history of art but the advent of photography offered new opportunities to engage with past modes of representation.

Photography had the potential to mimic or subvert existing visual codes and the camera has been used to examine, categorise, scrutinise and objectify the human form, establishing a new visual language.

The exhibition will be curated by Monserrat Pis Marcos, curator at the Sainsbury Centre, in collaboration with Emily Graham, Cultural Commissions & Partnerships at Magnum Photos.

Zebra Woman by Werner Bischof