Archive for November 23rd, 2008

23
Nov
08

Opening: Helen Britton ‘The things I see’ at Gallery Funaki, Melbourne

Exhibition dates: 11th November – 6th December 2008

Opening: Tuesday 11th November 2008

 

 

Helen Britton

 

Helen Britton
2008

 

 

Moving through Melbourne’s busy laneways from the Oleh Witer exhibition we arrive at the intimate, stylish Gallery Funaki to view the work of Australian artist Helen Britton who works with the form of contemporary jewellery. The crowd spilled onto the street and the small space was busy with an interesting crowd in attendance.

The exhibition presents brooches, earrings, rings and necklaces built with the artists trademark assemblages. Whilst the necklaces are more prosaic (movie like reels and slinks of melted plastic restrained within metal banding) it is the brooches that capture and hold the viewer’s attention. Sci-fi like grided circles collide with concave discs filled with glistening blue crystals; thrusters and steel from a miniature collapsed lunar landing vehicle vie with clusters of vibrant colours that appear to be imbedded into a lunar landscape: delicate crimped and folded metal landscapes with the appearance of collapsed geometric origami.

These are wonderfully inventive constructions, invigorating for their energy and exuberance. Britton has described her work as “industrial baroque”. Perhaps an equally pertinent description would be spatial, or ‘space baroque’ as the artist investigates the nexus, the cellular biology of matter, reality and the spaces we inhabit.

Marcus Bunyan

 

Helen Britton

 

Helen Britton
2008

 

 

Gallery Funaki
4 Crossley St.,
Melbourne 3000
Phone: 03 9662 9446

Opening hours:
Tues – Friday, 11 – 5pm
Sat 11 – 4pm

Gallery Funaki website

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23
Nov
08

Opening: ‘Oleh Witer’ at Space 39 Gallery, Melbourne

Exhibition dates: 11th November – 22nd November 2008

Opening: Tuesday 11th November 2008

 

 

Oleh Witer. 'The Elephant Beetle' 2008

 

Oleh Witer
The Elephant Beetle
2008
Oil in linen

 

 

A warm and lively crowd was in attendance for the opening of the latest Oleh Witer exhibition at Space 39 in Little Collins Street, Melbourne. Nine paintings are presented in the open space of the gallery and what magical paintings they are.

Two of the main canvases feature rearing beetles in the foreground, almost photo-realistically painted, lit from above while in the background geometric red and blue squares are overlaid by enigmatic shadows – almost as though the shadows were the interior structures of a fantastical light shade.

Other canvases feature a bee and a wasp facing each other with cellular geometric patterns and overlaid shadows in the background. Between these two seeming adversaries is a large canvas of a black skull with candle flickering in the it’s lobotomised top sitting on a spiral shape with geometric shapes and the shadows of an almost tarot like ‘ten of swords’ pattern overlaid to the background.

The strongest work features geometric forms with dark surrealist imagery. These are talismanic images with a strong connection to taoist and shamanic principles. A concern with the connection between all things is evident – archetypal pentagrams, spirals and swords are linked to the principles and proportions of the golden mean equation. Contemplation is required to access the inner meanings of the work but they reward extended looking as their magical phosphorescences are revealed over time. Recommended viewing.

Marcus Bunyan

 

Oleh Witer. 'The Rhinoceros Beetle' 2008

 

Oleh Witer
installation view and opening crowd with The Rhinoceros Beetle
2008
Oil on linen

 

Oleh Witer. 'The Bee' 2008

 

Oleh Witer
The Bee
2008
Oil on linen

 

 

Space 39
Level 2, 39 Little Collins St.,
Melbourne

Gallery hours:
Tues – Sat, 11-5pm

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23
Nov
08

Exhibition: ‘As far as no eye can see: panoramic photographs of Berlin, 1949-1952’ at the Berlinische Galerie Museum of Modern Art, Berlin

Exhibition dates: 2nd November 2008 – 16th February 2009

 

Fritz Tiedemann (German, 1915-2001) 'Pariser Platz, April 21, 1951'

 

Fritz Tiedemann (German, 1915-2001)
Pariser Platz, April 21, 1951
1951
Reconstructed by Arwed Messmer 2008
1.25 x 5.84 metres
© Fritz Tiedemann / Arwed Messmer

 

 

As far as the eye can see shows 13 reconstructed and digitally reassembled panorama photos by Tiedemann from his 1,500-footage work. The city views from the years 1949-1952 were enlarged to almost gigantic dimensions (up to 25.5 m in length) and thus provide a fascinating view of the destruction of the war and the reconstruction of Berlin.

Fritz Tiedemann (German, 1915-2001) was a trained surveying technician and was trained in the military as a photogrammeter (specialist for photographic measuring methods). He documented the city as a photographer at the Office of Preservation. The photographer Arwed Messmer came across Tiedemann’s photographs during research work for his book project “Anonyme Mitte – Berlin” in the Berlinische Galerie and then developed the idea for this exhibition.

 

Fritz Tiedemann (German, 1915-2001) 'Pariser Platz, April 21, 1951' (detail)

 

Fritz Tiedemann (German, 1915-2001)
Pariser Platz, April 21, 1951 (detail)
1951
Reconstructed by Arwed Messmer 2008
1.25 x 5.84 metres
© Fritz Tiedemann / Arwed Messmer

 

 

After WW 2, rubble clearance had made considerable progress and rebuild had begun, a remarkable photographic inventory was done in East Berlin. By order of the magistrate of the capital of the GDR an – up to now – unknown photographer documented central places and areas that were of importance concerning the urban planning in the early 50s. He captured the Pariser Platz and the Schloßplatz area as well as the works on the Walter Ulbricht Stadium or a sand storage area in the outskirts. In order to adequately picture the void and the vastness of the destroyed city as well as the remaining urban structures, the photographer made horizontal turns with the camera and thus produced sequences that – once brought together – turned into panoramic pictures.

The concealed quality of these pictures was lately discovered by Berlin photographer Arwed Messmer. By means of digital mounting of the sequences he created synthetic large-size pictorial worlds that show the destroyed Berlin as an empty stage. Thus inspired, the Photo Archive of the East Berlin magistrate, preserved by the Berlinische Galerie and documented in the catalogue “Ost-Berlin und seine Bauten. Fotografien 1945-1990″/”East Berlin Architecture”, was searched through anew. Thus the exhibition operates at the interface between applied photography and new photographic technology as well as between collective memory and an unfamiliar optic experience.

Press release from the Berlinische Galerie Museum of Modern Art

 

Installation view of the exhibition 'As far as the eye can see' at the Berlinische Galerie, Berlin

 

Installation view of the exhibition 'As far as the eye can see' at the Berlinische Galerie, Berlin

 

Installation views of the exhibition As far as the eye can see at the Berlinische Galerie, Berlin

 

 

Between 1948 and 1953, photographer and technical surveyor Fritz Tiedemann (German, 1915-2001) was commissioned by the urban administration of East Berlin to undertake extensive documentation of architecture and urban planning in the capital of the GDR. Many of his early visual documents are series of images conceived as panoramas, whereby the sweep of the camera gives a comprehensive impression of emptiness and the extent of war damage in the city. Processed as contact copies and stuck onto archive covers, his many photographs are one important, early basic collection of a photo archive that was extended consistently until 1990. It has been kept in the architectural collection of the Berlinische Galerie since 1992.

An in-depth study of the collection was facilitated with support from the Getty Foundation, Los Angeles, and the results were made available to the public in the shape of the publication “Ost-Berlin und seine Bauten” in 2006. In 2008 a selection of Tiedemann’s photographs was shown to the public in the exhibition So weit kein Auge reicht. Berliner Panoramafotografien aus den Jahren 1949-1952. Aufgenommen von Fritz Tiedemann. Rekonstruiert und interpretiert von Arwed Messmer (As far as no eye can see. Berlin panorama photographs from the years 1949-1952. Taken by Fritz Tiedemann. Reconstructed and interpreted by Arwed Messmer). A catalogue of the same name was also published; it has since been produced in a second, revised edition.

Text from the Berlinische Galerie Museum of Modern Art

 

Fritz Tiedemann (German, 1915-2001) 'Pariser Platz (south side) April 21, 1951'

 

Fritz Tiedemann (German, 1915-2001)
Pariser Platz (south side), April 21, 1951
1951
Archive cover with contact copies of the original negatives
Silver gelatine paper on paper, 18.5 x 24.6 cm
Taken over from the collections of the Urban Administration for Urban Development, Housing and Transport Berlin [East] via the Senate Administration for Building and Housing Berlin, 1991
© Berlinische Galerie Museum of Modern Art

 

 

Fritz Tiedemann short biography

14 February 1915 Hamburg – 23 November 2001 Münster, Westfalen

The identity behind the name “Tiedemann” could be clarified during the course of the exhibition. A former colleague of Fritz Tiedemann as well as descendents of the photographer learned about the exhibition due to the nationwide media coverage and contacted the museum.

As a professional surveying technician Fritz Tiedemann received additional specialist qualification as a topographer during his military service. His photographic skills and expertise were of great importance for the documentation of wartime damage and a visual basis for future urban planning. Indeed, his photographs can be considered as new documents showing the vastness and emptiness of the destroyed city.

In February 1948 he began working as a photographer for the Berlin Historic Buildings’ and Memorials’ Conservation Office. In October 1949 due to the political division of Greater Berlin he was to continue his work for the East Berlin government’s city planning office. Besides historical aspects the documentation then also focused on the architectural development of East Berlin as is also displayed by the exhibition’s panoramic photographs.

On February 28, 1953 Fritz Tiedemann was arrested by the East German police forces for his attempts to have West Berlin authorities share in those historically valuable photographs. He was tried and imprisoned and after the events of June 17, 1953 granted amnesty. Together with his family he subsequently fled to West Germany where he was acknowledged as political refugee. In January 1954 he took up work as a topographer with a company called Plan und Karte, later Hansa Luftbild, in Münster, Westphalia, where he remained employed until his retirement in 1978.

Photography had not only been part of Fritz Tiedmann’s professional activities, it was in fact his life-long passion, the results of which are considered by his family as a great heritage.

Text from the Berlinische Galerie Museum of Modern Art

 

Fritz Tiedemann (German, 1915-2001) 'Marx-Engels-Platz, April 20, 1951'

 

Fritz Tiedemann (German, 1915-2001)
Marx-Engels-Platz, April 20, 1951 [previously called Schloss-Platz]
1951
Reconstructed by Arwed Messmer 2008
© Fritz Tiedemann / Arwed Messmer

 

Fritz Tiedemann (German, 1915-2001) 'Am Friedrichshain, March 5, 1952'

 

Fritz Tiedemann (German, 1915-2001)
Am Friedrichshain, March 5, 1952
1952
Reconstructed by Arwed Messmer 2008
© Fritz Tiedemann / Arwed Messmer

 

Fritz Tiedemann (German, 1915-2001) 'Rathausstrasse, April 20, 1951'

 

Fritz Tiedemann (German, 1915-2001)
Rathausstrasse, April 20, 1951 [The Rathausstrasse overlooking the Marienkirche of Alexanderplatz]
1951
Reconstructed by Arwed Messmer 2008
© Fritz Tiedemann / Arwed Messmer

 

Fritz Tiedemann (German, 1915-2001) 'Outdoor scene in Wuhlheide, May 4, 1952'

 

Fritz Tiedemann (German, 1915-2001)
Outdoor scene in Wuhlheide, May 4, 1952
1952
Reconstructed by Arwed Messmer 2008
© Fritz Tiedemann / Arwed Messmer

 

 

Berlinische Galerie Museum of Modern Art
Alte Jakobstraße 124-128
10969 Berlin Germany

Opening hours:
Wednesday-Monday 10 am-6 pm
Closed on Tuesdays

Berlinische Galerie Museum of Modern Art website

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23
Nov
08

Quotation: Paul Virilio ‘The Vision Machine’

November 2008

 

Empirically acknowledged as tragic, the photographic print was really just that when, at the turn of the century, it became the instrument of the three great authorities over life and death (the law, the army, medicine). This is when it demonstrated its power to reveal the unfolding of a destiny from the word go. As deus ex machina, it was to become just as ruthless for the criminal, the soldier or the invalid, the conjunction between the immediate and the fatal only becoming more solid, inevitably, with the progress of representation.”

.
Virilio
, Paul. The Vision Machine (trans. Julie Rose). Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994, p. 43.

 

 

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23
Nov
08

Opening: Darren Wardle ‘Soft Target’ at Nellie Castan Gallery, Melbourne

Exhibition dates: 7th November – 29th November 2008

Opening: Friday November 7th 2008

 

 

Darren Wardle. 'Frontier Psychology' (detail) 2008

 

Darren Wardle
Frontier Psychology (detail)
2008
Oil and acrylic on linen

 

 

Six luminous oil and acrylic paintings by Darren Wardle greeted viewers in the front gallery at Nellie Castan in South Yarra. In his apocalyptic fractured pop coloured landscapes objects elide, disintegrate and vanish into thin air. Buildings, empty screens and advertising hoardings become the target of lost innocence, a metaphor for the dis-ease and disintegration of consumer society, a portent of things to come.

The titles of the paintings (such as Tipping Point, Faultline and Slanted) perfectly describe the conceptual themes explored in the work. Slinks of dripping paint pour down the canvas, canvases are cut in three through the use of fractured planes like a double exposure in photography and vegetation becomes purple and white, mutated and x-rayed. Some of the paint almost has a crystalline nature to it’s surface, a ‘surface tension’ that contrasts with flat gradated areas of colour in the backgrounds, as though the world is solidifying, cracking and about to fall apart.

An excellent show that is well hung: so many exhibitions have too many objects, too much noise crowding the walls. Here the work is given space to breathe and live and looks all the better for it. Highly recommended.

Dr Marcus Bunyan

 

Darren Wardle. 'Faultline' 2008

 

Darren Wardle
Faultline (installation view)
2008
Oil and acrylic on canvas

 

Darren Wardle. “Inland Empire” 2008

 

Darren Wardle
Inland Empire
2008
Oil and acrylic on linen

 

 

Nellie Castan Gallery
12 River Street
South Yarra 3141
Phone: 03 9804 7366

Opening hours:
Tuesday – Saturday, 12 – 5pm

Nellie Castan website

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23
Nov
08

Opening: Jamieson Miller ‘territories’ at Dickerson Gallery, Melbourne

Exhibition dates: 5th November – 23rd November 2008

 

Jamieson Miller. 'The Last Drop' 2008

 

Jamieson Miller
The Last Drop
2008
Sheoak with ebonised stain
30 x 14 x 10cm

 

 

A small but lively crowd was in attendance for the opening of the exhibition territories featuring six small and six large floor standing wooden sculptures by the artist Jamieson Miller at the Dickerson Gallery in Oxford Street, Collingwood.

The work itself is of a fine craftsmanship showing exemplary design: different coloured woods and stains, wonderful joinery, the use of grain and different geometric and fluid shapes are all balanced harmoniously within the objects. A refined aesthetic sensibility is at work in their construction. This sensibility flows through to the conceptual themes of the work: the artist has created sometimes totemic but always lyrical poetic spaces within the corporeality of the work. The viewer enters enclosed intimate spaces (such as the funnels) or steps forward into steeped carved openings that open the way to visions of an inner world. Outer space becomes enclosed inner space as the viewer is at first intrigued, then drawn in and surrounded by the flickering shadows of Plato’s cave.

The new gallery is certainly an attractive modern warehouse space with vaulted roof. Unfortunately the large sculptures, although multi-dimensional and carved in the round, have been pushed to the edges of the space close to the walls. This makes it difficult to appreciate the totality of the form of the sculptures especially important with a work like Sight where the carved blackened wood shape on the ‘back’ of the sculpture is a vital counterpoint to the receding opening at the ‘front’ of the work. Make sure you also explore the reverse of the sculpture Lineage II to also comprehend the intimate space of the medieval window like opening to the front.

I really enjoyed the work of Jamieson Miller and recommend a visit to the gallery to see his refined worlds. The work is on show with the paintings of Jason Cordero.

Marcus Bunyan

 

Jamieson Miller. 'Sight' 2008

 

Jamieson Miller standing next to his sculpture Sight on the opening night of his exhibition territories at Dickerson Gallery in Collingwood.

Cyprus pine with ebonised stain
180 x 100 x 30cm

 

Jamieson Miller. 'Resting Place' (detail) 2008

 

Jamieson Miller
Resting Place (detail)
2008
Elm with paint
203 x 42 x 30cm

 

 

Dickerson Gallery
44 Oxford Street
Collingwood 3066
Phone: 03 9416 0031

Opening hours:
Tues – Sat, 11 – 6 pm

Dickerson Gallery website

23
Nov
08

Review: ‘Disintegration’ by Robbie Rowlands at Place Gallery, Melbourne

Exhibition dates: 22nd October – 15th November 2008

 

 

“The philosopher Martin Heidegger argued that objects are often invisible to us gathered up as they are within a context of functionality and use. It is only when things break down that we become aware of them, seeing them with fresh eyes. In many ways Heidegger’s observation could form the basis of an approach to Robbie Rowlands’ work. Rowlands takes objects that are often forgotten, invisible or transparent to us, objects that exist on the verge of disappearance, and stages a kind of ‘breakdown’, inviting us to rediscover the object, poised somewhere between what it was and what it might become.”

.
Simon Cooper. Catalogue essay

 

 

Robbie Rowlands. 'Scored' 2008

 

Robbie Rowlands
Scored
2008
Goal post, steel
160cm x 130cm x 50cm
Photograph: Christian Capurro

 

 

Sitting in pools of light in the elegant modern space of Place Gallery in Richmond, six theatrically lit sculptures are presented by artist Robbie Rowlands. Made of everyday objects (a boom gate, desk, chair, single bed, electricity pole, desk and footy goalpost) they have been de/constructed by the artist and reformed into curved objects. With ironic titles such as Down for the felled electricity pole and Collapse for the dismembered chair Rowland’s work hovers between one fixed state and an’other’ transformative state of being.

While the catalogue essay by Simon Cooper suggests that all of these objects are abandoned or nearly forgotten sharing a context of quasi-obsolescence, this is not the case. These were objects of purpose and form, the acts of ritualised production of a consumer society that contained signs that symbolised their status. In his creativity Rowland has used these technologies of production, which permit us to produce, transform or manipulate things to create new sensual forms of life. Some of the sculptures such as Boom (the boom gate; 2008, below) and Scored (the goal post; 2008, above) remind me of creatures emerging from the recesses of the unconscious, curling and rearing up like monsters from the deep. One of the most beautiful forms is the constructed white chair where the function of the object has collapsed into the essence of the form, like the surreal spatiality of a poetic Miro. As Gaston Bachelard reminds use in the Poetics of Space:

“The grace of a curve is an invitation to remain. We cannot break away from it without hoping to return. For the beloved curve has nest-like powers; it incites us to possession, it is a curved corner, inhabited geometry.”1

.
Cooper suggests that the curved forms that Rowland creates were “already there in the original object, even as it was sat on, written on, or passed by on the way to work.” He rightly notes that the process used contains a certain violence, but that we remember and reconstruct the old form even as we respond to the new construction. For these sculptures are a construction not, I believe, inherent in the original form. This can be seen in the sculpture Boom (2008, below) for example, where Rowland has used additional pieces of metal to hold the curve of the boom gate in place. Without this skilfully added, hidden sub-structure the transformative shape would collapse onto the floor. Rowland inhabits and possesses his new geometry with as much technology as the original but not in such an obvious form.

At their best these sculptures are both poetic palimpsest and heterotopic objects of otherness that are neither here nor there. The work would have been stronger if only four pieces were presented in the gallery space – the sculptures needed more room to breathe (understanding the dictum that less is more). The sculptures themselves also needed greater thematic cohesiveness perhaps using the colour white as the unifying theme. But they are sensual and beautiful gestures and deserve the attention of your visit.

Dr Marcus Bunyan for the Art Blart blog

 

  1. Bachelard, Gaston. The Poetics of Space. Boston: Beacon, 1969 [originally 1958] p. 146

 

 

Robbie Rowlands. 'Boom' 2008

 

Robbie Rowlands
Boom
2008
Rail boom gate, wooden
160cm x 160cm x 130cm
Photograph: Wren

 

 

Place Gallery
20 Tennyson Street
Richmond Vic 3121
Phone: 03 9429 8814

Opening hours:
Wed – Sat 11.00 – 5.00 pm

Robbie Rowlands on the Place Gallery website

Robbie Rowlands website

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23
Nov
08

Quotation: Michael Leunig. ‘Curly Word’ 2008

November 2008

 

“There can be many reasons to travel, but wandering into the world for no particular reason is a sublime madness, which in all its whimsy and pointlessness may depict the story of life – and indeed could be a useful model to keep in mind, seeing as so much of life’s ambition comes unstuck or leads to nothing much at all.

But though we may wander aimlessly, thinking ourselves happily adrift and carefree for a while, we may nonetheless be moving towards some particular, unimaginable moment: a pothole in the path, a sprained wrist and savagely twisted ankle, a glimpse of death on a sunny morning, a sudden revelation or embrace; events and forces large or small that will change out lives forever.

And though our trains may run on time and all roads be found and connections made, we are also guided and beguiled by an unconscious map of all our fears and foibles, and we are moving in accordance with the schedule of wild, astounding fate. Yet somehow … it is better to hobble than to arrive.

 

Michael Leunig
“Curly Word”
A2 Culture. The Age newspaper.
Saturday November 1st 2008, p. 16

 

 

Michael Leunig on Wikipedia

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23
Nov
08

Photographer: Alec Soth

November 2008

 

Alec Soth (American, b. 1969) 'Two Towels' 2004

 

Alec Soth (American, b. 1969)
Two Towels
2004
From the series Niagara (2006)

 

 

Minneapolis-based photographer Alec Soth has attained international recognition for his photographic series. Notable are the two series Sleeping by the Mississippi (1999- 2004) portraying the river and the life along it’s banks and Niagara (2006) where Soth focuses his large format camera on the hotels, residents loves and lives and the environs around Niagara Falls.

His work is firmly rooted in the documentary traditions of Walker Evans and Robert Frank but pushes the documentary form. Whereas Frank used a foreigners eye and ‘snapshot’ photography to challenge traditional notions of American culture in his seminal book The Americans (1958), Soth photographs everyday events of American life – home, romance, religion, bliss, heartbreak and agony – and constructs his vision of the land and people in poetic form. His use of handwritten notes is especially poignant.

His view of America is both narrative, truth and epic construction. Working in a serial form, Soth builds the themes within his series. The connections between people living their lives and facing their plight together – with dignity – becomes fully evident.

Dr Marcus Bunyan

 

 

Alec Soth website

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23
Nov
08

Sciagraphy: Henry Fox Talbot

November 2008

 

“Sciagraphy: the art of depicting an object through its shadow.”

(William Henry Fox Talbot’s private name for photography)

 

Schaaf, Larry. “The Paper Multiple: Talbot’s Invention and Early Photographic Books,” in Foster, S., Heiting, M. and Stuhlman, R. Imagining Paradise. Rochester NY: George Eastman House, 2007, p. 45.

 

 

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Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His art work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes Art Blart, a photographic archive and form of cultural memory, which posts mainly photography exhibitions from around the world. He holds a Dr of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne, a Master of Arts (Fine Art Photography) from RMIT University, and a Master of Art Curatorship from the University of Melbourne.

Marcus Bunyan black and white archive: ‘Dogs, chickens, cattle’ 1994-95

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