Posts Tagged ‘portraits

25
May
09

Exhibition: ‘Thomas Ruff. Surfaces, Depths’ at Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna

Exhibition dates: 21st May – 13th September, 2009

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Thomas Ruff. 'Interieur 2D (Tegernsee)' 1982

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Thomas Ruff
‘Interieur 2D (Tegernsee)’
1982
Courtesy der Künstler / the artist © VBK, Wien 2009

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Thomas Ruff. 'Zycles 3048' 2008

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Thomas Ruff
‘Zycles 3048′
2008

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An exhibition of the work of the renowned photographer Thomas Ruff that concentrates on his new ‘Cassini’ and ‘Zycles’ series. His clinical photographs with their catatonic rigidity promote stupor in the viewer. The viewer becomes complicit in a platonic relationship (of forms) with the non-reality presented by the camera, directed by Ruff’s ironic, surgical gaze. Ruff corrupts and disturbs traditional binaries of presence/absence, truth/reality, surfaces/depths to challenge the very basis of seeing, the very basis of photography’s link to indexicality and presence in a contemporary digital world, something that William Eggleston seems to have lost the art of doing (please see the previous post).

As Maurice Blanchot has observed,

“The image has nothing to do with signification, meaning, as implied by the existence of the world, the effort of truth, the law and the brightness of the day. Not only is the image of an object not the meaning of that object and of no help in comprehending it, but it tends to withdraw it from its meaning by maintaining it in the immobility of a resemblance that it has nothing to resemble.”1

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There is no single truth; there are only competing narratives and interpretations of a world that cannot be wholly, accurately described.2 In the splitting apart of image and meaning there is a crisis in control: it becomes illusory and is marked by doubt.

In Ruff’s photographs the relationship between image and context, between cause and effect becomes more and more layered until the very act of seeing is no longer framed or presupposed through relations of distance or perspective.3 Ruff’s photographs become a struggle of and for positionality in the physical, mental and emotional conflicts evidenced in the viewer as we look, paradoxically, at these unemotional images.

Marcus Bunyan

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Thomas Ruff. 'Cassini 01' 2008

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Thomas Ruff
‘Cassini 01′
2008

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Thomas Ruff. 'Cassini 06' 2008

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Thomas Ruff
‘Cassini 06′
2008

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“Yet Ruff has always treated the medium of photography with skepticism: for him, the photographic surface is a thin foil which tricks the viewer with its illusion of extreme realism and at the same time reveals the fundamental impossibility of experiencing the world in our digital age. Ruff’s images seem emphatically to deny photography’s main attribute – that is, the offer of a reliable record of reality. Instead, through his mute images devoid of all emotion, Ruff presents us with a contemporary subjectivity defined by amnesia.”

Text from the Castello di Rivoli website

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Thomas Ruff. 'Portrait (A. Siekmann)' 1987

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Thomas Ruff
‘Portrait (A. Siekmann)’
1987

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Thomas Ruff. 'Portrait (A. Kachold)' 1987

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Thomas Ruff
‘Portrait (A. Kachold)’
1987

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Thomas Ruff. 'Portrait (S. Weirauch)' 1988

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Thomas Ruff
‘Portrait (S. Weirauch)’
1988
Courtesy der Künstler / the artist © VBK, Wien 2009

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“The reality in front of the camera is reality of the first degree, the representation of the reality in front of the camera is reality of the second degree, and then come any number of possible gradations and distortions.”

Thomas Ruff

“To try to see more and better is not a matter of whim or curiosity or self-indulgence. To see or to perish is the very condition laid upon everything that makes up the universe, by reason of the mysterious gift of existence.”

Teilhard de Chardin, “Seeing” 1947

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The work of Thomas Ruff, who numbers among today’s most important photographers, focuses our attention on such diverse everyday subjects as people, architecture, the universe, and the Internet. With its extensive solo presentation with a total of about 150 exhibits from 11 groups of works, Kunsthalle Wien offers a first comprehensive survey of the artist’s manifold oeuvre in Austria.

Thomas Ruff studied at the Dusseldorf Academy of Arts, graduating as a student of Bernd and Hilla Becher besides Andreas Gursky, Candida Höfer, Axel Hütte, and Thomas Struth, all of them celebrating an international career these days. The photographer strikes us as a sharp and concentrated observer of his motifs. To him, objectivity is nothing neutral though, but has to be redefined with each new photograph. The series of large-scale portraits which Ruff started working on in 1986 and for which he became known internationally, for example, fascinates us because of the determined detachment with which he captured his models that were mostly acquainted with him. This approach makes for a hyper-precise, chirurgic gaze reproducing everything down to the last detail as equivalent. It also demonstrates the degree of the artist’s interest in the history of photography, how critically he considers its subject, and the skeptical attitude he sometimes adopts toward the medium.

From his stereoscopic views of the urban development myth of Brasilia and his apparently anti-essayistic architectural photographs of buildings by Herzog & de Meuron, which are based on instructions, to his digital processing of images of the planet Saturn available free of charge on the NASA website, the artist explores the concepts of the exemplary, of objectivity, of reality, and of zeitgeist. Based on half of his about twenty thematic groups of works created so far, the exhibition examines the concept pair surface/depth, which seems to be quite simple at first sight, but reveals itself as strongly discursive on closer inspection, and focuses the attention on formal aspects one comes upon again and again in his entire oeuvre …

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Thomas Ruff. 'Herzog & de Meuron, Ricola Mulhouse' 1994

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Thomas Ruff
‘Herzog & de Meuron, Ricola Mulhouse’
1994
Courtesy der Künstler / the artist © Thomas Ruff

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Thomas Ruff. 'House Nr. 11 III' 1990

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Thomas Ruff
‘House Nr. 11 III’
1990
Courtesy der Künstler / the artist © VBK, Wien 2009

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Right in time for the International Year of Astronomy 2009, Thomas Ruff presents works from his most recent series Cassini - subtly manipulated pictures of Saturn and its moons taken by the Cassini spacecraft. It was the Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei who opened a window to the skies with his telescope 400 years ago. He thus revolutionized man’s image of himself in regard to the universe, but also his understanding of and his way of dealing with the concepts of nearness and distance, surface and depth.

Thomas Ruff. Surfaces, Depths conveys what these concepts, translated into pictures, do to the viewer on a phenomenological level and how they challenge him. The curves of Ruff’s zycles, distorted into the three-dimensional sphere, unfold the sensory experience of roaming virtual depths only reserved to the human eye. Yet, gazing at the represented motifs also elucidates the artist’s contentual objective of providing a critical comment on the various possibilities of the photographic apparatus to depict and manipulate reality.”

Press release from the Kunsthalle Wien website

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Thomas Ruff. 'Cassini 08' 2008

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Thomas Ruff
‘Cassini 08′
2008

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04-cassini-03

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Thomas Ruff
‘Cassini 03′
2008
Courtesy der Künstler / the artist and Mai 36 Galerie, Zürich © Thomas Ruff

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Thomas Ruff. 'Zycles 3045' 2008

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Thomas Ruff
‘Zycles 3045′
2008
Courtesy der Künstler / the artist © VBK Wien, 2009

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“Thomas Ruff first became known through his portraits of houses and factory buildings, as well as the night sky, portrayed in a natural and objective manner. Ruff photographed the buildings either in strict frontality or at right angles to one another, always paying attention to regular sharpness and neutral lighting, and from the same standpoint. With his controversially discussed nudes of erotic, sometimes pornographic scenes from the Internet, which he projected onto unsharp large formats, he expanded the borders of photography in 1999. Since then, his Internet blow-ups with clearly emphasised pixel structures have been regarded as his ‘trademark’. Thomas Ruff started concerning himself with the medium of the image at the very beginning of his artistic career. In addition to self-produced analogue and digital photographs, he worked from the basis existing pictures. He liked working with unspectacular, historically typical motifs and elaborated the images on the computer, whereby he was particularly interested in the technical side of photography. Often, a new group of works would start with the choice of a specific technique, for example, the night sky pictures from 1992 to 1995 which were made with the help of a camera and a night vision enhancer. Since the night vision enhancer is a visual instrument developed for the Gulf War, this series is a subliminal play on the medial dimension created by this war.

After digitally creating the Substrat series of 2002 abstract, psychedelic colour images from Manga comics, he began his latest zycles series, in which he worked with far more complexly abstract dimensions. These consisted of large-format inkjet prints on canvas that already created a furore at this year’s Art Unlimited in Basel. It is hard to believe that these compositions, which consisted of curved lines and were spread all over the image, originated in mathematics, or more precisely, in antiquated 19th century books on electro-magnetism that portrayed magnetic fields on copperplates. Thomas Ruff was particularly interested in translating these drawings into three-dimensional space. For this he used a 3D computer programme that translated mathematic formulas into complex, three-dimensional linear structures. Ruff recorded different detailed views from these virtually produced linear structures. The weave of lines developed in front of an open space of unspecified depth, sometimes filigree, sometimes accentuated. Their dynamics are reminiscent of the lines of magnetic fields, but also of informal line drawings. Either way, they invite the viewers to play with their own perceptions.”

Text by Dominique von Burg; translation: Maureen Oberli-Turner from the Mai 36 Galerie website

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Thomas Ruff. 'jpeg icbm05' 2007

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Thomas Ruff
‘Jpeg icbm05′
2007

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Thomas Ruff. 'Jpeg rl104' 2007

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Thomas Ruff
‘Jpeg rl104′
2007

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Kunsthalle Wien

Museumsplatz 1
A-1070 Vienna

Opening hours:
Daily 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Thursday 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.

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1. Blanchot, Maurice. The Gaze of Orpheus. New York: Barrytown, 1981, p.85.

2. Townsend, Chris. Vile Bodies: Photography and the Crisis of Looking. Munich: Prestel, 1998, p.10.

3. Burnett, Ron. Cultures of Vision: Images, Media, & the Imaginary. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995, pp.137-138.

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26
Mar
09

Exhibition: ‘Francis Bacon’ at the Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid

Exhibition dates: February 3rd – April 19th 2009

 

Looks like an amazing exhibition of Francis Bacon’s work, one of my favourite artists –  I wish I could see it!

There is a very interesting 14 minute description of the exhibition by curator Manuela Mena on the Prado website. It features a section on Bacon’s use of photographs and reference to work from all his major periods.
I can’t embed the video so click on the image below or link below to take you to the page.

 

Description of exhibition of the work of Francis Bacon at the Prado Museum, Madrid by curator Manuela Mena

 

Layout of the exhibition with comments by Manuela Mena (video)

 

The exhibition is constructed in different sections

  • Animal
  • Zone
  • Apprehension
  • Crucifixion
  • Crisis
  • Archive
  • Portrait
  • Memorial
  • Epic
  • Late

 

“Bacon’s work demonstrates marked similarities to that of many of the Spanish artists he admired. (Manuela Mena, co-curator of the exhibition at the Prado, has written an excellent essay on this topic that can be found in the exhibition’s catalog.) The retrospective at the Prado provides a rare opportunity to compare Bacon to some of the Spanish masters that influenced him. 

Start by meandering through the vast Bacon exhibition. Spread between two floors of the new wing of the Prado, the exhibition has brought together Bacon’s most important works from nearly his entire artistic production. It begins with the work that put Bacon on the map, “Three Studies for Figures at the Foot of a Crucifixion” (1944), and follows his work through the interpretations of Velázquez, crucifixion triptychs, his unique portraits and the late works through the years shortly before his death.”

 

Francis Bacon. 'Study after Velázquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X' 1953

 

Francis Bacon
‘Study after Velázquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X’
1953

 

Francis Bacon. 'Chimpanzee' 1955

 

Francis Bacon
‘Chimpanzee’
1955


Francis Bacon. 'Paralytic Child Walking on All Fours (from Muybridge)' 1961

 

Francis Bacon
‘Paralytic Child Walking on All Fours (from Muybridge)’
1961


fFrancis Bacon. 'Portrait of Isabel Rawsthorne Standing in a Street in Soho' 1967

 

Francis Bacon
‘Portrait of Isabel Rawsthorne Standing in a Street in Soho’
1967


Francis Bacon. 'Portrait of John Edwards' 1988

 

Francis Bacon
‘Portrait of John Edwards’
1988

 

Museo Nacional del Prado website

16
Feb
09

Exhibition: ‘The best is often the Memories: Photographic Portraits of Romy Schneider’ at Museum Fue Kunst Und Gewerbe, Hamburg

Exhibition dates: 6th February – 13th April 2009

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Will McBride. 'Romy Schneider, Paris, 1964'

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Will McBride
Romy Schneider, Paris, 1964

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Peter Bruchmann. 'Romy Schneider, Munich, 1968'

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Peter Bruchmann
‘Romy Schneider, Munich, 1968′

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“Herbert List, Max Scheler, Roger Fritz, F. C. Gundlach, Will McBride, Peter Brüchmann, Werner Bokelberg, Helga Kneidl and Robert Lebeck took photos of Romy Schneider in quite different ways, as a young girl, in her film roles, together with her children, apparently unobserved in everyday situations or in set poses and dressed up in various costumes, merry or pensive, beautiful and fragile. More than 140 pictures will be on show, of which about 40 are being exhibited for the first time.

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Roger Fritz. 'Romy Schneider, Paris, 1961'

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Roger Fritz
Romy Schneider, Paris, 1961

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Herbert List. 'Romy Schneider, Munich, 1954'

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Herbert List
Romy Schneider, Munich, 1954

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Hardly any other star has left us with so many different and conflicting images as Romy Schneider. She was photographed thousands of times – and yet she always remained enigmatic. Some of the photographers whose work is presented in this exhibition only met Romy once – Herbert List, for instance, captured her as a teenager around 1954 on pictures which remained unknown until recently – or accompanied her throughout her life, like Robert Lebeck, who succeeded in taking disturbingly personal pictures of her from the 1950s through to shortly before her death.

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F. C. Gundlach. 'Romy Schneider, Hamburg, 1961'

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F. C. Gundlach
Romy Schneider, Hamburg, 1961

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Werner Bokelberg. 'Romy Schneider, London, 1968'

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Werner Bokelberg
Romy Schneider, London, 1968

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These snapshots conjure up once again the legend that was Romy, while at the same time making a powerful statement which reveals the transitoriness of existence. Because that is the core of what a photo does: it creates an image in order to bear lasting witness to an event which happened – yet at the very moment of capturing the image on film, it is no more than the proof that the fleeting moment has passed.
The photos by Herbert List, Werner Bokelberg, Peter Brüchmann, Roger Fritz and Max Scheler are being shown publicly for the first time. This also applies to the majority of the photos by F. C. Gundlach and Will McBride. The pictures by Helga Kneidl and Robert Lebeck have already appeared in books about Romy Schneider. These volumes are however now out of print.”

Text from the Museum Fue Kunst Und Gewerbe website

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Helga Kneidl. 'Romy Schneider, Paris, 1972'

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Helga Kneidl
Romy Schneider, Paris, 1972

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Helga Kneidl. 'Romy Schneider, Paris, 1973'

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Helga Kneidl
Romy Schneider, Paris, 1973

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The legend that was Romy!
I have never known the filmography of Romy Schneider, never come across this actress before sad to say. But now I do. What great photographs. What a beautiful woman: sensitive, vivacious, stunning. A soul I would have liked to have known.

All images copyright of the photographers.

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Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg
Steintorplatz, 20099 Hamburg

Opening hours:
Tuesday to Sunday 11 am – 6 pm
Wednesday and Thursday 11 am – 9 pm

Museum Fue Kunst Und Gewerbe website

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08
Feb
09

‘Villa Edur. Eduardo Sourrouille’ exhibition at Artium, Basque Centre-Museum of Contemporary Art

January 17th – April 19th 2009

 

Eduardo Sourrouille. 'Self-portrait with impetuous friend' 2008

 

Eduardo Sourrouille
‘Self-portrait with impetuous friend’
2008

 

Artium, Basque Centre-Museum of Contemporary Art, presents the exhibition Villa Edur. Eduardo Sourrouille (North Gallery, from January 17 to April 19), an intimate self-portrait of this Basque artist based on more than 170 photographs taken in recent years. Sourrouille (Basauri, Bizkaia, 1970) proposes a metaphorical visit to the private rooms of his life, from the most superficial to the most intimate, to explore all aspects of the relationship with others and with oneself. Based on three different series of technically exquisite photographs, the author displays a world in which affection and the need to love and to feel loved predominates, in which there are ever-present allusions to questions such as sexual identity, the demands of friendship and recognition of links with others.”

Text from Artdailly.org website

 

Eduardo Sourrouille. 'Salon para Gaydjteam' 2008

 

Eduardo Sourrouille
‘Salon para Gaydjteam’
2008

 

“The house I depict in Villa Edur is my home, as it was (is) my mother´s home. It is the first legacy I received from her, the most valuable of all her bequests: besides being a home, it is an ongoing project, the driving force in my life and a reflection of my artistic career.

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In my house, the host receives his guests at the entrance, where newcomers find proof of all the visitors that preceded them. Everything takes place in this zealously staged space, and so each decorative element is selected with the very same care. Objects, costumes and scenery make up, both individually and jointly, a system of symbols alluding to the nature of its own contents. 
One by one, the portrait of the person in question confronts his situation within the context that was created for him and which, at the same time, he himself contributed to defining, and whose ghost still lives on. Each portrait determines both a singular identity and the kind of relationship in which at least two individuals interact and this, in turn, is the reflection of a specific experience. Each relationship leaves a visible and definitive mark on the other, like the dent in an aluminium vessel, which reasserts the experience and provides solace (provisionally) as it is the proof of our materiality. The inescapable need to make these marks involves the creation of an entire network of relationships in which friendship, affection, love, fascination, desire, etc. (sometimes mixed up), have a place.
Next to the door, raised on her solid, light shelf, my mother observes us and invites us in.

 

Eduardo Sourrouille. 'Panolis' 2008

 

Eduardo Sourrouille
‘Panolis’
2008

 

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A door leads to the sitting room, a multifunctional and ultimately magical space, an environment in which everything that can be shown to visitors (plus part of what cannot be shown) is put on display. Definitively, the sitting room always offers a precise image of who its owner is and would like to be, of what he deliberately reveals to others and what he cannot prevent from being perceived through the cracks in his subconscious.
For this reason, the sitting room offers visitors a gallery of thirty self-portraits that show them the different people who coexist in me, what they can expect and the extent of the range of choices permitted. From a conceptual viewpoint and in a symbolic manner, these portraits embody different aspects of love and friendship that can be found in me, as in any other individual.

 

Eduardo Sourrouille.' Double self-portrait' 2008

 

Eduardo Sourrouille
‘Double self-portrait’
2008

 

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Beyond the sitting room lie the private rooms in which intimate, secret processes take place, ceremonies that create individuals and subsequently shape them, mould them and endorse them for the world. In one of these, I share the space with my father because this room is where his offspring receive their legacy through atavistic and recurrent rites – so simple that they scarcely cause pain. In another room, I (at last) dare to make the call I have learnt, the one that I use to invoke the Other, even though in some ways the person I seek is myself. There is anguish and confusion in that call, but also the desire to establish constructive communication, as I also offer myself to the Other so that he might leave his mark on me.

 

Eduardo Sourrouille. 'Self-portrait with a proud friend' 2008

 

Eduardo Sourrouille
‘Self-portrait with a proud friend’
2008

 


The intimate world of each person, in other words, what one does not necessarily confess but what one, nevertheless, has decided to experience, is developed in the most secret room of all. It is also the space reserved for the beauty that one finds by one’s own means – as it has not been revealed by any of one’s elders – and which therefore will be treasured as the exclusive property of its discoverer.
I live in 
Villa Edur because all the relationships that crystallise around me also reside there. Every individual harbours a space that he uses as a scenario to display his relationships, his family, lovers, friends, and for life, everything that is deposited with the passing of time, following the structure of his stage machinery. That is the space that is often called home.”

 

Ianko López Ortiz de Artiñano for Eduardo Sourrouille

Text from the Artium website

02
Feb
09

‘Polaroids and Portraits: A Photographic Legacy of Andy Warhol’ exhibition at The Krannert Art Museum, Champaign IL

January 30 – May 24, 2009

 

Andy Warhol. 'Self portrait' Polaroid 1979

 

Andy Warhol
‘Self portrait’
Polaroid
1979

 

“Polaroids and Portraits presents a selection of the 152 photographs that Krannert Art Museum graciously received from the Andy Warhol Photographic Legacy Program. Established in 2007 to commemorate the Warhol Foundation’s twentieth anniversary, the Legacy Program gifted over 28,500 original photographs to 183 college and university museums and galleries across the country with the hope of enabling wider access to these more seldom seen works. This exhibition displays both Polaroid and silver gelatin portraits of celebrities, socialites, and unknowns, all photographed with varying degrees of wit, humor, and intimacy. These photographs complicate our notion of the artist’s persona as wholly immersed in this world of glamour, presenting Warhol as not only a prolific photographer, but a man grappling with his own identity as a famous artist.”

 

Andy Warhol. 'Liza Minnelli' Polaroid 1977

 

Andy Warhol
‘Liza Minnelli’
Polaroid
1977

 

Andy Warhol. 'Jean-Michel Basquiat' Polaroid 1982

 

Andy Warhol
‘Jean-Michel Basquiat’
Polaroid
1982

 

Andy Warhol. 'Princess Caroline of Monaco' Polaroid 1981

 

Andy Warhol
‘Princess Caroline of Monaco’
Polaroid
1981

 

Text from The Krannert Museum of Art website

12
Jan
09

‘Edward Steichen In High Fashion: The Conde Nast Years, 1923 – 1937′ at the International Centre of Photography, New York

Edward Steichen. "Gloria Swanson" nd

 

Edward Steichen
‘Gloria Swanson’
nd

 

“As part of the International Center of Photography’s 2009 Year of Fashion, the museum will host a retrospective of Edward Steichen’s fashion and celebrity portraiture. Edward Steichen: In High Fashion, The Condé Nast Years, 1923-1937, will be on view at ICP (1133 Avenue of the Americas at 43rd Street) from January 16 through May 3, 2009. It will feature 175 vintage photographs, drawn mainly from the extensive archive of original prints at Condé Nast, along with a selection of important prints from the collection of the George Eastman House Museum. This will be the first exhibition in which the full range of his fashion photography and celebrity portraiture will be shown, including many images that have never been exhibited before. Having previously traveled throughout Europe, the exhibition will be presented on its North American tour in this version only at ICP. “

 

Edward Steichen. Conde Nast photograph. 1928

 

Edward Steichen
Conde Nast photograph
1928

 

“Edward Steichen (1879-1973) was already a famed Pictorialist photographer and painter in the United States and abroad when he was offered the position of chief photographer for Vogue and Vanity Fair by Condé Nast. Upon assuming the job, the forty-four year old artist began one of the most lucrative and controversial careers in photography. To Alfred Stieglitz and his followers, Steichen was seen as damaging the cause of photography as a fine art by agreeing to do commercial editorial work. Nevertheless, Steichen’s years at Condé Nast magazines were extraordinarily prolific and inspired. He began by applying the soft focus style he had helped create to the photography of fashion. But soon he revolutionized the field, banishing the gauzy light of the Pictorialist era and replacing it with the clean, crisp lines of Modernism. In the process he changed the presentation of the fashionable woman from that of a distant, romantic creature to that of a much more direct, appealing, independent figure. At the same time he created lasting portraits of hundreds of leading personalities in movies, theatre, literature, politics, music, and sports, including Gloria Swanson, Gary Cooper, Marlene Dietrich, Joan Crawford, Colette, Winston Churchill, Amelia Earhart, Jack Dempsey, Noel Coward, Greta Garbo, Dorothy Parker, and Cecil B. De Mille.”

from the ArtDaily.org website

 

Edward Steichen. "Gary Cooper" 1930

 

Edward Steichen
‘Gary Cooper’
1930

 

“An exhibition of 175 works by Edward Steichen drawn largely from the Condé Nast archives, this is the first presentation to give serious consideration to the full range of Steichen’s fashion images. Organized by the Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne, and the Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography, Minneapolis, in conjunction with the International Center of Photography, the exhibition will open at ICP after an extensive tour in Europe. Steichen’s approach to fashion photography was formative and over the course of his career he changed public perceptions of the American woman. An architect of American Modernism and a Pictorialist, Steichen exhibited his fashion images alongside his art photographs. Steichen’s crisp, detailed, high-key style revolutionized fashion photography, and his influence is felt in the field to this day—Richard Avedon, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Bruce Weber are among his stylistic successors.”

from the International Centre of Photography website

 

Edward Steichen. "Katherine Hepburn wearing a coat by Clare Potter." 1933

 

Edward Steichen
‘Katherine Hepburn wearing a coat by Clare Potter’
1933

 

Exhibition dates: January 16th – May 3rd 2009

International Centre of Photography website

15
Dec
08

Cindy Sherman exhibition at Metro Pictures Gallery, New York

Cindy Sherman. "Untitled" 2008

 

Cindy Sherman
‘Untitled’
2008

 

Installation view of Cindy Sherman exhibition at Metro Pictures Gallery, New York

 

Installation view of Cindy Sherman exhibition at Metro Pictures Gallery, New York, 2008

More images are Metro Pictures Gallery website

15
Dec
08

Review: Cindy Sherman exhibition at Metro Pictures Gallery, New York

Cindy Sherman. "Untitled" 2008

 

Cindy Sherman
‘Untitled’
2008
color photograph
254.3  x 174.6 cm

 

“For her first exhibition of new work since 2004, Cindy Sherman will show a series of color photographs that continues her investigation into distorted ideas of beauty, self-image and aging. Typical of Sherman, these works are at once alarming and amusing, distasteful and poignant.

Working as her own model for more than 30 years, Sherman has developed an extraordinary relationship with her camera. A remarkable performer, subtle distortions of her face and body are captured on camera and leave the artist unrecognizable to the audience. Her ability to drastically manipulate her age or weight, or coax the most delicate expressions from her face, is uncanny. Each image is overloaded with detail, every nuance caught by the artist’s eye. No prosthetic nose or breast, fake fingernail, sequin, wrinkle or bulge goes unnoticed by Sherman.

Sherman shoots alone in her studio acting as author, director, actor, make-up artist, hairstylist and wardrobe mistress. Each character is shot in front of a “green screen” then digitally inserted onto backgrounds shot separately. Adding to the complexity, Sherman leaves details slightly askew at each point in the process, undermining the narrative and forcing the viewer to confront the staged aspect of the work.”  

Press release at Metro Pictures Gallery

 

 

The artist Cindy Sherman is a multifaceted evocation of human identity standing in glorious and subversive Technicolor before the blank canvas of her imagination. Poststructuralist in her physical appearance (there being no one Cindy Sherman, perhaps no Sherman at all) and post-photographic in her placement in constructed environments, Sherman challenges the ritualized notions of the performative act – and destabilizes perceived notions of self, status, image and place.

The viewer is left with a sense of displacement when looking at these tableaux. The absence/presence of the artist leads the viewer to the binary opposite of rational/emotional – knowing these personae and places are constructions, distortions of a perceived reality yet emotionally attached to every wrinkle, every fold of the body at once repulsive yet seductive.


Rembrandt van Rijn

 

Rembrandt van Rijn
‘Self-portrait as the apostle Paul’ 1661 (left) and ‘Self-portrait as Zeuxis laughing’ 1662 (right)

 

They are masterworks in the manner of Rembrandt’s self portraits – deeply personal images that he painted over many years that examined the many identities of his psyche – yet somehow different. Sherman investigates the same territories of the mind and body but with no true author, no authoritative meaning and no one subject at their beating heart. Her goal is subversive. 

As Roy Boyne has observed, The movement from the self as arcanum to the citational self, has, effectively, been welcomed, particularly in the work of Judith Butler, but also in the archetypal sociology of Pierre Bourdieu. There is a powerful logic behind this approbation. When self-identity is no longer seen as, even minimally, a fixed essence, this does not mean that the forces of identity formation can therefore be easily resisted, but it does mean that the necessity for incessant repetition of identity formation by the forces of a disciplinary society creates major opportunities for subversion and appropriation.
In the repeated semi-permanences of the citational self, there is more than a little scope for counter-performances marked, for example, by irony and contempt.”
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Cindy Sherman, "Untitled" 2008

 

Cindy Sherman
‘Untitled’
2008
color photograph
177.8 x 161.3 cm

 

Counter performances are what Sherman achieves magnificently. She challenges a regularized and constrained repetition of norms and as she becomes her camera (“her extraordinary relationship with her camera”) she subverts its masculine disembodied gaze, the camera’s power to produce normative, powerful bodies.2 As the viewer slips ‘in the frame’ of the photograph they take on a mental process of elision much as Sherman has done when making the images – deviating from the moral rules that are impressed from without3 by living and breathing through every fold, every fingernail, every sequin of their constructed being.

M Bunyan

 

 

Exhibition dates: 15th November – 23rd December 2008

Metro Pictures Gallery
519 West 24th Street New York, NY 10011

Opening hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 10-6 PM

Gallery website with more Cindy Sherman images

 

 

1. Boyne, Roy. “Citation and Subjectivity: Towards a Return of the Embodied Will,” in Featherstone, Mike (ed.,). Body Modification. London: Sage, 2000, p.212.

2. “To the extent that the camera figures tacitly as an instrument of transubstantiation, it assumes the place of the phallus, as that which controls the field of signification. The camera thus trades on the masculine privilege of the disembodied gaze, the gaze that has the power to produce bodies, but which itself has no body.”

Butler, Judith. Bodies That Matter. New York: Routledge, 1993, p.136.

3. “Universal human nature is not a very human thing. By acquiring it, the person becomes a kind of construct, built up not from inner psychic propensities but from moral rules that are impressed upon him from without.”

Goffman, Erving. Interaction Ritual: Essays on Face-to-Face Behaviour. London: Allen Lane, The Penguin Press, 1972, pp.44-45. 




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New work: ‘upside, down’ (2013) by Dr Marcus Bunyan

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Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes the Art Blart blog which reviews exhibitions in Melbourne, Australia and posts exhibitions from around the world. He has a Dr of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne and is currently studying a Master of Art Curatorship at The University of Melbourne.

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