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  • Axel Hoedt: Fastnacht Exhibition|Black and White Photo: Person in Bird suit| Federeschnabel, C-type print, Triberg, 2008

    Axel Hoedt: Fastnacht Exhibition| Person in Bird suit| Federeschnabel, C-type print, Triberg, 2008

  • Axel Hoedt: Fastnacht Exhibition|Portrait photograph

    Axel Hoedt: Fastnacht Exhibition|Portrait photograph| Fledermaus, C-type print, Messkirch, 2008

  • Axel Hoedt: Fastnacht Exhibition|Rabbit mask| out of focus Portrait photograph

    Axel Hoedt: Fastnacht Exhibition|Rabbit mask| Portrait photograph| Hasenbuehler, C-type print, Engen, 2008

  • Axel Hoedt: Fastnacht Exhibition| Forest Landscape photograph

    Axel Hoedt: Fastnacht Exhibition|Portrait photograph|Untitled, C-type print, 2008

  • Axel Hoedt: Fastnacht Exhibition|Exhibition Installation View|Framed Photograph on wall

    Axel Hoedt: Fastnacht Exhibition|Exhibition Installation View| Photography by Julian Abrams

  • Axel Hoedt: Fastnacht Exhibition| View of two portrait framed photographs| Photograph taken through window

    Axel Hoedt: Fastnacht Exhibition| View of two portrait framed photographs| Photography by Julian Abrams

  • Axel Hoedt: Fastnacht Exhibition| Exhibition Installation View from outside gallery space

    Axel Hoedt: Fastnacht Exhibition| Exhibition Installation View| Photography by Julian Abrams

  • Axel Hoedt: Fastnacht Exhibition| Exhibition Reception View from outside| Photography by Julian Abrams

    Axel Hoedt: Fastnacht Exhibition| Exhibition Reception View| Photography by Julian Abrams

  • Axel Hoedt: Fastnacht Exhibition|Photo: Exhibition wall- Artist

    Axel Hoedt: Fastnacht Exhibition|Photo: Exhibition wall- Artist's statement on wall| Photography by Julian Abrams

  • Axel Hoedt: Fastnacht Exhibition|Exhibition wall 3 portrait head shot style coloured photographs of people in mask

    Axel Hoedt: Fastnacht Exhibition|Photo: Exhibition wall 3 portrait Images| Photography by Julian Abrams

  • Axel Hoedt: Fastnacht Exhibition|Photo: Exhibition collection of a framed photographs in varying sizes

    Axel Hoedt: Fastnacht Exhibition|Photo: Exhibition collection of framed imagery| Photography by Julian Abrams

  • Axel Hoedt: Fastnacht Exhibition|Exhibition wall 2 portrait images in varying size of woodland and person in a pig costume

    Axel Hoedt: Fastnacht Exhibition|Photo: Exhibition wall 2 portrait images|Photography by Julian Abrams

  • Axel Hoedt: Fastnacht Exhibition|Collection of polaroids on shelf in centre of image

    Axel Hoedt: Fastnacht Exhibition|Collection of polaroids on shelf| Photography by Julian Abrams

  • Axel Hoedt: Fastnacht Exhibition| Wide view of Exhibition collection, Framed photographs| showing open minimalistic bare wood floor exhibition space matching photographs frames

    Axel Hoedt: Fastnacht Exhibition| Wide view of Exhibition collection, Framed photographs| Photography by Julian Abrams

  • Axel Hoedt: Fastnacht Exhibition| Exhibition shelf with 6 polaroid

    Axel Hoedt: Fastnacht Exhibition| Exhibition shelf with polaroid collection| Photography by Julian Abrams

  • Axel Hoedt: Fastnacht Exhibition|Photo: 2 Exhibition shelves with colour polaroid collection, 6 polaroids per shelf

    Axel Hoedt: Fastnacht Exhibition| 2 Exhibition shelves with polaroid collection| Photography by Julian Abrams

  • Axel Hoedt: Fastnacht Exhibition| Photo: Exhibition angled Close-up of 5 polaroids

    Axel Hoedt: Fastnacht Exhibition| Exhibition Close-up of polaroid collection| Photography by Julian Abrams

  • Axel Hoedt: Fastnacht Exhibition|4 Framed Portrait Photographs in colour

    Axel Hoedt: Fastnacht Exhibition|4 Framed Portrait Photographs| Photography by Julian Abrams

  • Axel Hoedt: Fastnacht Exhibition| Exhibition side view of a selection of framed photography, reflecting the surrounding exhibition space through the glass of frames

    Axel Hoedt: Fastnacht Exhibition| Exhibition side view of collection of framed photography| Photography by Julian Abrams

  • Axel Hoedt: Fastnacht Exhibition| Exhibition Entrance, Vinyl Title of exhibition and framed photograph of rabbit costume silhouette

    Axel Hoedt: Fastnacht Exhibition| Exhibition Entrance, Vinyl Title of exhibition| Photography by Julian Abrams

  • Axel Hoedt: Fastnacht Exhibition|Single framed photograph, cockerel portrait - person in cockerel outfit in photography studio

    Axel Hoedt: Fastnacht Exhibition|Single framed photograph, cockerel portrait | Photography by Julian Abrams

  • Axel Hoedt: Fastnacht Exhibition|Photo: Exhibition collection of black and white photography| Photography by Julian Abrams

  • Axel Hoedt: Fastnacht Exhibition|Photo: Wide view of Exhibition entrance| Photography by Julian Abrams

  • Axel Hoedt: Fastnacht Exhibition| Exhibition long view of space, photo depicts the exhibition space

    Axel Hoedt: Fastnacht Exhibition|Photo: Exhibition long view of space | Photography by Julian Abrams

  • Axel Hoedt: Fastnacht Exhibition|Photo: Villingen, C-type print, Butzesel, 2008- Mule mask on carpeted floor

    Axel Hoedt: Fastnacht Exhibition|Photo: Villingen, C-type print, Butzesel, 2008| Photography by Julian Abrams

  • Axel Hoedt: Fastnacht Exhibition| Photo: Fuchs, C-type print, Triberg, 2008| Photography by Julian Abrams

  • Axel Hoedt: Fastnacht Exhibition|Photo: Baer, C-type print, Sachsenheim, 2008- black and white photo of roaring bear

    Axel Hoedt: Fastnacht Exhibition|Photo: Baer, C-type print, Sachsenheim, 2008| Photography by Julian Abrams

  • Axel Hoedt: Fastnacht Exhibition|Photo: Dark Landscape, C-type print, 2008 (dark misty crowded woodlands)

    Axel Hoedt: Fastnacht Exhibition|Photo: Dark Landscape, C-type print, 2008 | Photography by Julian Abrams

  • Axel Hoedt: Fastnacht Exhibition|Photo: Landscape, C-type print, 2008- black and white photograph of single spindly tree within mist

    Axel Hoedt: Fastnacht Exhibition|Photo: Landscape, C-type print, 2008| Photography by Julian Abrams

  • Axel Hoedt: Fastnacht Exhibition|Photo: White, C-type print, Endingen, 2008- depicting head shot of jester wearing metal mesh mask

    Axel Hoedt: Fastnacht Exhibition|Photo: White, C-type print, Endingen, 2008| Photography by Julian Abrams

  • Axel Hoedt: Fastnacht Exhibition|Photo title: Maske, C-type print, Endingen, 2008- depicting a mesh mask with mould of face

    Axel Hoedt: Fastnacht Exhibition|Photo: Maske, C-type print, Endingen, 2008| Photography by Julian Abrams

  • Axel Hoedt: Fastnacht Exhibition| Photo: Altnarr, C-type print, Endingen, 2008| Photography by Julian Abrams

  • Axel Hoedt: Fastnacht Exhibition|Selection of black and white polaroids

    Axel Hoedt: Fastnacht Exhibition|Polaroids: Polas, C-type print, 2008| Photography by Julian Abrams

  • Axel Hoedt: Fastnacht Exhibition|Photo of person wearing was and tall hat: Russhexe, C-type print, Empfingen, 2008

    Axel Hoedt: Fastnacht Exhibition|Photo: Russhexe, C-type print, Empfingen, 2008| Photography by Julian Abrams

Axel Hoedt: Fastnacht

17 September–14 November 2010

Fastnacht is a photographic project by Axel Hoedt. In the making of these images, predominantly portraits, Hoedt travelled across Southern Germany, setting up a portable studio in the villages he visited, and working with a large-format camera.

The photographs were taken in 2008 during a three-week period dictated by the regional timing of the Fastnacht festival. This varies according to the date of Easter and the commencement of the Lenten period of fasting each year.

Fastnacht, literally meaning ‘the night before fasting’, is an annual carnival held in Germany, but also in Switzerland and Austria, which has roots in both Christian and Pagan traditions. The latter are particularly relevant to the region in which Hoedt was working, where grotesque and frightening masks are often worn to chase away the spirits of winter, in preparation for the coming spring and a new harvest. Almost all of the costumes that appear in Fastnacht have a closely protected specificity to a particular trade, family or geographic area.

Some of the figures are new interpretations of historical characters; others, such as the wire mask that reveals only an eerie shadow of a face when photographed unworn, are older and highly valued originals.

More than just dressing up, during the Fastnacht festival villagers take on roles and adopt the traits of the characters they portray in public parades. The series poses compelling questions about studio portrait photography and the continued use of costume in relation to regional traditions, cultural identity and collective memory. Selections from the Fastnacht series were published in the German newspaper Zeit-Leben, for which Hoedt received a Gold medal at the 2010 Lead Awards for the best editorial portrait series of the year.

Axel Hoedt: Fastnacht was curated for Fashion Space Gallery by Magdalene Keaney.

Supported by Metro