Posts Tagged ‘Sophie Calle

24
Aug
10

Exhibition: ‘Haunted: Contemporary Photography / Video / Performance’ at Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York

Exhibition dates: 26th March – 6th September 2010

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Looks like a great exhibition – wish I was there to see it!

Many thankx to Claire Laporte and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

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Adam Helms
‘Untitled Portrait (Santa Fe Trail)’
2007
Double-sided screenprint on paper vellum, 101.3 x 65.7 cm, edition 2/2
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Purchased with funds contributed by the Photography Committee 2007.131

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Idris Khan
‘Homage to Bernd Becher’
2007
Bromide print, 49.8 x 39.7 cm, edition 1/6
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Purchased with funds contributed by the Photography Committee 2007.132

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Bernd and Hilla Becher
‘Water Towers’
1980
Nine gelatin silver prints, 155.6 x 125.1 cm
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Purchased with funds contributed by Mr. and Mrs. Donald Jonas 81.2793

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Andy Warhol
‘Orange Disaster #5′
1963
Acrylic and silkscreen enamel on canvas, 269.2 x 207 cm
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Gift, Harry N. Abrams Family Collection 74.2118

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Joan Jonas
‘Mirror Piece I’
1969
Chromogenic print, 101 x 55.6 cm
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Purchased with funds contributed by the Photography Committee 2009.31

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Zhang Huan
’12 Square Meters’
1994
Chromogenic print, 149.9 x 99.7 cm, A.P. 3/5, edition of 15
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Purchased with funds contributed by Manuel de Santaren and Jennifer and David Stockman 2007.24

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“Much of contemporary photography and video seems haunted by the past, by the history of art, by apparitions that are reanimated in reproductive mediums, live performance, and the virtual world. By using dated, passé, or quasi-extinct stylistic devices, subject matter, and technologies, such art embodies a longing for an otherwise unrecuperable past.

From March 26 to September 6, 2010, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum presents Haunted: Contemporary Photography/Video/Performance, an exhibition that documents this obsession, examining myriad ways photographic imagery is incorporated into recent practice. Drawn largely from the Guggenheim’s extensive photography and video collections, Haunted features some 100 works by nearly 60 artists, including many recent acquisitions that will be on view at the museum for the first time. The exhibition is installed throughout the rotunda and its spiraling ramps, with two additional galleries on view from June 4 to September 1, featuring works by two pairs of artists to complete Haunted’s presentation.

The works in Haunted: Contemporary Photography/Video/Performance range from individual photographs and photographic series to sculptures and paintings that incorporate photographic elements; projected videos; films; performances; and site-specific installations, including a new sound work created by Susan Philipsz for the museum’s rotunda. While the show traces the extensive incorporation of photography into contemporary art since the 1960s, a significant part of the exhibition will be dedicated to work created since 2001 by younger artists.

Haunted is organized around a series of formal and conceptual threads that weave themselves through the artworks on view:

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Appropriation and the Archive

In the early 1960s, Robert Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol began to incorporate photographic images into their paintings, establishing a new mode of visual production that relied not on the then-dominant tradition of gestural abstraction but rather on mechanical processes such as screenprinting. In so doing, they challenged the notion of art as the expression of a singular, heroic author, recasting their works as repositories for autobiographical, cultural, and historical information. This archival impulse revolutionized art production over the ensuing decades, paving the way for a conceptually driven use of photography as a means of absorbing the world at large into a new aesthetic realm. Since then, a number of artists, including Bernd and Hilla Becher, Sarah Charlesworth, Douglas Gordon, Luis Jacob, Sherrie Levine, Richard Prince, Cindy Sherman, and Sara VanDerBeek, have pursued this archival impulse, amassing fragments of reality either by creating new photographs or by appropriating existing ones. (…)

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Sophie Calle
‘Father Mother (The Graves, #17)’
1990
Two gelatin silver prints in artist’s frames, 181.0 x 111.1 cm each, edition 2/2
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Gift, The Bohen Foundation 2001.94

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Ana Mendieta
‘Untitled (Silueta Series)’
1978
Gelatin silver print, 20.3 x 25.4 cm
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Purchased with funds contributed by the Photography Committee 98.5240

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Anne Collier
‘Crying’
2005
Chromogenic print, 99.1 x 134 x 0.6 cm, edition 1/5
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Purchased with funds contributed by Mr. and Mrs. Aaron M. Tighe 2005.47

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Landscape, Architecture, and the Passage of Time

Historically, one of photography’s primary functions has been to document sites where significant, often traumatic events have taken place. During the Civil War, which erupted not long after the medium was invented, a new generation of reporters sought to photograph battles, but due to the long exposure times required by early cameras, they could only capture the aftermath of the conflicts. These landscapes, strewn with the dead, now seem doubly arresting, for they capture past spaces where something has already occurred. Their state of anteriority, witnessed at such an early stage in the medium’s development, speaks to the very nature of a photograph, which possesses physical and chemical bonds to a past that disappears as soon as it is taken. As viewers, we are left with only traces from which we hope to reconstruct the absent occurrences in the fields, forests, homes, and offices depicted in the works in the exhibition. With this condition in mind, many artists, among them James Casebere, Spencer Finch, Ori Gersht, Roni Horn, Luisa Lambri, An-My Lê, Sally Mann, and Hiroshi Sugimoto, have turned to empty spaces in landscape and architecture, creating poetic reflections on time’s inexorable passing and insisting on the importance of remembrance and memorialization.

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Documentation and Reiteration

Since at least the early 1970s, photographic documentation, including film and video, has served as an important complement to the art of live performance, often setting the conditions by which performances are staged and sometimes obviating the need for a live audience altogether. Through an ironic reversal, artworks that revolved around singular moments in time have often come to rely on the permanence of images to transmit their meaning and sometimes even the very fact of their existence. For many artists, these documents take on the function of relics-objects whose meaning is deeply bound to an experience that is always already lost in the past. Works by artists such as Marina Abramović, Christian Boltanski, Sophie Calle, Tacita Dean, Joan Jonas, Christian Marclay, Robert Mapplethorpe, Ana Mendieta, and Gina Pane examine various aesthetic approaches inspired by the reiterative power of the photograph. Using photography not only to restage their own (and others’) performances but to revisit the bodily experience of past events, these artists have reconsidered the document itself as an object embedded in time, closely attending to its material specificity in their works.

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Trauma and the Uncanny

When Andy Warhol created his silkscreen paintings of Marilyn Monroe in the wake of her death, he touched on the darker side of a burgeoning media culture that, during the Vietnam War, became an integral part of everyday life. Today, with vastly expanded channels for the propagation of images, events as varied as the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and the deaths of celebrities such as Princess Diana and Michael Jackson have the ability to become traumatic on a global scale. Many artists, including Adam Helms, Nate Lowman, Adam McEwen, Cady Noland, and Anri Sala, have reexamined the strategy of image appropriation Warhol pioneered, attending closely to the ways political conflict can take on global significance. At the same time, photography has altered, or as some theorists argue, completely reconfigured our sense of personal memory. From birth to death, all aspects of our lives are reconstituted as images alongside our own experience of them. This repetition, which is mirrored in the very technology of the photographic medium, effectively produces an alternate reality in representation that, especially when coping with traumatic events, can take on the force of the uncanny. Artists such as Stan Douglas, Anthony Goicolea, Sarah Anne Johnson, Jeff Wall, and Gillian Wearing exploit this effect, constructing fictional scenarios in which the pains and pleasures of personal experience return with eerie and foreboding qualities.”

Press release from the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum website

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James Casebere
‘Garage’
2003
Chromogenic print, face-mounted to acrylic, 181.6 x 223.5 cm, edition 2/5
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Anonymous gift, 2005.1

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Miranda Lichtenstein
‘Floater’
2004
Chromogenic print, 104.1 x 127 cm, edition 5/5
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Purchased with funds contributed by the Photography Committee 2005.67

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Sarah Anne Johnson
‘Morning Meeting’ (from ‘Tree Planting’)
2003
Chromogenic print, 73.7 x 79.7 cm, edition ½
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Purchased with funds contributed by Pamela and Arthur Sanders; the Harriett Ames
Charitable Trust; Henry Buhl; the Heather and Tony Podesta Collection; Ann and Mel Schaffer; Shelley Harrison; and the Photography Committee, 2005.43.29

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Sally Mann
‘Virginia’ from the ‘Mother Land’ series
1992
Gelatin silver print, 76.2 x 96.5 cm
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Gift, The Bohen Foundation 2001.207

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Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
1071 5th Avenue (at 89th Street)
New York

Museum Hours:
Sun – Wed, 10 am – 5:45 pm; Fri, 10 am – 5:45 pm; Sat, 10 am – 7:45 pm; closed Thurs.

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum website

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25
Nov
08

Sophie Calle. “Doleur exquise” 1984/1999

Sophie Calle. “Doleur exquise” 1984/1999

 

Sophie Calle
“Doleur exquise”
1984/1999

 

Set up by Frank Gehry and Edwin Chan
Exhibition view at Rotonde1, Luxembourg, 2007

24
Nov
08

Review: ‘Intimacy’ at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA), Melbourne

Exhibition dates: 7th October 2008 – 30th November 2008

The exhibition includes works by Louise Bourgeois, Nan Goldin, Steve McQueen, Sophie Calle, Mariele Neudecker, Jesper Just, Gabrielle de Vietri, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Mutlu Çerkez, Amikam Toren, Margaret Salmon and Annika Ström.

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Sophie Calle. "Doleur exquise" 1984/1999

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Sophie Calle
Doleur exquise
1984/1999

Set up by Frank Gehry and Edwin Chan
Exhibition view at Rotonde1, Luxembourg, 2007

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An eclectic mix of mixed media, photography and video work is presented in this exhibition. The work examines concepts of intimacy – staged performances, stories of the city, of men, women, families and children; the artists “contemplate passion, love and longing, as well as feelings of disquiet, loss, and loneliness that embody intimate human relations.”

The show exudes a certain melancholia and is troubling in many aspects: loneliness, separation, desire for intimacy, desire for love all being expressed through the presented works. Some of the works are strong but others left me cold and uninterested. Few are joyous renditions of the closeness of intimate relations and most works ponder the dangers and disillusionment of failed intimacies that involve feelings of vulnerability (intimate acts often involve a degree of self-disclosure where intimates show something of themselves that may make them feel vulnerable), ambiguity (intimate acts are often an ambiguous and incomplete shared and often idiosyncratic view of the world) and secrecy (intimate acts are private: they are often constructed, by their participants, to be hidden from the view of others).1

The large work by English artist Steve McQueen features two naked black wrestlers shot in slow motion in grainy black and white video. The wrestlers are photographed from the waist down, images of moving legs, or from below, bodies clinging together, faces grimacing in a hyperreal performance of some hypnotic intimate dance – an acted out state of being.

Amikan Torren’s 2008 video work is by comparison is about the improbabilities of life’s daily encounters: in Downstairs over a video image of 3 steps outside a London railway station the narrator tells of a man, a stockbroker who after an accident sometimes needs help descending steps; in Blind the narrator comments on a person helping a blind man across the street; and in Carrots, over a video image of a London street the narrator tells a story about an adolescent and fresh carrots! The musings on the synchronicity and serendipity of everyday encounters are very effective.

Jesper Just’s two video works No Man Is An island II (2004) and The Lonely Villa (2004) were very effective and moving. In the first lonely men in a pub sing the Roy Orbison song Crying with pictures of naked ladies behind them – it is funny and sad at the same time. In the second men in the shadows sit or stand with telephones in front of them: two men sing to each other the song I Don’t Want To Set The World On Fire with close-ups of their lips singing into the telephone: songs of loss, longing and remembrance.

The two most interesting pieces are not video works, nor are they the overrated photographs of Nan Goldin featuring photographs of family hugging and lying on a bed, but the work of two women: Sophie Calle and Louise Bourgeois.
In Doleur exquise (exquisite pain) Calle revisits fifteen years later the breakup of a relationship and the aftermath of that event: the distress and pain, the experiences of her friends in such circumstances and turns them into brilliant insightful art. A selection of the whole work is presented here that features colour photographs (multiples of a red telephone, abandoned car with it’s doors open, washbasins and empty bedrooms) above text woven onto linen – black on white, grey on grey. The texts are both painful and repetitive (Calle’s on the left) and others heartbreaking accounts of pain (on the right): “6 days ago, the man I love left me …”

(For an insightful analysis of this work see “Can Pain Be Exquisite? Autofictional Stagings of Douleur exquise by Sophie Calle, Forced Entertainment and Frank Gehry and Edwin Chan” by Anneleen Masschelein. “On the one hand, it deals with the most intense, acute experiences of pain in a human life. On the other hand, these moments are unique and “localised”, that is, they are connected to a concrete time and space, of which the details are forever inscribed in memory.”)

My favorite work from the show is Louise Bourgeois 10AM IS WHEN YOU COME TO ME (2006) – drawings on music paper of mainly red hands, the key a drawing of a 10am clock with a man the big hand with hands extended drawing towards him (or is it tethered to him) an armless woman, the small hand. Some have seen these as ‘ambiguous images of a hermetic cosmos, as acts of violence or love’ but they represent ‘both Bourgeois’s hands and those of her friend and muse Jerry Gorovoy’ and how he helps her and arrives at her studio at this, the designated hour.
To me they are joyous, liberating, spontaneous expressions of love and intimacy, fingerprints on the page, hands intertwining together. They made me feel the intimate expression of humanity: holding a babies hand, so small and vulnerable and feeling them grasp your hand. That connection is what Bourgeois achieves with this work and I thought it was wonderful.

This exhibition is no easy ride but is well worth the contemplation necessary to tease out the themes and feelings that the work investigates.

Dr Marcus Bunyan

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Louise Bourgeois. 'TEN AM IS WHEN YOU COME TO ME' (detail) 2006

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Louise Bourgeois
TEN AM IS WHEN YOU COME TO ME (detail)
2006

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Louise Bourgeois. 'TEN AM IS WHEN YOU COME TO ME' 2006

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Louise Bourgeois
TEN AM IS WHEN YOU COME TO ME
2006

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1. Steve Howard, Frank Vetere, Martin Gibbs, Jesper Kjeldskov, Sonja Pedell, Karen Mecoles, Marcus Bunyan, and John Murphy. Mediating Intimacy: Digital Kisses and Cut and Paste Hugs. 2004.

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Australian Centre for Contemporary Art
111 Sturt Street
Southbank
Victoria 3006
Australia
T: 03 9697 9999

Opening Hours:
Tuesday – Friday 10am – 5pm
Weekends and Public Holidays 11am – 6pm
Monday by appointment
Open all public holidays except Christmas Day and Good Friday

ACCA website

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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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