Archive for August, 2011

29
Aug
11

Exhibition: ‘The Enemy at Home: German internees in World War 1 Australia’ at The Museum of Sydney

Exhibition dates: 7th May – 11th September 2011

 

Many thankx to Arianne Martin for her help and to The Museum of Sydney for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

 

Paul Dubotzki (German, 1891-1969) 'Cinema at Holsworthy, showing American comedy One Thousand Dollars' Nd

 

Paul Dubotzki (German, 1891-1969)
Cinema at Holsworthy, showing American comedy One Thousand Dollars

Nd
© Dubotzki Collection, Germany

 

Paul Dubotzki (German, 1891-1969) 'Barracks in which the internees lived' Nd

 

Paul Dubotzki (German, 1891-1969)
Barracks in which the internees lived

Nd
© Dubotzki Collection, Germany

 

A ‘view from tower’ reveals the long rows of huts at Holsworthy internment camp, where Germans were interned during the First World War.

 

Paul Dubotzki (German, 1891-1969) 'Max Herz, third from left, directs the German classic Minna von Barnhelm by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, at the Trial Bay theatre' 1917

 

Paul Dubotzki (German, 1891-1969)
Max Herz, third from left, directs the German classic Minna von Barnhelm by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, at the Trial Bay theatre

1917
© Dubotzki Collection, Germany

 

Paul Dubotzki (German, 1891-1969) 'Paul Dubotzki and Fellow Inmates Look Out From a Make-shift Hut on Torrens Island' 1914-15

 

Paul Dubotzki (German, 1891-1969)
Paul Dubotzki and Fellow Inmates Look Out From a Make-shift Hut on Torrens Island

1914-15
© Dubotzki Collection, Germany

 

 

The Torrens Island Internment Camp was a World War I concentration camp, located on Torrens Island which is near Adelaide in South Australia, and is a sad facet of South Australia’s history.

The camp opened on 9 October 1914 and held up to 400 men of German or Austro-Hungarian background, or crew members of enemy ships who had been caught in Australian ports at the beginning of the war. And they were held without trial under the provisions of the “War Precautions Act 1914”.

The South Australian population which included a reasonable number of German descent, saw a wave of anti-German feeling at the outbreak of the First World War. At official level, the War Precautions Act permitted sweeping powers of search, seizure of property and arrest. Lutheran churches and schools were closed and German language newspapers were banned.

In August 1914, soldiers were sent out under the authority of the Act to round up about 300 of what were called “Germans”. The internees included some German and Austro-Hungarian citizens and some Australian born, a mixture of farmers, intellectuals, and Lutheran pastors. They were only a small fraction of the people of German descent in South Australia, and with them the army had rounded up some citizens of Sweden, the Netherlands, and one from the USA – all neutral countries.

The camp was quietly closed in August 1915, after an American who was interned, wrote to the US consulate about the camp and the conditions which saw many of the internees released, while others were transferred to a more humanely-run camp at Holsworthy in New South Wales.

The official records of the Torrens Island camp were destroyed, and today virtually all that is known about the incident comes from the only wartime records that survive, principally the typescript and evidence from the Court of Enquiry.

Extract from Alona Tester. “Torrens Island: South Australia’s World War 1 Internment Camp,” on the Gould Genealogy & History website Feb 23, 2017 [Online] Cited 01/03/2020

 

Heinrich Jacobsen. 'Boxer Frank Bungardy, third from left, who established a boxing and self-defence school at Holsworthy' (c) Dubotzki Collection, Germany

 

Heinrich Jacobsen
Boxer Frank Bungardy, third from left, who established a boxing and self-defence school at Holsworthy

Nd
© Dubotzki Collection, Germany

 

 

Recently discovered photographs of Australia’s little known internment camps operating during WWI, reveal how the internees created an extraordinary life behind the barbed wire. The photographs, of remarkable artistic quality, show groups of civilian detainees whose only crime was to be of German or Austrian descent.

Taken by interned photographer Paul Dubotzki between 1915 and 1919, the photographs reveal how the 7,000 internees built for themselves a thriving working economy and cultural life that included all sorts of businesses and trades including newspapers, cafes, clubs, sporting events and elaborate theatre productions.

Dubotzki’s stunning photographs feature in a new book and an exhibition opening 7 May at the Museum of Sydney, shedding new light on this fascinating era in Australia’s war time history. The Enemy at Home explores life inside the three internment camps at Holsworthy in Sydney’s south west, Berrima in the Southern Highlands and Trial Bay on the NSW mid-north coast.

These so-called “German concentration camps” led to the destruction of the German Australian community, the largest non-British ethnic community in Australia before the war. The unlikely prisoners of war came from all walks of life and many had lived in Australia for decades, including beer baron Edmund Resch and acclaimed orthopaedic surgeon Dr Max Herz. Many were transformed by internment, such as businessman Kurt Wiese who developed his passion for drawing and later became famous in the USA as book illustrator including the original Bambi book and the children’s classic The Story About Ping.

Nadine Helmi has pieced together Dubotzki’s story after a chance discovery led her to Germany and the discovery of his entire photography collection. Helmi has collaborated with the Migration Heritage Centre and Gerhard Fischer, UNSW Associate Professor of German Studies who has published widely on Australian migration history.

The Enemy at Home is a timely reminder of an almost forgotten chapter in Australia’s history, raising questions about the past and about how we view and portray multicultural Australia today.”

Press release from The Museum of Sydney

 

Paul Dubotzki (German, 1891-1969) 'A camp kitchen garden' Nd

 

Paul Dubotzki (German, 1891-1969)
A camp kitchen garden

Nd
© Berrima District Historical Society and Family History Society

 

Paul Dubotzki (German, 1891-1969) 'Deserted Trial Bay Gaol barracks after the sudden departure of internees' 1915

 

Paul Dubotzki (German, 1891-1969)
Deserted Trial Bay Gaol barracks after the sudden departure of internees

1915
© Dubotzki Collection, Germany

 

Paul Dubotzki (German, 1891-1969) 'Internees perform a breathtaking acrobatic number in the Holsworthy gym' c. 1918

 

Paul Dubotzki (German, 1891-1969)
Internees perform a breathtaking acrobatic number in the Holsworthy gym

c. 1918
© Dubotzki collection, Germany

 

Paul Dubotzki (German, 1891-1969) 'Prisoners airing their bedding at the Torrens Island camp in South Australia' 1915

 

Paul Dubotzki (German, 1891-1969)
Prisoners airing their bedding at the Torrens Island camp in South Australia
1915
© Dubotzki collection, Germany

 

 

Bavarian internee Paul Dubotski was arrested in Adelaide in 1915 as an “enemy alien”. A skilled photographer by trade, he was permitted to produce photographs and run his own studio inside the camp.

Paul Dubotzki was born in 1891 in Ingolstadt, Bavaria. He grew up in an expanding German Empire as an apprentice photographer in Passau and Seeshaupt. At 22 he joined an expedition to China and Sumatra as official photographer.

Dubotzki travelled through Malaysia, Burma and Singapore documenting the places as expedition artists had done a century before. As fate dictates he was in German New Guinea at the outbreak of the World War One. His photographs show indigenous policemen gathering with German reservists in the jungle of New Guinea to repulse the anticipated Australian invasion.

Dubotzki was not among the prisoners transported to Australia after the surrender of German New Guinea. But he did manage to make his way to Adelaide where in 1915 he was arrested as an ‘enemy alien’ and interned in the South Australian internment camp at Torrens Island.

After his arrest Dubotzki recorded his life in internment. His photographs show in beautiful detail the diverse camp community and culture that developed around him. With his equipment he was able to earn a basic income from photography making postcards and mementos.

Dubotzki’s first pictures of Torrens Island camp captured the camp’s appalling conditions and the abuse committed by Australian guards. His photographs were submitted as evidence in official protests and a Defence Department inquiry.

Dubotzki was transferred to the main German Concentration Camp at Holsworthy near Liverpool in New South Wales on 19 August 1915 and a few months later transferred to the Trial Bay camp, the privileged camp on the New South Wales north coast. His time at Trial Bay was one of intense creativity where he not only worked at his photography, but also discovered a talent and interest for art and acting.

Dubotzki left Trial Bay when it was closed in 1918 and spent the remainder of the war at Holsworthy. He was repatriated to Germany in 1919.

When Dubotzki returned home he found a Germany broken by its imperialistic ambitions with record unemployment, inflation, social unrest and poverty. In the six years that he had been away, the Germany that he knew had ceased to exist with millions of lives lost; the Kaiser overthrown, its proud naval fleet destroyed and its extensive colonial territories confiscated.

Despite this Dubotzki, like many, succeeded in building a new life for himself. Back in Dorfen he opened a photographic business, got married, fathered three children and started a second career as a painter. He combined commercial photography with more artistic work. His images of the Bavarian landscape and Bavarian villagers survive as postcards.

World War One disrupted Dubotzki’s life with an adventurous segue, but World War Two devastated his family taking his only son. Again after another world war he resumed his work as a photographer and painter, now selling his Bavarian landscape paintings to American soldiers occupying the Southwest of Germany.

He died in 1962, a well-known member of the local business community and respected as a photographer and painter. His old studio in Dorfen next to his surviving daughter’s house, still contains the hundreds of photos and many oil paintings that are his artistic legacy, while his grandchildren care for his cameras that testify to a life devoted to photography.

Anonymous. “Paul Dubotzki: The forgotten collection: The Enemy at Home – German internees in World War 1 Australia” on the Migration Heritage Centre website of the New South Wales government (archived) 2011 [Online] Cited 01/03/2020 http://www.migrationheritage.nsw.gov.au/exhibition/enemyathome/paul-dubotzki-forgotten-collection/

 

Paul Dubotzki (German, 1891-1969) 'Paul Dubotzki, standing centre, with a group of young Germans interned in Australia during the First World War' 1915

 

Paul Dubotzki (German, 1891-1969)
Paul Dubotzki, standing centre, with a group of young Germans interned in Australia during the First World War
1915
Historic Houses Trust
© Dubotzki collection, Germany

 

Paul Dubotzki (German, 1891-1969) 'Interned 'butchers' pose proudly with their authentic German sausages at Holsworthy internment camp' Nd

 

Paul Dubotzki (German, 1891-1969)
Interned ‘butchers’ pose proudly with their authentic German sausages at Holsworthy internment camp
Nd
Historic Houses Trust
© Dubotzki collection, Germany

 

Paul Dubotzki (German, 1891-1969) 'Two WWI German internees at Trial Bay get into their petticoats to ready for a dramatic performance' Nd

 

Paul Dubotzki (German, 1891-1969)
Two WWI German internees at Trial Bay get into their petticoats to ready for a dramatic performance
Nd
Historic Houses Trust
© Dubotzki collection, Germany

 

Photographer unknown. 'A young internee strikes a tableau vivant warrior pose' c. 1915 - 1919

 

Photographer unknown
A young internee strikes a tableau vivant warrior pose
c. 1915 – 1919
© Dubotzki Collection, Germany

 

Paul Dubotzki (German, 1891-1969) 'Walter Himmelmann as the leading lady in Der Weg zur Holle ('The path to hell'). The theatre society founded by the Trial Bay internees' c. 1918

 

Paul Dubotzki (German, 1891-1969)
Walter Himmelmann as the leading lady in Der Weg zur Holle (‘The path to hell’). The theatre society founded by the Trial Bay internees

c. 1918
© Dubotzki Collection, Germany

 

 

After the war

In total, 6890 persons were interned in Australia during the war, including 67 women and 84 children. Despite the official designation “prisoners of war” given to them by the Commonwealth authorities, the internees were mostly civilian Australian residents. They included approximately 700 “naturalised British subjects” and some 70 “native-born British subjects” who were Australian by birth, sometimes second- or even third-generation Australians of German ancestry.

At the end of the war, a total of 6150 persons were “repatriated” – that is, summarily shipped to Germany: a mass deportation unparalleled in Australian history. Of these, 5414 had been interned, the others were family members or non-interned “ex-enemy aliens” who either accepted the government’s offer to be repatriated or were ordered to leave the country.

Six hundred and ninety-nine people were compulsorily deported. The internees who had been brought to Australia from British dominions overseas were not allowed to return to their previous places of residence. They were all summarily deported.

Most of the internees consented to leave Australia voluntarily. They were convinced that there was no future for them in a country that had robbed them of their rights and freedom. A few protested and appealed to stay, only to be rejected by the Aliens Tribunal that had been set up by the Department of Defence.

The tribunal, consisting of a single magistrate, rubber-stamped the applications according to the guidelines issued by the government. As a rule, businessmen and importers were to be deported, while farmers – who were said to “have shown themselves of less potential danger than the German businessman” – were allowed to stay, unless there were unspecified “special reasons”.

Extract from Gerhard Fischer. “German experience in Australia during WW1 damaged road to multiculturalism,” on The Conversation website April 22, 2015 [Online] Cited 01/03/2020

 

'Wooden box containing glass plates' c. 1915 - 1918

 

Wooden box containing glass plates
c. 1915 – 1918
© Dubotzki Collection, Germany

 

'Wooden box containing glass plates' c. 1915 - 1918

 

Wooden box containing glass plates
c. 1915 – 1918
© Dubotzki Collection, Germany

 

 

National Library of Australia collection photographs

Paul Dubotzki (German, 1891-1969) 'Prisoner athletes, Torrens Island, South Australia' c. 1914

 

Paul Dubotzki (German, 1891-1969)
Prisoner athletes, Torrens Island, South Australia
c. 1914
National Library of Australia
Public domain

 

 

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Cnr Bridge and Phillip Streets, Sydney
Phone: 02 9251 5988

Open daily 10 am – 5 pm

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26
Aug
11

Exhibition: ‘The Art of the Automobile: Masterpieces of the Ralph Lauren Collection’ at The Arts Décoratifs Museum, Paris

Exhibition dates: 28th April – 28th August 2011

 

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

 

 

Mercedes Benz SSK “Count Trossi”, 1930

 

Mercedes Benz SSK “Count Trossi”
1930
Ralph Lauren collection
© Photo Michael Furman

 

 

The notion of line in a car echoes that of the perfectly harmonious line of trajectory. The design is never far from this line, even in those coachworks designed without drawing boards, of which some of the most marvelous examples are seen here. It is interesting to see that in the French language at least, cars have taken on board the concept of ligne (or “line”), a word with many meanings. Yet the term ligne, taken in the sense that it is used nowadays in reference to coachwork, is classified by French lexicographer Littré within the sphere of fine art, and defined by him as: “the general effect produced by the coming together and combination of different parties of either a natural object or a composition.” The natural development of language thus shows us the relationship between cars and fine art.

.
Excerpt from the catalog, Editions Les Arts Décoratifs, Paris 2011

 

 

In 1970, Les Arts Décoratifs presented a selection of competition cars, “Bolides Design.” To compile the exhibition, a special jury was assembled, featuring designers Joe Colombo, Roger Tallon and Pio Manzu, and the artists Jean-Paul Riopelle, Jean Tinguely and Victor Vasarely, as well as Robert Delpire and François Mathey. The jury chose the models with the idea of the car as a design object, a work of art, showing that “art and technique, each at their own level, are the expression of man and his relationship with design.”

The Ralph Lauren collection can be seen from the same perspective. Patiently assembled over several decades by the fashion designer in a quest for speed and performance, it includes some of the most extraordinary jewels in the crown of European automobile history, with beauty as its common denominator.

Within the collection are some of the most elegant and innovative cars in automotive history, from the “Blower” Bentley (1929), the Ferrari 250 GTO (1962), the famous Mercedes 300 SL (1955) and the unforgettable Jaguar “D type,” whose shark fin blazed a triumphant trail at Le Mans in 1955, 1956 and 1957. But the grand tourer, the Bugatti Atlantic (1938) of which only four models were produced, represents the ultimate in luxury while showcasing the evolution of styles and techniques on the road. Each of these exceptional vehicles was designed as a masterpiece blending technological innovation and boldness of style.

For its first presentation in Europe, the Ralph Lauren collection will be put on display by Jean-Michel Wilmotte, who has opted for an intimate visual approach as these vehicles stand out both for their overall design and detail, as well as for bodywork, chassis and engines.

The kinetic and sound of the vehicles will be reproduced by means of several films and recordings. A seminar on automobile design will also be held during the exhibition.

Press release from The Arts Décoratifs Museum website

 

Mercedes Benz SSK “Count Trossi”, 1930

 

Mercedes Benz SSK “Count Trossi”
1930
Ralph Lauren collection
© Photo Michael Furman

 

 

Chassis number SSK 36038, currently owned by Ralph Lauren, remained unsold by the Mercedes-Benz factory in 1928, but was then sent out to Japan in 1930, before being brought back to Europe. This car was put together by the young British coach builder, Willy White, based on a design suggested by its aristocratic owner-cum-industrialist, Count Carlo Felice Trossi, himself a racing driver. The SSK, the archetypal Mercedes of the 1920s, built on a short chassis, is dominated by a colossal hood with a trio of exhaust pipes emerging from each side – a hood encompassing over half the car’s length with a radiator projecting out front as a windbreak. Its flamboyant rear end, dramatically tapered, adds a touch of civility to this extraordinary model, contrasting with the hieratic image of its front end. The supercharging gives the Mercedes SSK its fiery temperament, as well as the legendary noise of its seven litre straight 6 cylinder engine producing 300 CV and enabling a flat-out speed of 235kph!

 

Bugatti 57 SC Atlantic, 1938

 

Bugatti 57 SC Atlantic, 1938

 

Bugatti 57 SC Atlantic
1938
Collection Ralph Lauren
© Photo Michael Furman

 

 

According to Paul Bracq, “the Atlantic is a monument in the history of French coach building! More than any other car, it expresses a French-Italian look. An incredible sense of lightness is given off by this sculpture.” Powered by a straight 8 cylinder engine fitted with twin overhead camshafts and a compressor, this beauty is also incredibly fast, capable of reaching 200 kph. As the aluminium alloy used for the coachwork did not lend itself to shaping and soldering, Jean Bugatti was obliged to make the wings and roof in two parts and then assemble them with rivets. His talent lay precisely in the art of transforming this inconvenient technique into a stylistic advantage. Power and speed are suggested by the doors which are cut out of the roof and the ellipsoidal windows reminiscent of airplanes. Chassis number 57591 was the last of the four examples originally produced, a masterpiece embodying sport and luxury at their height – in short, the automobile exception.

 

Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 Mille Miglia, 1938

 

Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 Mille Miglia
1938
Collection Ralph Lauren
© Photo Michael Furman

 

 

This racing model fitted out with a straight 8 cylinder 2.9 litre engine with twin overhead camshafts supercharged by two compressors is equipped with fully independent suspension and a four speed rear transaxle. The whole thing is perfectly balanced, resulting in the most extraordinary roadholding. The hydraulic brakes are an additional bonus, enabling it to outclass its rivals at over 185 kph. The Turin factory called upon Carrozzeria Touring to design a small series of four two-seater roadsters intended to take part in the 1938 Mille Miglia, the first example of which is the car exhibited here. Driven by the Pintacuda-Mambelli team, the car came in an incredible second under the number 142. The tear drop shaped wings add the final touch to this extraordinary car which is considered to be one of the most prestigious pre-War Grand Touring Alfa Romeos.

 

Ferrari 375 Plus, 1954

 

Ferrari 375 Plus
1954
Collection Ralph Lauren
© Photo Michael Furman

 

 

The Ferrari known as the 375 Plus was an extrapolation of the Type 375 MM, a model powered by a V12 engine with three carburettors, a gearbox with four speeds plus reverse that increased its engine size to nearly 5 litres, giving it more power and enabling it to reach 340 CV, and attain 250 kph. Because Ferrari did not have its own design department, the 375 Plus, an absolute masterpiece, was created by highly qualified, talented artisans under the guidance of Pinin Farina, Ferrari’s official coach builder. Only five examples of the Type 375 Plus were made, including a spyder version which won the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1954. Ralph Lauren’s car, chassis number 0398 AM – the last of the series – left the factory in 1954 and had a relatively illustrious career in Argentina, often driven by Valiente.

 

Jaguar XKD, 1955

 

Jaguar XKD
1955
Collection Ralph Lauren
© Photo Michael Furman

 

 

In order to find a worthy successor to the brilliant Jaguar Type XKC, winner on two occasions of the Le Mans 24 Hours, the aeronautic aerodynamicist Malcolm Sayer came up with a non-conformist vehicle. The D-Type has a long hood with no radiator grille, opening away from the block and a slender, extremely graceful rear, easily recognisable thanks to the highly original fin that extends the driver’s head-rest, providing greater stability at high speeds. With the classic straight 6 cylinder 3.4 litre engine, the D-Type, built on a monocoque structure, also has disk brakes. The “long-nosed” version (only 10 examples of which left the factory, including Ralph Lauren’s 505/601) gained an additional 15 kph at maximum speed, pushing it to 260 kph. No other car from the 1950s embodies speed better than this Jaguar D, with three consecutive victories in the Le Mans 24 Hours between 1955 and 1957 and another at Nurburgring in 1956. It was the most successful racing car of its generation.

 

Jaguar XKSS, 1958

 

Jaguar XKSS
1958
Collection Ralph Lauren
© Photo Michael Furman

 

 

Following on from Jaguar’s magnificent victories in the 1955 and 1956 Le Mans 24 Hours, demand from its enthusiastic clients was such that the company decided to make a road version of the XKD (straight 6 cylinder 3.4 litre engine with a 250 CV output capable of propelling the car to nearly 250 kph) which was named the XKSS. Principally aimed at the American market, it differed from the racing model in having a windscreen, a convertible roof, bumpers and a more civilised interior, and the famous fin was removed. Only 16 examples were constructed between January and February 1957, and a further two examples of the D-Type were transformed by the factory in 1958. Ralph Lauren’s car is one of these, created from the XKD 533 in 1956. It participated in the Six Heures du Forez in 1957, driven by Monnoyeur and Dupuy, finishing 7th, behind a fleet of Jaguar Ds which took the three first places.

 

Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa, 1958

 

Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa
1958
Collection Ralph Lauren
© Photo Michael Furman

 

 

The 250 Testa Rossa (red head) owes its name to the red camshaft covers of its V12 3 litre engine. Made by Carrozzeria Scaglietti, adapted from a design by Pinin Farina introducing a torpedo shaped body, the car had a headrest that stuck out above the bodywork and integrated headlights behind protruding Plexiglas protection. The very particular line of this vehicle proved to be primarily functional, rather than aesthetic. Indeed, the originality of the pontoon fenders enabled the wheels to remain partially uncovered, to allow for a sufficient supply of cold air to the drum brakes. Equipped with a light body that allowed it to attain 270 kph, its 300 CV engine carried it to victory on numerous occasions, including in the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1958, 1960 and 1961. Ralph Lauren’s car is the 14th of 34 similar examples produced by Ferrari.

 

Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta SWB, 1960

 

Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta SWB
1960
Collection Ralph Lauren
© Photo Michael Furman

 

 

While the name 250 GT appeared in the Maranello catalog in 1955, the 1959 Paris Motor Show presented a short chassis Berlinetta version, with a wheelbase 20 cms shorter than other versions of the line – a thoroughbred equipped for the road, with aluminium coachwork designed by Pinin Farina and made in the Scaglietti workshops in Modena. Compared to the grand tourer version, intended for road use, the racing version was devoid of all luxury interior trimmings and bumpers, but equipped with disk brakes and a 280 CV engine that enabled this flagship model to masterfully dominate the legendary Tour de France automobile for three consecutive seasons (1960-1962) and the GT category of the Le Mans 24 Hours. Its sensual line, unequalled handling and performance (250kph), and list of victories, all combined to make the short chassis 250 GT Berlinetta one of Ferrari’s most popular models. Ralph Lauren’s car was the 31st example to leave the factory out of the 165 produced.

 

Ferrari 250 GTO, 1962

 

Ferrari 250 GTO
1962
Collection Ralph Lauren
© Photo Michael Furman

 

 

Designed in the utmost secrecy, the 250 GTO is considered by aficionados today to be the quintessential vintage Ferrari model, both technically and aesthetically, embodying one of the most famous and most expensive sports cars of all time. This Grand Tourer, of which only 39 examples were produced, clocked up an impressive list of victories, including the International Championship for GT Manufacturers in 1962, 1963 and 1964, thanks to its V12 300 CV engine situated up front, but also because of the lightness of its aluminium body, enabling it to attain 280 kph flat out! With its Scaglietti coachwork and its long hood, stocky cockpit and truncated rear, it symbolised the Grand Tourer par excellence. Ralph Lauren’s car was the 21st out of 36 Series I GTOs produced, and won many races driven by Pedro and Ricardo Rodriguez, Roger Penske, Augie Pabst and Richie Ginther.

 

 

The Arts Décoratifs Museum
107 rue de Rivoli
75001 Paris
Phone: +33 01 44 55 57 50

Open Tuesday to Sunday 11 am – 6 pm

The Arts Décoratifs Museum website

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23
Aug
11

Exhibition: ‘Patricia Piccinini: The Fitzroy Series’ at the Centre for Contemporary Photography (CCP), Fitzroy, Melbourne

Exhibition dates: 12th August – 4th September 2011

 

Patricia Piccinini. 'Library, 8.45pm' 2011

 

Patricia Piccinini (Australian, b. 1965)
Library, 8.45pm
2011
Type C photograph
100 x 160 cm
Courtesy the artist; Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne; Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney; and Haunch of Venison, New York

 

 

A wonderful suite of photographs by Patricia Piccinini. When you see them “in the flesh” so to speak, five out of the six works (except for the last image below, Sitting Room, 2.30pm) are suffused with a beautiful, rich, dark honey-coloured light, even more so than the reproductions. This tonality adds to the romantic notion of the imaginary animals Piccinini creates – genetically modified, mutant child creatures and “Bottom Feeder” (for that is their name), rubbish scouring pets. The ordinariness of the environs that surround the mise-en-scènes supplements this feeling: books and bedrooms, workshops and sitting rooms allaying our fears, increasing our empathy. The humour is also delicious. Note the squirrel light in Bedroom, 10.30pm : inspired!

Of as much interest was Piccinini’s source material shown in the front gallery. I wrote most of the books, magazines and subjects of the photographs down because I was fascinated to see the inspiration for this artist:

  • Motorised chairs
  • Knots
  • Nests
  • American Native Indian hair (Edward S. Curtis)
  • Claws
  • Walruses
  • Skulls
  • Skeletons
  • Pupae
  • Scientific specimens
  • Birds covered in oil
  • Mammals of Australia
  • Darwin
  • Voyages of Discovery by Dr Tony Rice
  • Hiroshima Mon Amour by Marguerite Duras
  • Mag wheels
  • Big rigs (trucks)
  • Vespas
  • Custom cars and trucks
  • Morphed racing helmets
  • Photograph from Hitchcock’s The Birds
  • Braindead movie
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  • Newsweek: The Meaning of Michael (Jackson) July 13th, 2009
  • Rare breeds (sheep)
  • Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature by Donna Haraway
  • Louise Bourgeois
  • Macro/Hall by Erwin Wurm
  • Le Cere del Museo dell Instituto Fiorentino di Anatonia Patalogia deformatives

.
Great work and a wonderful gesture by artist and galleries to support the Centre for Contemporary Photography.
NB. Please note the free artist floortalk at midday on August 27th at the CCP.

Dr Marcus Bunyan

.
Many thankx to Karra Rees for her help and to the CCP for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

Patricia Piccinini. 'Alley, 11.15am' 2011

 

Patricia Piccinini (Australian, b. 1965)
Alley, 11.15am
2011
Type C photograph
100 x 160 cm
Courtesy the artist; Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne; Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney; and Haunch of Venison, New York.

 

Patricia Piccinini. 'Bedroom, 10.30pm' 2011

 

Patricia Piccinini (Australian, b. 1965)
Bedroom, 10.30pm
2011
Type C photograph
100 x 160 cm
Courtesy the artist; Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne; Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney; and Haunch of Venison, New York.

 

Patricia Piccinini (Australian, b. 1965) 'Street, 3.10am' 2011

 

Patricia Piccinini (Australian, b. 1965)
Street, 3.10am
2011
Type C photograph
100 x 160 cm
Courtesy the artist; Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne; Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney; and Haunch of Venison, New York.

 

Patricia Piccinini. 'Workshop, 7.00pm' 2011

 

Patricia Piccinini (Australian, b. 1965)
Workshop, 7.00pm
2011
Type C photograph
100 x 160 cm
Courtesy the artist; Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne; Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney; and Haunch of Venison, New York

 

 

To mark Centre for Contemporary Photography’s 25th Anniversary Patricia Piccinini has made a new series of work, never seen before. Entitled The Fitzroy Series, the exhibition of Piccinini’s new body of work, accompanied by video work and a display of her source material, is the major event in the celebrations of CCP’s 25th Anniversary in 2011.

CCP is delighted to be offering this exciting new series for the CCP 25th Anniversary Limited Edition Print fundraiser, each image in the series is generously provided in a limited edition of 4 + 1AP.

Eighty percent of funds raised through Limited Edition Prints enable CCP to support the practice and presentation of contemporary photography through provision of exhibitions, publications, education and public programs, with the artist retaining twenty percent.

What: CCP 25th Anniversary Limited Edition Print
Price: $9,320 each framed by Neo Frames (inc. gst on frame)
The first 12 prints are available at the CCP fundraiser price of $9,320 each framed by Neo Frames (inc. GST on frame)
NB. Credit card purchases attract a 1.5% merchant fee.
Prints are accompanied by a signed, numbered certificate and are provided courtesy of the artist; Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne; Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney; and Haunch of Venison, New York.
Free Artist Floortalk: midday 27 August 2011

 

Patricia Piccinini. 'Sitting Room, 2.30pm' 2011

 

Patricia Piccinini (Australian, b. 1965)
Sitting Room, 2.30pm
2011
Type C photograph
100 x 160 cm
Courtesy the artist; Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne; Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney; and Haunch of Venison, New York.

 

 

Centre for Contemporary Photography
404 George St, Fitzroy
Victoria 3065, Australia
Phone: + 61 3 9417 1549

Opening Hours:
Wednesday – Friday, 11 am – 5 pm
Saturday and Sunday, 12 pm – 5 pm

Centre for Contemporary Photography website

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21
Aug
11

Exhibition: ‘Hiroshima: Ground Zero 1945’ at the International Center of Photography, New York

Exhibition dates: 20th May – 28th August, 2011

 

United States Strategic Bombing Survey, Physical Damage Division. '[Ruins of the Hiroshima Prefectural Commercial Exhibition Hall (A-Bomb Dome)]' October 24, 1945

 

United States Strategic Bombing Survey, Physical Damage Division
[Ruins of the Hiroshima Prefectural Commercial Exhibition Hall (A-Bomb Dome)]
October 24, 1945
Gelatin silver print
© International Center of Photography

 

 

The “United States Strategic Bombing Survey, Physical Damage Division”. Don’t you just love the irony in this title? The aim of the military group who took these photographs as part of a survey on “strategic bombing” of Hiroshima was to document the physical damage that took place. As if an atomic bomb is anything other than destructive! As if an atomic bomb is anything other than catastrophic! As if an atomic bomb is anything less than death itself!

Upon this realisation, the father of the atomic bomb, J. Robert Oppenheimer, famously quoted the Bhagavad Gita after the detonation of the first bomb on July 16, 1945 in the Trinity test in New Mexico, “Now, I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”

In saying that, military jurisprudence, that disciplinary machine of death, becomes not only the recorder of destruction but also the re-ordering of the world, thus re(c)ording the world under Foucault’s Matrix of Practical Reason:

  • Through the technologies of production, which permit us to produce, transform or manipulate things
  • Through the technologies of power, which determine the conduct of individuals and submit them to certain ends or domination, an objectivising of the subject.1

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In short, the military is power; the military subjugates humans; and the military destroys at will.

The strange beauty of the Physical Damage Division photographs is that they simply document what remains. Like the “shadow” of a hand valve wheel on the painted wall of a gas storage tank, Ground Zero is burnt onto the ground glass of the camera.

Like the “shadow” these events are eternally seared into the collective memory never, ever, to be forgotten.

Dr Marcus Bunyan

 

  1. Foucault, Michel. “Technologies of the Self,” quoted in Martin, Luther and Gutman, Huck and Hutton, Patrick (eds.,). Technologies of the Self: A Seminar with Michel Foucault. London: Tavistock Publications, 1988, p. 18

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

 

 

United States Strategic Bombing Survey, Physical Damage Division. '[Distorted steel-frame structure of Odamasa Store, Hiroshima]' November 20, 1945

 

United States Strategic Bombing Survey, Physical Damage Division
[Distorted steel-frame structure of Odamasa Store, Hiroshima]
November 20, 1945
Gelatin silver print
© International Center of Photography

 

United States Strategic Bombing Survey, Physical Damage Division. '[Ruins of Chugoku Coal Distribution Company or Hiroshima Gas Company]' November 8, 1945

 

United States Strategic Bombing Survey, Physical Damage Division
[Ruins of Chugoku Coal Distribution Company or Hiroshima Gas Company]
November 8, 1945
Gelatin silver contact print
© International Center of Photography

 

United States Strategic Bombing Survey, Physical Damage Division. '[Remains of a school building]' November 17, 1945

 

United States Strategic Bombing Survey, Physical Damage Division
[Remains of a school building]
November 17, 1945
Gelatin silver contact print
© International Center of Photography

 

 

Once-classified images of atomic destruction at Hiroshima will be displayed in a new exhibition Hiroshima: Ground Zero 1945 at the International Center of Photography (1133 Avenue of the Americas at 43rd Street) from May 20 to August 28, 2011. Drawn from ICP’s permanent collection, the Hiroshima archive includes more than 700 images of absence and annihilation, which formed the basis for civil defence architecture in the United States. These images had been mislaid for over forty years before being acquired by ICP in 2006.

This exhibition will include approximately 60 contact prints and photographs as well as the secret 1947 United States Strategic Bombing Survey (USSBS) report, The Effects of the Strategic Bombing on Hiroshima, Japan. It will be accompanied by a catalogue published by ICP/Steidl, with essays by John W. Dower, Adam Harrison Levy, David Monteyne, Philomena Mariani, and Erin Barnett.

After the nuclear attacks in August 1945, President Truman dispatched members of the USSBS to Japan to survey the military, economic, and civilian damage. The Survey’s Physical Damage Division photographed, analysed, and evaluated the atomic bomb’s impact on the structures surrounding the Hiroshima blast site, designated “Ground Zero.” The findings of the USSBS provided essential information to American architects and civil engineers as they debated the merits of bomb shelters, suburbanisation, and revised construction techniques.

The photographs in this exhibition were in the possession of Robert L. Corsbie, an executive officer of the Physical Damage Division who later worked for the Atomic Energy Commission. An architectural engineer and expert on the effects of the atomic bomb, he used what he learned from the structural analyses and these images to promote civil defence architecture in the U.S. The photographs went through a series of unintended moves after Corsbie, his wife and son died in a house fire in 1967.

The U.S., at war with Japan, detonated the world’s first weaponised atomic bomb over Hiroshima, a vast port city of over 350,000 inhabitants, on August 6, 1945. The blast obliterated about 70 percent of the city and caused the deaths of more than 140,000 people. Three days later, the U.S. dropped a second nuclear bomb on Nagasaki, resulting in another 80,000 fatalities. Within a week, Japan announced its surrender to the Allied Powers, effectively ending World War II.

“Once part of a classified cache of government photographs, this archive of haunting images documents the devastating power of the atomic bomb,” said ICP Assistant Curator of Collections Erin Barnett, who organised the exhibition.

Press release from the International Center of Photography website

 

United States Strategic Bombing Survey, Physical Damage Division. '["Shadow" of a hand valve wheel on the painted wall of a gas storage tank; radiant heat instantly burned paint where the heat rays were not obstructed, Hiroshima]' October 14 - November 26, 1945

 

United States Strategic Bombing Survey, Physical Damage Division
[“Shadow” of a hand valve wheel on the painted wall of a gas storage tank; radiant heat instantly burned paint where the heat rays were not
obstructed, Hiroshima]
October 14 – November 26, 1945
Gelatin silver print
© International Center of Photography

 

United States Strategic Bombing Survey, Physical Damage Division. '[Interior of Hiroshima City Hall auditorium with undamaged walls and framing but spalling of plaster and complete destruction of contents by fire]' November 1, 1945

 

United States Strategic Bombing Survey, Physical Damage Division
[Interior of Hiroshima City Hall auditorium with undamaged walls and framing but spalling of plaster and complete destruction of contents by fire]
November 1, 1945
Gelatin silver print
© International Center of Photography

 

United States Strategic Bombing Survey, Physical Damage Division. '[Rooftop view of atomic destruction, looking southwest, Hiroshima]' October 31, 1945

 

United States Strategic Bombing Survey, Physical Damage Division
[Rooftop view of atomic destruction, looking southwest, Hiroshima]
October 31, 1945
Gelatin silver print
© International Center of Photography

 

United States Strategic Bombing Survey, Physical Damage Division. '[Steel stairs warped by intense heat from burned book stacks of Asano Library, Hiroshima]' November 15, 1945

 

United States Strategic Bombing Survey, Physical Damage Division
[Steel stairs warped by intense heat from burned book stacks of Asano Library, Hiroshima]
November 15, 1945
Gelatin silver contact print
© International Center of Photography

 

 

International Center of Photography
1133 Avenue of the Americas at 43rd Street
New York NY 10036
Phone: 212 857 0045

Opening hours:
Wednesday – Monday 11 am – 7 pm
Closed: Tuesday

International Center of Photography website

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17
Aug
11

The Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), Hobart

August 2011

 

MONA exterior, Hobart

 

MONA exterior, Hobart
Image Courtesy of MONA Museum of Old and New Art

 

 

“Lyotard writes,”We must not begin with transgression, we must immediately go to the very end of cruelty, construct the anatomy of polymorphous perversion, unfold the immense membrane of the libidinal ‘body,’ which is quite the inverse of a system of parts.” Lyotard sees this “membrane” as composed of the most heterogeneous items: human bone and writing paper, steel and glass, syntax and the skin on the inside of the thigh. In the libidinal economy, writes Lyotard: “All of these zones are butted end to end … on a Moebius strip … a moebian skin [an] interminable band of variable geometry (a concavity is necessarily a convexity at the next turn) [with but] a single face, and therefore neither exterior nor interior.”

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Jean-François Lyotard quoted in Victor Burgin. In/Different Spaces 1

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“Taking a walk is also an extremely immediate form of experience. Serge Daney describes the act of perception while taking a walk: ‘Because I am not particularly fond of bravura pieces, I always need a transition from one thing to the next. And I am glad that I can find it through by body and experience of walking…’
The visual memory of the walker / viewer determines the sequence of the pictures. Since the 1960s Marcel Broodthaers has defined the exhibition as a cinematic sequence of pictures and objects, thereby subverting the fixity of the single object through recontextualisation.”

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Serge Daney quoted in Hans Obrist. “In the Midst of Things, At the Centre of Nothing.”2

 

 

Libidinal, Moebic MONA

My analogy: you are standing in the half-dark, your chest open, squeezing the beating heart with blood coursing between your fingers while the other hand is up your backside playing with your prostrate gland. I think ringmeister David Walsh would approve.

My best friends analogy: a cross between a car park, night club, sex sauna and art gallery.

Weeks later I am still thinking about the wonderful immersive, sensory experience that is MONA. Peter Timms in an insightful article in Meanjin calls it a post-Google Wunderkammer, or wonder chest.3 It can be seen as a mirabilia – a non-historic installation designed primarily to delight, surprise and in this case shock. The body, sex, death and mortality are hot topics in the cultural arena4 and Walsh’s collection covers all bases. The collection and its display are variously hedonistic, voyeuristic, narcissistic, fetishistic pieces of theatre subsumed within the body of the spectacular museum architecture.

The experience starts with the ferry ride from the wharf in Hobart to the museum – the only way to arrive. During the 20 minutes of the journey mental baggage seems to drop away as you look over the water to the industrial zinc works, pass under bridges and then the museum comes into view. Perched on a promontory of land the museum rises like a rusted ancient temple. After disembarking you climb a colossal staircase to the entrance of the museum, all angles and mirrored surfaces. You enter one of two Roy Grounds listed modernist buildings built in the 1950s – beautiful, crisp white spaces that house the shop and a cafe, cloakroom and inquiry desk where you collect your ‘O’, an iPhone-like device that tracks all the artworks that you look at. The are no didactic text panels in the museum freeing the viewer to just experience, all data such as artists names and educational information and the tit-bit Gonzo text being accessed through the ‘O’. Into the large enclosed forecourt space a spiral staircase with a circular lift in the centre descends into the abyss (an inspired piece of design) and your journey proper has begun. Three levels deep into the ground you travel, the space carved out of solid rock. Impressive.

The museum is the body and the artworks are the organs, fragments of the whole exhibition (that of the actual museum). The experience is very kinaesthetic as the body gets lost within the space of the gallery. We wandered like flâneur among the darkened, cinema-like spaces, almost floating from one area to the next, discovering, feeling disorientated, following underground passages, tunnels and stairs, emerging into light and then descending into the abyss again. Hours passed. Like a Moebius strip there seemed to be no interior/exterior to the body. As Lyotard notes the membrane of the libidinal ‘body’ is composed of the most heterogeneous items: here was rock, steel, shit, bestiality, intestines, brain, touch, burial etc… the curating of the collection within the space “creating a safe space for the appreciation and consideration of seemingly extreme and subversive practices.”5

Into this space of controlled transgression, the carnivalesque mise-en-scène allow the artists to delve into the deeper and darker areas of the human condition: “as Anthony Everitt once said of Damien Hirst [to] ‘open up paths for the viewer into areas of experience which are not anti-moral or amoral but extra-moral… a world where bad taste is driven to the point of elegance and disgust is filtered into delight’.”6

While some of the works were spotlit in the darkened galleries, “this dramatic lighting working to decontextualise the art objects, evoking a crepuscular and “timeless” sense of space, out of which the individual pieces emerged,”7 there also seemed to be an affinity between the building itself and the artworks (relating to the concept of affinity in museum curation). The diversity of installation techniques made an acknowledgement of the institutionalising processes part of the viewer’s experience of the show, disrupting a unified, totalising presentation of these objects and their cultures as “exhibition.”8 The intertextual tableaux mixed a Damien Hirst spin painting with Egyptian sculpture, ancient artefacts with Fat Cars. The context of the objects and their relationship to each other and the architecture is how the works are “framed.” This device emphasises the aesthetic rather than information and encourages the viewer to think about the relationship between the artefacts, objects and contemporary works. These inventive arrangements create a meta-narrative that offers the possibility of multiple interpretations to the viewer, multiple truths. All of this undertaken as the body moves through the spaces of the gallery and gets “lost”. As Norman Bryson has observed, “Architecture is sensed primarily through the eye and through bodily movement, and these sensations also play a key role in the way in which the contents of museums make their impact.”9

While the items are not explicitly related in terms of subject, medium or style through unexpected confrontation the works spring to dissonant life. Most of the time. When this process doesn’t work the viewer is left a little flat feeling, and…. so? wandering from piece to piece becoming slightly disenchanted. Little of the work at MONA took me to new spaces; in fact some of it was pretty mediocre, including the very dated Sir Sidney Nolan Snake (1970 to 1972, see below) that is permanent ‘wallpaper’ and takes up a whole, beautiful gallery wall. The tri-screen video by Russian collective AES+F, the works by Anselm Kiefer and the ancient artefacts (most of all) were notable exceptions. The museum is not a place for prolonged concentration and contemplation. This is not really the point of the place. The whole museum is a sensory, immersive surprising experience that cannot be broken down to its parts. David Walsh’s collection does tick all the fashionable boxes: here a Juan Davila, there a Del Kathyrn Barton, now a Howard Arkeley as though his buyers have advised him on just what to buy, but it is his personal vision, his collection. You can’t argue with that.

On of the problems of lumping all of these works together is obvious: “Ancient objects whose meaning is lost to us, medieval utensils, Christian religious images, and art objects made by modern masters were reduced to one meaning – stylistic resemblances providing evidence of the essential nature of humanity.”10 In other words a return to the globalising view of humanity evidenced by Edward Steichen’s MoMA world touring photographic exhibition of the 1950s ‘The Family of Man’. Conversely, when this strategy works well it promotes for the viewer different modes and levels of ‘interpretation’ through subtle juxtaposition of ‘experience’. As Emma Barker has observed, “we still need a curator to stimulate readings of the collection and to establish those ‘climatic zones’ which can enrich our appreciation and understanding of art… Our aim must be to generate a condition in which visitors can experience a sense of discovery in looking at particular paintings, sculptures or installations in a particular room at a particular moment, rather than find themselves standing on the conveyer belt of history.”11 Within this plastic space experience is paramount, allowing the viewer to develop their own reading without relying on the curatorial interpretation of history, setting new parameters for the relationship between viewer and object. As Barker notes such juxtapositions are a more natural strategy for a private collector than for a museum curator, with exhibitions and displays according to this dialectical principle happening with more frequency.12 The museum looses its fundamental didactic, educational purpose.

Other problems may also become evident. In a museum whose spectacular architecture was specifically designed for David Walsh’s collection it will be interesting to see how outside, touring exhibitions (such as the recently installed Experimenta Utopia Now exhibition) display in the space, especially given the psychosexual nature of his collection and its relationship to the building. If the quality of the temporary exhibitions is overwhelmed by the architecture, if the labyrinthine, enigmatic and layered nature of the space (all those floating bridges and the huge Void that can be seen in the photographs below) engulfs lesser works then it may well fall very flat.

At the end of the day we emerged into the afternoon light, expelled from the museum in a tidal wave of humanity, exhausted, satiated. Where else in Australia could you spend all day at a museum and not have seen enough? On flying home you can log into the MONA website to retrieve your ‘O’ tour, to see what art you liked and what you didn’t; what pieces you saw and all those that somehow you missed! The physical and its remembrance transported into the virtual.

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Since Laura Mulvey’s essay of 1974 “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema,” we have been aware of the voyeuristic and fetishistic character of our psychosexual relation to cinema. Engulfed in the dark cube, that psychosexual panorama, the cinematic labyrinth that is MONA has the viewer absenting themselves in front of the art in favour of the Eye and the Spectator.13 Spectatorship and their attendant erotics has MONA as a form of fetishistic cinema. It is as if what Barthes calls “the eroticism of place” were a modern equivalent of the eighteenth century genius loci, the “genius of the place.”

The place is spectacular, the private collection writ large as public institution, the symbolic power of the institution masked through its edifice. The art become autonomous, cut free from its cultural associations, transnational, globalised, experienced through kinaesthetic means; the viewer meandering through the galleries, the anti-museum, as an international flaneur. Go. Experience!

Dr Marcus Bunyan

 

  1. Lyotard, Jean-François. Économie Libidinale. Paris: Éditions de Minuit, 1974, pp. 10-11 quoted in Burgin, Victor. In/Different Spaces: Place and Memory in Visual Culture. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995, p. 150
  2. Obrist, Hans Ulrich. “In the Midst of Things at the Center of Nothing,” in Harding, Anna (ed.,). Curating: The Contemporary Museum and Beyond, (Art & Design Magazine Profile No. 52), London: A.D., 1997, p. 88
  3. Timms, Peter. “A Post-google Wunderkammer: Hobart’s Museum of Old and New Art Redefines the Genre,” in Meanjin, Vol. 70, No. 2, Winter 2011. pp. 31-39
  4. Keidan, Lois. “Showtime: Curating Live Art  in the 90s,” in Harding, Anna (ed.,). Curating: The Contemporary Museum and Beyond, (Art & Design Magazine Profile No. 52), London: A.D., 1997, p. 41
  5. Ibid., p. 41
  6. Ibid., p. 41
  7. Staniszewski, Mary Anne. The power of display: a history of exhibition installations at the Museum of Modern Art. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1998, p. 84
  8. Ibid., p. 97
  9. Bryson, Norman. “A Walk for a Walk’s Sake,” in De Zegher, Catherine (ed.,). The Stage of Drawing: Gesture and Act. London: Tate, 2003, pp. 149-58.
  10. Staniszewski, op. cit. p. 129
  11. Barker, Emma. “Exhibiting the Canon: The Blockbuster Show,” in Barker, Emma (ed.,). Contemporary Cultures of Display. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1999, p. 55
  12. Ibid., p. 45
  13. O’Neill, Paul. “The Curatorial Turn: From Practice to Discourse,” in Rugg, Judith and Sedgwick, Michèle (eds.,). Issues in Curating Contemporary Art and Performance. Bristol: Intellect, 2007, pp. 13-28

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Many thankx to Delia Nicholls for all her help and to MONA for allowing me to publish most of the photographs in the posting (all except the top two and the one of us inside Babylonia that were taken by Fredrick White). Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

 

Zinc works from the ferry on the way to MONA

Zinc works from the ferry on the way to MONA

 

Zinc works from the ferry on the way to MONA
Photos: Marcus Bunyan

 

3d schematic from the O, showing the levels and nodes indicating art works visited, MONA

 

3d schematic from the O, showing the levels and nodes indicating art works visited, MONA

 

MONA The Void February 2011

 

The Void
February 2011
Museum of Old and New Art – interior
Photo credit: MONA/Leigh Carmichael
Image Courtesy of MONA Museum of Old and New Art

 

MONA B1 walkway overlooking The Void February 2011

 

B1 walkway overlooking The Void
February 2011
Museum of Old and New Art – interior
Photo credit: MONA/Leigh Carmichael
Image Courtesy of MONA Museum of Old and New Art

 

MONA Loop System Quintet/Untitled (stool for guard)

 

Loop System Quintet/Untitled (stool for guard)

Left:
Taiyo Kimura (Kamakura, Japan, 1970)
Untitled (stool for guard)
2007
Mixed media, clothes, cd player, speaker

Right:
Conrad Shawcross (London, England, 1977)
Loop System Quintet

2005
Waxed machined oak, five light bulbs, electric motor and gearbox, drive shafts, cogs, universal joints, flange units, screws, bolts, nuts, washers

Photo credit: MONA/Leigh Carmichael
Image Courtesy of MONA Museum of Old and New Art

 

Callum Morton (Montreal, Canada, 1965) 'Babylonia' 2005

 

Callum Morton (Montreal, Canada, 1965)
Babylonia
2005
Wood, polystyrene, epoxy resin, acrylic paint, light, carpet, mirror and sound
Photo credit: MONA/Leigh Carmichael
Image Courtesy of MONA Museum of Old and New Art

 

Sculptor Fredrick White and myself inside Callum Morton's 'Babylonia' wearing the 'O'

 

Sculptor Fredrick White and myself inside Callum Morton’s Babylonia wearing the ‘O’

 

Portrait gallery. Various artworks by various artists. Museum of Old and New Art - interior

 

Portrait gallery
Various artworks by various artists
Museum of Old and New Art – interior
Photo credit: MONA/Leigh Carmichael
Image Courtesy of MONA Museum of Old and New Art

 

 

Masturbation. It is a source of endless irony to me that when I was young, and desperately in need of endless fucking, no one was interested in helping me out, whereas now, older and slower, I could fill even my desired adolescent quota. What saved me then was my right hand, even though I call myself left-handed. Surely the hand that you wank with (I guess John Holmes was ambidextrous) defines you just as much as the hand you write with? Anyway, who writes anymore? It’s so much easier to type. Mental masturbation allows me to pretend I’m a mental John Holmes, takes both hands. But no brains.

Art. I’m not at all sure that conceptual art and traditional art are the same thing. One can come from muscle memory, from pragma; at its best it’s not at all conscious. The former, though, is so self-aware it’s often targeting its own self-awareness. Check out the Hirst and the Pylypchuk at the other end of the gallery.

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David Walsh 2011

 

 

MONA Corten Stairwell February 2011

 

Corten Stairwell
February 2011
Museum of Old and New Art – interior
Photo credit: MONA/Leigh Carmichael
Image Courtesy of MONA Museum of Old and New Art

 

MONA Corten Stairwell & Surrounding Artworks February 2011

 

Corten Stairwell & Surrounding Artworks
February 2011
Museum of Old and New Art – interior
Photo credit: MONA/Leigh Carmichael
Image Courtesy of MONA Museum of Old and New Art

 

MONA The Nolan Gallery February 2011

 

The Nolan Gallery

Sir Sidney Nolan (Carlton, Victoria, Australia, 1917-1992)
Snake
1970 to 1972
Mixed media on paper, 1620 sheets

Jannis Kounellis (Piraeus, Greece, 1936)
Untitled

2002
Jute coffee bags, coal; three parts

Photo credit: MONA/Leigh Carmichael
Image Courtesy of MONA Museum of Old and New Art

 

MONA Erwin Wurm. 'Fat Car' 2006


 

Erwin Wurm (Bruck an der Mur, Austria, 1954)
Fat Car
2006
Steel chassis and body; leather interior, with polystyrene and fibreglass
Photo credit: MONA/Leigh Carmichael
Image Courtesy of MONA Museum of Old and New Art

 

 

Museum of Old and New Art
655 Main Road Berriedale
Hobart Tasmania 7011, Australia

Opening hours:
Daily 10 am – 6 pm

MONA website

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12
Aug
11

Opening: ‘John Bodin: Rite of Passage’ at Anita Traverso Gallery, Richmond

Exhibition dates: 11th August – 3rd September, 2011

 

John Bodin. 'I Was Far Away From Home' 2009

 

John Bodin (Australian)
I Was Far Away From Home
2009
Type C print on metallic paper
80 x 110 cm

 

 

Reprinted below is the speech I gave at the opening. Beautiful work (shot mostly in Tasmania from the passenger seat of a moving car). Many thanx to Anita and John for asking me to speak at the opening – it was fun!

 

Opening night speech

I want to preface what I am about to say by noting that I am interested in how these photographs, as physical objects, might speak to what is not physical, what is intangible and ineffable about the spaces they display.

I saw a fantastic documentary about the pianist Artur Rubenstein recently on SBS. When he was playing in concert he believed that he recognised in the audience a person that was more attuned to the nuances of his phrasing and performance than others and he played for them – he wanted to show them something new, insightful and challenging. This made him play better, taking more risks for greater reward, for himself and for the audience. These moments have the possibility of becoming moments in eternity (or to introduce the analogy of the road, milestones). For us it is the recognition of these moments in eternity (or to keep the analogy going, a journey), the unenclosed and apparently insignificant. The material world’s strange mixture of familiarity and otherness, ‘humanness’ and non-humanness.

Where these ideas share a quality with the photographs by John is a recognition of the fluid energy flowing through these spaces, like infinite ribbons of consciousness. For me this is not an escapement nor contentment but a point of stillness within self – an awareness and balance at that moment, at that point in time, in that line of sight when the photograph was taken. A stillness within self that acknowledges the journey taken and the journey to be taken – something that is beyond language and goes to the most intimate place of our being.

The photographs become the surface of the body, stitched together with lines, markers pointing the way – they are encounters with the things that we see before us but also the things that we carry inside of us. It is the interchange between these two things, how one modulates and informs the other. It is this engagement that holds our attention: the dappled light, ambiguity, unevenness, the winding path that floats and bobs before our eyes looking back at us, as we observe and are observed by the body of these landscapes.

One of the fundamental qualities of the photographs is that they escape our attempts to rationalise them and make them part of our understanding of the world, to quantify our existence in terms of materiality. I have an intimate feeling with regard to these sites of engagement. They are both once familiar and unfamiliar to us; they possess a sense of nowhereness. A sense of groundlessness and groundedness. A collapsing of near and far, looking down, looking along, a collapsing of the constructed world.

Why here? Why this particular angle? This section of the visible, this turn in the road. Not quite knowing where we are, we are neither here nor there, within nor without. It is an experience of being between the two – a potential space, a “between” that is formed only in the simultaneous presence of the two. As Donald Winnicott has observed in the book In/different Spaces by Victor Burgin, it is “the potential space between the subjective object and the object objectively perceived” that becomes the location of cultural experience.

“Those things of which I can perceive the beginnings and the end are not my self.” Grimm says. Like the road in these photographs there is no self just an infinite time that has no beginning and no end. The time before my birth, the time after my death. We are just in the world, just being somewhere. Life is just a temporary structure on the road from order to disorder. “The road is life,” writes Jack Kerouac in On the Road.

John’s skill as a photographer is to make visible the not really seen, potential spaces that we could have not have imagined otherwise. And for that, John, I am grateful.

Dr Marcus Bunyan

 

 

John Bodin (Australian)
Into the Mystic
2009
Type C print on metallic paper
80 x 110cm

 

John Bodin 'Into Timeless Shadows' 2009

 

John Bodin (Australian)
Into Timeless Shadows
2009
Type C print on metallic paper
80 x 110 cm

 

John Bodin. 'Remembrance of Some Lost Bliss' 2009

 

John Bodin (Australian)
Remembrance of Some Lost Bliss
2009
Type C print on metallic paper
80 x 110 cm

 

John Bodin. 'So Ghostly Easy' 2009

 

John Bodin
So Ghostly Easy
2009
Type C print on metallic paper
80 x 110 cm

 

John Bodin. 'Somewhere Along the Line the Pearl would be Handed to Me' 2009

 

John Bodin (Australian)
Somewhere Along the Line the Pearl would be Handed to Me
2009
Type C print on metallic paper
80 x 110 cm

 

John Bodin. 'The One Distinct Moment of My Life' 2009

 

John Bodin (Australian)
The One Distinct Moment of My Life
2009
Type C print on metallic paper
80 x 110 cm

 

 

Anita Traverso Gallery
PO Box 7001, Hawthorn North 3122
Phone: 0408 534 034

Anita Traverso Gallery website

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09
Aug
11

Exhibition: ‘Alexander Rodchenko – Revolution in Photography’ at Fotomuseum Winterthur, Zurich

Exhibition dates: 28th May – 14th August 2011

 

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

 

 

Alexander Rodchenko. '
Pine trees, Pushkino', 1927

 

Alexander Rodchenko (Russian, 1891-1956)
Pine trees, Pushkino
1927
Gelatin-silver print, Vintage print

 

Alexander Rodchenko / Warwara Stepanowa
. 'Young Gliders', Sketch of a double page for the magazine 'USSR under Construction', 1933

 

Alexander Rodchenko (Russian, 1891-1956) / Warwara Stepanowa (Russian, 1894-1958)
Young Gliders
Sketch of a double page for the magazine USSR under Construction
1933
Gelatin silver print, Vintage print, Photomontage
41.2 x 60.5 cm
Moscow House of Photography Museum
© Rodchenko’s Archive / 
2011, ProLitteris, Zurich

 

Alexander Rodchenko.
 'Morning exercises, Student Campus in Lefortovo' 1932

 

Alexander Rodchenko (Russian, 1891-1956)
Morning exercises, Student Campus in Lefortovo
1932
Gelatin silver print, Vintage print
22.8 x 29.5 cm
Private collection
© Rodchenko’s Archive /
 2011, ProLitteris, Zurich

 

Alexander Rodchenko. '
Shukhov Tower' 1929

 

Alexander Rodchenko (Russian, 1891-1956)
Shukhov Tower
1929
Gelatin silver print, Vintage print
21.6 x 29.5 cm
Private collection
© Rodchenko’s Archive /
 2011, ProLitteris, Zurich

 

 

Modernism made photography what it is. It gave it self-confidence and made it trust itself. Self confident because photography in the 1920s recognised and developed its own possibilities and qualities: a probing vision of the world, an investigation of the visible reality from various perspectives, direct, clear, from above, below, behind, from the front, but without references to the pool of art history. Russian Constructivism is an important part of this great shift. In 1924, Alexander Rodchenko (1891-1956), already known as a painter, sculptor, and designer, conquered traditional photography with the slogan “Our duty is to experiment!” This resulted in a reconsideration of the concept and role of photography. Conceptual work entered the stage. Instead of being an illustration of reality, photography became a means to visually represent intellectual constructs, and the artist became an “artist-engineer”.

Yet Rodchenko was much more than a dynamic image maker. He wrote manifestos to accompany almost every one of his picture series, tirelessly promoting his concept of Russian Constructivism to the world. Destabilising diagonals, harsh contrasts, tilted views, and picture and text collages are design elements found in his photographs. To this day they form, together with his texts, a unique document of the indefatigable artistic energy that is also manifest in Alexander Rodchenko’s posters, invitation cards, and publications.

At the beginning of the 1920s, Rodchenko worked together with his friend the poet Vladimir Mayakovsky on bold, photographic illustrations for Mayakovsky’s volume of poems Pro Eto. Rodchenko soon became coeditor, with Mayakovsky, of the magazine LEV (Left Front of the Arts), and was responsible for its cover designs in the years 1923-24. He designed posters for Sergei Eisenstein’s film Battleship Potemkin and was commissioned to design the Soviet pavilion to the world exhibition in Paris in 1925. The experimental and innovative “new vision” was celebrated across Europe. Rodchencko took part in the pioneering exhibition Film und Foto (Film and Photo) of the Stuttgart Werkbund in 1929. Yet already at the beginning of the 1930s, the mood had shifted in Russia; photography was increasingly being instrumentalised by the state in the interests of socialism. Rodchenko was repeatedly forced to defend himself against accusations of formalism made over his photograph Pioneer with Trumpet, and, in the end, he was expelled from the October artists group, which he himself had cofounded in 1928, for refusing to adapt his style of working to the new times.

Press release from the Fotomuseum Winterthur website

 

Alexander Rodchenko. '
Caricature Showing Osip Brik, variant of a cover for LEF Magazine' 1924


 

Alexander Rodchenko (Russian, 1891-1956)

Caricature Showing Osip Brik, variant of a cover for LEF Magazine
1924
Gelatin silver print
24.2 x 17.9 cm
Private collection
© Rodchenko’s Archive /
 2011, ProLitteris, Zurich

 

Alexander Rodchenko.
 'Portrait of Mother' 1924


 

Alexander Rodchenko (Russian, 1891-1956)
Portrait of Mother
1924
Gelatin-silver print, Vintage print
22.7 x 16.5 cm
Private collection
© Rodchenko’s Archive /
 2011, ProLitteris, Zurich

 

Alexander Rodchenko.
 'Pioneer with a trumpet' 1930


 

Alexander Rodchenko (Russian, 1891-1956)
Pioneer with a trumpet
1930
Gelatin silver print, Vintage print
44.5 x 38.5 cm
Moscow House of Photography Museum
© Rodchenko’s Archive / 
2011, ProLitteris, Zurich

 

Alexander Rodchenko.
 'Gears' 1929


 

Alexander Rodchenko (Russian, 1891-1956)
Gears
1929
Gelatin silver print, Vintage print
28.8 x 23 cm
Private collection
© Rodchenko’s Archive /
 2011, ProLitteris, Zurich

 

Alexander Rodchenko.
 'Mosselprom Building' 1926

 

Alexander Rodchenko (Russian, 1891-1956)
Mosselprom Building
1926
Gelatin silver print, Vintage print
29 x 23.3 cm
Private collection
© Rodchenko’s Archive /
 2011, ProLitteris, Zurich

 

Alexander Rodchenko. 'Girl with Leica' 1934

 

Alexander Rodchenko (Russian, 1891-1956)
Girl with a Leica
1934
Gelatin silver print, Vintage print
45 x 29.5 cm
Private collection
© Rodchenko’s Archive / 
2011, ProLitteris, Zurich

 

 

Fotomuseum Winterthur
Grüzenstrasse 44 + 45
CH-8400
Winterthur (Zürich)

Opening hours:
Tuesday to Sunday 11 am – 6 pm
Wednesday 11 am – 8 pm
Closed on Mondays

Fotomuseum Winterthur website

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05
Aug
11

Exhibition: ‘Chihuly: Through the Looking Glass’ at Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Exhibition dates: 10th April – 7th August, 2011

 

Dale Chihuly. 'Neodymium Reeds on Logs', de Young Museum, San Francisco, California, 2008

 

Dale Chihuly (American, born 1941)
Neodymium Reeds on Logs
2008
de Young Museum, San Francisco, California
Photo by Teresa Nouri Rishel
© 2008 Chihuly Studio

 

 

“The way I paint or draw, I don’t think about it very much. If I’m thinking about it, that kind of means that I don’t know what to do. If I start thinking, ‘I want to draw, now what can I draw?’ and I’m not inspired – because that can happen very easily – then they start to get mundane. On the other hand, if I start making drawings that I know how to do already, and if I can go fast enough, they start to get really good.”

.
Dale Chihuly

 

 

I love contemporary glass and Dale Chihuly is one of my favourite artists in the world. The Persian ceiling is breathtaking – organic and pulsating like the most outrageously coloured jellyfish floating over your head; the Ikebana boat, the Mille Fiori pitch perfect – a riot of colour and form, playing with ideas and the chandeliers, the chandeliers – wow! Then to do something as sensitive and restrained as the Tabac basket or the beautiful Neodymium Reeds on Logs. This is the full package, bravo.

Dr Marcus Bunyan

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

 

Dale Chihuly. 'Ikebana Boat' 2011

 

Dale Chihuly (American, born 1941) 
Ikebana Boat
2011
Blown glass, boat hull
5 X 17 X 7′
Artwork © 2011 by Chihuly Studio, All rights reserved
Photograph © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

Dale Chihuly (American, born 1941) 'Mille Fiori' 2011

 

Dale Chihuly (American, born 1941)
Mille Fiori
2011
Blown Glass
9½ X 56 X 12′
Artwork © 2011 by Chihuly Studio, All rights reserved
Photograph © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

Dale Chihuly (American, born 1941) 'Persian Ceiling' 2011

 

Dale Chihuly (American, born 1941)
Persian Ceiling
2011
Blown glass
15 X 28′
Artwork © 2011 by Chihuly Studio, All rights reserved
Photograph © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

 

A magical wonderland to delight Alice herself unfolds in Chihuly: Through the Looking Glass at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), from April 10 through August 7, 2011. This exhibition presents new and early works created over the last four decades by Dale Chihuly, one of the world’s foremost artists working in glass. Chihuly: Through the Looking Glass features 12 boldly hued installations. Nine of these glass artworks are on view in the MFA’s Ann and Graham Gund Gallery, which serves as the main stage for the exhibition. Three additional installations are displayed within and outside of the Museum’s soaring, glass-enclosed Ruth and Carl J. Shapiro Family Courtyard, including the 42-foot-tall Lime Green Icicle Tower. The exhibition is organised by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in cooperation with Dale Chihuly. It is supported by Highland Street Foundation. The media sponsors are The Boston Phoenix and WFNX Radio Network.

“Dale Chihuly is an American original, a master artist and craftsman who brings a truly magical touch to the fragile, yet malleable medium of glass, and who embodies the message: art is for everyone,” said Malcolm Rogers, Ann and Graham Gund Director of the MFA. “Visitors to the exhibition will be surprised and delighted by his dazzling installations, which create a kaleidoscopic world full of colour and light. This exhibition gives us the wonderful opportunity to showcase the full range and grand scale of his art.”

 

First Installation in the New Shapiro Family Courtyard

The MFA continues the celebration of the recently opened Art of the Americas Wing and Shapiro Family Courtyard with Chihuly: Through the Looking Glass, showcasing the artwork of one of the most innovative and beloved American artists of our time. The show was conceived two years ago when Chihuly visited the Museum while the courtyard was still under construction, and marks the first time that exhibition-related works are on view in the courtyard. Chihuly: Through the Looking Glass was designed by Chihuly specifically for the Museum site. Works created in the Chihuly Studio hot shop in Seattle, Washington, incorporating thousands of individual pieces of hand-blown glass, were sent to Boston in six 53-foot containers. The 12 installations were assembled on site at the MFA during a three-week period in March. During this time, visitors to the MFA were able to watch a team from Chihuly Studio install the monumental glass artworks in the courtyard and surrounding gardens…

Works created specifically for Chihuly: Through the Looking Glass, such as the dramatic Lime Green Icicle Tower, have transformed the Shapiro Family Courtyard. Measuring 42-feet high and weighing approximately 10,000 pounds, the sculpture’s 2,342 glass elements catch the light flooding into the glass-enclosed space. Also in the courtyard, along the colonnade of the Museum’s historic interior façade, is the newly created Boathouse Neon II – an expansive profusion of red, yellow, and orange – spanning 98 feet. Outside, along the courtyard’s glass walls, Amber Cattails extend the length of the northern-landscaped area as though planted in their natural environment.

“Perhaps the greatest artist in American glass since Louis Comfort Tiffany, Dale Chihuly is one of the central figures in the contemporary studio glass movement. This exhibition will give our visitors a look at his extraordinary career – the creation of enchanting environments that, through the manipulation of light and colour, both delight the eye and challenge our perception of space,” said Gerald W.R. Ward, the Katharine Lane Weems Senior Curator of American Decorative Arts and Sculpture, who organised the exhibition.

 

Nine Unique Installations in the New Gund Gallery

The exhibition continues below the courtyard, where nine unique Chihuly installations (including both newly made and early works) are on view in the Gund Gallery for special exhibitions. Outside of the gallery, a glistening, 30′ long and 15′ tall Persian Wall composed of intricately detailed rondels – flower-like shapes in yellows, reds, and oranges – offer an enchanting welcome to visitors. Inside the gallery, Scarlet Icicle Chandelier, measuring 6’ high, sets the stage for the bold creations that lie beyond, such as Ikebana Boat, a 17′-long, newly made composition featuring a weathered wooden rowboat filled with brightly colored, seemingly alien glass forms. Chihuly’s Ikebana series, which alludes to Japanese flower arrangements, is featured in a nearby room, where 5′-to-6′-tall silvered vessels hold inventive floral “stems”. Also on view in the room is an assortment of Venetians – silvered blown glass sculptures originally conceived by Chihuly after seeing Venetian Art Deco glass. Chihuly Drawings seen in this space serve as complement and inspiration for the glass Venetian works. The nearby Northwest Room evokes the artist’s native Pacific Northwest environment and the Native American influence on his work. It features an assemblage of ethereal Baskets inspired by Native American baskets, as well as displays of 75 colourful trade blankets and a variety of woven baskets from the artist’s own extensive collection.

Adjacent to this installation is a darkened space showcasing Mille Fiori (Italian for “a thousand flowers”), measuring 58′ long and 11′ tall and presented on a 12′-wide raised platform. This breathtaking work of art is one of the artist’s largest installations, a combination of many of the colourful, inventive shapes found in Chihuly’s other creations – from exotic Cattails and tall Reeds, to giant glass Niijima Floats and ribbon-like Herons – brilliantly coloured in shades of yellow, red, lavender, green, orange, and blue. Persian Ceiling, a dazzling 15′ by 25′ array of vibrant and beautifully articulated shapes encased and suspended from the ceiling, is featured in the adjacent gallery. This eruption of colour continues in the Chandelier Room, featuring six dramatic Chandeliers hanging at different heights from the 16′-high Gund Gallery ceiling. Included are newly created works, the 12′-tall Silvered Chrysalis Tiered Chandelier and Iris Yellow Frog Foot Chandelier, as well as the spectacular Chiostro di Sant’Apollonia Chandelier and three other works: Palazzo di Loredana Balboni Chandelier, Orange Hornet and Eelgrass Chandelier, and Onyx and Caramel Chandelier. The final exhibition space showcases luminescent Neodymium Reeds, a large-scale installation composed of birch logs and elegant glass Reeds in shades of lavender.

Press release from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston website

 

Dale Chihuly (American, born 1941) 'Persian Ceiling' 2011

 

Dale Chihuly (American, born 1941)
Persian Ceiling
2011
Blown glass
15 X 28′
Artwork © 2011 by Chihuly Studio, All rights reserved.
Photograph © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

 

Dale Chihuly (American, born 1941) 'Persian Wall' 2011

 

Dale Chihuly (American, born 1941)
Persian Wall 
2011
Blown glass
15 X 30′
Artwork © 2011 by Chihuly Studio, All rights reserved
Photograph © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

Dale Chihuly (American, born 1941) 'Palazzo di Loredana Balboni Chandelier' 2011

 

Dale Chihuly (American, born 1941)
Palazzo di Loredana Balboni Chandelier
2011
Blown glass, steel
9 X 7 X 7′
Artwork © 2011 by Chihuly Studio, All rights reserved
Photograph © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

Dale Chihuly (American, born 1941) 'Chiostro di Sant'Apollonia Chandelier' 2011

 

Dale Chihuly (American, born 1941) 
Chiostro di Sant’Apollonia Chandelier
2011
Blown glass, steel
10 X 7 X 9′
Artwork © 2011 by Chihuly Studio, All rights reserved
Photograph © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

Dale Chihuly. 'Tabac Basket' 2008

 

Dale Chihuly (American, born 1941)
Tabac Basket
Photo by Teresa Nouri Rishel
© 2008 Chihuly Studio

 

 

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Avenue of the Arts
465 Huntington Avenue
Boston, Massachusetts

Opening hours:
Saturday – Tuesday 10 am – 5 pm
Saturday and Sunday 10 am – 10 pm

Museum of Fine Arts Boston website

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01
Aug
11

Exhibition: ‘Adam Fuss A Survey of his Work: 1986/2010’ at Huis Marseille Museum for Photography, Amsterdam

Exhibition dates: 11th June – 4th September 2011

 

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

 

 

Adam Fuss. From the series 'My Ghost' 1999

 

Adam Fuss (British, b. 1961)
From the series My Ghost
1999
Gelatine silver print photogram
195.3 x 141.3 cm
Unique piece
Courtesy Cheim & Read, New York
© Adam Fuss

 

Adam Fuss. From the series 'My Ghost' 1999

 

Adam Fuss (British, b. 1961)
From the series My Ghost
1999
Platinum print photogram
100.3  x 76.2 cm
Unique piece
Courtesy Cheim & Read, New York
© Adam Fuss

 

Adam Fuss. 'Untitled' 2003 Digital pigment print

 

Adam Fuss (British, b. 1961)
Untitled
2003
Digital pigment print
182.9 x 111.8 cm
Edition 6/7
Courtesy Cheim & Read, New York
© Adam Fuss

 

Adam Fuss. 'Untitled' 1998 Cibachrome photogram

 

Adam Fuss (British, b. 1961)
Untitled
1998
76.2 x 101.6 cm
Private Collection
© Adam Fuss

 

Adam Fuss. 'Invocation' 1992 Cibachrome photogram

 

Adam Fuss (British, b. 1961)
Invocation
1992
Cibachrome photogram
101.6 x 76.2 cm
Unique piece
Courtesy Cheim & Read, New York
© Adam Fuss

 

 

Distance

What immediately stands out with the work of Adam Fuss is that, both in terms of the chosen subject matter and in his approach to the photographic technique, he has greatly dissociated himself from conventional photography. That which Fuss produces is, in fact, still a photograph; but in order to achieve that, he did rid himself of all the finer luxuries available to users of the medium nowadays. Like a present-day alchemist, Fuss has mastered the medium’s most elementary and primitive forms; he sees just as much potential for creativity in technical knowledge as in the imagination, or the visionary power of the photographer.

His subjects (silhouettes, gossamer christening gowns, rabbits, butterflies, snakes, lace, smoke, drops of water) have also been removed from their natural habitats. In the studio they become so epitomised that they assume the strength and quality of a symbol, or icon, fraught with emotion. Fuss seems, figuratively speaking, to have given wings to his images: they have a weightless and elusive appearance, as though being supernatural in origin and import.

 

Bipolarity

Though ostensibly sublime, the work’s impact on the viewer is nevertheless one of predominantly earthly beauty. This may be a consequence of the bipolarity that lies at the heart of it. All of Fuss’s endeavours have a twofold focus: on matter and mind, on earth or water and the dynamics of fire or air – in short, on vital forces in relation to space and history. Sometimes, as a true photographic magician, he allows the vital fluids of animals (snakes, rabbits) literally to corrode the silver salts of the light-sensitive photographic emulsions. As though trying to allow the image and its model to share the same source of life.

In his technique as well, Fuss wants to reconcile, to connect, past and present. With this he goes back, through experimentation, to the source. Here and there his printing technique is reminiscent of the zeal and the limitations with which Daguerre and Fox Talbot, the disputed founders of photography, wanted to put their discoveries into practice. In the course of time, he came to master the various old and highly complex processes – that of the daguerreotype, the calotype, the photogram, the platinum print – to a degree that remains unsurpassed. Each of these works is unique, and their technical standard is unparalleled. Fuss’s accomplishments include the making of the world’s largest daguerreotypes. (Both daguerreotypes of the Taj Mahal on display here can be counted among these.)

 

‘Poetic Genius’

Throughout his work Adam Fuss seeks the very essence of the image; to him that lies particularly at the point where an observation of reality is so intensified that it takes on magical powers, so to speak. His outlook on this comes from the notion of ‘Poetic Genius’ expressed by the British poet, writer, engraver and painter William Blake (1757-1827). It seems that Fuss’s idea of producing daguerreotypes of poems and incorporating them into his work also began with Blake.

In Fuss’s extensive 1998 interview with Mark Haworth Booth (then Curator of Photography at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London) he explained this in relation to his photographs of babies in water, saying that the color photographs are actually not about an individual, a child. The titles Invocation, Journey, Wish have more to do with emotional, romantic ideas. What the image conveys is a feeling, a sensibility. This is no depiction of a baby in water, even though it may be that as well.

Fuss has an incomparable command of the photogram technique. Since 1988 he has been achieving astonishing results with this. The photogram is produced without a camera – and yields, by definition, a unique print. The physical and lifelike quality of these silhouettes is further heightened by the 1:1 scale on which this technique is based. The previously mentioned photographs of babies in water, from the series Invocation (a continuous series with silhouettes of children) are the earliest photograms shown here. Since 1999 Fuss has been making work which he titles My Ghost. Here the themes relate to memory, loss, but also images of remarkable beauty, such as those of peacock feathers. In this series his magnificent daguerreotypes play a leading role.”

Press release from the Huis Marseille Museum

 

Adam Fuss. 'For Allegra' from the series 'My Ghost' 2009 Daguerreotype

 

Adam Fuss (British, b. 1961)
For Allegra
2009
From the series My Ghost
Daguerreotype
70 x 105 cm
Collection Richard Edwards, Aspen, Colorado
© Adam Fuss

 

Adam Fuss. 'Untitled' 1988 Gelatin silver print photogram

 

Adam Fuss (British, b. 1961)
Untitled
1988
Gelatin silver print photogram
144.8 x 141 cm
Unique piece
Collection Robin Katz
© Adam Fuss

 

Adam Fuss. From the series 'My Ghost' 1997

 

Adam Fuss (British, b. 1961)
From the series My Ghost
1997
Gelatin silver print photogram
160 x 104.1 cm
Collection Jan Widlund
© Adam Fuss

 

Adam Fuss. 'Medusa' from the series 'Home and the World' 2010

 

Adam Fuss (British, b. 1961)
Medusa
2010
From the series Home and the World
Gelatin silver print photogram
240 x 144.1 cm
Edition of 9
Unique print
Courtesy Timothy Taylor Gallery, London
© Adam Fuss

 

Adam Fuss. From the series 'My Ghost' 1999

 

Adam Fuss (British, b. 1961)
From the series My Ghost
1999
Gelatine silver print photogram
38 x 75 cm
Unique piece
Collection John Cheim
© Adam Fuss

 

Adam Fuss. 'Love' 1993

 

Adam Fuss (British, b. 1961)
Love
1993
Cibachrome photogram
124.5 x 98.4 cm
Unique piece
Courtesy Cheim & Read, New York
© Adam Fuss

 

 

Huis Marseille Museum for Photography
Keizersgracht 401
1016 EK Amsterdam

Opening hours:
Tuesday – Sunday
11 – 18 hr

Huis Marseille Museum for Photography 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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