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Jürgen Bürgin: PUNCH – A visual story

128 pages, including a booklet
Hardcover
30 x 25 cm
English

Title: PUNCH – A visual story
Author: Jürgen Bürgin
Publisher: chumbo
Texts: Jürgen Bürgin, Yuri Lopes Pereira
ISBN: 978-989-53712-0-4
Release date: December 2022
Price: 55,00 €

PUNCH is a photography book by Jürgen Bürgin. It’s an intimate and revealing journey through the world of boxing in New York, Berlin and Lisbon.

It’s an immersive and dark visual narrative that follows boxing fighters from the training and preparation phase to the thrill of the fight and the moment of victory. A dramatic, evocative and emotional look into the vivid details of a classic sport, whose enormous influence on popular culture gives this work a universal and timeless appeal.

CV Jürgen Bürgin (photographer)
Jürgen Bürgin was born in 1971 in Lörrach, a small town in southern Germany. He lives and works as a photographer in Berlin, Germany. His genres are documentary and street photography. His documentary series tells of special and mysterious worlds, like boxing and the circus. In his street photographs, Bürgin aims to tell and evoke stories with his images. He looks for, and photographs, the special, the poetic and the surprising in everyday life across big cities throughout Europe, Asia and North America.

Bürgin has worked in the movie industry for several decades, so there have always been close connections to big city films in his photographs – for example, Woody Allen’s melancholic New York homages or Wong Kar-Wai’s feverish Hong Kong melodramas. The aesthetics of his images stems from his decades of involvement with cinema; he explores ways of telling stories with his street photographs by capturing spontaneous street scenes. His work is reminiscent of the movie posters hanging in front of cinemas, which outline the film’s story, mood and tone using individual images. Some of Jürgen Bürgin’s photos are characterised by restlessness, by the hustle and bustle of a big city; some discover moments of calm, solitude, or thoughtfulness. They all tell of a strange atmosphere – the fever of the big city.

His works have been exhibited in several galleries and museums around the world, including the South Street Seaport Museum in New York, the Fotogalerie Friedrichshain in Berlin, the RAW Gallery in Rotterdam, the Amerika Haus in Tübingen and the Central European House of Photography in Bratislava.

In the autumn of 2016, his first book was published, entitled Urban Fever – Scenes from City Life. With this series he had numerous solo exhibitions, for example in Sydney, Berlin and Bremen.

About the Publisher:

chumbo is a contemporary art gallery in Lisbon.

It hosts and supports creative projects at the intersection of reality, fiction, and utopia. It’s a physical and conceptual space that explores social, philosophical, and political issues through creative research.
The gallery showcases and publishes works in the fields of Photography, Cinema and Video, Illustration, Performance art, Music and Software.
www.chumbo.org/punch

About PUNCH, by Jürgen Bürgin ( Author )

“When I was climbing the stairs to Gleason’s Gym, the New York boxing gym in Brooklyn, to take photos of a New York boxing tournament, I had little idea about boxing. I knew some of the famous names, mainly of the boxers from German boxing clubs, I might have seen less than five boxing fights on TV, and I’ve seen When we were kings in cinema, the documentary about the famous fight Ali vs. Foreman in Zaire in 1974. And I knew some great boxing photographs, foremost the fantastic Ali photo by Thomas Hoepker; Ali holds his fist towards the camera, and his face is only in the background, blurred. I was surprised by the family atmosphere of Gleason’s Gym. It’s a friendly place, the families and the friends of the fighters were there, to see them fighting and to support them. Grandfathers who had been boxers themselves were feverish with their grandsons having their first boxing experiences. Girls and young women were fighting with a ferocity that matched that of their male colleagues. Gleason’s Gym is in Dumbo, a hip and now expensive residential district in Brooklyn, between Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge, once an unattractive industrial area. The gym has been founded in the Bronx in 1937, Muhammad Ali is said to have trained there, as well as Jake LaMotta and Mike Tyson. Today, between hip shops, galleries and restaurants, and close to the tourist Brooklyn Bridge Park it nearly seems to be out of place. When I returned to the streets of Brooklyn again at night, the Gleason’s Gym had driven away some of my stereotypes about boxing – and it has fuelled my fascination for this sport.

Back in Germany I started to photograph some boxing training, at amateur fights and finally at some pro fights as well, while the more intimate atmosphere at the amateur fights always allowed me to take more emotional photos than at pro events. Wherever I travelled to I checked out, if there were some boxing fights. An exciting experience was a tournament in an old, dark event hall in Lisbon, the Voz do Operário. You could feel the mood and the atmosphere of such events in former times.

The aesthetics of boxing is based on some archaic and emotionally charged elements: pain, blood and sweat, victory and defeat, dynamics, concentration, force. Linked to a boxing fight is a limited number of protagonists, who act in combination, reminding on a classic drama: the fighter, the trainer, the cutman, the referee, the box promoter. And each boxing fight is defined by a fixed flow: starting with the training, the official weigh in up to the pre-fights and the main fight on competition day. In a way boxing is very closely connected to literature – to classic drama or to short stories or novels. In her book “On Boxing” American writer Joyce Carol Oates wrote: „Each boxing match is a story – a unique and highly condensed drama without words“.”

About PUNCH, by Yuri Lopes Pereira ( Publisher )
“Whatever your rational opinion is about a sport that makes two people step into a ring and furiously punch each other, boxing has a way of pulling you in making you keep watching. Ritualized violence has been a feature of human history since the very beginning. One may even argue that it is precisely this ceremonial aspect that has enabled us to overcome, or at least control, the most primal instincts of our biology. Boxing is a pacifying ritual, at once an individual and communal design, a liberating and unspeakable language.

The book you now hold in your hands is the product of Jürgen’s passionate research into a sport that looks incredibly the same across different cities and different continents. This story never changes, and yet it never ceases to engage the eye with its infinite variations.

Jürgen’s work is a masterful capture of light and darkness, literally and in metaphor, in a way that is both unique and in line with the great classics.

PUNCH took a long, long time to produce. It is the result of a chance encounter between a brilliant author, a dithering editor, and an extraordinary tale of courage and beauty.
It now exists in the world as our gift and homage to those in and around the ring – entranced by the fight.”

PUNCH – a visual story
128 pages, including a booklet
Hardcover
30 x 25 cm
English

Title: PUNCH – a visual story
Author: Jürgen Bürgin
Publisher: chumbo
Texts: Jürgen Bürgin, Yuri Lopes Pereira
ISBN: 978-989-53712-0-4
Release date: December 2022
Price: 55,00 €