Archive for January, 2010

28
Jan
10

Exhibition: ‘László Moholy-Nagy 
Retrospective’ at Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt

Exhibition dates: 8th October 2009 – 7th February 2010

 

All images are featured in the exhibition. Many thankx to the Schirn Kunsthalle for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

Marcus

 

 

László Moholy-Nagy (Hungarian, 1895-1946) 'LIS' 1922

 

László Moholy-Nagy (Hungarian, 1895-1946)
LIS
1922
Oil on canvas
131 x 100 cm
Courtesy Kunsthaus Zürich
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2009

 

László Moholy-Nagy. 'K XVII' 1923

 

László Moholy-Nagy (Hungarian, 1895-1946)
K XVII
1923
Oil on canvas
95 x 75 cm
Courtesy Kunsthalle Bielefeld
Photo: Axel Struwe, Fotodesign BFF, Bielefeld
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2009

 

László Moholy-Nagy (Hungarian, 1895-1946) 'COMPOSITION A XXI' 1925

 

László Moholy-Nagy (Hungarian, 1895-1946)
COMPOSITION A XXI
1925
Oil on canvas
96 x 77 cm
Courtesy LWL-Landesmuseum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte, Münster
Photo: LWL-Landesmuseum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte, Münster/Rudolf Wakonigg
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2009

 

László Moholy-Nagy. 'Bauhaus Balconies' 1926

 

László Moholy-Nagy (Hungarian, 1895-1946)
Bauhaus Balconies
1926
Silver gelatin photograph
49.5 x 39.3 cm
Courtesy Collection of George Eastman House

 

Exhibition view, Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt 2009

 

László Moholy-Nagy Retrospective exhibition view, Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt 2009 showing at right Bauhaus Balconies (1926) and second right K XVII (1923)
Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt
© Photograph: Norbert Miguletz
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2009

 

László Moholy-Nagy. 'A 19' 1927

 

László Moholy-Nagy (Hungarian, 1895-1946)
A 19
1927
Oil on canvas
80 x 96 cm
Courtesy Hattula Moholy-Nagy
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2009

 

László Moholy-Nagy Retrospective exhibition view

 

László Moholy-Nagy Retrospective exhibition view, Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt 2009 showing at centre, A 19 (1927)
Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt
© Photograph: Norbert Miguletz
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2009

 

 

 

The Hungarian artist László Moholy-Nagy (1895-1946) became known in Germany through his seminal work as a teacher at the Staatliches Bauhaus in Weimar and Dessau (1923-1928). His pioneering theories on art as a testing ground for new forms of expression and their application to all spheres of modern life are still of influence today. Presenting about 170 works – paintings, photographs and photograms, sculptures and films, as well as stage set designs and typographical projects – the retrospective encompasses all phases of his oeuvre. On the occasion of the ninetieth anniversary of the foundation of the Bauhaus, it offers a survey of the enormous range of Moholy-Nagy’s creative output to the public for the first time since the last major exhibition of his work in Kassel in 1991. Never having been built before 2009, the artist’s spatial design Raum der Gegenwart (Room of Today), which brings together many of his theories, will be realised in the context of the exhibition.

No other teacher at the Bauhaus in Weimar and Dessau, nor nearly any other artist of the 1920s in Germany, an epoch rich in utopian designs, developed such a wide range of ideas and activities as László Moholy-Nagy, who was born in Bácsborsód in Southern Hungary in 1895. His oeuvre bears evidence to the fact that he considered painting and film, photography and sculpture, stage set design, drawing, and the photogram to be of equal importance. He continually fell back upon these means of expression, using them alternately, varying them, and taking them up again as parts of a universal concept whose pivot was the alert, curious, and unrestrained experimental mind of the “multimedia” artist himself. Long before people began to talk about “media design” and professional “marketing,” Moholy-Nagy worked in these fields, too – as a guiding intellectual force in terms of new technical, design and educational instruments. “All design areas of life are closely interlinked,” he wrote about 1925 and was, despite his motto insisting on “the unity of art and technology,” no uncritical admirer of the machine age, but rather a humanist who was open-minded about technology. His basic attitude as an artist, which exemplifies the idealistic and utopian thinking of an entire era, may be summed up as aimed at improving the quality of life, avoiding specialisation, and employing science and technology for the enrichment and heightening of human experience.

After having graduated from high school, Moholy-Nagy began to study law in Budapest in 1913, but was drafted in 1915. During the war, he made his first drawings on forces mail cards and began dedicating himself exclusively to art after having been discharged from the army in 1918. Moholy-Nagy moved to Vienna in 1919 and to Berlin the following year, kept in close contact with Kurt Schwitters, Raul Hausmann, Theo van Doesburg, and El Lissitzky, and immersed himself in Merzkunst, De Stijl, and Constructivism. He achieved successes as an artist with his solo presentation in the Berlin gallery “Der Sturm” (1922), for example. In spring 1923, he was offered the post of a Bauhaus master in Weimar by Walter Gropius. Taking responsibility for the preliminary course and the metal workshop, he decisively informed the Constructivist and social reorientation of the Bauhaus. Interlinking art, life, and technology and underscoring the visual and the material aspects in design were key issues of his work and resulted in a modern, technology-oriented language of forms. His didactic approaches as a Bauhaus teacher still present themselves as up-to-date as his work as an artist. For him, education had to be primarily aimed at bringing up people to become artistically political and creative beings: “Every healthy person has a deep capacity for bringing to development the creative energies found in his/her nature … and can give form to his/her emotions in any material (which is not synonymous with ‘art’),” he wrote in 1929.

In spite of his manifold activities and inventions in the sphere of so-called applied art, Moholy-Nagy by no means advocated abolishing free art. Before, during, and long after his years at the Bauhaus, he produced numerous paintings, drawings, collages, woodcuts, and linocuts, as well as photographs and films as autonomous works of art. Like his design solutions, his works in the classical arts, in painting and sculpture, also reveal his aesthetically and conceptually radical approach. His Telephone Pictures, whose execution he controlled by telephone, exemplify this dimension: using a special graph paper and a colour chart, he worked out the composition and colours of the pictures and had them realised according to his telephonic instructions by technical assistants. He also pursued new paths with his famous Light-Space Modulator of 1930, conceiving his gesamtkunstwerk [“total work of art”] composed of colour, light, and movement as an “apparatus for the demonstration of the effects of light and movement.” It was equally new territory he conquered in the fields of photography and film: considering his cameraless photography, his photograms, and his abstract films such as Light Play Black, White, Gray (1930), Moholy-Nagy must still be regarded as one of the most important twentieth-century photographers and key figures for today’s media theories.

Thanks to his experiments with photography and the photogram, László Moholy Nagy was one of the first typographers of the 1920s to recognise the new possibilities offered by the combination of typeface, surface design, and pictorial signs with recent photographic techniques. As a Bauhaus teacher for typography, he designed almost all of the 14 Bauhaus books published between 1925 and 1929 and – besides co-editing them with Walter Gropius – took care of the entire presentation of the books’ contents and the organisation of their production. With its dynamic cycles and bars and concentration on a few, clear colours, their design resembled the Constructivist artists’ paintings and drawings. While Moholy-Nagy’s early typographic works are frequently still characterised by hand-drawn typefaces, he later strove for a “mechanized graphic design” also suited for commercial advertising through their systematisation and standardisation. After he had left the Bauhaus in 1928, he founded his own office in Berlin, where he, among other things, developed advertising solutions for Wilhelm Wagenfeld’s designs for the Jena Glassworks. Faced with the Nazis’ seizure of power, Moholy-Nagy emigrated to the United States via Amsterdam and Great Britain and founded the New Bauhaus in Chicago in 1937 and, after it had been closed, the Chicago School (and later Institute) of Design in 1939, where he continued to champion an integration of art, science, and technology. László Moholy-Nagy died of leukaemia in Chicago on 24 November 1946.

The exhibition at the Schirn also presents the Raum der Gegenwart (Room of Today), which offers a concise summary of Moholy-Nagy’s work. The sketches for this environment, which assembles many of his theories, date back as far as 1930. Not having been built before 2009, the Raum der Gegenwart (Room of Today) is now realised in the Schirn on the occasion of the Bauhaus anniversary 2009.

Press release from the Schirn Kunsthalle website [Online] Cited 20/01/2010

 

 

László Moholy-Nagy (Hungarian, 1895-1946)
Light Play Black, White, Gray
1930

 

 

The sculpture Light-Space Modulator is a key work in the history of kinetic art and even the art of new media and, therefore, one of the most important works of art of its time. Conceived initially by Moholy-Nagy at the beginning of the twenties of the last century and built between 1928 and 1930…

Light-Space Modulator was exhibited in 1930 in a show organised in Paris on the work of the German Werkbund. From the point of view of the object, it forms a complex as well as beautiful set of elements of metal, plastic and glass, many of them mobile by the action of an electric motor, surrounded by a series of coloured lights.

Moholy-Nagy used it to produce light shows that he photographed or filmed, as in the case of the film shown here. Although in black and white, the film manages to capture the kinetic brightness of the sculpture.

 

László Moholy-Nagy Retrospective exhibition view

 

László Moholy-Nagy Retrospective exhibition view showing Room of Today (reconstruction 2009) with at centre, Light-Space Modulator 1930 (replica)
Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt
© Photograph: Norbert Miguletz
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2009

 

László Moholy-Nagy. 'Fotogram with Eiffel Tower and Peg Top' c.1928

 

László Moholy-Nagy (Hungarian, 1895-1946)
Fotogram with Eiffel Tower and Peg Top
c. 1928
Silver gelatin photograph
38.7 x 29.9 cm
Courtesy Galerie Berinson, Berlin
Photo: Friedhelm Hoffmann, Berlin
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2009

 

László Moholy-Nagy Retrospective exhibition view

 

László Moholy-Nagy Retrospective exhibition view showing at left, Photogramm No.II (1929)
Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt
© Photograph: Norbert Miguletz
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2009

 

László Moholy-Nagy. 'Photogramm No.11' Enlargement before 1929

 

László Moholy-Nagy (Hungarian, 1895-1946)
Photogramm No.II
1929
Silver gelatin photograph
95.5 x 68.5 cm
Courtesy Galerie Berinson, Berlin
Photo: Friedhelm Hoffmann, Berlin

 

László Moholy-Nagy. 'Marseille, Port View' 1929

 

László Moholy-Nagy (Hungarian, 1895-1946)
Marseille, Port View
1929
Silver gelatin photograph
48.7 x 37.9 cm
Courtesy Collection of George Eastman House

 

László Moholy-Nagy (Hungarian, 1895-1946) 'SPACE CH 4' 1938

 

László Moholy-Nagy (Hungarian, 1895-1946)
SPACE CH 4
1938
Oil on canvas
68.5 x 89 cm
Courtesy Hattula Moholy-Nagy
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2009

 

László Moholy-Nagy. 'CH BEATA I' 1939

 

László Moholy-Nagy (1895-1946)
CH BEATA I
1939
Oil on canvas
119 x 120 cm
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York
Solomon R. Guggenheim Founding Collection
Photograph by David Heald
© The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York

 

László Moholy-Nagy (Hungarian, 1895-1946) 'CH XIV' 1939

 

László Moholy-Nagy (Hungarian, 1895-1946)
CH XIV
1939
Oil on canvas
118 x 119.5 cm
Courtesy of Museu Colecção Berardo
Photo: Museu Colecção Berardo/Paulo Raimundo
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2009

 

László Moholy-Nagy (Hungarian, 1895-1946) 'CH SPACE 6' 1941

 

László Moholy-Nagy (Hungarian, 1895-1946)
CH SPACE 6
1941
Oil on canvas
119 x 119 cm
Courtesy Hattula Moholy-Nagy
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2009

 

László Moholy-Nagy (Hungarian, 1895-1946) 'Dual forms with Chromium Rods' 1946

 

László Moholy-Nagy (Hungarian, 1895-1946)
Dual forms with Chromium Rods
1946
Plexiglas and chrome-plated brass rods
93 x 121 x 56 cm
Exhibition View, Schirn Kunsthalle 2009
© Photograph: Norbert Miguletz
Courtesy The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York

 

László Moholy-Nagy. 'Untitled' 1936-46

 

László Moholy-Nagy (Hungarian, 1895-1946)
Untitled
1936-46
Fujicolor Crystal Archive print
27.9 x 35.6 cm
Courtesy Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York
© Hattula Moholy-Nagy for the Estate of László Moholy-Nagy
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2009

 

László Moholy-Nagy. 'Untitled' 1937-46

 

László Moholy-Nagy (Hungarian, 1895-1946)
Untitled
1937-46
Fujicolor Crystal Archive print
27.9 x 35.6 cm
Courtesy Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York
© Hattula Moholy-Nagy for the Estate of László Moholy-Nagy
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2009

 

László Moholy-Nagy. 'Untitled' 1939

 

László Moholy-Nagy (Hungarian, 1895-1946)
Untitled
1939
Fujicolor Crystal Archive print
27.9 x 35.6 cm
Courtesy Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York
© Hattula Moholy-Nagy for the Estate of László Moholy-Nagy
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2009

 

László Moholy-Nagy (Hungarian, 1895-1946) 'Untitled/Night-Time Traffic (Pink and Red Traffic Stream with White Sparks)' 1937-1946

 

László Moholy-Nagy (Hungarian, 1895-1946)
Untitled/Night-Time Traffic (Pink and Red Traffic Stream with White Sparks)
1937-1946
Fujicolor Crystal Archive print
27.9 x 35.6 cm
Courtesy Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York
© Hattula Moholy-Nagy for the Estate of László Moholy-Nagy
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2009

 

László Moholy-Nagy (1895-1946) 'Photograph (Self-Portrait with Hand)' 1925/29, printed 1940/49

 

László Moholy-Nagy (Hungarian, 1895-1946)
Self-portrait
c. 1926
Courtesy Hattula Moholy-Nagy
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2009

 

 

Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt
Römerberg
D-60311 Frankfurt
Phone: +49.69.29 98 82-0

Opening hours:
Tuesday, Friday – Sunday 10 am – 7 pm
Wednesday – Thursday 10 am – 10 pm

Schirn Kunsthalle website

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24
Jan
10

Exhibition: ‘I.E.D.: War in Afghanistan and Iraq’ by David Levinthal at Stellan Holm Gallery, New York

Exhibition dates: 19th December 2009 – 13th February 2010

 

Many thankx to the Stellan Holm Gallery for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

Marcus

 

 

David Levinthal (American, b. 1949) 'Untitled' from the series 'IED' 2008

 

David Levinthal (American, b. 1949)
Untitled from the series IED
2008
Archival Pigment Print on Polyester Film

 

David Levinthal (American, b. 1949) 'Untitled' from the series 'IED' 2008

 

David Levinthal (American, b. 1949)
Untitled from the series IED
2008
Archival Pigment Print on Polyester Film

 

 

Stellan Holm Gallery is presenting I.E.D.: War in Afghanistan and Iraq, an exhibition of photographs by David Levinthal. The exhibition runs through February 13, 2010. This is the first solo exhibition of works by David Levinthal on view at Stellan Holm Gallery.

I.E.D.: War in Afghanistan and Iraq features eighteen colour photographs by renowned photographer, David Levinthal, which seek to examine the way in which our society looks at war. The idea for this series was conceived when Levinthal recognised a flood of figurines and models available to the American consumer, depicting the ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Through the use of these miniature soldiers, civilians and armoured vehicles, Levinthal constructs extremely realistic dioramas that recreate the horrors of contemporary warfare. However, these photographs do not simply recreate scenes from a foreign war. Instead they bring a new perspective to the discourse about war, how it is broadcast in real time and how it relates to American society as a whole. Without interjecting his own prejudgments, David Levinthal asks the viewer to reconsider their own perceptions of reality.

Released by powerHouse Books, the publication, I.E.D.: War in Afghanistan and Iraq, compiles the entirety of Mr. Levinthal’s series of photographs. The book features seventy colour photographs along with an introduction by the artist. It is accompanied by a series of writings culled by David Stanford, editor of The Sandbox, an online military blog that posts writings from troops deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. This ‘boots-on-the-ground’ testimony adds a powerful voice to the compelling and harrowing photographs constructed by Levinthal.

Born in 1949 in San Francisco, CA, David Levinthal has been exploring and confronting various social issues through the playful use of toy figurines since 1972. He has released numerous publications including, Hitler Moves East: A Graphic Chronicle, 1941-43, Bad Barbie, and Blackface. He was the recipient of the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship in 1995 and the National Endowment for the Arts, Visual Artists Fellowship in 1990-91. His works are featured in numerous, notable public collections including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Museum of Modern Art.

Text from the Stellan Holm Gallery website [Online] Cited 16/01/2010 no longer available online

 

David Levinthal (American, b. 1949) 'Untitled' from the series 'IED' 2008

 

David Levinthal (American, b. 1949)
Untitled from the series IED
2008
Archival Pigment Print on Polyester Film

 

David Levinthal (American, b. 1949) 'Untitled' from the series 'IED' 2008

 

David Levinthal (American, b. 1949)
Untitled from the series IED
2008
Archival Pigment Print on Polyester Film

 

David Levinthal (American, b. 1949) 'Untitled' from the series 'IED' 2008

 

David Levinthal (American, b. 1949)
Untitled from the series IED
2008
Archival Pigment Print on Polyester Film

 

 

Stellan Holm Gallery

This gallery has now closed.

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21
Jan
10

Opening: ‘Ron Mueck’ at the National Gallery of Victoria International, Melbourne

Exhibition dates: 22nd January – 18th April 2010

 

You saw it first on Art Blart.

Many thankx to Sue, Erin, Alison and all the crew at the National Gallery of Victoria for inviting me to the media opening (and for doing such a splendid job!) and to David Hurlston, Curator of Australian Art at the NGV, for allowing me to interview him.

The photographs of the exhibition proceed in chronological order. There are a couple of lovely photographs using long exposure (especially the very last photograph one of my favourites). Enjoy!

Dr Marcus Bunyan for Art Blart

.
Photos: © Marcus Bunyan and the National Gallery of Victoria. Please click on the photograph for a larger version of the image.

 

 

Ron Mueck (Australian b. 1958) 'Dead Dad' 1996-97

Ron Mueck (Australian b. 1958) 'Dead Dad' 1996-97

Ron Mueck (Australian b. 1958) 'Dead Dad' 1996-97

Ron Mueck (Australian b. 1958) 'Dead Dad' 1996-97

Ron Mueck (Australian b. 1958) 'Dead Dad' 1996-97

 

Ron Mueck (Australian b. 1958)
Dead Dad
1996-97
Installation photographs
Silicone, polyurethane, styrene, synthetic hair
Ed. 1/1
20.0 x 38.0 x 102.0 cm
Stefan T. Edlis Collection, Chicago
© Ron Mueck courtesy Anthony d’Offay, London
Photos: © Marcus Bunyan and the National Gallery of Victoria

 

Ron Mueck (Australian b. 1958) 'A girl' 2006

Ron Mueck (Australian b. 1958) 'A girl' 2006

Ron Mueck (Australian b. 1958) 'A girl' 2006

Ron Mueck (Australian b. 1958) 'A girl' 2006

Ron Mueck (Australian b. 1958) 'A girl' 2006

 

Ron Mueck (Australian b. 1958)
A girl
2006
Installation photographs
Polyester resin, fibreglass, silicone, synthetic hair, synthetic polymer paint
Second edition, artist’s proof
110.0 x 501.0 x 134.5 cm
Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh Purchased with assistance from The Art Fund, 2007
© Ron Mueck
Photos: © Marcus Bunyan and the National Gallery of Victoria

 

Ron Mueck (Australian b. 1958) 'Wild Man' 2005

Ron Mueck (Australian b. 1958) 'Wild Man' 2005

Ron Mueck (Australian b. 1958) 'Wild Man' 2005

 

Ron Mueck (Australian b. 1958)
Wild Man
2005
Installation photographs
Polyester resin, fibreglass, silicone, aluminium, wood and synthetic hair
2850 x 1619 x 1080 mm
Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh Purchased with assistance from The Art Fund, 2008
© Ron Mueck
Photos: © Marcus Bunyan and the National Gallery of Victoria

 

 

Mueck initially planned to make a figure who appeared confined, as if backed into a corner, but decided to make Wild Man after seeing an illustration of the colossal stone sculpture Appennino 1579-80 (Villa di Pratolino, Vaglia, Italy) by the late Renaissance artist Giambologna. Appennino depicts a crouching hirsute river god, which inspired the oversized hairy ‘wild man’ of Mueck’s sculpture. The critic Anne Cranny-Francis notes that a wild man tends to be a reclusive individual afraid of human society and that this ‘might explain why [Mueck’s] large male figure – in one sense, the very image of the powerful white male – grips his chair, body rigid with tension, and stares over the heads of viewers in a paroxysm of fear’ (Cranny-Francis 2013, p.6). The man’s nakedness adds to this sense of vulnerability, making him both physically and emotionally exposed.

Extract from Susan McAteer. “Ron Mueck: Wild Man,” on the Tate website February 2015 [Online] Cited 23/05/2019

 

Ron Mueck (Australian b. 1958) 'Two Women' 2005

Ron Mueck (Australian b. 1958) 'Two Women' 2005

Ron Mueck (Australian b. 1958) 'Two Women' 2005

Ron Mueck (Australian b. 1958) 'Two Women' 2005

 

Ron Mueck (Australian b. 1958)
Two Women
2005
Polyester resin, fibreglass, silicone, polyurethane, aluminium wire, steel, wool, cotton, nylon, synthetic hair, plastic, metal
Ed. 1/1
82.6 x 48.7 x 41.5 cm (variable)
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased, Victorian Foundation for Living Australian Artists, 2007
© Ron Mueck
Photos: © Marcus Bunyan and the National Gallery of Victoria

 

 

Ron Mueck’s Two women is an uncanny sculptural representation of two elderly female figures. The disarming realism of the work invites close scrutiny from which the viewer discovers Mueck’s virtuoso skill in rendering human features, costume details and the idiosyncratic attributes that form personality. Huddled close together, as if gently bracing themselves from the cold, the women peer outward with expressions that suggest both suspicion and vulnerability.

A strong component of fantasy exists in Mueck’s work as he deliberately subverts conventional paradigms of scale. Much like the characters of Gulliver’s Travels, Mueck’s figures are monumentally increased or dramatically reduced in size. Mueck has explained, ‘I never made life-size figures because it never seemed to be interesting. We meet life-size people every day’ (S. Tanguy, ‘The progress of Big man: A conversation with Ron Mueck’, Sculpture, vol. 22, no. 6, 2003). The effect, as in the case of Two women, intensifies the physical and emotional aura of his figures. The minute stature of the women creates a tension between artifice and reality that elicits a viscerally empathetic response from the viewer. His creations appear seemingly trapped in introverted emotional states as their physical poses, gestures and facial expressions reflect the inner world of private feelings and thoughts. Mueck’s figurative sculptures often explore the timeless themes of birth, ageing and death.

The craftsmanship with which Mueck constructs his sculptures adds significant impact to our viewing experience. This is very much apparent in Two women where each strand of hair is individually inserted into the characters’ heads; the clothes are specifically tailored to fit their anatomically proportioned, yet miniature bodies. Mueck has carefully fabricated the eyes of the women creating a transparent lens over a coloured iris and deep black pupil to astounding effect.

Extract from Alex Baker. “Ron Mueck’s Two women,” in Art Bulletin of Victoria 48, 29 January 2014 [Online] Cited 25/05/2019

 

Ron Mueck (Australian b. 1958) 'Woman with Sticks' 2008

Ron Mueck (Australian b. 1958) 'Woman with Sticks' 2008

Ron Mueck (Australian b. 1958) 'Woman with Sticks' 2008

 

Ron Mueck (Australian b. 1958)
Woman with Sticks
2008
Installation photographs
Mixed media
170 x 183 x 120 cm
Fondation Cartier pour l’art Contemporain, Paris
© Ron Mueck
Photos: © Marcus Bunyan and the National Gallery of Victoria

 

 

In January 2010, the National Gallery of Victoria will present a major exhibition of the work of internationally renowned sculptor Ron Mueck.

Known for his extraordinarily life-like creations, this exhibition will feature twelve sculptures by Mueck including four new works.

This will be the largest and most comprehensive Mueck exhibition ever to be held in Australia.

Frances Lindsay, NGV Deputy Director, said: “Since his dramatic entry onto the international art stage, Mueck has continued to astound audiences with his realistic, figurative sculptures and now occupies a unique and important place in the field of international contemporary art.”

David Hurlston, Curator Australian Art, said Ron Mueck’s poignant sculptures illustrate timeless human conditions from birth to demise.

“Mueck’s sculptures range from puckish portrayals of childhood innocence to acute observations of stages of life; from birth to adolescence, middle and old age, and even death. Many are solitary figures, psychological portraits of emotional intensity and of isolation,” said Mr Hurlston.

The exhibition will draw from Australian and international collections, highlights include: Mask II 2001/02, Man in a boat (2002), Old woman in bed (2000/02), Wild man (2005), Two women (2005), In bed (2005), and through the generosity of a private collector from the United States, the iconic work Dead Dad (1996/97).

In addition to these there will be a number of new works created specifically for this exhibition which will be unveiled for the first time in Melbourne.

In his early career Melbourne-born Mueck worked as a puppet maker, however since 1997 he has been entirely devoted to making sculpture. In 1996, he was ‘discovered’ by British advertising guru Charles Saatchi, who included Mueck’s Dead Dad as part of the history making Sensation exhibition the following year.

Mueck went on to represent Australia at the 2001 Venice Biennale, capturing worldwide attention for his 4.5 metre sculpture, Crouching Boy.  Since then, he has become one of the most significant figures in the contemporary art world.

Ron Mueck will be on display at NGV International on St Kilda Road from 22 January until 18 April 2010.

Press release from the National Gallery of Victoria website [Online] Cited 20/01/2010 no longer available online

 

Ron Mueck (Australian b. 1958) 'Man in a boat' (detail) 2002

Ron Mueck (Australian b. 1958) 'Man in a boat' (detail) 2002

 

Ron Mueck (Australian b. 1958)
Man in a boat (details)
2002
Mixed media
159 x 138 x 425.5 cm
© Ron Mueck
Photos: © Marcus Bunyan and the National Gallery of Victoria

 

Ron Mueck (Australian b. 1958) 'Youth' 2009

 

Ron Mueck (Australian b. 1958)
Youth
2009
Installation photograph
Mixed media
65 x 28 x 16 cm
Private collection
© Ron Mueck
Photos: © Marcus Bunyan and the National Gallery of Victoria

 

Installation photogtaphs of Ron Mueck's 'Youth' (2009) with 'Still life' (2009) in the background

Installation photogtaphs of Ron Mueck's 'Youth' (2009) with 'Still life' (2009) in the background

 

Installation photogtaphs of Ron Mueck’s Youth (2009) with Still life (2009) in the background
Photos: © Marcus Bunyan and the National Gallery of Victoria

 

Ron Mueck (Australian b. 1958) 'Still life' 2009

Ron Mueck (Australian b. 1958) 'Still life' 2009

 

Ron Mueck (Australian b. 1958)
Still life
2009
Installation photograph
Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain
© Ron Mueck
Photos: © Marcus Bunyan and the National Gallery of Victoria

 

Ron Mueck (Australian b. 1958) 'Old Woman in bed' 2002

Ron Mueck (Australian b. 1958) 'Old Woman in bed' 2002

 

Ron Mueck (Australian b. 1958)
Old Woman in bed
2002
Polyester resin, fibreglass, silicone, polyurethane, synthetic hair, cotton, polyester, second edition, artist’s proof
25.4 x 94.0 x 53.9 cm
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, purchased 2003
© Ron Mueck
Photos: © Marcus Bunyan and the National Gallery of Victoria

 

Ron Mueck (Australian b. 1958) 'Drift' 2009

Ron Mueck (Australian b. 1958) 'Drift' 2009

 

Ron Mueck (Australian b. 1958)
Drift
2009
Installation photograph
Mixed media
118 x 96 x 21 cm
Private collection
© Ron Mueck
Photos: © Marcus Bunyan and the National Gallery of Victoria

 

Installation photograph of the Ron Mueck exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria

 

Installation photograph of the Ron Mueck exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria showing at left Woman with Sticks (2005) and at right Two Woman (2005) with A girl (2006) in the distance
Photo: © Marcus Bunyan and the National Gallery of Victoria

 

Installation photograph of the Ron Mueck exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria

 

Installation photograph of the Ron Mueck exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria showing A girl (2006)

My favourite pic of the day!

 

 

NGV International
180 St Kilda Road

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10am – 5pm

National Gallery of Victoria website

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18
Jan
10

Exhibition: ‘Paste Up’ by Barbara Kruger at Sprüth Magers London

Exhibition dates: 21st November 2009 – 23rd January 2010

 

Many thankx to Sprüth Magers London for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

 

Barbara Kruger. 'Untitled (Money can buy you love)' 1983

 

Barbara Kruger (American, b. 1945)
Untitled (Money can buy you love)
1983
Collage
19.5 x 17.5cm
Courtesy of the artist and Sprüth Magers London Berlin

 

Barbara Kruger (American, b. 1945) 'Untitled (Your misery loves company)' 1985

 

Barbara Kruger (American, b. 1945)
Untitled (Your misery loves company)
1985
Collage
18 x 17.3cm
Courtesy of the artist and Sprüth Magers London Berlin

 

Barbara Kruger (American, b. 1945) 'Untitled (Our prices are insane!)' 1987

 

Barbara Kruger (American, b. 1945)
Untitled (Our prices are insane!)
1987
Collage
Courtesy of the artist and Sprüth Magers London Berlin

 

Barbara Kruger (American, b. 1945) 'Untitled (We will no longer be seen and not heard)' 1985

 

Barbara Kruger (American, b. 1945)
Untitled (We will no longer be seen and not heard)
1985
17.8 x 18.5cm
Courtesy of the artist and Sprüth Magers London Berlin

 

 

Sprüth Magers London is delighted to present a survey of early work by acclaimed American artist Barbara Kruger. Using contrasting layers of text and image, Kruger’s work has for almost three decades probed the nature of a media-saturated society in late capitalism, and the significance of highly evolved cultures of consumerism and mass politics to the experience and making of social identities. In addition to offering acute, indeed often piquant cultural insights, Kruger’s work also presents a serious conceptual exploration into the relationship between language and image, and their dynamics as collaborators and antagonists in the bearing of meaning. The artist’s unique blend of conceptual sophistication and wry social commentary has made Kruger one of the most respected and admired artists of her generation, and this timely reappraisal of her early practice reveals the ingenuity and precision of her craft.

The early monochrome pre-digital works assembled in the exhibition, known professionally as ‘paste ups’, reveal the influence of the artist’s experience as a magazine editorial designer during her early career. These small scale works, the largest of which is 11 x 13 inches, are composed of altered found images, and texts either culled from the media or invented by the artist. A negative of each work was then produced and used to make enlarged versions of these initial ‘paste ups’. The influence of Kruger’s magazine publishing training extends far beyond technique however. The linguistic and typographic conventions of consumer culture, and an understanding of the inherent potential of a single image, are appropriated and subverted by Kruger, as the artist explores the power of the soundbite and the slogan, and the method and impact of ‘direct address’ on the consumer/viewer.

Although Kruger’s practice is embedded in the visual and political culture of mass media and advertising, the work moves beyond simple appropriation and the ironic meditation on consumerism which animated earlier movements such as Pop art. The emblazoned slogans are often slightly yet meaningfully adjusted clichés of common parlance and the commercial world, and are overlaid on contrasting images which range from the grotesque to the banal. The juxtaposition of pictorial and linguistic modes of communication on the same plane thereby begs conceptual questions of human understanding, and the means by which messages are transmitted and distorted, recognised and received.

Barbara Kruger was born in Newark, New Jersey in 1945. She currently lives in both Los Angeles, California and New York and teaches at the University of California, Los Angeles. She has been the subject of many one-person exhibitions, including a comprehensive retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles in 1999, which travelled to The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York in 2000. More recently, she has exhibited large-scale installations at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Tramway in Glasgow, Scotland, the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art in Melbourne, Australia, and at BCAM at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, among others. She was honoured with the “Golden Lion” award for Lifetime Achievement at the Venice Biennale in 2005.

Press release from the Sprüth Magers London website [Online] Cited 25/05/2019

 

 

Barbara Kruger (American, b. 1945)
Untitled (We won’t be our own best enemy)
1986
Collage
18 x 22cm
Courtesy of the artist and Sprüth Magers London Berlin

 

Barbara Kruger (American, b. 1945) 'Untitled (Surveillance is their busywork)' 1988

 

Barbara Kruger (American, b. 1945)
Untitled (Surveillance is their busywork)
1988
Collage
11.1 x 22cm
Courtesy of the artist and Sprüth Magers London Berlin

 

Barbara Kruger (American, b. 1945) 'Untitled (You are a very special person)' 1995

 

Barbara Kruger (American, b. 1945)
Untitled (You are a very special person)
1995
Collage (colour)
13.6 x 19.1 cm
Courtesy of the artist and Sprüth Magers London Berlin

 

Barbara Kruger (American, b. 1945) 'Don't be a jerk' 1984

 

Barbara Kruger (American, b. 1945)
Don’t be a jerk
1984
Screenprint on vinyl
250 x 388.5cm
Courtesy of the artist and Sprüth Magers London Berlin

 

 

Sprüth Magers London
7A Grafton Street,
London, W1S 4EJ
Phone: +44 (0)20 7408 1613

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14
Jan
10

Review: ‘Cubism & Australian Art’ at Heide Museum of Modern Art, Bulleen

Exhibition dates: 24th November 2009 – 8th April 2010

 

Jean Appleton (Australian, 1911-2003) 'Painting IX' 1937

 

Jean Appleton (Australian, 1911-2003)
Painting IX
1937
Whitworth/Bruce Collection

 

 

Perfect summer fare out at Heide at the moment – relax with a lunch at the new Cafe Vue followed by some vibrantly fresh art in the galleries. In a nicely paced exhibition, Cubism & Australian Art takes you on a journey from the 1920s to the present day, the art revealing itself as you move through the galleries.

There are too many individual works to critique but some thoughts and ideas do stand out.

 

Cezanne’s use of passage (A French term (pronounced “pahsazh”) for a painting technique characterised by small, intersecting planes of patch-like brushwork that blend together to create an image), the transition between adjacent shapes, where solid forms are fused with the surrounding space was an important starting point for the beginnings of Cubism. Simultaneity – movement, space and the dynamism of modern life – was matched to Cubism’s new forms of pictorial organisation. The geometries of the Section d’Or (or the Gold Mean), that magical ratio found in all forms, also sounds an important note as it flows through the rhythmic movement and the sensations of temporal reality.

In the work from the 1920s/30s presented in the exhibition the palette of most of the works is subdued, the form of circles and geometrics. There are some beautiful paintings by one of my favourite Australian artists Roy de Maistre and others by Eric Wilson, Sam Atyeo and Jean Appleton (see image above). The feeling of these works is quiet and intense.

 

Following

There are some evocative works from the 1940s/50s including Godfrey Miller’s Still Life with Musical Instruments (1958, below), Graham King’s Industrial Landscape (1959) and Ralph Balson’s Constructive painting (1951). The Charcoal Burner (1959) by Fred Williams (see image below) is the Australian landscape seen through Cubist eyes, surface and space perfectly commingled in reserved palette, delineated planes. Grace Crowley’s Abstract Painting (1947, see image below) is a symphony of colour, plane and form that I would willingly take home any day of the week!

 

Now

It is the contemporary work that is of most interest in this exhibition. Spatio-temporal reality is distorted as artists push the boundaries of dimensionality. The parameters of reality are blurred and extended through the use of multiple viewpoints and lines of sight. Fresh and spatially aware (like an in joke because everyone recognises the fragmented ‘nature’ of contemporary existence) we have the sublime Milky Way (1995, see image below) by Rosalie Gascoigne and for me the two standout pieces in the exhibition, Bicycles (2007, below) by James Angus and Static No.9 (a small section of something larger) (2005, below) by Daniel Crooks.

Though difficult to see in the photograph of the work (below), Bicycles fuses three bicycles into one. “A photo finish made actual, a series of frames at the conclusion of a race transferred permanently into three dimensions.” You look and then look again: three frames into one, three tyres into one, three stands into one, three chains the only singular – like a freeze frame of a motor drive on a camera

Snap
Snap
Snap

or the slight difference of the two images of a Victorian stereoscope made triumvirate (the 3D world of Avatar comes to mind). Static, the bicycle can never work, is redundant, but paradoxically moves at the same time.

Even more mesmerising is the video work Static No.9 (a small section of something larger) by Daniel Crooks. Unfortunately I cannot show you the video but a still from the video can be seen below as well as a link to a trailer of the work. Imagine this animated like swirling DNA (in actual fact it is people walking across an intersection at different distances and speeds to the camera – and then sections taken out of the video and layered). Swirling striations through time and space fragment identity so that people almost become code, the sound track the distorted beep beep beep of the buzzer at the crossing. I could have sat there for hours watching the performance as it crackles with energy and flow – with my oohs and aahs! The effect is magical, beautiful, hypnotic.

A great summer show – fresh, alive and well worth the journey if only to see that static in all its forms has never looked so good.

Dr Marcus Bunyan for Art Blart

.
Many thankx to the Heide Museum of Modern Art for allowing me to publish the art work in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

Cubism and Abstract Art

 

Alfred Barr’s Cubism diagram – original cover of Cubism and Abstract Art, Museum of Modern Art, New York, exhibition catalogue, 1936

 

Ralph Balson (Australian, 1890-1964) 'Painting no. 17' 1941

 

Ralph Balson (Australian, 1890-1964)
Painting no. 17
1941
Oil and metallic paint on cardboard
91.7 x 64.8 cm
Hassall Collection

 

 

By 1941 Ralph Balson had abandoned the figure for a completely abstract style. He announced this breakthrough in a solo exhibition at the Fine Art Galleries at Anthony Hordern and Sons in Sydney with paintings that evolved in part out of Albert Gleizes’s style of Cubism: uninflected surfaces, essential forms, respect for the two-dimensionality of the picture surface and the sense of a search for a deeper, universal truth.

Though at the time unusual for Australian art, such developments were concurrent with advancements in abstraction in the UK and US. This new mode of painting was to preoccupy Balson and Crowley, and to a lesser extent Frank Hinder, for the rest of the decade.

Balson’s ‘constructive’ pictures became sophisticated and intricate, characterised by Constructive painting (1945), with its overlapping translucent planes and array of discs, squares and rectilinear shapes in an animated state of flux, and perhaps culminating in Constructive painting (1951). This work has a different kind of luminosity, as if the picture has an inner light. As Balson himself said of such images, they are ‘abstract from the surface, but more truly real with life’.

Heide Education Resource p. 15.

 

Dorrit Black (Australian, 1891-1951) 'The bridge' 1930

 

Dorrit Black (Australian, 1891-1951)
The bridge
1930
Oil on canvas on board
60 x 81 cm
Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide
Bequest of Dorrit Black, 1951

 

Roy de Maistre (Australian, 1894-1968) 'The football match' 1938

 

Roy de Maistre (Australian, 1894-1968)
The football match
1938
Oil on canvas
71.5 x 92 cm
The Janet Holmes à Court Collection

 

Eric Wilson (Australian, 1911-1946) 'Theme for a mural' 1941

 

Eric Wilson (Australian, 1911-1946)
Theme for a mural
1941
Oil on plywood on corrugated iron
53.2 x 106.8
National Gallery of Victoria, purchased 1958

 

Sidney Nolan (Australian, 1917-1992) 'Rimbaud royalty' 1942

 

Sidney Nolan (Australian, 1917-1992)
Rimbaud royalty
1942
Synthetic polymer paint on composition board
59.5 x 90 cm
Heide Museum of Modern Art
Bequest of John and Sunday Reed

 

Ralph Balson (Australian, born England 1890-1964; worked in Australia 1913-64) 'Constructive painting' 1948

 

Ralph Balson (Australian, born England 1890-1964; worked in Australia 1913-64)
Constructive painting
1948
Oil on cardboard
106.8 × 71.0 cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Bequest of Grace Crowley, 1981
© Ralph Balson Estate

 

Grahame King (Australian 1915-2008) 'Industrial Landscape' 1960

 

Grahame King (Australian 1915-2008)
Industrial Landscape
1960
Oil on board
91.00 x 122.00cm
Charles Nodrum Gallery

 

Daniel Crooks (New Zealand, b. 1973) 'Portrait #2' (Chris) 2007

 

Daniel Crooks (New Zealand, b. 1973)
Portrait #2 (Chris)
2007
Lambda photographic print
102 cm x 102cm
Heide Museum of Modern Art
Purchased with funds from the Robert Salzer Foundation 2012

 

 

“With these portraits I’m attempting to make large detailed images of people in their own surroundings, images of people very much in and of their time that are both intriguing and beautiful. As with a lot of my work the portraits also seek to render the experience of time in a more tangible material form, blurring the line between still and moving images and looking to new post-camera models of spatiotemporal representation.”

Daniel Crooks

.
Portrait #2 (Chris)
forms part of Daniel Crooks’s Scanlines, a series of moving image works and prints made using digital collage techniques. This involves digitally slicing images then reassembling them sequentially, across the screen or picture plane, to create rhythmic and spatial effects through which Crooks seeks to explore ideas and themes related to our understandings of time and motion.

 

 

Elizabeth Gower (Australian, b. 1952)
City Series
1982-84
Acrylic on paper
© Courtesy the artist and Sutton Gallery, Melbourne and Milani Gallery, Brisbane

 

Elizabeth Gower (Australian, b. 1952) 'Transient' 1979

 

Elizabeth Gower (Australian, b. 1952)
Transient
1979
Synthetic, polymer paint and resin on rice paper, newsprint and garment patterns
© Courtesy the artist and Sutton Gallery, Melbourne and Milani Gallery, Brisbane

 

Elizabeth Gower found a new relevance for Cubism in her abstract series Shaped works (1978-84) … Cubist collage combined with feminist ideas to inspire her use of everyday materials such as newsprint and garment patterns. Transparent rice paper adds a delicacy and lightness to the work. The dynamic overlap of flat planes and juxtaposition of contrasting shapes, textures and patterns relates directly to the legacy of Synthetic Cubism. The work of Sonia Delaunay was also a particular inspiration for Gower.

Heide Education Resource p. 23.

 

Melinda Harper (Australian, b. 1965) 'Untitled' 2000

 

Melinda Harper (Australian, b. 1965)
Untitled
2000
Oil on canvas
183.0 × 152.3 cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Presented through the NGV Foundation by Robert Gould, Founder Benefactor, 2004
© Melinda Harper/Licensed by Copyright Agency, Australia

 

 

Cubism & Australian Art, one of the most ambitious and extensive exhibitions Heide has undertaken, shows the impact of the revolutionary and transformative movement of Cubism on Australian art from the early twentieth century to the present day. It uncovers a little-known yet compelling history through works by over eighty artists, including key examples of international Cubism drawn from Australian collections – by André Lhote, Albert Gleizes, Fernand Léger, Alexander Archipenko, Ben Nicholson and others – and nine decades of Australian modern and contemporary art that demonstrate a local evolution of cubist ideas.

The exhibition documents the earliest incorporation of cubist principles in Australian art practice in the 1920s, when artists such as Grace Crowley and Anne Dangar, who studied overseas under leading cubist artists, began to transform their art in accordance with late cubist thinking. It examines the influence of Cubism on artists associated with the George Bell School in Melbourne and the Crowley-Fizelle School in Sydney; and on those who participated in the cubist movement abroad including James Cant and John Power.

While its distortions and unconventional perspectives served individual styles such as the expressionism of Albert Tucker or the experimental landscapes of Sidney Nolan and Fred Williams, Cubism’s most enduring influence on postwar Australian art has been in abstraction. This exhibition traces its reverberations in 1950s abstract art by Roger Kemp, Robert Klippel and Ron Robertson-Swann and others, through to works by younger artists such as Stephen Bram, Gemma Smith and Justin Andrews.

Cubism’s formal and conceptual innovations and its investigations into the representation of time, space and motion have continuing relevance for artists today, who variously adapt, develop, quote and critique aspects of cubist practice. In this exhibition, Cubism’s shifting, multi-perspectival view of reality takes on new form in moving-image works by John Dunkley-Smith and Daniel Crooks, in paintings by Melinda Harper and sculptures by James Angus. The use of found objects and recycled materials by Madonna Staunton, Rosalie Gascoigne and Masato Takasaka extends ideas originating in cubist sculpture and collage. Other artists are critical of Cubism, bringing Indigenous and non-european perspectives to bear on its modernist history, particularly its appropriation of so-called ‘primitive art’.

Text from the Heide Museum of Modern Art website [Online] Cited 10/01/2010 no longer available online

 

Grace Crowley (Australian, 1890-1979) 'Abstract painting' 1947

 

Grace Crowley (Australian, 1890-1979)
Abstract painting
1947
Oil on board
63.2 x 79.0 cm
Private Collection, Sydney

 

Godfrey Miller (New Zealander, 1893-1964; worked in England 1933-39, Australia 1939-64) 'Still Life with Musical Instruments' 1958

 

Godfrey Miller (New Zealander, 1893-1964; worked in England 1933-39, Australia 1939-64)
Still Life with Musical Instruments
1958
Pen and ink and oil on canvas
65.5 × 83.0 cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Felton Bequest, 1963
© National Gallery of Victoria

 

 

Introduction

Cubism & Australian Art considers the impact of the revolutionary and transformative movement of Cubism on Australian art from the early twentieth century to the present day. Cubism was a movement that changed fundamentally the course of twentieth-century art, and its innovations – the shattering of the traditional mimetic relationship between art and reality and investigations into the representation of time, space and motion – have continuing relevance for artists today. Works by over eighty artists, including key examples of international Cubism drawn from Australian collections, are displayed in the exhibition.

The exhibition examines not only the period contemporaneous with Cubism’s influence within Europe, but also the decades from then until the present day, when its reverberations continue to be felt. In the first part of the century, Cubism appeared through a series of encounters and dialogues between individuals and groups resulting in a range of fascinating adaptations, translations and versions alongside other more programmatic or prescriptive adoptions of cubist ideas. The exhibition traces the first manifestations of Cubism in Australian art in the 1920s, when artists studying overseas under leading cubist artists began to transform their art in accordance with such approaches. It examines the transmission of cubist thinking and its influence on artists associated with the George Bell School in Melbourne and the Crowley-Fizelle School in Sydney. By the 1940s, artists working within the canon of modernism elaborated on Cubism as part of their evolutionary process, and following World War II Cubism’s reverberations were being felt as its ideas were revisited by artists working with abstraction.

In the postwar years and through to the 1960s, the influence of Cubism became more diffuse, but remained significant. In painting, cubist ideas provided an underlying point of reference in the development of abstract pictorial structures, though they merged with other ideas current at the time, relating in the 1950s, for example, to colour, form, musicality and the metaphysical. For many artists during this decade, Cubism provided the geometric basis from which to seek an inner meaning beneath surface appearances, to explore the spiritual dimension of painting and to understand modernism.

The shift from a Cubist derived abstraction in Australia in the 1950s to a mild reaction against Cubism in the Colour field and hard-edged painting of the mid to latter 1960s reflected a new recognition of New York as the centre of the avant-garde. Cubism’s shallow pictorial space, use of trompe l’oeil and fragmentation of parts continued to inform the work of certain individuals who adapted them in ways relevant to the new abstraction. Cubist ideas and precepts also found some resonance in an emphasis on the flatness of the canvas, particularly as articulated in the formalist criticism of Clement Greenberg.

The influence of Cubism on Australian art from 1980s to 2000s is subtle, varied and diffuse as contemporary artists variously quote, adapt, develop and critique aspects of cubist practice. Cubism’s decentred, shifting, multi-perspectival view of reality takes on new form, in moving-image works and installations, as well as being further developed in painting and sculpture. Post-cubist collage is used both as a method of constructing artworks – paintings, sculptures, assemblages – and as an intellectual strategy, that of the postmodern bricoleur. Several artists imagine alternative cubist histories and lineages, revisiting cubist art from an Indigenous or non-European perspective and drawing out the implications of its primitivism. Others pay homage to local versions of Cubism, or look through its lens at art from elsewhere.

Heide Education Resource p. 3.

 

Fred Williams (Australian, 1927-1982) 'The Charcoal Burner' 1959

 

Fred Williams (Australian, 1927-1982)
The Charcoal Burner
1959
Oil on composition board
86.3 × 91.4 cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, purchased 1960
© Estate of Fred Williams

 

 

Cubism played a fundamental role in Fred Williams’s pictorial rethinking of the Australian landscape and through him, Cubism has affected the way Australians view their natural surroundings.

Patrick McCaughey writes in the catalogue for this exhibition:

The charcoal burner, with its reserved palette and briskly delineated planes, is one of his most accomplished essays in seeing the Australian landscape through cubist eyes. Already looking for the ‘bones’ of the landscape, Williams was drawn to the early phase of Cubism, as it gave structure to the unspectacular landscape – the bush in the Dandenongs; the coastal plain around the You Yangs.

Just as Braque in his cubist landscapes of 1908-09 eschewed ‘view’ painting and disdained the picturesque, so Williams in turn generalised the landscape, constructing it and rendering it taut, modern and vivid. In his landscapes Braque made the important pictorial discovery of passage, fusing solid forms with the surrounding space. Williams exploits this innovation in The charcoal burner, where surface and space are perfectly commingled.

Heide Education Resource p. 1.

 

Robert Rooney (Australian, 1937-2017) 'After Colonial Cubism' 1993

 

Robert Rooney (Australian, 1937-2017)
After Colonial Cubism
1993
Synthetic polymer paint on canvas
122 x 198.3 cm
Heide Museum of Modern Art
Purchased through the Heide Foundation with the assistance of the Heide Foundation Collectors’ Group and the Robert Salzer Fund 2008. Courtesy of the artist

 

 

Robert Rooney’s painting After Colonial Cubism (1993) shows a vibrant streetscape rendered in deliberate and self-conscious cubist style that declares itself to be a second-hand quotation of Cubism, rather than an example of the original style. The streetscape has not been drawn from life but is a faithfully scaled-up version of a much earlier gouache sketch Buildings (1953) that Rooney did as a young student in Melbourne. The sketchbook page is indicated in the painting by the vertical bands on either side of the image which effectively serve as quotation marks.

In highlighting the second-hand nature of the image in his painting, Rooney more broadly comments on the dispersal of cubist ideas from Paris, Cubism’s place of origin, to more local contexts such as Australia. The painting carries with it the artist’s memories of his student days, of learning about Cubism through magazines and books. Rooney remembers visiting exhibitions of cubist works by Australian artists and being fascinated by how these ideas were translated locally. Further meaning in the work derives from its title which refers to the painting Colonial Cubism 1954, by Stuart Davis, an American artist whose cubist works are a further instance of the dispersal of the style to localities outside of France.

Heide Education Resource p. 29.

 

Rosalie Gascoigne (Australian, born New Zealand 1917-1999) 'Milky Way' (detail) 1995

 

Rosalie Gascoigne (Australian, born New Zealand 1917-1999)
Milky Way (detail)
1995
Mixed media

 

 

Rosalie Gascoigne is renowned for her sculptural assemblages of great clarity, simplicity and poetic power. Using natural or manufactured objects, sourced from collecting forays, that evoke the lyrical beauty of the Monaro region of New South Wales, her work radically reformulated the ways in which the Australian landscape is perceived. …

“My country is the eastern seaboard. Lake George and the Highlands. Land that is clean scoured by the sun and frost. The record is on the roadside grass. I love to roam around, to look and hear … I look for things that have been somewhere, done something. Second hand materials aren’t deliberate; they have had sun and wind on them. Simple things. From simplicity you get profundity. The weathered grey look of the country gives me a great emotional upsurge. I am not making pictures, I make feelings.”

Rosalie Gascoigne

Extract from Anonymous. “Biography (Roaslie Gascoigne),” on the Art Gallery of New South Wales website [Online] Cited 21/05/2019

 

 

Daniel Crooks (New Zealand, b. 1973)
Static No.9 (a small section of something larger) (still)
2005
Single channel digital video, colour, sound
Duration: 00:13:29 min, aspect ratio: 16:9

View a preview of the work: Static No.9 (a small section of something larger) from Daniel Crooks.

 

James Angus (Australian, b. 1970) 'Bicycles' 2007

 

James Angus (Australian, b. 1970)
Bicycles
2007
Chromed steel, aluminium, polyeurethane, enamel paint

 

 

“An object which is entirely solid yet blurry; a sculpture-in-motion that vibrates between plural and singular.” ~ James Angus

For this handcrafted sculpture, Angus melded the frames of three bicycles into one, creating a kind of platonic ideal of bike design which resolves slight differences in thickness of truss, angles of frame and fork, shape of saddle and handlebar position into an ideal form – one that seems to shift between the plural and the singular. Traces of all three bikes inhabit this final rendition, with its tripled wheel spokes and chain drive, contoured saddle and ridged handlebars.

Hovering between three sets of dimensions and proportions, the sculpture presents a visual experience akin to looking at lenticular imagery or to a stereoscopic gaze, in which two sets of slightly disparate visual information are resolved into the one three-dimensional image. These subtle differences, inhabiting the one object, speak of the slight variations between not only bikes but individual riders, for whom the bike is an extension of their body shape, size and movement. In keeping with his other works, which have distorted, shifted and played with elements of design from architecture to automobiles, Angus disrupts our expectations of an everyday object. By making us look again he reminds us that a bicycle, like a racing car, is a moving sculpture.

Text from the Museum of Contemporary Art website [Online] Cited 21 May 2019

 

Justin Andrews (Australian, b. 1973) 'Acid yellow 3' 2008

 

Justin Andrews (Australian, b. 1973)
Acid yellow 3
2008
Acrylic and enamel on composition board
75 x 60 cm
Courtesy of the artist and Charles Nodrum Gallery, Melbourne

 

Masato Takasaka (Australian, b. 1977) 'Return to forever (productopia)' 2009

 

Masato Takasaka (Australian, b. 1977)
Return to forever (productopia)
2009
Cardboard, wood, plastic, mdf, acrylic, paint, paper, soft-drink cans, tape and discarded product packaging installation
Dimensions variable
Courtesy of the artist

 

 

Heide Museum of Modern Art
7 Templestowe Road,
Bulleen, Victoria 3105

Opening hours:
(Heide II & Heide III)
Tuesday – Sunday, Public holidays 10am – 5pm

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10
Jan
10

Exhibition: ‘René Burri: A Retrospective’ at Flo Peters Gallery, Hamburg

Exhibition dates: 4th November 2009 – 15th January 2010

 

Many thankx to the Flo Peters Gallery for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

Marcus

 

 

Rene Burri (Swiss, 1933-2014) 'Tae Soe Dong, Sud Korea' 1961

 

Rene Burri (Swiss, 1933-2014)
Tae Soe Dong, Sud Korea
1961
Gelatin silver print

 

Rene Burri (Swiss, 1933-2014) 'Bilbao, Spain' 1957

 

Rene Burri (Swiss, 1933-2014)
Bilbao, Spain
1957
Gelatin silver print

 

Rene Burri (Swiss, 1933-2014) 'Training, Fort Lauderdale, Florida' 1966

 

Rene Burri (Swiss, 1933-2014)
Training, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
1966
Gelatin silver print

 

Rene Burri (Swiss, 1933-2014) 'Two Monks, Kyoto, Japan' 1961

 

Rene Burri (Swiss, 1933-2014)
Two Monks, Kyoto, Japan
1961
Gelatin silver print

 

Rene Burri (Swiss, 1933-2014) 'Che Guevara, Havana' 1963

 

Rene Burri (Swiss, 1933-2014)
Che Guevara, Havana
1963
Gelatin silver print

 

Rene Burri (Swiss, 1933-2014) 'Men On A Rooftop, Sao Paulo' 1960

 

Rene Burri (Swiss, 1933-2014)
Men On A Rooftop, Sao Paulo
1960
Gelatin silver print

 

 

René Burri likes to see his career as a series of happy accidents, which is often just another way of editing out all the downtime and boring bits, the months of no work. But you have to admit it did start with a bang. There he was, 24 years old, mooching around in northern Spain, when he read in a newspaper that Picasso was expected at a bullfight in Nimes the next day. He drove through the night, checked into a hotel early the next morning – and to his surprise was ushered straight into Picasso’s bedroom.

A party was in full swing, and the artist was sitting up in bed, directing a small group of musicians and friends. He nodded at Burri – yes, he could take pictures – and the result is a wonderfully vivid sequence of portraits, Picasso laughing and clapping and betraying not the tiniest sign that a private party has just been interrupted. Burri, of course, took it as a sign from God: with luck like this, he was a born photographer.

So, right from the start, he has had a knack for being in the right place at the right time – and for not making a nuisance of himself once he gets there. He photographed Che Guevara in Havana in 1963, just a few months before the revolutionary disappeared from public life. He got stuck in a lift with President Nasser of Egypt, and took a funny picture of him laughing while a bodyguard looks on murderously.

Of course, for every picture Burri took, there was another he didn’t. He is now 71 and semi-retired (photographers never stop), and says that you could fill volumes with the stories he didn’t get, the places he didn’t go.

The first time he was commissioned to go to Cuba, in 1958 at the height of the revolution, he got drunk the night before he was due to fly, cried off, and went skiing at home in Switzerland instead. He once saw Greta Garbo coming down the road towards him in New York, wearing dark glasses, and at the very last moment put away his camera; she was just too forbidding. In the desert in Egypt, he saw the blackened hand of a corpse reaching up through the sand, and he didn’t take that picture, either. Burri believes in a notion of tact, or what he calls dignity.

Other people might call it cowardice, but he feels strongly that there are some lines you just don’t cross. “I have incredible respect for [war photographers] Don McCullin and Larry Burrows, but you pay a price. What does Don photograph now? Landscapes, pictures of flowers.” This is partly a moral position – photographers can get addicted to war, he says, and he met a lot of them in Vietnam – but it is also a simple instinct for self-preservation. Three of Burri’s great mentors at Magnum – Robert Capa, Werner Bischof, Chim (David Seymour) – lived dangerously and died young, and he always felt it was a tremendous waste of their talent.

For all that, Burri has seen a lot of war. Since joining Magnum in 1959, he has covered conflicts in Cambodia, Korea, Vietnam, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and China. He says he prefers to photograph the build-up to war, or its aftermath, rather than the violence itself. One of the first big projects he undertook was a portrait of postwar Germany, starting in the bleak mid-1950s and published in book form in 1962.

Of all his photographs, those that most nearly capture the atmosphere of combat are, in fact, of a training exercise in the Swiss Jura. Burri undertook compulsory military service in the 1950s, while still at art school, but with the permission of his training officer ended up shooting more film than anything else; he developed the pictures in his bath tub at the end of the day. At the age of 21, he came to see the camera as a way of removing himself from actual conflict; it also, he says, forced him to look for metaphors about battle, rather than relying on the action picture. (This is a rule of his – don’t be too literal. He once saw Castro standing in a doorway underneath a big exit sign, which was tempting for a second, but then just too obvious.)

Burri’s most powerful war pictures are the ones with no one in them. During the Six Day War between Egypt and Israel in 1967, he took a series of stark, graphic photographs, many of them from the air, which said something about the conflict that any single explosion or corpse might not have. In one, the wreckage of an Egyptian helicopter lies sprawled on a concrete landing pad, looking like a bug squashed on patio paving; in another, a burned-out convoy snakes through the desert like a collection of children’s toys left out in a sand pit.

A third photograph, an extreme close-up of a helmeted soldier with helicopters swarming at his shoulder like mosquitoes, taken in 1974, after the Yom Kippur war, has someone in it, it’s true, but he is silhouetted and faceless – an emblematic soldier, not a real one. In person, Burri is not a man given to big political statements, but on film he has captured the futility of war, the mess and wastefulness of human aggression.

Burri now lives in Paris, which is currently honouring him with a retrospective, and on the opening weekend he rushes around the gallery with his publisher, a TV director, several friends, his wife and 11-year-old son in tow. (He has grown-up children from his first marriage to Rosellina Bischof, who died in 1986.) He is every inch the European photojournalist – battered black fedora, cravat, a thick cloud of cigar smoke; when we move to a cafe to talk and the Americans at the next table complain about the cigar, he points out, in a very genial way, that the pollution is marginally worse outside.

At art school in Zurich, Burri was initially more interested in film. He had a rather off-putting photography teacher who started class with gymnastics and breathing exercises, and was a keen proponent of the “new objectivity” – there was an emphasis on still lifes and form, and what Burri refers to as “coffee cups in light.”

The American photographer Edward Steichen once came to the school looking for work he might include in an exhibition, The Family Of Man, at the Museum of Modern Art in New York – where were the pictures of people, he wanted to know, and left disappointed. It wasn’t until after he graduated that Burri felt free to pursue the more spontaneous, subjective kind of photography that Steichen had come looking for. “I suddenly had to chase after my pictures … Pictures are like taxis during rush hour – if you’re not fast enough, someone else will get there first.”

He started in Paris, as everyone did in the 1950s. Henri Cartier-Bresson had just published his influential book The Decisive Moment, and Robert Doisneau and Willy Ronis were photographing the city’s streets and cafes. At Magnum, they took an interest in a story Burri had published about a school for deaf-mute children, selling it on to Life magazine. He was in – Cartier-Bresson approved, Capa was enthusiastic, so Burri became a part of the greatest photographers’ cooperative in the world.

For the next two decades, he travelled almost incessantly, working on commissions for the New York Times, Vogue, Paris-Match, Time, Der Stern. He has kept every boarding card and press pass; a cabinet in the Paris exhibition is full of them. But although Burri worked constantly throughout the 1950s and 1960s, his photographs were always considered the lesser part of a story; as far as magazine editors were concerned, it was the words that mattered. After Burri accompanied an American journalist on a two-hour interview with Che Guevara, Look magazine ran pages of dense text, cropping his extraordinary portraits and running them very small at the bottom of the page.

One of the chief pleasures of this retrospective stage in life, says Burri, is being able to go back through all that work and decide for himself what was important and what was not. In Phaidon’s new monograph of his work, the portrait of Che is not 2in square but blown up across two pages. He has hung magazine stories in the new exhibition, signing the uncredited ones in red crayon. And as well as the reportage, there are hundreds of portraits of artists and writers and architects – Patricia Highsmith, Alberto Giacometti, Le Corbusier – and of cities: Tokyo, Havana, New York in a blackout, Rio de Janeiro, São Paolo, Brasilia.

Burri fell in love with modern architecture as a student and went on to form close friendships with Le Corbusier, Luis Barragan and Oscar Niemeyer. Some of his best work draws on this innate feel for the form and volume of a building, and of a person’s place within it. A photograph called In The Ministry Of Health, Rio de Janeiro 1960, is so full of light and shadow, it looks at first like a street scene, two young women striding through thick bars of sunlight; in fact, the photograph was taken indoors, in the lobby of a building designed by two of Burri’s favourite architects, Niemeyer and Le Corbusier. Burri’s best known photograph, of four suited men crossing a rooftop in São Paolo, captures all the drama, glamour and vertigo of life in a giant city: the flat roof floats high above the street, dotted with tiny, improbable people.

When Burri left Zurich in the 1950s, he set out to discover the world and some sense of man’s smallness within it. Switzerland was landlocked, bordered by mountains; a camera was a way out. Even then, he worried about what he could do that was new – “when shutters rattle from morning to night in every corner of the world … when every continent is lit with the flash of cameras.” His job, he believes, has been to “trace the enormous social changes taking place in our age, conveying my thoughts and images of them.” And, more poetically, “to put the intensity that you yourself have experienced into the picture – otherwise it is just a document.” He retired from reporting once that intensity, that sense of the bigness of the world, was gone. In 1989, he went to Moscow to photograph Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, but so did 6,500 others, and in the scrum it seemed impossible to take a meaningful picture. He now prefers to paint and take pictures of his wife and son. Of course, he’d start all over again if the world ever became less crowded – if you could walk into Picasso’s bedroom at six in the morning, and be welcome.

Saturday February 7, 2004
The Guardian
Text on the Art Daily website [Online] Cited 19/05/2019

 

Rene Burri (Swiss, 1933-2014) 'Blackout New York' November 9, 1965

Rene Burri (Swiss, 1933-2014) 'Blackout New York' November 9, 1965

Rene Burri (Swiss, 1933-2014) 'Blackout New York' November 9, 1965

Rene Burri (Swiss, 1933-2014) 'Blackout New York' November 9, 1965

 

Rene Burri (Swiss, 1933-2014)
Four photographs from the series Blackout New York
November 9, 1965
Gelatin silver print

 

 

Flo Peters Gallery
Burchardstraße 13
Chilehaus C
20095 Hamburg, Germany

Gallery hours:
Tuesday – Friday 12 – 6pm
Saturday 11 – 3pm

Flo Peters Gallery website

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06
Jan
10

Melbourne’s Magnificent Dozen 2009

January 2010

 

Here’s my pick of the twelve best exhibitions in Melbourne for 2009 that featured on the Art Blart blog (in no particular order) – and a few honourable mentions that very nearly made the list!

 

 

1. The Water Hole by Gerda Steiner and Jorg Lenzlinger at ACCA (Australian Centre for Contemporary Art)

 

Gerda Steiner and Jorg Lenzlinger. 'The Waterhole' 2009

 

Gerda Steiner and Jorg Lenzlinger
The Water Hole
2009

 

 

“The most effective bed has a small meteorite suspended in a net bag above it. The viewer slides underneath the ‘rock’ placing the meteorite about a foot or so above your face. The meteorite is brown, dark and heavy, swinging slightly above your ‘third eye’. You feel its weight pressing down on your energy, on your life force and you feel how old this object is, how far it has traveled, how fragile and mortal you are. It is a sobering and enlightening experience but what an experience it is!”

This was a magical and poignant exhibition that was a joy for children and adults alike. Children love it running around exploring the environments. Adults love it for it’s magical, witty and intelligent response to the problems facing our planet and our lives. A truly enjoyable interplanetary collision.

 

2. Ocean Without A Shore video installation by Bill Viola at The National Gallery of Victoria

 

Bill Viola. 'Ocean Without A Shore' 2007 video still

 

Installation photograph of Ocean Without A Shore at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

 

 

The resurrected are pensive, some wringing the hands, some staring into the light. One offers their hands to the viewer in supplication before the tips of the fingers touch the wall of water – the ends turning bright white as they push through the penumbrae of the interface. As they move forward the hands take on a stricken anguish, stretched out in rigor. Slowly the resurrected turn and return to the other side. We watch them as we watch our own mortality, life slipping away one day after another. Here is not the distraction of a commodified society, here is the fact of every human life: that we all pass.

The effect on the viewer is both sad but paradoxically uplifting. I cried …

These series of encounters at the intersection of life and death are worthy of the best work of this brilliant artist. He continues to astound with his prescience, addressing what is undeniable in the human condition. Long may he continue.

 

3. Rosalie Gascoigne at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia

 

Rosalie Gascoigne. 'Sweet lovers' 1990

 

Rosalie Gascoigne (Australian, born New Zealand 1917-1999)
Sweet lovers
1990

 

 

This was a wonderful exhibition. Gascoigne rightly commands a place in the pantheon of Australian stars. She has left us with a legacy of music that evokes the rhythms, the air, the spaces and colours of our country. As she herself said,

“Look at what we have: Space, skies. You can never have too much of nothing.”

Nothing more, nothing less.

 

4. The Big Black Bubble paintings by Dale Frank at Anna Schwartz Gallery

 

Dale Frank. 'Ryan Gosling' (2008/2009)

 

Dale Frank (Australian, b. 1959)
Ryan Gosling
2008/2009

 

 

The artist offered the viewer the ability to generate their own resonances with the painting, to use the imagination of ‘equivalence’ to suggest what these paintings stand for – and also what else they stand for. States of being, of transformation, wonder and joy emerged in the playfulness of these works.

Ryan Gosling was a tour de force. With the poetic structure of an oil spill, the varnish forms intricate slick upon slick contours that are almost topographical in their mapping. The black oozes light, becomes ‘plastic’ black before your eyes, like the black of Rembrandt’s backgrounds, illusive, illuminative and hard to pin down – perpetually hanging there in two dripping rows, fixed but fluid at one and the same time (you can just see the suspensions in the photograph above).

This painting was one of the most overwhelming syntheses of art and nature, of universal forces that I have seen in recent contemporary art. This exhibition was an electric pulsating universe of life, landscape and transformation. Magnificent!

 

5. So It Goes by Laith McGregor at Helen Gory Galerie

 

Laith McGregor. 'The Last Bastion' 2009 (detail)

 

Laith McGregor (Australian, b. 1977)
The Last Bastion (detail)
2009

 

 

Simply spectacular!

I had never seen such art made using a biro before: truly inspiring.
Inventive, funny, poignant and outrageous this was a must see show of 2009.

 

6. triestement (more-is u thrill-o) by Domenico De Clario at John Buckley Gallery

 

Domenico de Clario. 'o (la grande maison blanche – snow clouds massing)' 2008/09

 

Domenico de Clario (Australian, born Italy 1947)
o (la grande maison blanche – snow clouds massing)
2008/09

 

 

Painted in a limited colour palette of ochres, greys and blacks the works vibrate with energy. Cezanne like spatial representations are abstracted and the paint bleeds across the canvas forming a maze of buildings. Walls and hedges loom darkly over roadways, emanations of heads and figures float in the picture plane and the highlight white of snow hovers like a spectral figure above buildings. These are elemental paintings where the shadow has become light and the light is shadow, meanderings of the soul in space.

de Clario feels the fluid relationship between substance and appearance; he understands that Utrillo is embedded in the position of each building and stone, in the cadences and rhymes of the paintings of Montmarte. de Clario interprets this knowledge in a Zen like rendition of shadow substance in his paintings. Everything has it’s place without possession of here and there, dark and light.

For my part it was my soul responding to the canvases. I was absorbed into their fabric. As in the dark night of the soul my outer shell gave way to an inner spirituality stripped of the distance between viewer and painting. I felt communion with this man, Utrillo, with this art, de Clario, that brought a sense of revelation in the immersion, like a baptism in the waters of dark light. For art this is a fantastic achievement.

 

7. McLean Edwards: Songs from the Ghost Ship at Karen Woodury Gallery

 

McLean Edwards. 'Venus' 2009

 

McLean Edwards (Australian, b. 1972)
Venus
2009

 

 

These heterogeneous paintings were a knockout with their wonderful, layered presence – they really command the viewer to look at them and celebrate the characters within them. Whimsical, ironic and full of humor these phantasmagorical images of creatures cast adrift with the night sky as background are fabulous assemblages of colour, form and storytelling.

My friend and I really enjoyed this exhibition. We were captivated by these songs, going back to the work again and again to tease out the details, to feel connection to the work. These are not lonely isolated figures but sublime emanations of inner states of being expertly rendered in glorious colour. And they made us laugh – what more could you ask for!

 

8. Tacita Dean at Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA)

 

Tacita Dean. 'Michael Hamburger' 2007

 

Tacita Dean (English, b. 1965)
Michael Hamburger [Still]
16mm colour anamorphic, optical sound
28 minutes
2007

 

 

“One can see echoes of Sebald’s work in that of Tacita Dean  – the personal narratives accompanied by mythical and historical stories and pictures. The tactility of Hamburger’s voice and hands, his caressing of the apples with the summary justice of the tossing away of rotten apples to stop them ruining the rest of the crop is arresting and holds you transfixed. Old varieties and old hands mixed with the old technology of film make for a nostalgic combination … Dean implicitly understands how objects can be elegies for fleeting lives.”

Tacita Dean is a fantastic artist whose work examines the measure of things, the vibrations of spirit in the FLUX of experience. Her work has a trance-like quality that is heavy with nostalgia and memory and reflects the machine-ations of contemporary life. In her languorous and dense work Dean teases out the significance of insignificant actions/events and imparts meaning and life to them. This is no small achievement!

As an exhibition this was an intense and moving experience.

 

9. Ivy photographs by Jane Burton at Karen Woodbury Gallery

 

Jane Burton. 'Ivy #2' 2009

 

Jane Burton (Australian, b. 1966)
Ivy #2
2009

 

 

I feel that in these photographs with their facelessness and the non-reflection of the mirror investigate notions of ‘Theoria’ – a Greek emphasis on the vision or contemplation of God where theoria is the lifting up of the individual out of time and space and created being and through contemplative prayer into the presence of God. In fact the whole series of photographs can be understood through this conceptualisation – not just remembrances of past time, not a blind contemplation on existence but a lifting up out of time and space into the an’other’ dark but enlightening presence.

The greatest wonder of this series is that the photographs magically reveal themselves again and again over time. Despite (or because of) the references to other artists, the beauty of Burton’s work is that she has made it her own. The photographs have her signature, her voice as an artist and it is an informed voice; this just makes the resonances, the vibrations of energy within the work all the more potent and absorbing. I loved them.

 

10. Sweet Complicity by eX de Medici at Karen Woodbury Gallery

 

eX de Medici. 'Tooth and claw' (detail) 2009

 

eX de Medici (Australia, b. 1959)
Tooth and claw (detail)
2009

 

 

In other less skilled artist’s hands the subject matter could become cliched and trite but here de Medici balances the disparate elements in her compositions and brings the subject matter alive – sinuously jumping off the paper, entwining the viewer in their delicious ironies, all of us sweetly complicit in the terror war (send more meat, send more meat!), fighting tooth and nail to keep urban realities at arm’s length. The dark desires that these works contain possess an aesthetic beauty that swallows us up so that we, too, become ‘Barbarians All’.

 

11. Emily Kame Kngwarreye: The Person and her Paintings at DACOU Aboriginal Art

 

 

Emily Kame Kngwarreye (Australian, 1910-1996)
Wildflower
1994

 

 

The paintings were painted horizontally (like the painter Jackson Pollock who intuitively accessed the spiritual realm) and evidence a horizontal consciousness not a hierarchical one. Knowledge is not privileged over wisdom. There is a balance between knowledge and wisdom – the knowledge gained through a life well lived and the wisdom of ancient stories that represent the intimacy of living on this world. The patterns and diversities of life compliment each other, are in balance.

Wisdom comes from the Indo-European root verb weid, “to see,” the same root from which words like vision come. In this sense these are “Vedic” paintings in that they are ancient, sacred teachings, Veda meaning literally “I have seen.”

On this day I saw. I felt.

 

12. Unforced Intimacies by Patricia Piccinini at Tolarno Galleries

 

Patricia Piccinini. 'Doubting Thomas' (detail) 2008

 

Patricia Piccinini (Australian, b. 1965)
Doubting Thomas (detail)
2008

 

Patricia Piccinini. 'Doubting Thomas' 2008

 

Patricia Piccinini (Australian, b. 1965)
Doubting Thomas
Silicone, fibreglass, human hair, clothing, chair
2008

 

 

The terrains the Piccinini interrogates (nature and artifice, biogenetics, cloning, stem cell research, consumer culture) are a rematerialisation of the actual world through morphological ‘mapping’ onto the genomes of the future. Morphogenetic fields seem to surround the work with an intense aura; surrounded by this aura the animals and children become more spiritual in their silence. Experiencing this new world promotes an evolution in the way in which we conceive the future possibilities of life on this earth, this brave but mutably surreal new world.

This was truly one of the best exhibitions of the year in Melbourne.

 

Honorable mentions

  • Climbing the Walls and Other Actions by Clare Rae at the Centre for Contemporary Photography
    In these photographs action is opposed with stillness, danger opposed with suspension; the boundaries of space, both of the body and the environment, the interior and the exterior, memory and dream, are changed.
  • Johannes Kuhnen: a survey of innovation at RMIT Gallery
    We stood transfixed before this work, peering closely at it and gasping in appreciation of the beauty, technical proficiency and pure poetry of the pieces.
  • Double Infinitives by Marco Fusinato at Anna Schwartz Gallery
    The images are literally ripped from the matrix of time and space and become the dot dot dot of the addendum. What Fusinato does so excellently is to make us pause and stare, to recognize the flatness of these figures and the quietness of violence that surrounds us.
  • all about … blooming by JUNKO GO at Gallery 101
    Go’s musings on the existential nature of our being are both full and empty at one and the same time and help us contemplate the link to the breath of the sublime.
  • Mood Bomb by Louise Paramor at Nellie Castan Gallery
    They are dream states that allow the viewer to create their own narrative with the title of the works offering gentle guides along the way. These are wonderfully evocative paintings.
  • New 09 at Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA)
    Finally you sit on the aluminium benches and contemplate in silence all that has come before and wonder what just hit you in a tidal wave of feelings, immediacies and emotions. The Doing and Undoing of Things.
  • My Jesus Lets Me Rub His Belly by Martin Smith at Sophie Gannon Gallery
    At the end of days, when all is said and done, the funny diatribes with their ambiguous photographs are homily and heretic and together form a more inclusive body of bliss: ‘And also with you and you and you and you’.

 

 

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03
Jan
10

Exhibition: ‘Lisette Model’ at the Instituto de Cultura, Fundación MAPFRE, Madrid

Exhibition dates: 23rd September 2009 – 10th January 2010

 

Lisette Model (American, born Austria 1901-1983) 'Riviera - elderly woman' c. 1934

 

Lisette Model (American, born Austria 1901-1983)
Riviera – elderly woman from the series Promenade des Anglais
Nice c. 1934
Gelatin silver print
© The Lisette Model Foundation

 

 

An interesting discussion of the life and work of Lisette Model (and her influence on Diane Arbus and vice versa) can be found on the AMERICANSUBURB X: THEORY website in an article by Elsa Dorfman titled “Ann Thomas on Lisette Model”. More photographs by Lisette Model can be found on the Masters of Photography website including some fabulous “Running Legs” images.

Dr Marcus Bunyan

.
Many thankx to Fundacion MAPFRE for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

 

“New images surround us everywhere. They are invisible only because of sterile routine convention and fear.”

“Photography starts with the projection of the photographer, his understanding of life and himself into the picture.”

“New images surround us everywhere. They are invisible only because of sterile routine convention and fear. To find these images is to dare to see, to be aware of what there is and how it is. The photographer not only gets information, he gives information about life.”

.
Lisette Model

 

 

Lisette Model (American, born Austria 1901-1983) 'Running Legs, NYC, 42nd Street' c. 1940-41

 

Lisette Model (American, born Austria 1901-1983)
Running Legs, NYC, 42nd Street
c. 1940-41
Gelatin silver print
© The Lisette Model Foundation

 

Lisette Model (American, born Austria 1901-1983) 'Running Legs, 5th Avenue' c. 1940-41

 

Lisette Model (American, born Austria 1901-1983)
Running Legs, 5th Avenue [Jambes de passants, 5e avenue]
New York
c. 1940-1941
Gelatin silver print
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa
© The Lisette Model Foundation

 

Lisette Model (American, born Austria 1901-1983) 'Sammy's' 1940-44

 

Lisette Model (American, born Austria 1901-1983)
Sammy’s
New York
1940-44
Gelatin silver print
© The Lisette Model Foundation

 

Lisette Model (American, born Austria 1901-1983) 'Lower East Side' c. 1942

 

Lisette Model (American, born Austria 1901-1983)
Lower East Side
c. 1942
Gelatin silver print
Collection Fundación MAPFRE
© The Lisette Model Foundation

 

Lisette Model (1901-1983) 'Albert-Alberta, Hubert's 42nd St Flea Circus, New York' c. 1945

 

Lisette Model (American, born Austria 1901-1983)
Albert-Alberta, Hubert’s Forty-second Street Flea Circus
New York
1945
Gelatin silver print
© The Lisette Model Foundation

 

Lisette Model (American, born Austria 1901-1983) 'Belmont Park' 1956

 

Lisette Model (American, born Austria 1901-1983)
Belmont Park
New York
1956
Gelatin silver print
© The Lisette Model Foundation

 

 

If Lisette Model took up photography as a way of earning a living, it is also true that she always fought for her own subjects, rather than simply carry out the assignments given by editors. She believed that for a photograph to be successful its subject had to be something that “hits you in the stomach.” This could be something familiar or something unfamiliar. For Model, the camera was an instrument for probing the world, a way of capturing aspects of a permanently changing reality that otherwise we would fail to see.

Model always said that she looked but did not judge. Yes, her photographs of the Promenade des Anglais in Nice were published by the left-wing journal Regards, in 1935, but she was not interested exclusively either in the rich or in the poor, and her images are much more about human relations. Her work evinces empathy, curiosity, compassion and admiration, and reflects the photographer’s attraction to voluminous forms, energy and liveliness, to emphatic gesture and expression: the world as stage. The critic Elizabeth McCausland has described Model’s camerawork as expressing “a subconscious revolt against the rules.”

This exhibition of some 120 of Lisette Model’s most representative photographs illustrates the very bold and direct approach to reality that made her one of the most singular proponents of street photography, the particular form of documentary photography that developed in New York during the 1940s, through the camerawork of such as Helen Levitt, Roy de Carava and Weegee.

Alongside the photographs, archive film and sound recordings of Lisette Model will evoke the photographer’s life, and there will be copies of magazines to which she contributed (Regards, Harper’s Bazaar, etc.).

Exhibition organised by Jeu de Paume and Fundación MAPFRE, Madrid.

Text from the Jue de Paume website [Online] Cited 01/01/2010 no longer available online

 

Lisette Model (American, born Austria 1901-1983) 'Promenade des Anglais' Nice c. 1934

 

Lisette Model (American, born Austria 1901-1983)
Promenade des Anglais
Nice c. 1934
Gelatin silver print
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa
© The Lisette Model Foundation

 

Lisette Model (American, born Austria 1901-1983) 'Gambler, French Riviera' 1937

 

Lisette Model (American, born Austria 1901-1983)
Gambler, French Riviera
1937
Gelatin silver print
Collection Fundación MAPFRE
© The Lisette Model Foundation

 

Lisette Model (1901-1983) 'Coney Island Bather, New York' [Baigneuse, Coney Island] c. 1939-1941

 

Lisette Model (American, born Austria 1901-1983)
Coney Island Bather [Baigneuse, Coney Island]
New York
c. 1939-1941
Gelatin silver print
© The Lisette Model Foundation

 

Lisette Model (American, born Austria 1901-1983) 'Diana Vreeland, New York' c. 1945

 

Lisette Model (American, born Austria 1901-1983)
Diana Vreeland, New York
c. 1945
Gelatin silver print
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa
© The Lisette Model Foundation

 

Lisette Model (American, born Austria 1901-1983) 'Restaurant, New York' c. 1945

 

Lisette Model (American, born Austria 1901-1983)
Restaurant, New York
c. 1945
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa
© The Lisette Model Foundation

 

Lisette Model (American, born Austria 1901-1983) 'Reflections' [Reflets]

 

Lisette Model (American, born Austria 1901-1983)
Reflections [Reflets]
New York
c. 1939-1945
Gelatin silver print
Collection Fundación MAPFRE
© The Lisette Model Foundation

 

Lisette Model (American, born Austria 1901-1983) 'Reflection' [Reflet] c. 1939-1945

 

Lisette Model (American, born Austria 1901-1983)
Reflection [Reflet]
New York
c. 1939-1945
Gelatin silver print
© The Lisette Model Foundation

 

Lisette Model (American, born Austria 1901-1983) 'Sammy's, New York' 1940-44

 

Lisette Model (American, born Austria 1901-1983)
Sammy’s, New York
1940-44
Gelatin silver print
National Gallery of Canada
© The Lisette Model Foundation

 

Lisette Model (American, born Austria 1901-1983) 'Las Vegas, on the bar' c. 1945

 

Lisette Model (American, born Austria 1901-1983)
Las Vegas, on the bar
c. 1945
Gelatin silver print
Collection Fundación MAPFRE
© The Lisette Model Foundation

 

Lisette Model (1901-1983) 'Cafe Metropole, New York City' c. 1946

 

Lisette Model (American, born Austria 1901-1983)
Metropole Cafe
New York
c. 1946
Gelatin silver print
© The Lisette Model Foundation

 

Lisette Model (1901-1983) 'Fashion show, Hotel Pierre, New York City' 1940-46

 

Lisette Model (American, born Austria 1901-1983)
Fashion show, Hotel Pierre, New York City
1940-46
Gelatin silver print
Collection Fundación MAPFRE
© The Lisette Model Foundation

 

Lisette Model (American, born Austria 1901-1983) 'San Francisco' 1949

 

Lisette Model (American, born Austria 1901-1983)
San Francisco
1949
Gelatin silver print
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa
© The Lisette Model Foundation

 

Lisette Model (American, born Austria 1901-1983) 'Woman with Veil, San Francisco' 1949

 

Lisette Model (American, born Austria 1901-1983)
Woman with Veil, San Francisco
1949
Gelatin silver print
© The Lisette Model Foundation

 

Lisette Model (American, born Austria 1901-1983) 'Opera, San Francisco' 1949

 

Lisette Model (American, born Austria 1901-1983)
Opera, San Francisco
1949
Gelatin silver print
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa
© The Lisette Model Foundation

 

Lisette Model (American, born Austria 1901-1983) 'Opera, San Francisco' 1949

 

Lisette Model (American, born Austria 1901-1983)
Opera, San Francisco
1949
Gelatin silver print
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa
© The Lisette Model Foundation

 

 

Fundacion MAPFRE
Avenida General Perón, 40
Madrid 28020
Phone:
91 581 16 28

Opening hours:
Monday 2.00 – 9.00pm
Tuesday – Saturday 10.00am – 9.00pm

Fundacion MAPFRE website

Lisette Model – Fundacion MAPFRE website

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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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