Archive for August, 2010


Review: David Neale and Emma Price at Gallery Funaki, Melbourne

Exhibition dates: 10th August – 4th September 2010


David Neale. 'Brooch' 2009-10


David Neale
Steel, paint, marble, lapis lazuli



A nice double act of an exhibition at Gallery Funaki that showcases the jewellery of David Neale and first time exhibitor Emma Price. Neale’s delicate folded and layered brooches of bud and leaf-life forms sparkle with crushed marble, turquoise and lapis lazuli forming a palette of pale blues, pinks, greens and vibrant hints of red, the shapes almost a form of metal collage. As pieces of art they work excellently but as jewellery they seem fragile perhaps due to the thinness of the metal used and what I perceived as a lack of structural integrity. As brooches I wonder how carefully one would have to wear them (very carefully I suspect) and how long the crushed sparkling rock would adhere to the surface of the metal (I have since been reliably informed by Simon that they are very sturdy but this was an initial reaction on picking up the brooches).

Of more significance are the articulated trapezoid necklaces by Emma Price. These are stunning architectural works (at very reasonable prices!) that are made of gold, silver, brass and copper. They exude a quietness and balance that is beautiful and a playfulness (because of the interlinked forms that actually move) that is delightful. In these geometric forms there seems to be a suspension in/of reality as if the world is hanging by a thread. A bright future awaits for this artist.

Many thankx to Katie Scott and Gallery Funaki for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.



David Neale. 'Brooch' 2009-10


David Neale
Steel, paint, marble, lapis lazuli


David Neale 'Brooch' 2009-10


David Neale
Steel, paint, marble, lapis lazuli



Highly respected Melbourne jeweller David Neale presents new pieces alongside Emma Price, who will be showing her first significant group of work at Gallery Funaki in this exhibition.

David Neale’s intriguing folded forms, borne of his sensitive treatment of metal sheeting using texture and paint, have earned him a significant reputation both in Australia and overseas. His recent work shows a shift away from botanical influences, towards more abstract and expressive forms. There is a bold sense of the painterly in these works, as Neale’s powdery, textured colours become a dominant focus.

Emma Price completed her Masters of Gold and Silversmithing at RMIT in 2005 before spending a year at the Munich Academy of Fine Arts in 2008. Her finely balanced structures are constructed from painstakingly drawn down tubing in gold, brass, silver and copper. The shifting, architectonic forms of her neckpieces seem to dance against the body.

Text from the Gallery Funaki website [Online] Cited 26/08/2010 no longer available online


Emma Price. 'Necklace 2' 2010


Emma Price
Necklace 2
silver, brass, gold


Emma Price. 'Necklace 6' 2010


Emma Price
Necklace 6
silver, brass, copper, gold


Emma Price 'Necklace 8' 2010


Emma Price
Necklace 8



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

Opening hours:
Tues – Friday, 10.30 – 5pm
Sat 12 – 4pm

Gallery Funaki website


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

Exhibition dates: 26th March – 6th September 2010


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

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



Adam Helms. 'Untitled Portrait (Santa Fe Trail)' 2007


Adam Helms (American, b. 1974)
Untitled Portrait (Santa Fe Trail)
Double-sided screenprint on paper vellum edition 2/2
101.3 x 65.7 cm
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Purchased with funds contributed by the Photography Committee 2007.131


Idris Khan. 'Homage to Bernd Becher' 2007


Idris Khan (British, b. 1978)
Homage to Bernd Becher
Bromide print edition 1/6
49.8 x 39.7 cm
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Purchased with funds contributed by the Photography Committee 2007.132


Bernd and Hilla Becher. 'Water Towers' 1980


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


Andy Warhol. 'Orange Disaster #5' 1963


Andy Warhol (American, 1928-1987)
Orange Disaster #5
Acrylic and silkscreen enamel on canvas
269.2 x 207 cm
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Gift, Harry N. Abrams Family Collection 74.2118


Joan Jonas. 'Mirror Piece I' 1969


Joan Jonas (American, b. 1936)
Mirror Piece I
Chromogenic print
101 x 55.6 cm
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Purchased with funds contributed by the Photography Committee


Zhang Huan. '12 Square Meters' 1994


Zhang Huan (Chinese, b. 1965)
12 Square Meters
Chromogenic print A.P. 3/5, edition of 15
149.9 x 99.7 cm
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Purchased with funds contributed by Manuel de Santaren and Jennifer and David Stockman



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

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

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

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


Appropriation and the Archive

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


Sophie Calle. 'Father Mother (The Graves, #17)' 1990


Sophie Calle (French, b. 1953)
Father Mother (The Graves, #17)
Two gelatin silver prints in artist’s frames edition 2/2
181.0 x 111.1 cm each
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Gift, The Bohen Foundation


Ana Mendieta. 'Untitled (Silueta Series)' 1978


Ana Mendieta (Cuban American, 1948-1985)
Untitled (Silueta series)
Gelatin silver print
20.3 x 25.4 cm
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Purchased with funds contributed by the Photography Committee


Anne Collier. 'Crying' 2005


Anne Collier (American, b. 1970)
Chromogenic print edition 1/5
99.1 x 134 x 0.6 cm
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Purchased with funds contributed by Mr. and Mrs. Aaron M. Tighe



Landscape, Architecture, and the Passage of Time

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


Documentation and Reiteration

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


Trauma and the Uncanny

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

Press release from the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum website [Online] Cited 22/08/2010 no longer available online


James Casebere. 'Garage' 2003


James Casebere (American, b. 1953)
Chromogenic print, face-mounted to acrylic edition 2/5
181.6 x 223.5 cm
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Anonymous gift, 2005.1


Miranda Lichtenstein. 'Floater' 2004


Miranda Lichtenstein (American, b. 1969)
Chromogenic print edition 5/5
104.1 x 127 cm
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Purchased with funds contributed by the Photography Committee


Sarah Anne Johnson. 'Morning Meeting (from Tree Planting)' 2003


Sarah Anne Johnson (Canadian, b. 1976)
Morning Meeting (from Tree Planting)
Chromogenic print edition ½
73.7 x 79.7 cm
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Purchased with funds contributed by Pamela and Arthur Sanders; the Harriett Ames
Charitable Trust; Henry Buhl; the Heather and Tony Podesta Collection; Ann and Mel Schaffer; Shelley Harrison; and the Photography Committee


Sally Mann. 'Virginia' from the 'Mother Land' series 1992


Sally Mann (American, b. 1951)
Virginia from the Mother Land series
Gelatin silver print
76.2 x 96.5 cm
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Gift, The Bohen Foundation



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

Opening hours:
Monday 10am – 5.30pm
Tuesday 10am – 8pm
Wednesday – Friday 10am – 5.30pm
Saturday 10am – 8pm
Sunday 10am – 5.30pm

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum website


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Exhibition: ‘AND THEN…’ by Ian Burns at Anna Schwartz Gallery, Melbourne

Exhibition dates: 29th July – 28th August, 2010


Ian Burns. 'AND THEN...' 2010


Ian Burns (Australian, b. 1964)
Installation view at Anna Schwartz Gallery, Melbourne



Two words: JUST GO!

Yes the work can be analysed as in the text (below) from the Anna Schwartz Gallery website but this is not necessary to enjoy the work. These are such fun assemblages, the created mis en scenes so magical and hilarious, guffaw inducing even, that they are entirely delightful.

I delighted in how they were constructed, almost thrown together from found objects that relate to the theme of each work; in the miniature cameras and environments – the Jumbo jet flying through the ‘sky’ of clouds created by a boiling water heater; in every particle of light as the words AND THEN… were created through aligned lens prisms (A Moment Implied 2010); and I was in wonder at the shimmering, setting sun in Venus (2010).

There is so much to like here – the inventiveness, the freshness of the work, the insight into the use of images in contemporary culture. Still photographs of this work do not do it justice. I came away from the gallery uplifted, smiling, happy – and that is a wonderful thing to happen.

As I said at the beginning: JUST GO!

Many thankx to Ash Kilmartin and the Anna Schwartz Gallery for the photographs in the posting. Please click on the images for a larger version of the image. All images are courtesy the artist and Anna Schwartz Gallery.



Ian Burns. '15 hours v.4' 2010


Ian Burns (Australian, b. 1964)
15 hours v.4
Found object kinetic sculpture, live video and audio
Image courtesy the artist and Anna Schwartz Gallery



For his first solo exhibition in Melbourne, and his first exhibition at Anna Schwartz Gallery, Ian Burns presents a number of sculptures that continue to explore the manufactured screen image. Referring in title to the simplistic and little-nuanced plots of pulp fiction, AND THEN… provides a space in which we might become more conscious of the images we consume on a daily basis. Incorporating and sometimes generating sound and image, Burns’ ‘meta-cinematic’ monuments invoke popular moving imagery and by extension the culture which produces them. Burns builds these audio-visual-sculptural forms in order to reveal the clichés of contemporary screen culture. Without ignoring the context of his own production, Burns’ critique of mindless images also extends to those contemporary art practices that similarly play upon the objects familiar to daily life. Comprised of found objects, each sculpture contains within it a unique narrative. For example, the coincidence of discovering a clam-shaped, children’s swimming pool, along with some discarded mannequins, led the artist to Botticelli’s Birth of Venus. What ensues is a unique extension of the metaphor, as Venus – through Burns – gives birth to video. This brings us to the underlying essence of Burns’ work: while critically bringing to light complex theories about popular culture and the entertainment industry, these works contain a necessary dose of humour – making them utterly compelling.

Text from the Anna Schwartz Gallery website


Ian Burns. 'Makin' Tracks' 2010


Ian Burns (Australian, b. 1964)
Makin’ Tracks
Found objects, live video and audio
Image courtesy the artist and Anna Schwartz Gallery



Anna Schwartz Gallery
185 Flinders Lane
Melbourne, Victoria 3000

Opening hours:
Tuesday – Friday 12 – 5pm
Saturday 1 – 5pm

Anna Schwartz Gallery website


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Exhibition: ‘Alfred Stieglitz: the Lake George years’ at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney

Exhibition dates: 17th June – 5th September 2010


Alfred Stieglitz. 'Ford V-8' 1935


Alfred Stieglitz (American, 1864-1946)
Ford V-8
Gelatin silver photograph
19.5 x 24.3 cm
George Eastman House, part purchase and part gift from Georgia O’Keeffe



Many thankx to Susanne Briggs and the Art Gallery of New South Wales for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.



“… much has happened in photography that is sensational, but very little that is comparable with what Stieglitz did. The body of his work, the key set – I think – is the most beautiful photographic document of our time.”

Georgia O’Keeffe 1978


The photographs Alfred Stieglitz (1864-1946) took around his summer house at Lake George, New York state, USA after 1915 are considered a major departure and dramatically influenced the course of photography. The desire to build a specifically ‘American’ art led Stieglitz to explore the essential nature of photography, released from contrivances and from intervention in print and negative. “Photography is my passion. The search for truth my obsession,” he would write in 1921.

This major exhibition is the first in Australia of Stieglitz’s photographs. 150 are included and are amongst the very best Stieglitz ever printed. They are also the rarest. One third of the exhibition is being lent by the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, which holds ‘the key set’ – selected by his lover, muse and wife, the artist Georgia O’Keeffe, and deposited there after Stieglitz’s death.



Alfred Stieglitz. ‘City of ambition’ 1911


Alfred Stieglitz (American, 1864-1946)
City of ambition
33.9 x 26.0 cm
George Eastman House, Museum purchase from Museum of Modern Art, New York


Alfred Stieglitz. 'Ellen Koeniger' 1916


Alfred Stieglitz (American, 1864-1946)
Ellen Koeniger
Gelatin silver photograph
11.1 x 9.1 cm
J Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles


Alfred Stieglitz. 'Waldo Frank' 1920


Alfred Stieglitz (American, 1864-1946)
Waldo Frank
Palladium photograph
25.1 x 20.2 cn
Art Institute of Chicago, Alfred Stieglitz Collection


Waldo David Frank was an American novelist, historian, political activist, and literary critic, who wrote extensively for The New Yorker and The New Republic during the 1920s and 1930s.


Alfred Stieglitz. 'Spiritual America' 1923


Alfred Stieglitz (American, 1864-1946)
Spiritual America
Gelatin silver photograph
11.7 x 9.2 cm
Philadelphia Museum of Art: the Alfred Stieglitz Collection 1949



The photographs Alfred Stieglitz (1864-1946) took around his summer house at Lake George, New York state, USA after 1915 are considered a major departure and dramatically influenced the course of photography. The desire to build a specifically ‘American’ art led Stieglitz to explore the essential nature of photography, released from contrivances and from intervention in print and negative.

‘Stieglitz’s mature photographs from the 1910s onwards are free from any sense that photography must refer to something outside of itself in order to express meaning,’ said Judy Annear, senior curator photography, Art Gallery of New South Wales.

This major exhibition is the first in Australia of Stieglitz’s photographs. 150 are included and are amongst the very best Stieglitz ever printed. They are also the rarest. One third of the exhibition is being lent by the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, which holds ‘the key set’ – selected by his lover, muse and wife, the artist Georgia O’Keeffe, and deposited there after Stieglitz’s death.

‘Passionate and provocative; charismatic, verbose and intellectually voracious; a self described revolutionist and iconoclast with an unwavering belief in the efficacy of radical action; competitive, egotistical, narcissistic and at times duplicitous, but also endowed with a remarkable ability to establish a deep communion with those around him – these are but some of the adjectives that can be used to describe Alfred Stieglitz,’ said Sarah Greenough, senior curator of photographs, National Gallery of Art, Washington.

Major loans are also coming from the J Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, Museum of Modern Art and Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Art Institute of Chicago, and George Eastman House, Rochester amongst others.

The exhibition begins with a selection of Stieglitz’s photographs from the 1910s including those that he took at his gallery 291 in New York City of artists and collaborators, including O’Keeffe. Stieglitz was a superb photographic printer and dedicated to aesthetics in publishing. A number of the later editions (from 1911-17) of his publication Camera work – described as the most beautiful journal in the world – are included.

Stieglitz’s portraits grew steadily in power in the 1910s and 20s, and continued to be a major part of his photographic practice. He would sometimes photograph his subjects over and over again and none more so than O’Keeffe, whom he met in 1916.

Stieglitz photographed O’Keeffe for the first time in 1917. He continued to photograph her from every angle, clothed and unclothed, indoors and out until his last photographs from 1936/37. In all there are more than 300 photographs of O’Keeffe which convey all the nuances of their relationship in that 20-year period. A selection is included.

Stieglitz first visited Lake George in the 1870s with his parents. The visits slowed until the 1910s but from 1917 until his death he spent every summer there. Stieglitz’s ashes are buried at Lake George.

The photographs of people, buildings, landscapes and skies that Stieglitz took at Lake George form a collective portrait of a place which has not been rivalled in the history of photography worldwide for its subtlety of feeling expressed in the simplest of terms.

Stieglitz developed the idea for his cloud photographs in 1922 because he wanted to create images which carried the emotional impact of music and to disprove the idea being put about that he hypnotised his (human) subjects. The first title for the cloud photographs was simply Music: a sequence…; this was eventually superseded by Equivalent as Stieglitz believed that these photographs could exist as the visual equivalent to other forms of expression.

Stieglitz changed the course of photography worldwide and has influenced major figures in photography from Minor White to Robert Mapplethorpe, Max Dupain to Tracey Moffatt and Bill Henson.”

Press release from the Art Gallery of New South Wales website


Alfred Stieglitz. 'Georgia O'Keeffe: a portrait' 1918


Alfred Stieglitz (American, 1864-1946)
Georgia O’Keeffe: a portrait
Platinum photograph
24.6 x 19.7 cm
The J. Paul Getty Museum
Copyright J. Paul Getty Trust


Alfred Stieglitz. 'Georgia O'Keeffe' 1920


Alfred Stieglitz (American, 1864-1946)
Georgia O’Keeffe
Gelatin silver photograph
23.5 x 19.69 cm
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Alfred Stieglitz Collection. Gift of Georgia O’Keeffe



“Stieglitz is too easily bundled in amongst a rush to the reductions of modernism and cubism, the time he inhabits and the new technology he is stretching make that almost inevitable. On looking at the images here it feels like a mistake to label him that simply. We can see hints of the abstract, the grids of Mondrian or the blocks of Braque, but his work is as human and as smudged as a fingerprint. It is this sense of flaw and serendipity is what makes him so different to photographers like Man Ray for Stieglitz seems to embrace the beauty of imperfection. The memorable works here inhabit a world of infinite shining gradations between black and white, they are expansive and open rather than reductive and finished, in doing this Stieglitz’s greatest innovation might be to take a static form and make it so intensely moving.”

John Matthews on his Art Kritique blog Sunday 15 August 2010 [Online] Cietd 22/12/2019


Alfred Stieglitz. 'Self-portrait' 1907, printed 1930


Alfred Stieglitz (American, 1864-1946)
1907, printed 1930
Gelatin silver photograph
24.8 x 18.4 cm
J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles



Art Gallery of New South Wales
Art Gallery Road, The Domain, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia

Opening hours:
Open every day 10am – 5pm
except Christmas Day and Good Friday

Art Gallery of New South Wales website


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Exhibition: ‘Climate Capsules: Means of Surviving Disaster’ at Museum fur Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg

Exhibition dates: 28th May – 12th September 2010


Many thankx to Michaela Hille and Museum fur Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.



Haus-Rucker-Co (Laurids Ortner, Günter Zamp Kelp, Klaus Pinter) 'Flyhead (Environment Transformer)', Vienna, 1968


Haus-Rucker-Co (Laurids Ortner, Gunter Zamp Kelp, Klaus Pinter)
Flyhead (Environment Transformer)
Vienna, 1968
Helmet consisting of two transparent green, symmetrical, hemispherical plastic fragments partially covered with foil. Inside the helmet, with the aid of a metal construction, audio-visual filters are arranged by means of which the normality of the surroundings is acoustically distorted and visually faceted.
Photo: Ben Rose, New York


Ingo Vetter. 'Adaptation Laboratory' 2004


Ingo Vetter
Adaptation Laboratory
Exhaust-operated greenhouse with tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima)
Ingo Vetter
© Ingo Vetter for the Detroit Tree of Heaven Woodshop, 2004


Lawrence Malstaf. 'Shrink' 1995


Lawrence Malstaf (Belgian, b. 1972)
Performative Installation
© Lawrence Malstaf/Galerie Fortlaan 17, Ghent (B)



In view of the advancing climate change, the exhibition Climate Capsules: Means of Surviving Disaster at the Museum fur Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg poses the question: “How do we want to live in the future?” and draws attention to the socio-political consequences of coexistence under new climatic conditions. In view of the fact that the politicians are hesitant to enforce strict measures for climate protection and the citizens very sluggish about changing their habits, the change appears inevitable. The world community is accordingly confronted with the challenge of investigating various possible means of adapting to the climate change. This exhibition is the first to bring together historical and current climate-related models, concepts, strategies, experiments and utopias from the areas of design, art, architecture and urban development – pursuing not the aim of stopping the climate change, but envisioning means of surviving after disaster has struck. More than twenty-five mobile, temporary and urban capsules intended to make human life possible independently of the surrounding climatic conditions will be on view – from floating cities and body capsules to concepts for fertilising sea water or injecting the stratosphere with sulphur. A symposium, film programme, readings, performances and workshops will revolve around the interplay between design processes and political factors such as migration, border politics and resource conflicts, and investigate the consequences for social and cultural partitioning and exclusion.

The public discussion on the climate change concentrates primarily on preventing change by reducing climate damaging emissions. This reduction is to be achieved through new means of obtaining energy as well as the optimisation of energy consumption. The consumption-oriented lifestyle of the industrial nations is also to become more “environmentally friendly”; the citizens are called upon to change their habits. Emerging nations are admonished to avoid the mistakes made by the West from the start. There is not the slightest guarantee, however, that enough nations and enough people around the world will participate in such reductions, and that a “low-carbon culture” will become the globally predominant lifestyle. Nor does anyone know for sure whether the reduction goals presently being discussed will suffice to delay or stop the climate change, which is already measurable today. In the search for alternative solutions, there is a category discussed substantially less often in public: adaptation. Here strategies are developed which aim not to slow or stop the climate change but to adapt to its expected consequences. They include protective measures against flooding and overheating as well as geo-engineering, i.e. large-scale interventions in the global climate.

These technologies are usually subjected only to critical discussion with regard to their technical feasibility. Until now, their possible socio-political effects have for the most part been ignored. Their impact on the structure of the global society, however, can hardly be overestimated: in the endeavour to make life possible independently of outward climatic conditions, these strategies encourage spatial, social and political isolation. Ostensibly motivated by climate-related considerations, they could well lead to inclusion and exclusion on all levels of life, from the interpersonal to the global. They create the conditions for social segregation and global polarisation.

The exhibition Climate Capsules: Means of Surviving Disaster will focus primarily on application-oriented projects for climatological capsules from the areas of design, art, architecture, urban development and geoengineering. The show will reflect on the (political, cultural, socio-spatial) impact of these current adaptation strategies on society by means of contemporary artistic approaches and avant-garde concepts of the twentieth century. Historical projects in the context of the climate change will thus assume new meaning. The current artistic projects question the positivist perspective of their counterparts of the past, and offer the exhibition visitor a further level of sensory experience. The exhibition objects can be divided into five types: body capsules, living capsules, urban capsules, nature capsules and atmosphere capsules …


Pablo Reinoso. 'La Parole' 1998


Pablo Reinoso (Argentine-French, b. 1955)
La Parole
Fabric and electrically powered ventilators
length. 620 cm, diam. 200 cm
Pablo Reinoso
© Pablo Reinoso Studio


Lucy Orta. 'Refuge Wear – Habitent' 1992


Lucy Orta (English, b. 1966)
Refuge Wear – Habitent
Polyamide encased in aluminium, polar fleece, aluminium tent poles, whistle, lantern, compass
125 x 125 x 125 cm
Galleria Continua
Photo: Galerie Anne de Villepoix, Courtesy Galleria Continua, San Gimignano / Beijing / Le Moulin



Body capsules

The exhibition begins with the interactive installation La Parole by Pablo Reinoso. Two visitors at a time can poke their heads into the inflatable textile construction and share the air they breathe as well as a common visual and audio space. The experience of this work raises the question as to how people can protect their bodies from contaminated air, pollutants, storms and aggressive solar radiation. Again and again in the course of the show, the visitor encounters “body capsules” addressing the topic of clothing as bodily protection from climatic conditions.

Living capsules

The objects belonging to this group extend the encapsulated space from the body encasement to the immediate living space. Utopian designs for mobile capsules of the 1960s such as the Walking City by Ron Herron (Archigram) still figured in the discussion emphasising temporary and mobile structures as experimental free spaces after ideas introduced by such architects as Constant or Yona Friedman. Today mobility is no longer just a question of freedom – the counterpart to voluntary mobility is flight, the spatial equivalent the temporary camp. The visitor thus stumbles across Michael Rokowitz’s paraSITE, for example, an inflatable tent which the artist developed in collaboration with the homeless person Bill Stone. Like the other tents in the series, it is designed for use in an exhaust air shaft. It can dock onto a building as a temporary parasite. In this context of precarious modi vivendi – brought about not least of all by global inequality (which is further aggravated by the climate change) and the resulting mass migration – what were once visionary temporary living concepts appear in a new light. They are not spaces of liberation, but of isolation.

Urban capsules

Cities are the largest energy consumers, and urbanisation continues to increase worldwide. Zero waste, zero emission, zero energy are the creeds of the present. Already in the 1950s, Richard Buckminster Fuller and Shoji Sadao sketched the utopia of a climatically self-sufficient reorganisation of the city with their Dome over Manhattan. In this vision, a huge dome covers a large proportion of the island. Today, these encapsulations from the outside are already being realised in conjunction with the design of internal climate worlds, whether on the scale of large building complexes or energy-self-sufficient cities such as Masdar by Norman Foster. Other concepts show that, against the background of imminent climate disasters, the urban system is conceived of increasingly as an autarchic unit, sealed from the outside world, and confronted with the need for the self-contained management of its ecological resources. This debate is carried to the furthest extreme by Vincent Callebaut’s conception for a floating city – Lilypad – intended as a haven for climate refugees.

Nature capsules

Just as the city is to be protected from the climatologically changing environment, nature is also to be elevated into a sphere of safe artificiality and preserved in nature capsules. Ecosystems are replicated by human hand on the micro level and sealed off from the outside. A concept which initially presents itself as a protective mechanism robs the flora and fauna assembled within it of their connection to the macrolevel ecosystem: Earth. The question arises: can that which is being protected inside such a capsule still be thought of as nature? Or is it a deceptively genuine human artefact? These considerations are made very vivid in Ilkka Halso’s photo series Museum of Nature, consisting of digital montages which insert forests, lakes and rivers into imaginary museum buildings.

Atmosphere capsules

The maximum scale of adaptive design strategies is reached with geo-engineering. With chemical or physical interventions, attempts are made to control climatological, geochemical and biochemical systems actively on the global level, and thus to moderate the climate. The historical forerunners of this development are psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich’s para-scientific Cloudbusters and the U.S. Army’s Project Cirrus, both of which sought to influence the weather technically by different means. Today, various well-known scientists and research institutes are working on large-scale interventions aiming to protect the global climate from negative influences. Utopian proposals are juxtaposed with feasible projects such as endeavours to reduce global warming through the use of reflective white paint on roofs and streets. To date it is impossible to calculate the consequences of such far-reaching interventions, and they are nowhere near realisation. Yet the fact that they are discussed seriously indicates how close climatological developments have already come to the point where emission-reduction strategies become obsolete.

Participating artists, designers and architects: Anderson Anderson Architecture (US), Ant Farm (US), Richard Buckminster Fuller (US), Vincent Callebaut (B), Juan Downey (US), David Greene (GB), Tue Greenfort (DK), Ilkka Halso (FI), Haus-Rucker-Co (AT), Ron Herron (GB), Kouji Hikawa (JP), Christoph Keller (D), Lawrence Malstaf (B), Gustav Metzger (D), N55 (DK), Lucy Orta (GB), Michael Rakowitz (US), Pablo Reinoso (ARG/F), Shoji Sadao (US), Tomás Saraceno (planet earth), Werner Sobek (D), Jan-Peter E.R. Sonntag (D), Matti Suuronen (FI), Ingo Vetter (D).”

Press release from the Museum fur Kunst und Gewerbe website [Online] Cited 17/08/2010 no longer available online


Vincent Callebaut. 'Lilypad, A Floating Ecopolis for Climate Refugees' 2008


Vincent Callebaut (Belgium, c. 1977)
Lilypad, A Floating Ecopolis for Climate Refugees
Digital rendering, dimensions variable
© Vincent Callebaut Architectures


Richard Buckminster Fuller, Shoji Sadao. 'Dome over Manhattan' c. 1960


Richard Buckminster Fuller, Shoji Sadao
Dome over Manhattan
c. 1960
Silver gelatine print
34.9 x 46.7 cm
Courtesy the Estate of R. Buckminster Fuller


Ilkka Halso. 'Museum I' 2003


Ilkka Halso (Finnish, b. 1965)
Museum I
from the work Museum of Nature



Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg
Steintorplatz, 20099 Hamburg

Opening hours:
Tuesday to Sunday 10 am – 6 pm
Wednesday and Thursday 10 am – 9 pm

Museum fur Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg website


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Review: ‘How Nature Speaks’ at Arc One Gallery, Melbourne

Exhibition dates: 27th July – 21st August, 2010

Artists: Justine Khamara, Lyndell Brown and Charles Green, Imants Tillers, Sam Shmith, Janet Laurence, Murray Fredericks and Huang Xu



Janet Laurence. 'Carbon Vein' 2008


Janet Laurence (Australian, b. 1947)
Carbon Vein
Duraclear, oil pigment on acrylic
235 x 100 cm



This is an excellent group exhibition at Arc One Gallery, Melbourne. Together the works form a satisfying whole; individually there are some visually exciting works. There are two insightful paintings by Imants Tillers, Nature Speaks: BP (2009) and Blossoming 21 (2010), a digitally constructed landscape by Sam Shmith, Untitled (Passenger)’ (2010) that the online image doesn’t really do justice to, a large photographic landscape of a storm over Lake Eyre Salt 304 (2009, see image below) by Murray Fredericks and two layered transcapes by Janet Laurence (see image below) that just confirm the talent of this artist after the exciting installation of her work at the Melbourne Art Fair (I call them transcapes because they seem to inhabit a layered in-between space existing between dream and reality).

For me the three outstanding works were the large horizontal photograph Hair No.2 (2009) by Huang Xu, in which hair hangs like a delicate cloud on a dark background and his photograph Flower No. 1 (2008, see below) in which the white petals of the chrysanthemum, symbol of death or lamentation and grief in some Western and Eastern countries in the world, seemingly turn to marble in the photographic print (you can see this online in the enlarged version of the image below). What a magnificent photograph this is – make sure that you don’t miss it because it is tucked away in the small gallery off the main gallery in the Arc One space. The third outstanding work is the sculpture you are a glorious, desolate prospect (2010) by Justine Khamara (see photographs below), a glorious magical mountain, twinkling in the light, all shards of reflectiveness, cool as ice. I would have loved to have seen this work without it’s protective case – in one sense the case works conceptually to trap the speaking of the mountain but in another it blocks access to the language of this work, the reflection of the light of the gallery, the light of the world bouncing off it’s surfaces.

This is not, of course, how nature speaks but how humans speak for nature – through image-ining and seeking to control and order the elemental forces that surround us. This construction of reality has a long tradition in the history of art, the mediation of the world through the hands, eyes and mind of the artist offering to the viewer, for however brief a moment, that sense of awakening to the possibilities of the world in which we all live.

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


Justine Khamara. 'you are a glorious, desolate prospect' 2010


Justine Khamara (Australian, b. 1971)
you are a glorious, desolate prospect
Mirror, perspex, plinth
80 x 186 cm


Justine Khamara. 'you are a glorious, desolate prospect' 2010 (detail)


Justine Khamara (Australian, b. 1971)
you are a glorious, desolate prospect (detail)
Mirror, perspex, plinth
80 x 186 cm


Lyndell Brown and Charles Green. 'Galatea Point' 2005


Lyndell Brown (Australian, b. 1961) and Charles Green (Australian)
Galatea Point
Digital photograph on duraclear film edition of 5
112 x 112 cm


Huang Xu, 'Flower No.1' 2008


Huang Xu (Chinese, b. 1968)
Flower No.1
Type C photograph
120 x 120 cm


Murray Fredericks. 'Salt 304' 2009


Murray Fredericks (Australian, b. 1970)
Salt 304
Pigment print on cotton rag
244 x 88 cm



Arc One Gallery
45 Flinders Lane
Melbourne, 3000
Phone: (03) 9650 0589

Opening hours:
Tues – Sat 11am – 5pm

Arc One Gallery website


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Sculpture: ‘Harrier and Jaguar’ (2010) by Fiona Banner: Tate Britain Duveens Commission 2010

28th June 2010 – 3rd January 2011


Fiona Banner 'Harrier and Jaguar' (Jaguar detail) 2010


Fiona Banner (British, b. 1966)
Harrier and Jaguar (Jaguar detail)
© Fiona Banner
Photo: John Billan, a friend, on his visit to Tate Britain



Love it, love it, love it!

The suspension, the feathers, the monumental scale of both of the forms, the shiny surface of the Jaguar, the beauty and the subversion of the values and purpose of the war machine: bringing the body and the machine into close physical proximity. Light the blue touch paper and step well back … (my English heritage coming in there, on Guy Fawkes night lighting the fireworks)


Many thankx to Susannah Lally at The Tate for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.



Fiona Banner. 'Harrier' 2010 (Harrier detail, front and back views)


Fiona Banner (British, b. 1966)
Harrier and Jaguar (Harrier detail front view)
© Fiona Banner
Photo: Tate



Tate Britain today unveils its new Duveens Commission, Harrier and Jaguar, by Fiona Banner. Banner’s largest work to date, Harrier and Jaguar brings the highly-charged physicality of two real fighter jets, both previously in active military service, into the unexpected setting of the neoclassical Duveen Galleries. Harrier and Jaguar has been specially devised for the Tate Britain Duveens Commission 2010, supported by Sotheby’s.

In the South Duveens, a Sea Harrier jet is suspended vertically, its bulk spanning floor to ceiling, wall to wall. Mimicking its namesake the harrier hawk, the aircraft’s surface has been reworked with handpainted graphic feather markings – the cockpit, the eyes, the nose cone, the beak – and hung nose pointing towards the floor, bringing to mind a trussed bird.

In the North Duveens, a Sepecat Jaguar lies belly-up on the floor, its elegant, elongated body traces the length the gallery. Stripped of paint and polished to reveal a metallic surface, the aircraft becomes a mirror that reflects back its surroundings and exposes the audience to its own reactions. Harrier and Jaguar achieves a powerful presence loaded with the seductive and yet troubling qualities of these objects of war.

Here, Banner places recently decommissioned fighter planes in the incongruous setting of the Duveen Galleries. For Banner these objects represent the ‘opposite of language’, used when communication fails. In bringing body and machine into close proximity she explores the tension between the intellectual perception of the fighter plane and physical experience of the object. The suspended Sea Harrier transforms machine into captive bird, the markings tattooing its surface evoking its namesake the Harrier Hawk. A Jaguar lies belly up on the floor, its posture suggestive of a submissive animal. Stripped and polished, its surface functions as a shifting mirror, exposing the audience to its own reactions. Harrier and Jaguar remain ambiguous objects implying both captured beast and fallen trophy.

“I remember long sublime walks in the Welsh mountains with my father, when suddenly a fighter plane would rip through the sky, and shatter everything. It was so exciting, loud and overwhelming; it would literally take our breath away. The sound would arrive from nowhere, all you would see was a shadow and then the plane was gone.

At the time harrier jump jets were at the cutting edge of technology but to me they were like dinosaurs, prehistoric, from a time before words.”

Fiona Banner said: “It’s hard to believe that these planes are designed for function, because they are beautiful. But they are absolutely designed for function, as a bird or prey is, and that function is to kill. That we find them beautiful brings into question the very notion of beauty, but also our own intellectual and moral position. I am interested in that clash between what we feel and what we think.”

Penelope Curtis, Director of Tate Britain, said: “The power of Banner’s project lies in its simple but unlikely juxtaposition: two fighter jets in a suite of neo-classical galleries.”

A fascination with language and signs is central to Fiona Banner’s practice. The emblem of the fighter jet recurs throughout her work, part of an ongoing enquiry into how signs translate experience. They appeared in pencil drawings she made at art college and then later in her first ‘wordscape’ in 1994 which transcribed the film Top Gun into a frame-by-frame written account. Aircraft are also present in more recent work where the artist has created Airfix models of all the war planes currently in service throughout the world and a taxonomy of fighter-plane nicknames. Harrier and Jaguar extends the artist’s exploration of these themes whilst constituting a dramatic new departure in terms of its monumental scale and the use of actual fighter jets.

Deputy Chairman, Sotheby’s Europe, Lord Poltimore, commented: “Tate Britain’s Duveens Commission is among the art scene’s most celebrated events and Sotheby’s is extremely proud to once again be supporting it, and Tate, one of the world’s leading public art institutions.”

Banner’s Harrier and Jaguar is the latest in a series of sculpture displays in the Duveen Galleries at Tate Britain. The contemporary sculpture commissions have been an annual event for three years since 2008, through the generous support of Sotheby’s. Artists who have previously undertaken the Commission include Eva Rothschild (2009), Martin Creed (2008), Mark Wallinger (2007), Michael Landy (2004), Anya Gallaccio (2002) and Mona Hatoum (2000). The series builds on a long tradition of exhibitions in the Duveen Galleries, which has included memorable installations by Richard Long, Richard Serra and Luciano Fabro.”

Press release from the Tate Britain website


Fiona Banner. 'Harrier and Jaguar' (Jaguar detail back view) 2010


Fiona Banner (British, b. 1966)
Harrier and Jaguar (Jaguar detail front view)
© Fiona Banner
Photo: Tate


Fiona Banner. 'Harrier and Jaguar' (Harrier detail back view) 2010


Fiona Banner (British, b. 1966)
Harrier and Jaguar (Harrier detail back view)
© Fiona Banner
Photo: Tate



Tate Britain
London SW1P 4RG

Opening hours:
Open every day 10.00 – 18.00

Tate Britain website


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Review: ‘Night’s Plutonian Shore’ by Julia deVille at Sophie Gannon Gallery, Richmond

Exhibition dates: 28th July – 21st August 2010


Installation view of 'Night's Plutonian Shore' by Julia deVille at Sophie Gannon Gallery, Richmond


Installation view of Night’s Plutonian Shore by Julia deVille at Sophie Gannon Gallery, Richmond



This is an excellent exhibition by Julia deVille at Sophie Gannon Gallery in Richmond. Compared to last year’s ‘shock and paw’ exhibition Cineraria reviewed on this blog, this exhibition shows a commendable sense of restraint, a beautiful rise and fall in the work as you walk around the gallery space with the exhibits displayed on different types and heights of stand and a greater thematic development of the conceptual ideas within the work. There are some exquisite pieces.

From the bejewelled Golden Gosling (2010), the goose that wears the gold not lays it to the cute stillborn fawn Lenore (2010), named after Edgar Allan Poe’s poem of the same name that discusses “the proper decorum in the wake of the death of a young woman, described as “the queenliest dead that ever died so young”,” (Wikipedia text) there is a delicacy to these sculptures that seemed absent in the last exhibition. The sleeping fawn wears a little golden bridle and is covered in golden hearts, the harness bringing in the element of control (of life, of death, of the body, of identity) into the pieces not seen in the earlier work. This sense of control is reinforced in other pieces in the exhibition including the three pieces Charon (2010), Nevermore (2010) and Kitten drawn hearse (2010, see photographs below).

In Charon the kitten has an amazing beaded saddle and stirrups to allow the occupant to control the dead stead because in Greek mythology Charon is the ferryman who carries the souls of the newly deceased across the river Styx. ‘Nevermore’ also features the saddle and bridle whilst the standout piece of the whole exhibition, Kitten drawn hearse just wows you with it’s delicacy and showmanship – the plume atop the harnessed kitten’s head faithfully replicating the dressage of a Victorian horse drawn funeral cortege.

In these pieces there is a simplification of the noise of the earlier works and in this simplification a conversant intensification of the layering of the conceptual ideas. Playful and witty the layers can be peeled back to reveal the poetry of de Sade, the stories of Greek mythology and the amplification of life force that is at the heart of these works.

Good stuff.

Many thankx to Edwin and Sophie Gannon Gallery for allowing me publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

Another well considered response to the exhibition can be found on Karen Thompson’s Melbourne Jeweller blog.

Dr Marcus Bunyan



Julia deVille. 'Nameless here for evermore' 2010


Julia deVille (Australian, b. 1982)
Nameless here for evermore


Julia deVille. 'Golden Gosling' 2010


Julia deVille (Australian, b. 1982)
Golden Gosling


Julia deVille. 'Ghastly grim and ancient raven' 2010


Julia deVille (Australian, b. 1982)
Ghastly grim and ancient raven


Julia deVille. 'Nevermore' 2010


Julia deVille (Australian, b. 1982)


Julia deVille. 'Charon' 2010


Julia deVille (Australian, b. 1982)


Julia deVille. 'Lenore' 2010


Julia deVille (Australian, b. 1982)


Julia deVille. 'Kitten drawn hearse' 2010


Julia deVille (Australian, b. 1982)
Kitten drawn hearse



Sophie Gannon Gallery
2, Albert Street, Richmond, Melbourne

Opening hours:
Tuesday – Saturday 11 – 5pm

Sophie Gannon Gallery website


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Alan Constable and the highlights of the Melbourne Art Fair 2010

August 2010



Alan Constable
Untitled (Hasselblad)



I finally succumbed and bought myself a wonderful Alan Constable ceramic camera from the Arts Project Australia stand at the Melbourne Art Fair on Saturday (see photographs below – click on the photographs for a larger version of the image). I first saw Alan’s ceramic work at his solo exhibition called Clay Cameras at Helen Gorie Galerie in August 2009 (see photographs from the exhibition) and was instantly attracted to the tactility and beauty of the work. Months later I saw more of his cameras at Sophie Gannon Gallery in Richmond and now at the Art Fair. Third time lucky, I found a stunning medium format Hasselblad in a beautiful two tone glaze that really spoke to me in terms of it’s form and aesthetic appeal. Constable’s work has really impinged on my consciousness and the piece has a special resonance for me.

“Constable’s ceramic works reflect a life-long fascination with old cameras, which began with his making replicas from cardboard cereal boxes at the age of eight. The sculptures are lyrical interpretations of technical instruments, and the artist’s finger marks can be seen clearly on the clay surface like traces of humanity. In this way, Alan Constable cameras can be viewed as extensions of the body, as much as sculptural representations of an object.”

Arts Project Australia text


Highlights of the Art Fair were the outstanding paintings of Juan Ford at Dianne Tanzer Gallery, the mesmeric video work of Daniel Crooks at Anna Schwartz Gallery (who I think is one of the best artists in the country – see more images of his work from his Intersection exhibition), the delicately layered and outrageously beautiful collage work of  Peter Madden at Ryan Renshaw Gallery, the layered transcapes of Janet Lawrence at Arc One Gallery and the cosmological paintings of Lara Merrett at Karen Woodbury Gallery. Brickbats for the most overblown presentation must go to Danie Mellor at Michael Reid for a truly over the top performance that just left one speechless.

It was a real pleasure to meet so many gallery directors and managers face to face including Gina Lee at Niagara Galleries, James Makin at James Makin Gallery, Matt Glen at Martin Browne Fine Art, Sydney, Paul Greenway from Gagprojects, Berlin and Ken Fehily from Fehily Contemporary, Melbourne.

Finally, I visited the Notfair 2010 exhibition in Richmond, a disappointing group exhibition of 30 artists selected from over 300 artists suggested by curators from around the country. As with many group exhibitions that lack thematic development the work was all over the place, in every media imaginable. The absolute standout work were the two antique stereoscopic cabinet and LED light animations of Chris Henschke from the duo Topologies. While the idea for the exhibition is to be applauded (that of presenting an exhibition of unknown or little known artists that may or may not be represented by a gallery) perhaps the next exhibition should have fewer artists to give the work chance to speak for the artist instead of just being a token gesture.

Dr Marcus Bunyan



Alan Constable
Untitled (Hasselblad)




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Exhibition: ‘Present Tense: An Imagined Grammar of Portraiture in the New Media Age’ at the National Portrait Gallery, Canberra

Exhibition dates: 22nd May – 22nd August 2010


Many thankx to David Edghill and the National Portrait Gallery for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.



Karen Sander. 'Herve Blechy 1:5' 2008


Karen Sander
Herve Blechy 1:5
3D Bodyscans of the living person (3D coordinates and colour texture), MPT (Minitaturised Projection Technology), rapid prototyping, 3D Inkjet printer, plaster material, pigment
Courtesy of the artist, Berlin, and Galerie Nachst St. Stephan, Vienna, and Galerie Helga de Alvear, Madrid.


Osang Gwon. 'Metabo' 2009


Osang Gwon (Korean, b. 1974)
C-prints, mixed media
130.0 x 80.0 x 105.0 cm
Courtesy of the artist and Arario Gallery, Seoul


Robert Lazzarin. 'Skull' 2000


Robert Lazzarini (American, b. 1965)
resin, bone, pigment
35.0 x 8.0 x 20.0 cm
Courtesy of the artist and Deitch Projects



Present Tense: An Imagined Grammar of Portraiture in the New Media Age is the principal exhibition in the National Portrait Gallery’s 2010 exhibition calendar. It will be displayed from 22 May to 22 August 2010. We are entering an exceptional time for portraiture and visual culture in general as the art world embraces the digital age. Traditional portraiture is responding to the application of new technologies and this imaging process is reshaping our interpretation and reading of the face.

Present Tense considers the alliance between portraiture and technology, showing how different ways of imaging in this contemporary, digital world reflect the way an individual is perceived and the various mechanisms of imaging that are used to manipulate that perception. The exhibition is comprised of works by Australian and international artists’ and includes examples of the informal and immediate images made on mobile phones, images recorded with sonograms that reveal faces that cannot be seen by the unaided eye, 2D and 3D portraits generated exclusively from binary code, as well as the more expected streaming digital works and manipulated photographs.

‘Some of the images in Present Tense are confronting and some are positively endearing’, said exhibition Curator Michael Desmond. ‘The exhibition surveys the possibilities of portraiture today, with the premise that the inhabitants’ of our digital society are pictured in a technological mirror’.

The use of digital technologies by artists is increasing, providing affordable alternatives to traditional media and offering a new tool set and the possibility of a new aesthetic. This is not to suggest that older media has been abandoned, or is associated only with conservative practice, rather that artists’ have greater choice in the materials that they use and the style that they wish to engage with. Chuck Close is one of artists’ in the exhibition who ignores the rising tide of digital imaging processes to favour old technology, creating powerful images with the archaic daguerreotype technique. Other artists’ in Present Tense include: Loretta Lux, Patrick Pound, Stelarc, Jonathon Nichols, Petrina Hicks, Ghostpatrol, Patricia Piccinini and more.

‘At one time, oil on canvas or bronze was the medium for portraits. The medium now is technology. In an inversion of one of Modernism’s classic aphorisms, digital technology allows function to follow form; the function of the portrait – to illustrate an individual’s character and physiognomy – is established by the stamp of the technology that created it’, said Michael Desmond.”

Press release from the National Portrait Gallery website [Online] Cited 06/08/2010


Chuck Close. 'Self portrait daguerreotype' 2000


Chuck Close (American, b. 1940)
Self portrait daguerreotype
16.5 x 21.6 cm each
Courtesy of Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York


Patricia Piccinini. 'Psychogeography' 1996


Patricia Piccinini (Australian, b. 1965)
From the series Psycho
type C colour photograph
120.0 x 247.0 cm
Courtesy of the Parliament House Art Collection, Department of Parliamentary Services, Canberra


Stelarc. 'Stretched skin' 2009


Stelarc (Australian, born Cyprus 1946)
Stretched skin
type C photograph
120.0 x 180.0 cm
Courtesy of the artist and Scott Livesey Galleries



National Portrait Gallery
King Edward Terrace
Parkes, Canberra

Opening hours:
Open daily 10 am to 5 pm

National Portrait Gallery 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: ‘Orphans and small groups’ 1994-96 Part 2

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