Archive for July, 2010

29
Jul
10

Review: ‘Lifespan’ (2010) by Fredrick White

July 2010

 

Fredrick White. 'Lifespan' 2010

 

Fredrick White
Lifespan
2010

 

 

This is sculptor Fredrick White’s second public commission in Queensland. The sculpture Lifespan (2010) is located at Blackall in Western Queensland (see Google map). The work is 8 metres long. Blackall already contains public sculptures by William Eicholtz (Towners Call – Edgar Towner V.C. Memorial (2009)) and Robert Bridgewater (Wool, Water and Wood (2008)).

 

“And do you know what “the world” is to me? Shall I show it to you in my mirror? This world: a monster of energy, without beginning, without end; a firm, iron magnitude of force that does not grow bigger or smaller, that does not expend itself but only transforms itself; as a whole, of unalterable size, a household without expenses or losses, but likewise without increase or income; enclosed by “nothingness” as by a boundary; not something blurry or wasted, not something endlessly extended, but set in a definite space as a definite force, and not a space that might be “empty” here or there, but rather a force throughout, as a play of forces and waves of forces, at the same time one and many, increasing here and at the same time decreasing there …”

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Frederick Nietzsche, The Will to Power.

 

Fredrick White’s sculpture has always been about flows and extrusions – the movement of energy both visible and invisible, above and below ground, inside and outside the body – an exploration of some giant vascular system of which we are all part. Sculptures sprout from manhole covers (Manwhole 1999), welling up from the hidden system of pipes and passageways that run under the earth; coffin-like boxes hover in suspended animation over the ground, anchored by pipes that disappear into the earth (Universal Attachment 2000); ectoplasmic, ethereal substances emit in Time Being No’s 1, 2 and 3 (2002). In recent work From Life To Life (2007), Drawing Water (2010) and ‘Lifespan’ (2010) these connections are even more intimately linked to the life cycle and the essential place of water in the scheme of things:

“I am interested in the stuff that holds us together, the dominant paradigms of human life, our reliance on the Earth and each other. There is no separation between anything – birth / death, above/below, past / future – all are part of the life cycle of living things. The life cycle is the main motif of my practice and is a manifestation of my Piscean nature.”

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White’s hyper-textural work flows from one link to another, from one connection to another. His text is a body without organs, always moving between the visible and the invisible webs that connect us. As so a rhizome, so the work of White: there is no hierarchical trunk, no beginning and no end, for White’s work is multiple, lateral, circular.

Using the language of Deleuze and Guattari (A Thousand Plateaus, 1980), White’s assemblages (for that is what they are), “are the processes by which various configurations of linked components function in an intersection with each other …” In these assemblages the process of territorialization intensifies and the assemblages, “can be thought of as constituted by an intensification of these processes around a particular site through a multiplicity of intersections of such territorializations.”1

In White’s assemblages there is no language of itself. The rhizomic nature of their being produces an unconscious connection to all things: his work fosters connections, offers multiple entryways, detaches and modifies new cultural forms. Above all White’s work offers a new map for us to cultivate the soil of living, the site of his intersections extruding form in a vibrant intensification of energy.

Dr Marcus Bunyan

 

  1. Wood, Aylish. “Fresh Kill: Information technologies as sites of resistance,” in Munt, Sally (ed.,). Technospaces: Inside the New Media. London: Continuum, 2001, p. 166.

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Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

Fredrick White. 'Lifespan' 2010

 

Sculptor Fredrick White sitting in front of his sculpture Lifespan (2010)

 

Fredrick White. 'Lifespan' 2010

Fredrick White. 'Lifespan' 2010

 

Fredrick White
Lifespan
2010

 

 

“Lifespan is made predominantly from recycled bore casing, a material chosen to suggest the language of plumbing as a conduit for dialogue on the theme of water.

The end sections of the work, like a hydro-electric scheme, rise from the ground and start crossing over. This form whilst inspired by the braided channels of Western Queensland is also about life in general; paths that converge or momentarily cross over, then towards the end of life, like the beginning, level out to a new time for experiencing.

The vertical pipes reference the artesian bore system that provides the main reliable source of water here. In this scenario, the top of the pipes are the surface of the Earth and the pipes bore into the ground to tap into the aquifers deep below in the Great Artesian Basin.

We are here because of the Earth and water is the primal substance that is the source of all life, in fact the artesian water of Australia is in places as old as humanity itself; the perfect symbol of the past, present and future.”

Fredrick White 2010

 

Fredrick White. 'Lifespan' 2010

 

Fredrick White
Lifespan
2010

 

Fredrick White. 'Lifespan' 2010 (detail)

 

Fredrick White
Lifespan (detail)
2010

 

 

Fredrick White website

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27
Jul
10

Exhibition: ‘Pierre Leguillon features Diane Arbus: A Printed Retrospective, 1960-1971’ at the Modern Museum, Malmo

Exhibition dates: 27th March – 1st August 2010

 

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

 

 

Picture Magazine #16. Diane Arbus: A Monograph of Seventeen Photographs. 1964

 

Picture Magazine #16
Diane Arbus: A Monograph of Seventeen Photographs
1964

 

Diane Arbus Magazine spread featuring 'Xmas tree in a living room in Levittown, L.I.,' (1963) and 'A Young Brooklyn Family Going for a Sunday Outing, N.Y.C.' 1966

 

Diane Arbus (American, 1923-1971)

Magazine spread featuring Xmas tree in a living room in Levittown, L.I., 1963 and A Young Brooklyn Family Going for a Sunday Outing, N.Y.C. 1966 (see either installation photograph below and enlarge to see pairing on the back wall!)

 

Diane Arbus Magazine spread featuring ‘Mexican Dwarf in his hotel room, N.Y.C.,’ 1970 and ‘Identical twins, Roselle, N.J.,’ 1967

 

Diane Arbus (American, 1923-1971)

Magazine spread featuring Mexican Dwarf in his hotel room, N.Y.C., 1970 and Identical twins, Roselle, N.J.,
1967 (see either installation photograph below and enlarge to see pairing on the back wall!)

 

Diane Arbus. 'The New Life' Harper's Bazaar (February, 1968)

 

Diane Arbus (American, 1923-1971)
The New Life
Harper’s Bazaar (February, 1968)
Copyright © 1968 The Estate of Diane Arbus, LLC

 

Diane Arbus (American, 1923-1971) 'Anderson Hays Cooper, NYC' 1968

 

Diane Arbus (American, 1923-1971)
Anderson Hays Cooper, NYC
1968
Gelatin silver photograph

 

 

“The exhibition Pierre Leguillon features “Diane Arbus: a printed retrospective, 1960-1971″ presents approximately one hundred Diane Arbus photographs for magazines. According to its author, Pierre Leguillon, the aim of the small book that accompanies the exhibition is not to interpret the images or items on display but “simply to replace the photographs in the context of their initial appearance.” The aim of this conversation is in turn to replace this project in the context of Leguillon’s artistic practice.

About the title, Leguillon explains “it is analogous to the term one would use for an exhibition featuring all of Goya’s printwork. Showing everything that appeared in magazines during Diane Arbus’s lifetime participates in the same gesture. It’s also a matter of exposing the working process that shapes the exhibition. The poster created by Philippe Millot from one of my photos plays an important role in this. What we see is the pile of collected magazines that makes up the retrospective, with its somewhat vain and fanciful side, but we also see a sculpture or a monument. […] I wanted to show the pictures that were actually published that differ from some exhibition prints and also to show how they were published. It started from the observation that these photos were printed well in perfect layouts in sixties magazines. So I’m using the page layout as a ‘prefabricated’ exhibition structure: the mats are already there, along with picture titles and artist signature. So I don’t have to add descriptive labels.” (Interview / Pierre Leguillon – “not to be missed”: Diane Arbus, in: Particules no 22 – December 2008 / January 2009) …

The French artist Pierre Leguillon has compiled a unique retrospective on the large body of work produced by Diane Arbus for the Anglo-American press in the 1960s. This spring and summer, the exhibition is being shown at Moderna Museet Malmö, featuring some 100 photos in their original context – on the pages of magazines.

In the 1960s, Diane Arbus (1923-1971) was used widely by publications such as Harper’s Bazaar, Esquire, Nova and The Sunday Times Magazine. Her extensive work for the Anglo-American press is relatively unknown, however, and Pierre Leguillon’s presentation is the first time it has been shown in this way: a printed retrospective in the form of some one hundred original magazine spreads.

The exhibition presents a broad material comprising hundreds of photos that demonstrate her wide variety of subjects and genres: photo journalism, celebrity shots, kids’ fashion and several photo essays. All Arbus’ photos are shown in their original social and political context, in the pages of original magazines. The images are shown as they were intended to be seen, in their intended format and setting and in relation to a text. Interspersed in this rich array of Arbus’ photographic output are various texts and images by other photographers (Walker Evans, Annie Leibovitz, Victor Burgin, Wolfgang Tillmans, Matthieu Laurette, Bill Owens) directly or indirectly referring to a specific part of Arbus’ oeuvre and thus emphasising its strong impact on her contemporary times and the present day.

The retrospective, which was put together by the French artist Pierre Leguillon and is presented as a work of art / exhibition / collection, also encourages us to reflect on these aspects and on the relationship between the original and the copy.

Press release from the Moderna Museet Malmö website [Online] Cited 25/07/2010 no longer available online

 

Diane Arbus. 'Make War Not Love!' Sunday Times Magazine (London) (September 14, 1969)

 

Diane Arbus (American, 1923-1971)
Make War Not Love!
Sunday Times Magazine (London) (September 14, 1969)
Copyright © 1969 The Estate of Diane Arbus, LLC

 

Diane Arbus. 'The Vertical Journey: Six Movements of a Moment within the Heart of the City' Esquire (July, 1960)

 

Diane Arbus (American, 1923-1971)
The Vertical Journey: Six Movements of a Moment within the Heart of the City
Esquire (July, 1960)
Copyright © 1968 The Estate of Diane Arbus, LLC

 

Pierre Leguillon Features Diane Arbus- A Printed Retrospective, 1960-1971

 

Installation view: Pierre Leguillon features Diane Arbus: A Printed Retrospective, 1960-1971, Moderna Museet Malmö, 27 March-1 August 2010. Collection Kadist Art Foundation
Photo: Prallan Allsten
© Moderna Museet

 

Pierre Leguillon Features Diane Arbus- A Printed Retrospective, 1960-1971

 

Installation view: Pierre Leguillon features Diane Arbus: A Printed Retrospective, 1960-1971, Moderna Museet Malmö, 27 March-1 August 2010. Collection Kadist Art Foundation
Photo: Prallan Allsten
© Moderna Museet

 

 

Moderna Museet Malmö
Gasverksgatan 22 in Malmö

Moderna Museet Malmö is located in the city centre of Malmö. Ten minutes walk from the Central station, five minutes walk from Gustav Adolfs torg and Stortorget.

Opening hours:
Tuesday 11-18
Wednesday 11-18
Thursday 11-18
Friday 11-18
Saturday 11-17
Sunday 11-17
Mondays closed

Moderna Museet Malmö website

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24
Jul
10

Review: ‘Sistagirls’ by Bindi Cole at Nellie Castan Gallery, Melbourne

Exhibition dates: 8th – 31st July 2010

 

Bindi Cole. 'Bimbo' 2009

 

Bindi Cole
Bimbo
2009

 

Bindi Cole. 'Buffy' 2009

 

Bindi Cole
Buffy
2009

 

 

The exhibition Sistagirls by Bind Cole at Nellie Castan Gallery contains some beautiful photographs and others that are less successful. The successful portraits the ones that depict the Sistagirls in a more natural, less stylised way – they are the more interesting photographs. The subjects seem to speak for themselves without restriction, to be not so beholden to the pose that photographer wishes them to assume and/or the pose they wish to impose on themselves.

For example, the photograph of Jemima (see below) is just stunning in it’s naturalness and beauty. The two photographs of Crystal and Patricia, where the transgendered person asked to be photographed in traditional body paint with traditional objects, are highly successful in their form, composition and in the ability of the photographs to challenge stereotypical notions of Aboriginal culture.

Other portraits are anachronistic and a little try hard, with the misplacing of persons and objects in regard to each other. The portrait of Bimbo (very top photograph) did not need the two objects placed on the beach next to the person to make it a successful photograph; the portrait of Frederina (below) had enough going on in the photograph without the seemingly gratuitous placement of traditional objects in the background. We get the point and there was really no need to labour it.

One of the problems, of course, of a ‘stylised’ portrait (Bind Cole’s word in her artist statement) is that the portrait can become a double forgery, that of the pose of the person and that of the photographer imposing the style …

” … in a sense, the posed photograph is a kind of forgery, an imposition of an artificial composition before the recording instrument. On the other hand, the photo of a posing subject captures the authenticity of the practice of posing. A version of a person’s image is still an image of that person …

We are confronted with the pose, the conscious composition of the image to be photographed, the inherent constructedness of the posed photograph. Our heretofore implicit faith in the photograph as an evidentiary document is shaken. This is not to imply an outright rejection of photography … the effect is more properly an inducement to engage the document directly, personally, and on its own terms.”1

 

As noted at the end of the quotation, we, the viewer, must cut through this com-pose-ition to address the document directly. We must cut away the appendages of style and view the person and the photograph on its own terms. This is why the simpler portraits in the exhibition have so much more power than the overly constructed ones – they reach for an intangible essence that Cole is seeking by dropping away style and surrendering to the ineffable, a recognition of the lightness and joy in just being.

Marcus Bunyan for the Art Blart blog

 

  1. Feiereisen, Florence and Pope, Daniel. “True Fiction and Fictional Truths: The Enigmatic in Sebald’s Use of Images in ‘The Emigrants’,” in Patt, Lise (ed.,). Searching for Sebald: Photography after W.G. Sebald. Los Angeles: The Institute of Cultural Inquiry, 2007, p. 175.

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Many thankx to Olivia Poloni and Nellie Castan Gallery for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. The permission is most appreciated. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image. All photographs © Bind Cole, courtesy of the artist and Nellie Castan Gallery.

 

Bindi Cole. 'Crystal' 2009

 

Bindi Cole
Crystal
2009

 

Bindi Cole. 'Frederina' 2009

 

Bindi Cole
Frederina
2009

 

 

“The term ‘Sistagirl’ is used to describe a transgender person in Tiwi Island culture. Traditionally, the term was ‘Yimpininni’. The very existence of the word provides some indication of the inclusive attitudes historically extended towards Aboriginal sexual minorities. Colonisation not only wiped out many indigenous people, it also had an impact on Aboriginal culture and understanding of sexual and gender expression. As Catholicism took hold and many traditions were lost, this term became a thing of the past. Yimpininni were once held in high regard as the nurturers within the family unit and tribe much like the Faafafine from Samoa. As the usage of the term vanished, tribes’ attitudes toward queer indigenous people began to resemble that of the western world and religious right. Even today many Sistergirls are excluded from their own tribes and suffer at the hands of others.

Within a population of around 2500, there are approximately 50 ‘Sistagirls’ living on the Tiwi Islands. This community contains a complex range of dynamics including a hierarchy (a queen Sistergirl), politics, and a significant history of pride and shame. The Sistagirls are isolated yet thriving, unexplored territory with a beauty, strength and diversity to inspire and challenge.

During August and September of 2009, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to spend a month living with the ‘Sistagirls’ on the Tiwi Islands creating a series of highly stylised portraits of them. I loaded a barge with a four wheel drive, lights, a generator, cameras and enough film to fill a suitcase. Each day brought an emotional roller coaster from moments of elation around what was being achieved with the images to complete anxiety from the many dramas that occurred. This time has affected me in a profound way. The ‘Sistagirls’ have touched my heart. I only hope that in some way I have captured the essence of who they are and the spirit of their community. I know that they will always be a part of me and that I will be a regular visitor to Tiwi to visit the ‘Sistagirl’ community for the rest of my life.”

Artist statement from the Nellie Castan website [Online] Cited 22/07/2010 no longer available online

 

Bindi Cole. 'Jemima' 2009

 

Bindi Cole
Jemima
2009

 

Bindi Cole. 'Patricia' 2009

 

Bindi Cole
Patricia
2009

 

 

Nellie Castan Gallery

This gallery is no longer open.

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22
Jul
10

Text: ‘Across’ by Peter Handke

July 2019

 

As a follow up to my posting ‘How to Understand the Light on a Landscape’ by Pablo Helguera, my friend artist Ian Lobb sent me this text from the first few pages of the novel Across by Peter Handke (1986). In the novel the narrator, Andreas Loser, knocks down a stranger in the street, takes a leave of absence from his post as teacher of ancient languages and leaves his family to move to a drab flat in a housing development.

“Handke’s novel tells the story of a quiet, organised classics teacher named Andreas Loser. One night, on the way to his regularly scheduled card game, he passes a tree that has been defaced by a swastika. Impulsively yet deliberately, he tracks down the defacer and kills him. With this act, Loser has crossed an invisible threshold, and will be stuck in this secular purgatory until he can confess his crime.”

Text from Amazon website

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In this wonderful piece of text the first paragraph sets the scene before one of the most inspired pieces of writing, a meditation on story, on nothing, on light, joy and emptiness – a story of “Emptiness” that is fullness. Now and forever.

Marcus

 

 

 

Text from the novel Across by Peter Handke

 

 

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21
Jul
10

Exhibition: ‘Candid Camera: Australian Photography 1950s – 1970s’ at the Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide

Exhibition dates: 28th May – 1st August 2010

 

Robert McFarlane (Australia, b. 1942) 'Charles Perkins going home from University' c. 1963

 

Robert McFarlane (Australia, b. 1942)
Charles Perkins going home from University
c. 1963, Sydney
Pigment print on paper
23.0 x 15.0 cm (image)
South Australian Government Grant 2009
Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide
© Robert McFarlane, Courtesy of Josef Lebovic Gallery, Sydney

 

 

There are some great photographs below, including one of my favourite photographs by an Australian artist of all time – At Newport (1952) by Max Dupain. There is something about this photograph that makes it even more iconic than Sunbaker (1934). Perhaps it is the modernist rendering of space, the tensional placement of the figures: the curve of the boys back, the slope of the young man’s torso and attendant shadow on the wall, the girl at bottom right caught looking at the poised figure about to dive in – coupled with the receding pylons floating into the distance and the dark cliff face at right.

To have the previsualisation in the mind’s eye, that understanding of what was about to happen placed before the camera and then to capture it takes a truly great photographer. Being a naturalised Australian this is, to me, is one of the most iconic of all Australian photographs. What a beautiful photograph.

Marcus

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Many thankx to Miranda Young and the Art Gallery of South Australia for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

Rennie Ellis (Australia, 1940-2003) 'Auntie Mame, Kings Cross' 1970-71

 

Rennie Ellis (Australia, 1940-2003)
Auntie Mame, Kings Cross
1970-71, Sydney
Gelatin silver photograph
37.0 x 24.0 cm (image)
South Australian Government Grant 2009
Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide
© Rennie Ellis Photographic Archive

 

Jeff Carter (Australia, 1928-2010) 'Tobacco Road' 1956

 

Jeff Carter (Australia, 1928-2010)
Tobacco Road
1956, Ovens Valley, Victoria
Gelatin silver photograph
28.8 x 27.1 cm (image)
South Australian Government Grant 2003
Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide
© Jeff Carter

 

 

“Candid moments of Australian life from the 1950s, 60s and 70s, captured by some of Australia’s most renowned photographers, go on display in Candid Camera – a fascinating new photographic exhibition at the Art Gallery of South Australia.

Curated by Julie Robinson, the Art Gallery’s Senior Curator of Prints, Drawings & Photographs, Candid Camera: Australian Photography 1950s – 1970s includes more than 80 documentary images by photographers including Max Dupain, David Moore, Jeff Carter, Robert McFarlane, Mervyn Bishop, Rennie Ellis, Carol Jerrems and Roger Scott.

These photographers have been great observers, capturing memorable images in Australia and abroad of people at leisure or engaged in everyday activities – images which appear unposed, spontaneous, or with their subjects captured unaware.

The photographs on display encompass social rituals, beach culture, protest movements, Indigenous issues, migration, youth subcultures, work, leisure, music, people, travel and humour. They range from images of the famous – such as Prime Ministers, boxing champion Lionel Rose, musicians Bon Scott and Daddy Cool – to those of ordinary people.

Says Julie Robinson, “The photographs in Candid Camera epitomise life during the 50s, 60s and 70s and resonate with spontaneity, humour and humanity.”

Robinson explains, “Even the anonymous people seem familiar to us as a result of these photographs, like David Moore’s European migrants arriving in Sydney, Rennie Ellis’s Cosmetics salesgirl, Toorak Rd, the two youths exiting ghost train ride in Roger Scott’s photograph or the unidentified women waiting at an Adelaide bus stop, in Robert McFarlane’s photograph.”

Many of these photographs have only been recently acquired by the Art Gallery of South Australia and this exhibition will provide the first opportunity for audiences to view them displayed together.”

Press release from the Art Gallery of South Australia website [Online] Cited 20/10/2010 no longer available online

 

Jeff Carter (Australia, 1928-2010) 'Saturday arvo, Chippendale' 1960

 

Jeff Carter (Australia, 1928-2010)
Saturday arvo, Chippendale
1960, Chippendale, New South Wales
Gelatin silver photograph
30.5 x 36.1 cm (image)
South Australian Government Grant 2003
Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide
© Jeff Carter

 

Max Dupain (Australia, 1911-1992) 'At Newport' 1952

 

Max Dupain (Australia, 1911-1992)
At Newport
1952, Sydney
Gelatin silver photograph
31.5 x 34.0 cm (image)
D’Auvergne Boxall Bequest Fund 2009
Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide

 

Rennie Ellis (Australia, 1940-2003) 'Cosmetics salesgirl, Toorak Road' c. 1970

 

Rennie Ellis (Australia, 1940-2003)
Cosmetics salesgirl, Toorak Road
c. 1970, Melbourne
Gelatin silver photograph
29.0 x 43.5 cm (image)
South Australian Government Grant 2009
Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide
© Rennie Ellis Photographic Archive

 

Rennie Ellis (Australia, 1940-2003) 'Union Jack, Lorne' c. 1968

 

Rennie Ellis (Australia, 1940-2003)
Union Jack, Lorne
c. 1968, Victoria
Gelatin silver photograph
29.4 x 44.0 cm (image)
South Australian Government Grant 2009
Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide
© Rennie Ellis Photographic Archive

 

Roger Scott (Australia, born 1944) 'Ghost train' 1972

 

Roger Scott (Australia, born 1944)
Ghost train
1972, Sydney
Gelatin silver photograph
27.0 x 40.0 cm (image)
South Australian Government Grant 2009
Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide
© Roger Scott, Courtesy of Josef Lebovic Gallery, Sydney

 

 

Art Gallery of South Australia
North Terrace
Adelaide SA 5000
Phone: 61 8 8207 7000

Opening hours:
Daily 10am – 5pm

Art Gallery of South Australia website

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18
Jul
10

Text: ‘How to Understand the Light on a Landscape’ (2005) by Pablo Helguera

July 2010

 

I have managed to track down the artist and author Pablo Helguera (after I quoted his words in the review on the work of Jill Orr) and obtain permission to publish his wonderful text How to Understand the light on a Landscape taken from a video work of 2005.

Many, many thankx to Pablo Helguera for allowing my to publish the text and photographs below. The permission is truly appreciated. The text is beautiful, insightful – a must for any artist who wishes to understand the condition of light on a landscape.

Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image. Text and photographs © Pablo Helguera

 

“‘How to Understand the Light on a Landscape’ (video, 15 min., 2005) is a work that simulates a scientific documentary about light to discuss the experiential aspects of light as triggered by memory. The images and text below, taken from the video, are part of the book published by the Institute of Cultural Inquiry, entitled Searching for Sebald: Photography After W.G. Sebald edited by Lise Patt, 2007, pp. 110-119.”

 

 

'How to Understand the Light on a Landscape' (2005) by Pablo Helguera

 

 

“To understand is to forget about loving.”

Fernando Pessoa

 

For Luis Ignacio Helguera Soiné (1926-2005)

 

LIGHT is understood as the electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength that is visible to the eye. Yet, the precise nature of light, and the way it affects matter, is one of the key questions of modern physics.

Due to wave-particle duality, light simultaneously exhibits properties of both waves and particles that affect a physical space. There are many sources of light. A body at a given temperature will emit a characteristic spectrum known as black body radiation. The conjunction of a body present in the landscape, along with the interaction of the light in the environment, produces an effect that in modern psychology we describe as experience.

The conjunction of a random site, the accumulated data in the body’s memory that is linked to emotion, and the general behavior of light form experience. Experience is triggered by light, but not exclusively by the visible light of the electromagnetic spectrum. What the human eye is incapable to perceive is absorbed by other sensory parts of the body, which contribute to the perception that light causes an effect that goes beyond the merely visual.

In our life span, we witness only a few limited emission incidents of light that intersect with spontaneous receptivity of memory in specific places. They happen selectively and in rapid sequences, at night, when a door opens, when we are very young, when we drop off someone at the airport. They all, however, are inscribed by the behavior of light. As we age and our receptivity declines, our eyes and body become denser material through which there is a reduction of the speed of light, known as a decline in the refractive index of memory.

The extent of the breeding behavior of EXPERIENTIAL LIGHT is determined by the amount of cyclical phenomena we have experienced, such as the slight humidity that signals the transition of spring into summer. The refractive index of memory is mostly marked by the unusually happy or sad periods of our lives, and the slow decline that gradually dominates our perception. Forgetfulness gradually inhibits the experience of light, and cannot be reversed.

 

'How to Understand the Light on a Landscape' (2005) by Pablo Helguera

 

 

The glow of heaviness, commonly known as SOMBER LIGHT, appears in urban solitude and often towards the end of the day. It is a particularly cruel light to experience, as it stimulates attractive visions, like the singing of two women on a radiant evening but it then reveals hidden anxieties that we may have about the end of things, as Homer describes the fatal singing of the mermaids.

HOME LIGHT is too familiar to be seen. It is the kind of light that we first saw when we were born and we always recognize, but often take for granted. Home light is highly volatile light, and it often vanishes when it is named, as a dream that ends when we dream that we are dreaming. There is no point in explaining this light, because it is too familiar to the owner and too alien to all others. Yet a high experiential index is evident when it’s there, ready to envelop us when we encounter it again wherever we go. We can only know that we all have this kind of light in ourselves, as if in our pockets, ready to come out at a critical moment.

There is the shining of large breath, full of itself, that enters with grandeur into a landscape, uninvited, taking over the logic of everything, promoting the conjunction of belief and fragility. It creates mythologies, and the belief that there is something greater than us in a time that is ungraspable or far larger than our minuscule time in this world.

There is also a glow known as GHOST LIGHT that can only be seen, like some apparitions, in photographs, especially the snapshots taken by those who went through a long trip or extenuating circumstances in their lives, such as returning from a bloody war, escaping hunger and threat. It expresses an image of lonely liberty, where all is in order but there is little that can be enjoyed with that order, as if what happened before had affected the future of it all. It functions like a Swiss clock, harmonious but predictable.

 

There is the light of the deathbed,
that lingers on for a long time after the incident,
and often takes the appearance of a rainy day

 

There is the LIGHT OF THE DEATHBED, that lingers on for a long time after the incident, and often takes the appearance of a rainy day, even many years later, like the widow that will hold on to wearing black. It is a refracting light, the light of the permanent finality of the moment that often creates the impression of letting us know something that we didn’t know, just like an unopened letter found after many years. Its extremely old waves appear to have a cool breeze, as if ready to inspire a Flemish painting.

Those who once read long 19th century novels often recognize RAIN LIGHT. It is often seen from a train in motion, when it is arriving to a station that is not our destination, and yet we feel there is something we are leaving behind, as if we had indeed lived another life, or had developed a sense of belonging to those who we see getting off.

But there is also a tired glow on a cloudy summer afternoon right before or during lunchtime, one that emerges after strenuous work by others but that we see when we are doing nothing, or when we are resting. It is also similar to the light of the movie matinee that we see with the fascination of remembering that it is still daytime after we came from darkness. It also reminds us of food we ate a long time ago and the extinct products and fashions from the time when we were kids.

 

'How to Understand the Light on a Landscape' (2005) by Pablo Helguera

 

 

There is a PROTECTIVE LIGHT that reminds us of the womb, of the time where we were completely protected. This light inspires endless nostalgic yearning to attain that protection again. Our obsession with protective light prevents us from growing and makes us fear change. We wish we could be like that woman in a distant small city who was born, married, and died on the same street. It is true that no velocity and amount of experience can compare with the accumulated placement of experience in a single spot. But due to the impossibility of being able to replace protective light, these attempts derive in the light of the tourist, taking the same image all around the world, seeking comfort in every place when in reality there is no comfort to be had.

Another source of satisfaction is the working light that signals many events that take place on an everyday basis, like business lunches in city cafeterias, like going to the post office, like all the activity proper of the midday urban sprawl, a dynamic, powerful light, with the enthusiasm and perhaps strange mixture of happiness and melancholy we used to feel in school when we were finally off for vacations but we would not get to see our high school crush for the rest of the summer. We will know how to recognize this sunlight when we see it slowly crawl through the walls until it disappears completely.

There is of course the ARTIFICIAL LIGHT. It is a light for waiting, a transitory light that creates the impression that the actual moment doesn’t exist but rather a joining of procedures that take us from one place to another, which we call the obligations of life.

 

We wish we could be like that woman in a distant small city
who was born, married, and died on the same street.
It is true that no velocity and amount of experience can compare with
the accumulated placement of experience in a single spot.

 

ARTIFICIAL LIGHT crawls into our lives, and we tend to also see it on the outdoors, sometimes exchanging it mentally for real sunlight. It makes us feel that every place is the same to us because we are the same. Under artificial light, the strangers that we see in the street soon start looking eerily familiar to us.

This is the LIGHT OF THE TRULY BLIND, where unreality is a perfectly kept lawn, an undisturbed peace, and an organized tour to an exotic location where nothing happens. This light constructed by official human communication is an empty airport, a constant waiting room full of scheduled departures with no one in the planes and plenty of flight simulations.

There is the LIGHT OF ADOLESCENCE, a blinding light that is similar to the one we feel when we are asleep facing the sun and we feel its warmth but don’t see it directly. Sometimes it marks the unplace, perhaps the commonality of all places or perhaps, for those who are pessimists, the unplaceness of every location.

 

'How to Understand the Light on a Landscape' (2005) by Pablo Helguera

 

 

There is a SUNDAY LIGHT, profoundly euphoric and unsettling, both because it reminds us of leisure but also of Monday’s obligations; it is the one we used to read comic strips with, while eating pancakes outdoors, or go to the store to buy coffee or watch the sports on TV, a trustworthy companion light that seems to last, creating clear shadows and warmth as well as a confident sense of the present – it is the only light that we enjoy regardless of our age and never want it to ever go away.

There is a HOTEL LIGHT, of transitory nature, that generates unexpected and intense responses especially to those whose happier memories have taken place at the garden or swimming pool of a hotel. It often talks of fantasy worlds that are real just because we let ourselves fall into the fantasy they offer, parentheses of light that can well be captured in a snapshot.

Sometimes we experience the LIGHT OF THE LAST DAY, a kind of light that takes form during farewells or moments of consciousness when we know that what we are looking at that moment shall never be repeated, and that years from now we will be recalling that moment. Moments of memory that are memories even in the moments when we live them.

There is USED LIGHT, light that has been lived by others, and we are always left with the impression that we missed something important, like listening only to the very end of a certain conversation, our constant expectation of a phone call that never arrived, or the obsessive possibilities of an unrequited love.

Or the NARRATED LIGHT, the one that we only know by description and think that we recognize it when we see it when it may always be an impossibility to get a glimpse of its wilderness. It is a light of induced learning, as when we inherit memories from others to the point of believing that they are memories of our own.

And it is in this light where that which is the farthest can suddenly appear very familiar, even if we are in a medieval museum entering into the least observed gallery, when we feel that we share a private life with the people from that time and we see them in our dreams as hybrid beings of flesh and the corroded wood of a sculpted saint.

 

Sometimes we experience the light of the last day …
Moments of memory that are memories
even in the moments when we live them.

 

With this light we can also recall the thousands of pictures taken by our grandparents during their honeymoon in Europe, landscapes and sunsets accumulated in tin boxes for half a century.

Few are able to perceive TRANSPARENT LIGHT, a light that hurts for unknown reasons, perhaps because it is so clear that it allows us to see too much or because it stings our consciousness, awakening images that we may prefer to forget.

 

'How to Understand the Light on a Landscape' (2005) by Pablo Helguera

 

 

And on the other end of the spectrum, there is the AFTER LIGHT, a light of the past, which are echoes from past experiences so intense that they sometimes appear in front of us in the form of unexpected shadows. They hide on clear days under the roofs of houses. It is believed to be the same light seen by people we knew many years ago that survives like a message in a bottle, but always in a precarious way and often vanishes into thin air.

Light likes to introduce trouble and ask questions, forcing us to reconcile our thoughts and decide how we feel – our mind makes photosynthesis out of its particles and we feel we grow or diminish with it, going to sleep when there is no light, waking up when the light comes back.

But ultimately, and given that our perception is generally faulty and dependent on random associations, it is useless to try to categorize the different species of light on the basis of personal experience as we do here, or to speak about a zoology of light that results from the conjunction of landscapes and moving observers.

 

There is no spirit, but rather a weak string of perceptions,
a line of coded language that writes a book to be read only by ourselves,
and be given meaning by ourselves and to ourselves.

 

The intersection of our body with the light and the landscape and the coded form of language that we have to construct by ourselves and explain to ourselves is our daily ordeal, and we are free to choose to ignore and live without it, because there is nothing we can do with this language other than talking to ourselves. There is no point in trying to explain it to others because it is not designed to be this way, other than remaining a remote, if equivalent, language.

Some for that reason prefer to construct empty spaces with nondescript imagery, and thus be free of the seductive and nostalgic undecipherability of the landscape and the light.

Or we may choose to openly embrace the darkness of light, and thus let ourselves through the great gates of placehood, where we can finally accept the unexplainable concreteness of our moments for what they are. There is no spirit, but rather a weak string of perceptions, a line of coded language that writes a book to be read only by ourselves, and be given meaning by ourselves and to ourselves.

When we know that we can’t truly speak about what we experience, we now arrive to the edge of our understanding and the edge of our meanings. While on the other side we may encounter others to talk to, they are much farther than we think, while we are firmly set in here, holding on perhaps to one single image of which we may only continue to hope to decode its meaning up to the very last day when our memory serves our mind, and our mind serves our feelings.

Text from the Pablo Helguera Archive website 2nd October 2005 [Online] Cited 28/10/2019

 

 

Pablo Helguera Archive website

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16
Jul
10

Exhibition: ‘Open Landscape’ at Galerie Wagner + Partner, Berlin

Exhibition dates: 21st May – 31st July 2010

Artists: Peter Dreher, Friederike Jokisch, Josef Schulz, Thomas Wrede

 

Many thankx to Cai Wagner and Galerie Wagner + Partner for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting.
All works: © the artist, courtesy Galerie Wagner + Partner. Please click on the photograph for a larger version of the image.

 

 

Peter Dreher. 'Schöne Tage im Hochschwarzwald' 1999

 

Peter Dreher (German, b. 1932)
Schöne Tage im Hochschwarzwald
1999
Oil on canvas

 

Friederike Jokisch (German, b. 1981) 'Domizil' 2009

 

Friederike Jokisch (German, b. 1981)
Domizil
2009
Pastel

 

Josef Schulz (Polish, b. 1966) 'Felswand #3' 2008

 

Josef Schulz (Polish, b. 1966)
Felswand #3
2008
Type C print Diasec

 

 

Nature became landscape long ago. Since the Romantic period landscape has furthermore been an aesthetic position. But what is landscape for the modern human being? The thematic exhibition “Open Landscape” at the Galerie Wagner + Partner provides a juxtaposition of multigenerational photographic and pictorial approaches to this question. The reference point for all participating artists is the real landscape.

The works of Thomas Wrede and Joseph Schulz increase their charm through friction between photorealistic representation extended through staging and intervention. Wrede, in his series entitled “Real Landscapes” combines the natural beauty of landscape with constructed miniature models. The landscapes photographed in this way appear seductively plausible and exaggerate the romantic projection.

Schulz similarly aims for an aesthetic exaggeration and idealisation through digital intervention in his nature photographs of the series “Terraform”. Through the elimination of human traces he reconstructs the lost primordial state of nature and creates people’s “internal” images of the landscape.

Similarly originating from actual landscape, Peter Dreher’s “Schwarzwaldlandschaft” (Black Forest Landscape) appears idealistic. It almost appears to be based on the tradition of “Heimatmalerei” (patriotic landscape painting). Viewed in close proximity however, the picture’s elements are ordered according to days and time. Each single picture documents what the artist saw and captured at precisely this point in time. Only when viewed as a whole an abstract picture of landscape as space-time-construct appears.

The central theme of Neo Rauch-student Friederike Jokisch is the landscape beyond the established idyll. Her large format pastel paintings make the process of transformation from nature to landscape tangible. In striking pictures “landscape” is demystified and instead ruptures and alienations between culture and nature become central themes.

The exhibition consciously poses more questions, attempts to find fewer answers. At the same time it continues the theme of the previous exhibition “The Nightingale’s Secret Garden”.

Text from the Galerie Wagner + Partner website

 

Thomas Wrede (German, b. 1963) 'Drive In Theatre' 2009

 

Thomas Wrede (German, b. 1963)
Drive In Theatre
2009
Lambda Print Diasec

 

Thomas Wrede (German, b. 1963) 'In the Tertiary Valley' 2008

 

Thomas Wrede (German, b. 1963)
In the Tertiary Valley
2008
Lambda Print Diasec

 

'Open Landscape' exhibition view at Galerie Wagner + Partner, 2010

 

Open Landscape exhibition view at Galerie Wagner + Partner, 2010

 

 

Galerie Wagner + Partner
Koppenplatz 5 – 6
10115 Berlin
Germany

Opening hours:
Wednesday – Saturday: 1-6pm

Galerie Wagner + Partner website

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13
Jul
10

Review: ‘The Way Things Appear’ by Anne Zahalka at Arc One Gallery, Melbourne

Exhibition dates: 29th June – 24th July, 2010

 

Anne Zahalka (Australian, b. 1957) 'National Portrait Gallery #1' 1992/2010

 

Anne Zahalka (Australian, b. 1957)
National Portrait Gallery #1
1992/2010

 

 

A patchy exhibition by Anne Zahalka at Arc One Gallery, Melbourne. I can’t help feeling that we have seen this before, and done better, in the work of Candida Hofer and Thomas Struth.

Although the square photographs are taken by a medium format film camera (a Hasselblad I suspect) and printed as C-type prints (hence the lush colours) because the camera was handheld this means that, in some of the photographs, little is actually in focus. While this may add to the immediacy of the images, like a quick snapshot as Zahalka prowls the galleries, it detracts from the clarity of the previsualisation of the artist whilst also detracting from the visual depth of field that the subject matter needed.

On the positive side there are some lovely spatial relationships between the figures in the paintings and the busts on the pedestals: in one particular photograph (National Portrait Gallery #2, 2010) there is an almost symbiotic relationship between the man in the painting at left, the bust of the man on the pedestal and the man at the very left in the right hand painting. This arrangement is like a triple portrait of the same person. A similar understanding of the spatial relationships within the image frame can be seen in National Portrait Gallery #1 (see photograph above), one of the more successful photographs in the series, with it’s wonderful red flocked wallpaper and gilt frames.

On the right hand side of the gallery there are numerous vertical colour photographs taken on a 35mm camera that feature the back of people looking at a work of art (see National Gallery of Australia, Masters of Paris #5, 2010). These are basic photographs that seek to conceptualise the act of looking at art as a tourist industry to no great affect or insight into the condition being examined.

Dr Marcus Bunyan

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Many thankx to Angela Connor and Arc One Gallery for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photograph for a larger version of the image.

 

Anne Zahalka (Australian, b. 1957) 'National Portrait Gallery #5' 2010

 

Anne Zahalka (Australian, b. 1957)
National Portrait Gallery #5
2010

 

Anne Zahalka (Australian, b. 1957) 'National Portrait Gallery #3' 1992/2010

 

Anne Zahalka (Australian, b. 1957)
National Portrait Gallery #3
1992/2010

 

Anne Zahalka (Australian, b. 1957) 'Prado Museum, Madrid' 1992/2010

 

Anne Zahalka (Australian, b. 1957)
Prado Museum, Madrid
1992/2010

 

 

Arc One Gallery
45 Flinders Lane
Melbourne, 3000
Phone: +61 3 9650 0589

Opening hours:
Tue – Sat 11am – 5pm

Arc One Gallery website

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10
Jul
10

Exhibition: ‘Horizons’ by Bruno Cals at 1500 Gallery, New York

Exhibition dates: 6th May – 31st July 2010

 

Bruno Cals (Brazilian, b. 1967) 'Avenida Paulista 01' 2009

 

Bruno Cals (Brazilian, b. 1967)
Avenida Paulista 01
2009

 

 

I love these photographs – the perspective, framing and lighting of a subject matter seen in a utterly unique way.

Marcus

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Many thankx to Andrew Klug and 1500 Gallery for allowing me publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

 

Bruno Cals (Brazilian, b. 1967) 'Avenida Paulista 02' 2009

 

Bruno Cals (Brazilian, b. 1967)
Avenida Paulista 02
2009

 

Bruno Cals (Brazilian, b. 1967) 'Avenida Paulista 03' 2009

 

Bruno Cals (Brazilian, b. 1967)
Avenida Paulista 03
2009

 

Bruno Cals (Brazilian, b. 1967) 'Prada' 2009

 

Bruno Cals (Brazilian, b. 1967)
Prada
2009

 

Bruno Cals (Brazilian, b. 1967) 'Hermès' 2009

 

Bruno Cals (Brazilian, b. 1967)
Hermès
2009

 

 

Horizons, a series of architectural photographs by Brazilian photographer Bruno Cals, will be on view at 1500 Gallery from May 6-July 31, 2010. The six photographs in the exhibition are part of a personal artistic project that Cals, a well-known fashion/advertising photographer based in Sao Paulo, Brazil, has been working on since 2008. There will be an opening reception at the gallery on May 13 from 6-8 pm.

The photographs in the Horizons series are suggestive of something beyond the record presented. The images of the buildings in São Paulo, Tokyo and Buenos Aires explore the limits of two-dimensionality, and articulate a radically different perspective on a commonplace visual scenario. In expressing this fresh point of view, Bruno Cals has invoked contrasting themes of possibility versus impossibility, presence versus emptiness, and search versus satisfaction.

About Bruno Cals

Bruno Cals was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1967. At age 19, Cals moved to Paris and began a successful career as a fashion model. At age 26, he decided that he wanted to be a photographer and returned to Brazil where he began shooting professionally. Initially a fashion photographer, Cals worked for Vogue and Elle and Visionaire. Since then, he has become a successful advertising photographer, working for the largest advertising agencies in Brazil. He has won several awards, including three at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival.

About 1500 Gallery

Alexandre Bueno de Moraes and Andrew S. Klug founded 1500 Gallery in 2010. The gallery specialises in Brazilian photography and is the first gallery in the world with this explicit focus. 1500 interprets the notion of “Brazilian photography” to comprise photography made by Brazilian photographers, as well as images bearing a conceptual or thematic relationship to Brazil. 1500 represents the work of 17 artists, both emerging and established: 6 of 1500’s photographers are represented in the Sao Paulo Museum of Art’s Collection of Photography. 1500’s collection of images includes both contemporary and vintage photography.

Text from the 1500 Gallery website [Online] 05/10/2010 no longer available online

 

Bruno Cals (Brazilian, b. 1967) 'Palermo 01' 2009

 

Bruno Cals (Brazilian, b. 1967)
Palermo 01
2009

 

Bruno Cals (Brazilian, b. 1967) 'Palermo 02' 2009

 

Bruno Cals (Brazilian, b. 1967)
Palermo 02
2009

 

Bruno Cals (Brazilian, b. 1967) 'Quartier' 2009

 

Bruno Cals (Brazilian, b. 1967)
Quartier
2009

 

Bruno Cals (Brazilian, b. 1967) 'Safra' 2009

 

Bruno Cals (Brazilian, b. 1967)
Safra
2009

 

Bruno Cals (Brazilian, b. 1967) 'Tokyo Midtown' 2009

 

Bruno Cals (Brazilian, b. 1967)
Tokyo Midtown
2009

 

 

1500 Gallery
511 w 25th St. #607
New York, NY 10001
+1.212.255.2010

Opening hours:
Thursday-Saturday: 12 – 6pm
Sunday-Monday: Closed
Tuesday-Wednesday: 12 – 6pm

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06
Jul
10

Review: ‘Simryn Gill: Gathering’ at Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne

Exhibition dates: 22 April – 18 July 2010

 

Simryn Gill (Singapore, b. 1959) 'Pearls' 1999

 

Simryn Gill (Singapore, b. 1959)
Pearls
1999
Private collection

 

 

This is a strong survey exhibition of the work of Simryn Gill at Heide Museum of Modern Art. Like most survey exhibitions it suffers from a slightly piecemeal approach, dipping in and out of various bodies of work to try to make up a holistic whole. Conceptually this is not a problem as the thematic development of Gill’s work, her narrative arc if you like, is evident throughout. Visually this causes some work to seem isolated and left me wanting more connection between pieces and rooms as you walk around.

Highlights included May 2006 (2006), Pearls (1999 – ongoing), Untitled (interiors) 2008 and Throwback (2007).

In May 2006 (2006) 817 silver gelatin photographs are mounted in columns of images, each column making up one of 30 rolls of film, one shot every day of a month photographing the artist’s immediate neighbourhood in Marrickville, Sydney, in the month in which the film expiration date occurred. Each column has a different number of images and are mounted along the one of the largest walls in the Heide galleries, producing an effect almost like a DNA sequence. Abstract scenes of pathways, fences, cars in streets, broken gutters, planes flying houses, trees, people walking, abandoned telephone directories, Hills hoists, coffee shops, windows, rooftops and factories inhabit the frame of reference – the environment seeming to be abandoned both literally and metaphorically. Empty chairs move from picture to picture. No Parking here!

There are some great angles in these photographs a la Robert Frank ‘The Americans’ with excellent use of short depth of field shooting across tabletops for example. Above all there is a sense of abandonment, desolation and isolation in the intersection of spaces. Even in strong sunlight there is a strange, haunting melancholy present – an innate understanding of the subconsciously known archetype of space and place, that sense of belonging – and an absolute recognition in the viewer of that.

In Pearls (1999 – ongoing, see photograph above) friends provide Gill with a book of personal value, which she then transforms into beads of paper and then strings them together as necklaces which she then returns to the owner as a gift. The colours, length and heaviness of the necklace depends on the book chosen – the reconstructed text lying like pearls of wisdom against the skin of the giver/receiver, the meaning of the book transformed through the process. What a beautiful gift to receive.

Untitled (interiors) (2008), my second favourite work of the day, features bronze sculptures cast from the empty spaces created by dry cracks in the ground found near Nyngan and Lake George, New South Wales. The sculptures present the cracks inverted so they become like miniature mountain ranges, the cracks in the earth filled and metamorphosing until they thrust into the air, the empty spaces of the earth uplifted, negative/positive spaces interchangeable. This is a simple but beautifully resolved work. Unfortunately I do not have any photographs to show you of these sculptures.

Other work includes My own private Angkor (2007, see photograph above), photographs taken at a housing estate in Port Dickson that is becoming overgrown and returning to the surrounding landscape that Gill has made into her own Angkor Wat in reverse, featuring the detritus of a vanquished, constructed environment; four black and white photographs from ‘Forest’ (1996) featuring text on leaves; a glass case of curiosities like the Victorian cabinet of curiosities that includes a jar of plastic cowboys and indians, a bowl of Mindanao pearls, found and made spherical objects, cast tin and mango seeds (Some of my best friends suck mangoes, 1998) and different noses of cast tin (Bouquet 1994); Untitled (1998 – ongoing), a glass case full of found and blunt objects arranged like a seismograph recording, small at the ends and big in the centre featuring scissors, clubs, spoons, knives, bottle top openers, tweezers, letter openers and salad servers!; and Paper boats (2008, see photographs below), table and floor covered by paper boats made from the torn out pages of Encyclopedia Britannica 1968 with the invitation to “Please make boats” with no explanation as to how, exactly, to make them – human knowledge as text, detritus, object, place, manufacture and commission.

The absolute star of the exhibition is the installation Throwback (2007, see photographs below). The installation features the interior parts of a Tata truck (the engine and axles) recast in termite mound soils, river clay, laterite, sea shells, fruit skins, coconut bark, resin, and fibre laid on a huge dissecting table (much like the body in Rembrandt’s painting The Anatomy Lesson of Dr Tulp (1632)) – the layout of the engine and axles evoking the spine and interior skeleton of the body. Unfortunately I do not have an overview photograph of the whole work but parts of the work can be seen in the photographs below. The Tata truck spent its working life plying the roads of the forests of Malaysia:

“With the rise of China and India, a voracious market for scrap metal has developed, hastening the disappearance of particular objects, Gill recovers the modern forms of the truck parts by casting them in natural materials found near her studio in Port Dickson.” (Wall text from the exhibition)

.
This is an outstanding work that left me stunned with it’s beauty and insightfulness. It literally took my breath away and for that reason alone a visit to this exhibition at Heide is well worth the journey.

Dr Marcus Bunyan for the Art Blart blog

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

 

 

“The work of Simryn Gill considers questions of place and history, and how they might intersect with personal and collection experience … Using objects, language and photographs, her work conveys a deep interest in material culture, and in the ways that meaning can transform and translate in different contexts. Through the reinterpretation or alteration of existing objects, the photographing of specific locations, and the forming of collections, Gill contemplates how ideas and meanings are communicated between people, objects and sites.”

.
Wall text from the exhibition

 

 

Simryn Gill (Singapore, b. 1959) 'Untitled' 1999

 

Simryn Gill (Singapore, b. 1959)
Untitled
1999
Gouache on National Geographic magazine pages (1970s)
Courtesy of the artist, BREENSPACE, Sydney and Tracy Williams Ltd, New York

 

Simryn Gill (Singapore, b. 1959) 'Untitled' 1999

 

Simryn Gill (Singapore, b. 1959)
Untitled
1999
Gouache on National Geographic magazine pages (1970s)
Courtesy of the artist, BREENSPACE, Sydney and Tracy Williams Ltd, New York

 

Simryn Gill (Singapore, b. 1959) 'My own private Angkor' 2007

 

Simryn Gill (Singapore, b. 1959)
My own private Angkor
2007
Courtesy of the artist, BREENSPACE, Sydney and Tracy Williams Ltd, New York

 

Simryn Gill (Singapore, b. 1959) 'Throwback' (detail) 2007

 

Simryn Gill (Singapore, b. 1959)
Throwback (detail)
2007
Interior parts of Tata truck, termite mound soil, river clay, laterite, seashells, fruit skins, leaves, bark and fibre, flowers, glue, resin, milk
Buxton Collection Melbourne
Courtesy of the artist

 

Simryn Gill (Singapore, b. 1959) 'Throwback' (detail) 2007

 

Simryn Gill (Singapore, b. 1959)
Throwback (detail)
2007
Interior parts of Tata truck, termite mound soil, river clay, laterite, seashells, fruit skins, leaves, bark and fibre, flowers, glue, resin, milk
Buxton Collection Melbourne
Courtesy of the artist

 

 

This exhibition (22 April – 18 July) presents the work of leading Sydney-based Malaysian artist, Simryn Gill. Featuring objects, books, collections, photographs and text pieces from the last six years of Gill’s practice, it explores the artist’s pursuit of meaning through materials, forms and ways of working, such as collecting, reading, archiving, arranging, casting and photographing.

Described in 2009 in the New Yorker as ‘quietly dazzling’, Gill’s work is internationally recognised. She has been honoured with solo exhibitions at the Tate Modern, London and the Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC, both in 2006. Born in Singapore in 1959, Gill lives and works in Sydney and Port Dickson, Malaysia, and has participated in significant exhibitions internationally, including documenta 12 in Kassel, Germany (2007), the Singapore Biennale (2006), the Biennale of Sydney (2002 and 2008), the São Paulo Biennial (2004) and the Venice Biennale (1999).

An MCA touring exhibition curated by Russell Storer, it has been expanded by Heide to include the Australian premiere of Gill’s major work Throwback, originally produced for the documenta 12 exhibition in Kassel, Germany, in 2007. Throwback reworks the inner machinery of a 1985 Tata truck that plied the roads of Malaysia. With the economic rise of China and India, a voracious market for scrap metal has developed, hastening the disappearance of particular objects. Gill recovers the modern forms of truck parts by casting them in natural materials – found near her studio in Malaysia – including river mud, coconut husks, reconstituted termite mounds and fruit skins.

Gill has also produced a new work, an artist’s book reflecting on the gardens at Heide.

Gill’s practice considers how we might experience place as an intersection of personal and collective histories and geographies. Through the reinterpretation or alteration of existing objects, the photographing of specific locations, and the forming of collections, Gill contemplates how ideas and meanings are communicated between people, objects, and sites.

Several works in the exhibition invite audience participation. Paper Boats invites visitors to add their own unique paper boat to the installation by tearing pages from a 1968 Encyclopaedia Britannica and using the sheet to make an origami boat. Another work, Garland (2006) encourages us to hold, touch and rearrange objects collected by Gill on the beaches of Port Dickson, Malaysia, and the islands off Singapore – fragments reshaped by sea and sand that take on almost organic form.

A selection of books, sketches, collections and experimental pieces from the early 1990s to the present, some produced for exhibitions and others never intended as artworks will also be presented as part of the exhibition. Together they offer an insight into Gill’s artistic processes and her interest in art-making as an active engagement with the world.”

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

 

Simryn Gill (Singapore, b. 1959) 'Paper boats' 2008

 

Simryn Gill (Singapore, b. 1959)
Paper boats
2008
Encyclopaedia Britannica (1968 edition)
Courtesy of the artist and BREENSPACE, Sydney

 

Simryn Gill (Singapore, b. 1959) 'Paper boats' 2008 (detail)

 

Simryn Gill (Singapore, b. 1959)
Paper boats (detail)
2008
Encyclopaedia Britannica (1968 edition)
Courtesy of the artist and BREENSPACE, Sydney

 

Addendum: A Pencil for Your Thoughts

 

Heide pencil

 

Heide pencil, the confounding pencil

 

I love to visit Heide, the elegant buildings, the art, the cafe, a stroll in the gardens looking at the sculpture. What I don’t like is being accosted by gallery attendants on my last three visits, twice on the last visit alone to review the Simryn Gill exhibition – accost being not too harsh a word for some of the approaches. The request: to not write in the gallery with a pen but to use a pencil (rushed to the scene of the crime post haste!)

I don’t like writing with a pencil, they go blunt and I can’t read my notes. I like writing with a pen.
This is a ridiculous state of affairs, the only gallery in Melbourne that I know of that has such a ‘nanny state’ rule.

Do they think that I am going to:

a) spear the pen into the gallery wall
b) attack the attendant with the pen (after this last visit the thought did cross my mind!) or
c) scribble all over the art work like a child …

 

The more we are treated like children the more child-like we become.

“Put the pen on the ground … Step away from the pen.”

 

 

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

Opening hours:
(Heide II and Heide III)
Tue – Fri 10.00 am – 5.00 pm
Sat/Sun/Public Holidays 12.00 noon – 5.00 pm

Heide Museum of Modern Art 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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July 2010
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