Archive for June, 2012

28
Jun
12

Exhibition: ‘Light in Space’ by Veronica Caven Aldous at Stephen McLaughlan Gallery, Melbourne

Exhibition dates: 13th June – 30th June 2012

 

Veronica Caven Aldous. 'Light in space 1' 2010-11

 

Veronica Caven Aldous (Australian, b. 1956)
Light in space 1
2010-11
A Blue field, 2010, Computerised LED light boxes and Perspex, 22 x 30 x 3cm
B Magenta field, 2011, Computerised LED light boxes and Perspex, 43 x 59 x 3cm
C Yellow field, 2011, Computerised LED light boxes and Perspex, 43 x 30 x 3cm
D Green field, 2011, Computerised LED light boxes and Perspex, 22 x 59 x 3cm
E Orange field, 2010, Computerised LED light boxes and Perspex, 22 x 30 x 3cm
F Purple field, Computerised LED light boxes and Perspex, 22 x 30 x 3cm

 

 

Apologies for the late posting but I only saw this exhibition recently. I met the artist, the delightful Veronica Caven Aldous and her work is stunning.

The works are emotive; like Brancusi’s Bird in Space they soar. Here is not the reductive coldness of a Dan Flavin but a truly hypnotic, meditative experience. The light is like visible music. I said to Veronica in my mind I have associations to the work of Josef Albers and his experiments with colour in the Homage to the Square series. But these works are uniquely her own, with their links to mysticism, India and the East.

The first series, Light in space 1, is truly beautiful as you sit watching in the darkened gallery. Still images can’t really do these vivid, liquid, mesmerising colour field sculptures justice. The second series, Light in space 2, is also intensely beautiful in a different way, the computerised light boxes contained within aluminium cases. Depending at which angle you look the depth of field of the illusion changes leading to spaces of infinite r/egress (in computer networking, egress filtering is the monitoring and/or restricting the flow of outbound information). The light is both contained and extrapolated within the grids leading to an almost Escher-like enigma of light and energy.

These are splendid works. Whenever I want to have one on my wall at home I know I have struck gold. Go see them while you still can in the last two days of the exhibition. Magic.

Dr Marcus Bunyan

.
Many thankx to Veronica Caven Aldous and Stephen McLaughlan Gallery for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting.

 

Veronica Caven Aldous. 'Light in space 1' 2010-11

Veronica Caven Aldous. 'Light in space 1' 2010-11

 

Veronica Caven Aldous (Australian, b. 1956)
Light in space 1
2010-11
A Blue field, 2010, Computerised LED light boxes and Perspex, 22 x 30 x 3cm
B Magenta field, 2011, Computerised LED light boxes and Perspex, 43 x 59 x 3cm
C Yellow field, 2011, Computerised LED light boxes and Perspex, 43 x 30 x 3cm
D Green field, 2011, Computerised LED light boxes and Perspex, 22 x 59 x 3cm
E Orange field, 2010, Computerised LED light boxes and Perspex, 22 x 30 x 3cm
F Purple field, Computerised LED light boxes and Perspex, 22 x 30 x 3cm

 

 

Light from these computerised LED light boxes on the wall and floor act as intervention in space. It is not so much about the colour but the changing light in space that sets up a sense of flux. It is about change and that we see nothing without light. “The wonder of light: the universe consists mainly of invisible matter… only four to five percent of the universe is visible. 23 percent is dark matter, and 73 percent is dark energy.”

Artist statement

 

Veronica Caven Aldous. 'Light in space 2' 2011

Veronica Caven Aldous. 'Light in space 2' 2011

Veronica Caven Aldous. 'Light in space 2' 2011

 

Veronica Caven Aldous (Australian, b. 1956)
Light in space 2
2011
A 2 x 2, 2011, Computerised LED light boxes in metal frame, 52 x 52 x 10cm
B 3 x 3, 2011, Computerised LED light boxes in metal frame, 75 x 75 x 10cm
C 3 x 3, 2011, Computerised LED light boxes in metal frame, 75 x 75 x 10cm

 

 

Stephen McLaughlan Gallery
Level 8, Room 16, Nicholas Building
37 Swanston Street, Melbourne 3000
On the corner of Flinders Lane
Phone: 0407 317 323

Opening hours:
Wednesday to Friday 1pm – 5pm
Saturday 11am – 5pm
and by appointment

Stephen McLaughlan Gallery website

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26
Jun
12

Exhibition: ‘Eugène Atget: As Paris Was’ at Ticho House, the Museum of Israel, Jerusalem

Exhibition dates: 23rd March – 30th June 2012

 

Eugène Atget. 'Saint-Cloud' Nd

 

Eugène Atget (French, 1857-1927)
Saint-Cloud
Nd
Albumen print

 

 

Some Atget photographs that I have never seen before makes this posting all the more pleasurable. The pendulous nature of the sea monster, like a leg hanging over the edge of a table (can’t u just feel the weight of it!); the oppressive solidity of the wall on the left hand side of Coin des rues Poulletier et Saint-Louis-en-l’île (c. 1915); and the two undated photographs of Saint-Cloud: the dark, spidery presence of the tree in winter and the absolute recognition of the visual escape point in the reflection of trees in pond. Magnificent.

Marcus

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

 

Eugène Atget. 'Saint-Cloud' Nd

 

Eugène Atget (French, 1857-1927)
Saint-Cloud
Nd
Albumen print

 

Eugène Atget. 'Bagatelle' 1926

 

Eugène Atget (French, 1857-1927)
Bagatelle
1926
Albumen print

 

 

The photographic oeuvre of Eugène Atget (1857-1927) has become a landmark in the history of the medium, and his works are recognised as an integral part of the canon of documentary photography. His subject matter was Paris with its houses, streets, parks, and castles – interior and exterior details of architecture being transformed by modernity. His fame came decades later; however his enduring legacy in the field is still discernible worldwide. This exhibition of Atget’s photographs of Paris, the first ever in Israel.

The Israel Museum, Jerusalem has announced  the acquisition of 200 photographs by the pioneering French documentary photographer Eugène Atget, gifted by Pamela and George Rohr, New York, and an anonymous donor, New York. These works add an important new dimension to the Museum’s exceptional photography holdings, encompassing over 55,000 works from the earliest days of photography to contemporary times.

Seventy of these newly gifted works will be presented in Eugène Atget: As Paris Was, an exhibition at Ticho House, the Israel Museum’s historic venue in downtown Jerusalem, featuring Atget’s images of Paris from the mid-1890s until 1927. Marking the first ever presentation of the photographer’s work in Israel, the exhibition is curated by Nissan Perez, Horace and Grace Goldsmith Senior Curator in the Museum’s Noel and Harriette Levine Department of Photography.

French photographer Eugène Atget is recognised internationally for his integral role in the canon of documentary photography. After working as a sailor, actor, and painter for almost thirty years, he embarked on a self-assigned mission to document French life, culture, and history in and around Paris. He chose houses, streets, parks, and castles as his subjects, capturing interior and exterior details of architecture being transformed by modernity. Without any official recognition, this enterprise yielded a massive visual compendium of nearly 10,000 photographs that Atget loosely designated as “documents pour artistes” (documents for artists), created by means of anachronistic technology and an antiquated camera.

“We are deeply grateful to our donors for this generous gift of so important a trove of works by Eugène Atget, a pivotal figure in the history of photography,” said James S. Snyder, Anne and Jerome Fisher Director of the Israel Museum. “We are proud to be sharing Atget’s unique vision with Israeli audiences for the first time and in the resonant setting of our historic Ticho House, which also juxtaposes turn-of-the-last century Jerusalem with its encroaching modernity.”

“Atget’s photographs of Paris, including those featured in Eugène Atget: As Paris Was, do not depict the city as a bustling modern metropolis,” said exhibition curator Nissan Perez. “He trained his lens on the older, often decaying buildings and parks. The scenes he captured, mostly devoid of human presence, express desolation and solitude, reminiscent of an empty stage awaiting the actors’ entrance.”

Press release from the Museum of Israel, Jerusalem website

 

Eugène Atget. 'Poupées, 63 rue de Sèvres' 1910-11

 

Eugène Atget (French, 1857-1927)
Poupées, 63 rue de Sèvres
1910-11
Albumen print

 

Eugène Atget. 'Hôtel, 1 rue des Prouvaires et 54 rue Saint-Honoré' 1912

 

Eugène Atget (French, 1857-1927)
Hôtel, 1 rue des Prouvaires et 54 rue Saint-Honoré
1912
Albumen print

 

Eugène Atget. 'Coin des rues Poulletier et Saint-Louis-en-l'île' c. 1915

 

Eugène Atget (French, 1857-1927)
Coin des rues Poulletier et Saint-Louis-en-l’île
c. 1915
Albumen print

 

Eugène Atget (French, 1857-1927) 'Gargouille, cour du Louvre' 1902

 

Eugène Atget (French, 1857-1927)
Gargouille, cour du Louvre
1902
Albumen print

 

 

Ticho House
10 HaRav Agan Street, Jerusalem
(near Zion Square)
Phone: 02-645-3746

Ticho House hours:
Sunday – Thursday 12pm – 8pm
Friday and holiday eves 10am – 2pm
Saturday closed

Ticho Museum website

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22
Jun
12

Preview: ‘Night’s Ocean Shore’ by Andrew Follows from ‘Through the Looking Glass Dimly’ at The Old Ambulance Depot, Edinburgh

Exhibition dates: 4th August – 18th August 2012

 

Andrew Follows. 'Untitled' from the sequence 'Night's Ocean Shore' 2012

 

Andrew Follows (Australian, d. 2019)
Untitled
2012
From the sequence Night’s Ocean Shore
Digital inkjet print

 

 

This sequence is part of a joint exhibition by blind photographers Andrew Follows and Rosita McKenzie titled Through the Looking Glass Dimly to be held at The Old Ambulance Depot, Edinburgh in August 2012. The exhibition is part of the Edinburgh Art Festival. On his first trip overseas Follows is travelling to Scotland with his trusty companion Eamon, his guide dog. The words below are an analysis of Andrew’s work, a photographer who only has 15% vision in one eye and is legally blind. This is the first time anyone has written about Andrew’s work in any depth. It has been great fun to work with Andrew on this project and it is a privilege to write some hopefully insightful words about his art practice.

The exhibition by Follows and McKenzie takes a twofold path. Firstly, work from both photographers will investigate the resilience of bush-fire prone landscapes in both Scotland and Australia. Secondly, work will portray the fluid spaces of the urban and natural landscape at night in both the Southern and Northern hemispheres. The exhibition is curated by Kate Martin from the Contemporary Art Exchange.

This is a beautiful, well resolved sequence that has a very intimate narrative, a journey of discovery from the stars in the night sky to our own star, the sun and on to the illumination of the earth at night. Under any circumstances, Follows’ vision is outstanding.

 

 

 

Andrew Follows Night’s Ocean Shore sequence 2012

 

 

The Eye that sees the Sun: Andrew Follows and his Tabula rasa

 

“‘The world is my representation’: this is a truth valid with reference to every living and knowing being, although man alone can bring it into reflective, abstract consciousness. If he really does so, philosophical discernment has dawned on him. It then becomes clear and certain to him that he does not know a sun and an earth, but only an eye that sees a sun, a hand that feels the earth; that the world around him is there only as representation, i.e. only in reference to another, the representer, which is he himself.”

.
Arthur Schopenhauer. ‘The World as Will and Representation’ 1818

 

 

Please close your left eye and place your left hand over it; now make a circle with the thumb and forefinger of your right hand and curl the rest of your fingers to make a tunnel; now place this hand to your right eye and close the aperture until you can only see a small amount of the world. Imagine, seeing the world through this one eye with only fifteen percent vision. This is the field of vision, the line of sight of artist Andrew Follows.

The artist’s visual acuity (the capacity of the eye to see fine detail, measured by determining the finest detail that can just be detected) has been with him since birth. He has always seen the world this way and does not regard it as a disability. In fact, his highly refined sense of “sight” enables spaces of poss/ability (not dis/ability) within his artistic practice. The development of an abnormal keen-sightedness helps him record his impression of the world via the medium of photography.

His is not the vision of im(pair)ment as the rest of us see the world, through two eyes, but the holistic vision of a monocular eye that becomes the root of his photography. The lens of the camera becomes an extension of Self, the shutter his very existence and the digital screen on the back of the camera his tabula rasa, a “blank slate” upon which he writes his experience and perception, his knowledge of the world. His experience of vision and the evidence of his photographs become both the beginning and the end of the work, a place in which his fundamental nature resides.

In today’s polyvocal world, with the proliferation of visual protheses (such as smart phones and digital cameras) we are now seeing the encoding of increasingly mental images of the material world. Follows’ photographs are an amalgamation of these mental images and what he can physically see on the screen, for when taking a photograph he cannot see details in the image he is taking. Follows takes the ‘I can see’ of sight, located within his field of vision, and through his organisation of the spatio-temporal field of vision and perception, he offers the viewer a unique ‘take’ on the world. His point of view is a collection of objects to which the eye is directed and on which it rests within a certain distance.

From a visual point of view this resting facilitates in Follows’ work a particular serenity and beauty. His skill as an artist is to combine his imagination with what he sees through the screens of camera and computer to create ‘other’ worlds. These other worlds are evidenced in Follows’ love of night time photography, as though his view of the environment, the spaces and places that surround him, is enhanced through a doubling of perception: of light, at night, through tunnel vision. Our eyes rest upon the effervescent lights of an oil refinery on the outskirts of Melbourne; the star trails blazing across the night sky; the reflections in water at Corio Bay, Geelong. Most importantly, it is the quality of light that imbues Follows’ work that enhances the narrative, the journey on which the artist takes us.

Follows’ shows us his world, and our world, as we have never seen it before. What is important in the work is that he asks us to embrace his vision and incorporate his photographs into our collective memory. The world is his representation, a truth valid with reference to every living and knowing being, brought by us into reflective, abstract consciousness. We the viewer become his eye, his only eye that sees Schopenhauer’s sun.

Dr Marcus Bunyan
May 2012

 

 

Andrew Follows. 'Untitled' from the sequence 'Night's Ocean Shore' 2012

Andrew Follows. 'Untitled' from the sequence 'Night's Ocean Shore' 2012

 

 

Andrew Follows. 'Untitled' from the sequence 'Night's Ocean Shore' 2012

 

Andrew Follows. 'Untitled' from the sequence 'Night's Ocean Shore' 2012

 

 

Andrew Follows. 'Untitled' from the sequence 'Night's Ocean Shore' 2012

 

Andrew Follows. 'Untitled' from the sequence 'Night's Ocean Shore' 2012

 

Andrew Follows. 'Untitled' from the sequence 'Night's Ocean Shore' 2012

Andrew Follows. 'Untitled' from the sequence 'Night's Ocean Shore' 2012

 

Andrew Follows (Australian, d. 2019)
Untitled
From the sequence Night’s Ocean Shore
2012
Digital inkjet prints

 

 

Contemporary Art Exchange presents Through the Looking Glass Dimly a unique collaboration and exchange project between Australian and Scottish photographers Andrew Follows (Melbourne) and Rosita McKenzie (Edinburgh). Drawn together by their shared passion for photography, their experiences of visual impairment, and a desire to share their knowledge and skills globally, Andrew and Rosita have embarked on an ambitious visual arts project to raise awareness about visual impairment issues, celebrate recent artistic achievements and create the first international network for visually impaired artists.

Digital photography is an excellent medium for reflecting and exploring blind or vision impaired artists’ life experiences. For Rosita it provides ‘a voice’ and dispels the myth that totally blind people cannot possess vision and artistic imagination or participate fully in the visual arts. For Andrew, who has Retinitis Pigmentosa – a degenerative eye condition leaving him blind in one eye and with only fifteen percent vision in the other – it is a tool that enables him to see small glimpses of his fading world.

Andrew and Rosita have been collaborating to develop an exhibition of previous and new work. Since 2009, Andrew has documented the effects of, and resilience to, the devastating Black Saturday bushfires in the Victorian Highlands. Rosita, although having never ‘seen’ Andrew’s work, has responded to it by embarking on her own documentation of the effects of and regrowth after the unusual forest fires in the Scottish Highlands earlier this year. Andrew has also been experimenting with night photography and has developed a number of photographs capturing the Southern Hemisphere by night. In response, Rosita will develop a new body of work capturing the night sky from a Northern Hemisphere perspective. Both artists will also showcase examples from their wide range of photographs dealing with similar themes from natural and urban settings.

The project will be registered with the 2012 Edinburgh Art Festival and the Year of Creative Scotland. Through the Looking Glass Dimly will also coincide with other major international events taking place in Edinburgh during August such as the first International Cultural Summit, the Edinburgh International Festival, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Festival of Politics at The Scottish Parliament.”

Text from the Contemporary Art Exchange

 

 

The Old Ambulance Depot
77 Brunswick Street
Edinburgh
EH7 5HS

Only open to the public during exhibitions and events

Andrew Follows Photography website

Edinburgh Art Festival website

The Old Ambulance Depot website

Contemporary Art Exchange website

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19
Jun
12

Exhibition: ‘Chihuly Garden and Glass’, Seattle Center

June 2012

Long-term exhibition

 

Chihuly Garden and Glass. 'Glasshouse, Pacific Sun and Space Needle' 2012

 

Chihuly Garden and Glass
Glasshouse, Pacific Sun and Space Needle
2012

 

Chihuly Garden and Glass 'Glasshouse and Garden' 2012

 

Chihuly Garden and Glass
Glasshouse and Garden
2012

 

Chihuly Garden and Glass. 'Glasshouse (day)' 2012

 

Chihuly Garden and Glass
Glasshouse (day)
2012

 

 

After just nine months of construction, Chihuly Garden and Glass, an exhibition looking at the career of Northwest artist Dale Chihuly, will open to the public in Seattle at 11am on Monday, May 21. To mark the occasion, Dale Chihuly will dedicate the exhibition’s centrepiece Glasshouse in a brief ceremony, culminating with the artist signing and dating one of the building’s structural beams. The centrepiece of Chihuly Garden and Glass is the Glasshouse. It is the result of Chihuly’s lifelong appreciation for conservatories with a design that draws inspiration from two of his favourite buildings: Sainte-Chapelle in Paris and the Crystal Palace in London. The Glasshouse sculpture is an expansive installation in a colour palette of reds, oranges, yellows and amber. Made of many individual elements, it is one of Chihuly’s largest suspended sculptures.

Dale Chihuly said, It is every artist’s dream to be able to showcase their work in one place and I am pleased to have this opportunity in my home community. The best works of my career are brought together in this exhibition and I hope everyone likes it.”

Located at the foot of the iconic Space Needle at Seattle Center, the city’s cultural hub, Chihuly Garden and Glass has transformed 1.5 acres of asphalt into a spectacular outdoor garden, a 40-foot-tall Glasshouse and 8 galleries of Chihuly’s art. The exhibition brings together all the elements of Chihuly’s work, including Drawings, signature glass series, large architectural installations and personal collections in a long-term exhibition. The exhibition’s centrepiece Glasshouse features one of the artist’s largest, suspended sculptures created specifically for Chihuly Garden and Glass. In addition to the artworks, the exhibition also features a first look at Chihuly’s extensive personal collections in the Collections Café.

The Exhibition Hall contains eight galleries and two Drawing Walls, offering visitors a comprehensive look at Chihuly’s significant series of work, including:

  • Glass Forest
  • Northwest Room
  • Sealife Room
  • Persian Ceiling
  • Mille Fiori
  • Ikebana and Float Boats
  • Chandeliers
  • Macchia Forest
  • Drawing Walls

.
Dale Chihuly calls the Pacific Northwest home and supports many arts and civic communities in the region including Hilltop Artists and Pilchuck Glass School, both of which he co-founded. Pilchuck Glass School joins Pratt Fine Arts Center, ArtsFund and Seattle Public Schools as community partners for Chihuly Garden and Glass. Through these organisations Chihuly Garden and Glass supports opportunities for involvement and engagement in the arts, including the creation of a science curriculum based on glass blowing for middle school students in the Public Schools.

It is estimated that over 400,000 people a year will come to Seattle from all corners of the world to view this exhibition.

 

About Chihuly Garden and Glass

Chihuly Garden and Glass provides a look at the career of artist Dale Chihuly. Located at Seattle Center, the exhibition features an Exhibition Hall offering visitors a comprehensive look at Chihuly’s significant series of work. Visitors will also enjoy the centerpiece Glasshouse – a dramatic structure housing a suspended 1,340-piece, 100-foot-long glass sculpture – and the Garden, which is a backdrop for a number of monumental sculptures and other installations.”

Press release from the Chihuly Garden and Glass website

 

Chihuly Garden and Glass. 'Pacific Sun and Glasshouse (evening)' 2012

 

Chihuly Garden and Glass
Pacific Sun and Glasshouse (evening)

2012

 

Chihuly Garden and Glass. 'Glasshouse and Pacific Sun (evening)' 2012

 

Chihuly Garden and Glass
Glasshouse and Pacific Sun (evening)
2012

 

Chihuly Garden and Glass. 'Glasshouse and Pacific Sun (evening)' 2012

 

Chihuly Garden and Glass
Glasshouse and Pacific Sun (evening)
2012

 

Chihuly Garden and Glass. 'Viola Crystal Tower and Glasshouse (night)' 2012

 

Chihuly Garden and Glass
Viola Crystal Tower and Glasshouse (night)
2012

 

 

Chihuly Garden and Glass
305 Harrison St
Seattle, WA 98109

Opening hours:
Sunday – Thursday 11am – 10pm
Friday – Saturday 11am – 11pm

Chihuly Garden and Glass website

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17
Jun
12

Video: ‘Disturbing Visions: the photography of Roger Ballen’ – Lens Culture Conversations with Photographers

June 2012

 

 

 

Roger Ballen: Lens Culture Conversations with Photographers from Jim Casper on Vimeo.

 

 

A very interesting video from Lens Culture where Roger Ballen explains his working methodology.

Inspiration comes from inside yourself, always!

 

 

Roger Ballen website

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15
Jun
12

Exhibition: ‘Gillian Wearing’ at Whitechapel Gallery, London

Exhibition dates: 28th March – 17th June 2012

Galleries 1, 8 and Victor Petitgas Gallery

 

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

 

 

Gillian Wearing. 'Dancing in Peckham' 1994

 

Gillian Wearing (English, b. 1963)
Dancing in Peckham
1994
Colour video with sound
25 minutes
© the artist
Courtesy Maureen Paley, London

 

Gillian Wearing. 'Self Portrait at 17 Years Old' 2003

 

Gillian Wearing (English, b. 1963)
Self Portrait at 17 Years Old
2003
Framed C-type print
115.5 x 92 cm
© the artist
Courtesy Maureen Paley, London

 

Gillian Wearing. 'HELP' 1992-3

 

Gillian Wearing (English, b. 1963)
HELP
1992-3
From the series Signs that say what you want them to say and not Signs that say what someone else wants you to say
C-type print mounted on aluminium
Dimensions variable
© the artist
Courtesy Maureen Paley, London

 

Gillian Wearing. 'I'M DESPERATE' 1992-3

 

Gillian Wearing (English, b. 1963)
I’M DESPERATE 
1992-3
From the series Signs that say what you want them to say and not Signs that say what someone else wants you to say
C-type print mounted on aluminium
Dimensions variable
© the artist
Courtesy Maureen Paley, London

 

Gillian Wearing (English, b. 1963) 'WILL BRITAIN GET THROUGH THIS RECESSION?' 1992-3

 

Gillian Wearing (English, b. 1963)
WILL BRITAIN GET THROUGH THIS RECESSION?
1992-3
From the series Signs that say what you want them to say and not Signs that say what someone else wants you to say
C-type print mounted on aluminium
Dimensions variable
© the artist
Courtesy Maureen Paley, London

 

 

The Whitechapel Gallery presents the first major international survey of Turner Prize-winning British artist Gillian Wearing’s photographs and films which explore the public and private lives of ordinary people. Fascinated by how people present themselves in front of the camera in flyon-the-wall documentaries and reality TV, Gillian Wearing explores ideas of personal identity through often masking her subjects and using theatre’s staging techniques.

This major exhibition surveys Wearing’s work from the early photographs Signs that Say What You Want Them to Say and Not Signs that Say What Someone Else Wants You to Say (1992-3) to her latest video Bully (2010) and also includes several new photographs made specially for the Whitechapel Gallery exhibition.

Visitors to the exhibition enter a film set-style installation showcasing photographs and films in ‘front and back stage’ areas. Highlights include a striking photograph of the artist posing as her younger self, Self-Portrait at 17 Years Old (2003), Dancing in Peckham (1994), a film which blurs the boundaries between public space and private expression as Wearing dances in the middle of a shopping mall, and the UK premiere of recent film Bully (2010). New photographic works shown for the first time include two portraits of Wearing as artists August Sander and Claude Cahun as part of her ongoing series of iconic photographers, as well as still lives of flowers, looking back to the rich symbolism of the great age of 17th century Dutch painting.

A gallery is dedicated to Wearing’s well-known photographs giving people the chance to write what they were thinking at that moment, titled Signs that Say What You Want Them to Say and Not Signs that Say What Someone Else Wants You to Say (1992-3). The series includes a city worker holding a sign saying, ‘I’m Desperate’, a policeman holding ‘Help!’ and another person’s sign ‘Will Britain ever get through this recession’.

The exhibition also includes a series of private viewing booths for three confessional videos shown together for the first time and in which Gillian Wearing asked people to describe intensely personal experiences. These include Trauma (2000) where sitters describe childhood traumas while wearing a mask. As well as the powerful videos Secrets and Lies (2000) and Confess All On Video. Don’t Worry, You Will Be In Disguise. Intrigued? Call Gillian… (1994). Alongside these works the video 2 into 1 (1997) sees a mother lip synching the voices of her twin sons and vice versa as they describe their relationship.

Press release from Whitechapel Gallery website

 

Gillian Wearing. 'Bully' 2010

 

Gillian Wearing (English, b. 1963)
Bully
2010
Colour video for projection with sound
7 minutes 55 seconds
© the artist
Courtesy Maureen Paley, London

 

Gillian Wearing. '2 into 1' 1997

 

Gillian Wearing (English, b. 1963)
2 into 1
1997
Colour video for monitor with sound
4 minutes 30 seconds
© the artist
Courtesy Maureen Paley, London

 

Gillian Wearing. 'Trauma' 2000

 

Gillian Wearing (English, b. 1963)
Trauma
2000
Colour video for monitor with sound
30 minutes
© the artist
Courtesy Maureen Paley, London

 

Gillian Wearing. 'Me as Cahun Holding a Mask of My Face' 2012

 

Gillian Wearing (English, b. 1963)
Me as Cahun Holding a Mask of My Face
2012
Framed bromide print
149 x 120.5 cm
© the artist
Courtesy Maureen Paley, London

 

Gillian Wearing. 'Me as Sander' 2012

 

Gillian Wearing (English, b. 1963)
Me as Sander
2012
Framed bromide print
149 x 98.8cm
© the artist
Courtesy Maureen Paley, London

 

 

Whitechapel Gallery
77 – 82 Whitechapel High Street
London E1 7QX
Phone: + 44 (0) 20 7522 7888

Opening hours:
Tuesday – Sunday 11am – 6pm
Thursdays and Fridays 11am  9pm
Closed Monday

Whitechapel Gallery website

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12
Jun
12

Exhibition: ‘Metamorphosis of Japan after the War: Photography 1945-1964’ at the Berlin Museum of Photography

Exhibition dates: 9th March – 17th June 2012

 

Eikoh Hosoe. 'Barakei (Ordeal by Roses), No. 16' 1961

 

Eikoh Hosoe (Japanese, b. 1933)
Barakei (Ordeal by Roses), No. 16
1961
Gelatin silver print
© Eikoh Hosoe

 

 

The joy of the discharged soldier (upon survival); the regimentation of the market place; the inquisitiveness of youth.
The blackness (incineration) of the body; the blackest sun; the memorial of mapping.

Dr Marcus Bunyan

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

 

Tadahiko Hayashi. 'Discharged soldiers, Shinagawa Station' Tokyo 1946

 

Tadahiko Hayashi (Japanese, 1918-1990)
Discharged soldiers, Shinagawa Station
Tokyo 1946
Gelatin silver print
© Yoshikatsu Hayashi

 

Shigeichi Nagano. 'Completing management training at a stock brokerage firm' Tokyo 1961

 

Shigeichi Nagano (Japanese, b. 1925)
Completing management training at a stock brokerage firm
Tokyo 1961
Gelatin silver print
© Shigeichi Nagano

 

Ken Domon. 'Children looking at a picture-card show' Tokyo 1953

 

Ken Domon (Japanese, 1909-1990)
Children looking at a picture-card show
Tokyo 1953
Gelatin silver print
© Ken Domon Museum of Photography

 

 

On August 15th, 1945 the Pacific War came to an end and with it fourteen years of bombings, of deprivation and of great sacrifice for the Japanese people. The collapse of Japanese militaristic rule and the arrival of the US occupation forces thrust the nation into a new and uncertain era. It was in this context that photography took on a central role in the nation’s rediscovery of self and it soon became a vital contributor to Japanese society in the immediate postwar years. Metamorphosis of Japan after the War. Photography 1945-1964 reveals the changing face of life in Japan from the end of the Pacific War in 1945 to the Tokyo Olympic Games in 1964 through photographs by 11 of Japan’s leading post-war photographers. By observing the role of photography in the evolution of post-war Japan, this exhibition shows how photography was able to play a crucial role in the search for the nation’s new identity. The works of these 11 photographers are an extraordinary document of the birth of a new Japan and of a new photographic generation whose dynamism and creativity laid the foundations for modern Japanese photography. The exhibition is divided into 3 thematic sections based around the major periods of the postwar years:

 

The aftermath of war

With the end of the war magazines and newspapers flourished as years of censorship gave way to an editorial boom. Publications that had been banned during the war resurfaced just as new ones went to press for the first time. Improvements in printing techniques also allowed the mass production and distribution of publications containing photographic reproductions. Photographs played a central role in this information boom, as people sought objectivity in the place of the military propaganda that they had been subjected to for several years. People turned to photography to find the ‘truth’ that they sought. This photographic explosion brought about a profound reflection on the nature of the medium and on its role in society. The public’s demand for objectivity led to the emergence of a powerful social realism movement in the immediate post-war years. The atrocities of the war and the massive physical destruction of the country led photographers to adopt a direct approach and to focus on bearing witness and documenting what they saw around them. Photographers abandoned pictorialism and the propaganda techniques of the wartime years to immerse themselves in reality. Of those photographers who had already been active in the pre-war years including Domon Ken, Hamaya Hiroshi, Kimura Ihee and Hayashi Tadahiko, Domon became the leading proponent of the photo-realism movement. He advocated “the pure snapshot, absolutely unstaged” and urged photographers to “pay attention to the screaming voice of the subject and simply operate the camera exactly according to its indications.” As a regular contributor to Camera magazine, he became very active in the world of amateur photography and encouraged camera club members to follow this realist path.

 

Tradition versus modernity

Despite its predominance in the immediate post-war years, the social realist movement was not to last. It captured a specific moment in time when the nation needed to take stock of the Pacific War and of its consequences. Photographers increasingly began to view the movement as too rigid and heavily politicised. Hamaya for instance chose to break away and adopted a new approach, both in terms of style and subject, when he began his work on the coast of the Sea of Japan, leading to the series Yukiguni (Snow country) and Ura Nihon (Japan’s Back Coast). In these series Hamaya displayed a more humanist approach than seen in social realism and chose to focus instead on a timeless aspect of Japanese rural society, rather than on the social issues linked directly to the immediate post-war. By the mid 1950s many photographers were turning away from documenting the destruction of the war to focus on the stark contrast between ‘traditional’ Japan and the modernisation of Japanese society associated with the American occupation. The hardships of the 1940s were rapidly replaced with rapid industrialisation and economic growth as Japan was modernised. These changes had a deep impact as Japan’s complex social structures were thrown into upheaval with the country’s economic transformation. Photographers focused not only on capturing the emergence of this new economic and social paradigm in Japan’s cities, but also sought to document those areas of Japan which were less affected by modernisation and offered a window onto the country’s past.

 

A new Japan

In addition during the second half of the 1950s a new generation of photographers was coming of age. They had grown up during the war but were only beginning to find their photographic eye during the post-war years. From this generation, a new photographic approach referred to as ‘subjective documentary’ was born. In 1959, the most innovative photographers of the time founded the agency Vivo which, despite its short lifespan, was to become a key contributor to the evolution of Japanese photography. With photographers such as Narahara Ikko, Tomatsu Shomei, Kawada Kikuji or Hosoe Eikoh, Vivo put forward the idea that personal experience and interpretation were essential elements in the value of a photographic image. These photographers developed a particular sensibility influenced by ‘traditional’ Japan as well as by the turbulence of postwar reconstruction and the explosion of economic growth. Their photographic eye turned both to the past, to the Japan of their childhood that they saw disappearing, and to the future and the ever-increasing modernisation that was transforming Japanese society. Over 10 years after the atomic bombings, this new generation of photographers also began to engage with the legacy of these events and their future significance, both for Japan and for all of humanity. The series that emerged including Kawada’s Chizu (The Map), Hosoe’s Kamaitachi and Tomatsu’s Nagasaki 11:02, are amongst some of the most powerful statements in twentieth century photography.

Press release from the Berlin Museum of Photography

 

Takeyoshi Tanuma. 'Dancers resting on the rooftop of the SKD Theatre' Asakusa, Tokyo 1949

 

Takeyoshi Tanuma (Japanese, b. 1929)
Dancers resting on the rooftop of the SKD Theatre
Asakusa, Tokyo 1949
Gelatin silver print
© Takeyoshi Tanuma

 

Ikko Narahara. 'Domains. Garden of Silence, No. 52' Hakodate, Hokkaido 1958

 

Ikko Narahara (Japanese, 1931-2020)
Domains. Garden of Silence, No. 52
Hakodate, Hokkaido 1958
Gelatin silver print
© Ikko Narahara

 

Keisuke Katano. 'Woman planting rice' 1955

 

Keisuke Katano (Japanese)
Woman planting rice
1955
Gelatin silver print
© Keisuke Katano

 

Shomei Tomatsu. 'Fukuejima Island Nagasaki' 1963

 

Shomei Tomatsu (Japanese, 1930-2012)
Fukuejima Island
Nagasaki 1963
Gelatin silver print
© The Japan Foundation

 

Kikuji Kawada. 'The Map. The A-Bomb Memorial Dome and Ohta River Hiroshima' 1960-65

 

Kikuji Kawada (Japanese, b. 1933)
The Map. The A-Bomb Memorial Dome and Ohta River
Hiroshima 1960-65
Gelatin silver print
© Kikuji Kawada

 

 

Berlin Museum of Photography
Jebensstraße 2
10623 Berlin

Opening hours:
Tuesday – Sunday 10am – 6pm
Closed Mondays

Berlin Museum of Photography website

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10
Jun
12

Exhibition: ‘Francesca Woodman’ at The Guggenheim Museum, New York

Exhibition dates: 16th March – 13th June 2012

 

Francesca Woodman. 'Untitled' (from the Angels series) 1977

 

Francesca Woodman (American, 1958-1981)
Untitled (from the Angels series)
1977
Rome
Gelatin silver print
7.6 x 7.6cm
Courtesy George and Betty Woodman
© 2012 George and Betty Woodman

 

 

In 1981, at the age of twenty-two, she committed suicide. Simple words, profound effect.

The world lost one of its truly unique artists and at such a young age. What we have left is a remarkable body of work compiled in a brief six year period. These are strong, sensuous photographs of the female body in space. The body, her body, seems to have an absent presence as it is pressed into walls and occluded by wallpaper. It passes from view, as she did in her physical form.

In small ways the work reminds me of the blurred photographs of Ralph Eugene Meatyard in their gothic Surrealism. But there is nothing quite like a Woodman. As soon as you see one of the photographs you know it is her work instinctively; there is nobody else’s voice like hers. The work will not soon be passing out of sight, memory, or existence. The light still burns bright for hers was a truly remarkable talent.

Dr Marcus Bunyan

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

 

 

Installation view: Francesca Woodman, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, March 16 - June 13, 2012


Installation view: Francesca Woodman, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, March 16 - June 13, 2012


Installation view: Francesca Woodman, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, March 16 - June 13, 2012


 

Installation view: Francesca Woodman, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, March 16 – June 13, 2012
Photos: David Heald © Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation

 

Francesca Woodman. 'Untitled' 1980

 

Francesca Woodman (American, 1958-1981)
Untitled
1980
MacDowell Colony, Peterborough, New Hampshire
Gelatin silver print
11.4 x 11.4cm
Courtesy George and Betty Woodman
© 2012 George and Betty Woodman

 

Francesca Woodman. 'House #4' 1976

 

Francesca Woodman (American, 1958-1981)
House #4
1976
Providence, Rhode Island
Gelatin silver print
14.6 x 14.6cm
Courtesy George and Betty Woodman
© 2012 George and Betty Woodman

 

Francesca Woodman. 'Caryatid' 1980

 

Francesca Woodman (American, 1958-1981)
Caryatid
1980
New York
Diazotype
227.3 x 92.1cm
Courtesy George and Betty Woodman
© 2012 George and Betty Woodman

 

 

Francesca Woodman, the most comprehensive exhibition of the artist’s work since Woodman’s untimely death in 1981 at the age of 22, will be on view at the Guggenheim Museum from March 16 through June 13, 2012. Spanning the breadth of her production, the exhibition includes more than 120 vintage photographs, artist books, and a selection of recently discovered and rarely seen short videos, presenting a historical reconsideration of Woodman’s brief but extraordinary career.

Francesca Woodman is the first comprehensive survey of the artist’s brief but extraordinary career to be seen in North America. More than thirty years after her death, the moment is ripe for a historical reconsideration of her work and its reception. This retrospective offers an occasion to examine more closely the maturation and expression of a highly subjective and coherent artistic vision. It also presents an important and timely opportunity to reassess the critical developments that took place in the 1970s in American photography and video.

Woodman’s oeuvre represents a remarkably rich and singular exploration of the human body in space and of the genre of self-portraiture in particular. Her interest in female subjectivity, seriality, Conceptualist practice, and photography’s relationship to both literature and performance are also the hallmarks of the heady moment in American photography during which she came of age. This retrospective offers an occasion to examine more closely the maturation and expression of a highly subjective and coherent artistic vision. It also presents an important and timely opportunity to reassess the critical developments that took place in the 1970s in American photography.

Born in 1958 into a family of artists, Woodman began photographing at the age of thirteen. By the time she enrolled at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in 1975, she was already an accomplished artist with a remarkably mature and focused approach to her work. During her time at RISD, she spent a year in Rome, a place she had visited as a child, and which proved to be a fertile source of inspiration. After completing her degree, she moved to New York, where she continued to photograph. While making several large-scale personal projects, she also experimented with fashion photography, engaging in the age-old artist’s struggle to reconcile making art and making a living. In 1981, at the age of twenty-two, she committed suicide. Woodman’s tragic death is underscored by the startlingly compelling, complex, and artistically resolved body of work she produced during her short lifetime.

Woodman’s favourite subject was herself. From the very first time she picked up a camera, she used it to thoroughly plumb the genre of self-portraiture. Using a square-format camera, Woodman photographed her body in a variety of spaces. She had an affinity for decaying and decrepit interiors, particularly the richly layered surfaces of walls covered with graffiti or peeling wallpaper. In these settings the body is evanescent, appearing and disappearing behind objects, pressed into cupboards and cabinets, camouflaged against walls, or dissolving into a blur of movement. She frequently included objects within the frame – gloves, eels, mirrors – thereby investing them with a symbolic charge, and often making deliberate allusions to tropes from the Surrealist and gothic fiction she admired.

The presentation at the Guggenheim will comprise approximately 120 vintage photographs, including Woodman’s earliest student experiments at RISD, work from her time spent studying in Rome, her forays into fashion photography upon moving to New York, and the late, large-scale blueprint studies of caryatid-like figures for the ambitious Temple project (1980). The exhibition will include two of her artist books – diaristic collages of her own photographs and writings – which were an important form of expression, particularly at the end of her career. Woodman also experimented with moving images; six recently discovered and rarely seen short videos will be presented in the exhibition.

Francesca Woodman is organised by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA). The exhibition has been curated by Corey Keller, Associate Curator of Photography, SFMOMA, where it opened in November 2011. The New York presentation of Francesca Woodman is organised by Jennifer Blessing, Senior Curator, Photography, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.

Text from The Guggenheim website

 

Francesca Woodman. 'Polka Dots' 1976

 

Francesca Woodman (American, 1958-1981)
Polka Dots
1976
Providence, Rhode Island
Gelatin silver print
13.3 x 13.3cm
Courtesy George and Betty Woodman
© 2012 George and Betty Woodman

 

Francesca Woodman. 'Space2' 1976

 

Francesca Woodman (American, 1958-1981)
Space2
1976
Providence, Rhode Island
Gelatin silver print
13.7 x 13.3cm
Courtesy George and Betty Woodman
© 2012 George and Betty Woodman

 

Francesca Woodman. 'Self-Portrait talking to Vince' 1975-78

 

Francesca Woodman (American, 1958-1981)
Self-Portrait talking to Vince
1975-78
Providence, Rhode Island
Gelatin silver print
13 x 12.9cm
Courtesy George and Betty Woodman
© 2012 George and Betty Woodman

 

Francesca Woodman. 'Untitled' 1976

 

Francesca Woodman (American, 1958-1981)
Untitled
1976
Providence, Rhode Island
Gelatin silver print
13.3 x 13.5cm
Courtesy George and Betty Woodman
© 2012 George and Betty Woodman

 

 

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

Opening hours:
Monday – Wednesday, Friday 10am – 5.45pm
Saturday 10am – 7.45pm
Thursday closed

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum website

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09
Jun
12

Appeal for donations: Andrew Follows and his exhibition in Edinburgh, August 2012

June 2012

 

 

Andrew Follows (Australian, d. 2019)
Untitled
from the series Night’s Ocean Shore
2012

 

 

As you may know I have been helping blind Australian photographer Andrew Follows as he prepares for the greatest adventure of his life, a joint exhibition as part of the Edinburgh Art Festival titled Through the Looking Glass, Dimly. The works have all be printed and framed and are on their way to Scotland at this very moment.

As the day draws near for Andrew and his guide dog Eamon to fly all the way to Europe, Andrew is running low on funds for the trip.

ANY DONATION, HOWEVER SMALL, WOULD BE GREATLY APPRECIATED !

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The donations are tax deductible in Australia – just in time for the end of the tax year! So please, get behind Andrew and give generously if you can. Included here is the Support My Arts Project donation form (180kb pdf) which you can print out and send off to Australia Business Arts who are supporting Andrew’s fund raising efforts.

Australia Business Arts
Foundation, Level 2, 405 Collins Street
Melbourne, VIC 3000

 

Many thankx

Dr Marcus Bunyan

 

 

Andrew Follows. 'Through the Looking Glass, Dimly' invitation

 

ABAF Andrew Follows support my art project

 

 

Andrew Follows website

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08
Jun
12

Exhibition: ‘Cindy Sherman’ at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York

Exhibition dates: 26th February – 11th June 2012

 

Cindy Sherman society portraits (2008) to left and centre at MoMA, New York

 

Cindy Sherman society portraits (2008) to left and centre at MoMA, New York

 

 

Ceaselessly inventive, the bodies (literally) of work of Cindy Sherman are a wonder to behold. From film stills to head shots, from history portrait to society portraits, Sherman constantly reinvents herself, her variations of identity exploring “the complexity of representation in a world saturated with images,” her iterations into the construction of femininity and masculinity constantly “provocative, disparaging, empathetic, and mysterious.”

Where to next? Her recent series of digitally altered landscapes and portraits (Cindy Sherman at Metro Pictures, New York, April – June 2012) seem less resolved than her earlier work, becoming almost a pastiche of themselves. Despite their massive size they seem to lack resolution, the great female impersonator of our time relying for effect on Self as feminine earth (m)Other, tricked up in dubious, quasi-ethnic regalia. Sherman is almost sacrosanct with regard to criticism but it’s about time someone said it: these images are pretty awful.

After so many simulacra, so many layerings and expositions of identity isn’t it about time Sherman got back to basics and ditched these grandiose notions of identity sublime. The sublimation (an unconscious defence mechanism by which consciously unacceptable instinctual drives are expressed in personally and socially acceptable channels) of her/Self, her actual body, the energy of her (non) presence is finally starting to wear thin. Will the real Cindy Sherman (if ever there is such a thing) please stand up and tell us: what do you really stand for, where as a human being, is your spirit really at?

Dr Marcus Bunyan

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

 

Cindy Sherman history portraits (1988-90) installation photograph at MoMA, New York

 

Cindy Sherman history portraits (1988-90) installation photograph at MoMA, New York

 

Cindy Sherman headshots (2000-2002) installation photograph at MoMA, New York

 

Cindy Sherman headshots (2000-2002) installation photograph at MoMA, New York

 

Cindy Sherman. 'Untitled Film Still #21' 1978

 

Cindy Sherman (American, b. 1954)
Untitled Film Still #21 
1978
Gelatin silver print
7 1/2 x 9 1/2″ (19.1 x 24.1cm)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Horace W. Goldsmith Fund through Robert B. Menschel

 

Cindy Sherman. 'Untitled Film Still #6' 1977

 

Cindy Sherman (American, b. 1954)
Untitled Film Still #6 
1977
Gelatin silver print
9 7/16 x 6 1/2″ (24 x 16.5cm)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Acquired through the generosity of Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder in memory of Eugene M. Schwartz

 

Cindy Sherman. 'Untitled Film Still #56' 1980

 

Cindy Sherman (American, b. 1954)
Untitled Film Still #56 
1980
Gelatin silver print
6 3/8 x 9 7/16″ (16.2 x 24cm)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Acquired through the generosity of Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder in memory of Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd

 

 

Gallery 2

In fall 1977, Sherman began making pictures that would eventually become her groundbreaking Untitled Film Stills. Over three years, the series (presented here in its entirety) grew to comprise a total of seventy black-and-white photographs. Taken as a whole, the Untitled Film Stills – resembling publicity pictures made on movie sets – read like an encyclopaedic roster of stereotypical female roles inspired by 1950s and 1960s Hollywood, film noir, B movies, and European art-house films. But while the characters and scenarios may seem familiar, Sherman’s Stills are entirely fictitious; they represent clichés (career girl, bombshell, girl on the run, vamp, housewife, and so on) that are deeply embedded in the cultural imagination. While the pictures can be appreciated individually, much of their significance comes in the endless variation of identities from one photograph to the next. As a group they explore the complexity of representation in a world saturated with images, and refer to the cultural filter of images (moving and still) through which we see the world.

Wall text from the exhibition

 

Cindy Sherman. 'Untitled #137' 1984

 

Cindy Sherman (American, b. 1954)
Untitled #137 
1984
Chromogenic colour print
70 1/2 x 47 3/4″ (179.1 x 121.3cm)
Philadelphia Museum of Art
Purchased with the Alice Newton Osborn Fund, 1985

 

Cindy Sherman. 'Untitled #458' 2007-08

 

Cindy Sherman (American, b. 1954)
Untitled #458 
2007-08
Chromogenic colour print
6′ 5 3/8″ x 58 1/4″ (196.5 x 148cm)
Glenstone

 

 

Gallery 3

Fashion – a daily form of masquerade that communicates culture, gender, and class – has been a constant source of inspiration for Sherman and a leading ingredient in the creation of her work. Throughout her career the artist has completed a number of commissions for fashion designers and magazines, and this gallery gathers many of these works. Sherman’s fashion pictures challenge the industry’s conventions of beauty and grace. Her first such commission, made in 1983, parodies typical fashion photography. Rather than projecting glamour, sex, or wealth, the pictures feature characters that are far from desirable – whether goofy, hysterical, angry, or slightly mad. Later commissions resulted in more extreme images of characters with bloodshot eyes, bruises, and scars. These exaggerated figures reached ostentatious heights in a 2007-08 commission, in which fashion victims – including steely fashion editors, PR mavens, assistant buyers, and wannabe fashionistas – wear clothing designed by Balenciaga and ham it up for the camera. Sherman’s interest in the construction of femininity and the mass circulation of images informs much of her work; the projects that take fashion as their subject illustrate the artist’s fascination with fashion images but also her critique of what they represent.

Wall text from the exhibition

 

Cindy Sherman. 'Untitled #424' 2004

 

Cindy Sherman (American, b. 1954)
Untitled #424 
2004
Chromogenic colour print
53 3/4 x 54 3/4″ (136.5 x 139.1cm)
Holzer Family Collection

 

 

Gallery 5

Sherman, who photographs alone in her studio, has used a variety of techniques to suggest different locations and imaginary (sometimes impossible) spaces, extending the narrative possibilities of her images. In her first foray into colour, in 1980, the artist photographed herself in front of rear-screen projections of various cityscapes and landscapes, evoking films from the 1950s and 1960s that used similar techniques to create the illusion of a change in location. In later series, such as the head shots (2000-2002), clowns (2003-04), and society portraits (2008), the artist used digital tools to create a variety of environments. The garish fluorescent colours in a clown picture contribute to the disturbing quality of the portrait, while a fairy tale forest provides a dreamy backdrop for a well-to-do lady.

Wall text from the exhibition

 

 

The Museum of Modern Art presents the exhibition Cindy Sherman, a retrospective tracing the groundbreaking artist’s career from the mid-1970s to the present, from February 26 to June 11, 2012. The exhibition brings together 171 key photographs from the artist’s significant series – including the complete Untitled Film Stills (1977-80), the critically acclaimed centerfolds (1981), and the celebrated history portraits (1988-90) – plus examples from all of her most important bodies of work, ranging from her fashion photography of the early 1980s to the breakthrough sex pictures of 1992 to her 2003-04 clowns and monumental society portraits from 2008. In addition, the exhibition features the American premiere of her 2010 photographic mural. An exhibition of films drawn from MoMA’s collection selected by Sherman will also be presented in the Museum’s theatres in April. Cindy Sherman is organised by Eva Respini, Associate Curator, with Lucy Gallun, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Photography, The Museum of Modern Art.

Cindy Sherman is widely considered to be one of the most important and influential artists of our time and her work is the unchallenged cornerstone of post-modern photography. Masquerading as a myriad of characters in front of her own camera, Sherman creates invented personas and tableaus that examine the construction of identity, the nature of representation, and the artifice of photography. Her works speak to an increasingly image-saturated world, drawing on the unlimited supply of visual material provided by movies, television, magazines, the Internet, and art history.

Ms. Respini says, “To create her photographs, Sherman works unassisted in her studio and assumes multiple roles as photographer, model, art director, make-up artist, hairdresser, and stylist. Whether portraying a career girl or a blond bombshell, a fashion victim or a clown, a French aristocrat or a society lady of a certain age, for over 35 years this relentlessly adventurous artist has created an eloquent and provocative body of work that resonates deeply with our visual culture.”

The American premiere of Sherman’s recent photographic mural (2010) will be installed outside the galleries on the sixth floor. The mural represents the artist’s first foray into transforming space through site-specific fictive environments. In the mural Sherman transforms her face via digital means, exaggerating her features through Photoshop by elongating her nose, narrowing her eyes, or creating smaller lips. The characters, who sport an odd mix of costumes and are taken from daily life, are elevated to larger-than-life status and tower over the viewer. Set against a decorative toile backdrop, her characters seem like protagonists from their own carnivalesque worlds, where fantasy and reality merge. The emphasis on new work presents an opportunity for reassessment in light of the latest developments in Sherman’s oeuvre.

Entering the galleries, the exhibition strays from a chronological narrative typical of retrospectives, and groups photographs thematically to create new and surprising juxtapositions and to suggest common threads across several series. A gallery devoted to her work made for the fashion industry brings together commissions from 1983 to 2011. Sherman’s interest in the construction of femininity and mass circulation of images informs much of the work that takes fashion as its subject, illustrating not only a fascination with fashion images but also a critical stance against what they represent. A gallery exploring themes of the grotesque focuses on bodies of work from the mid-1980s through the mid-1990s, including disasters (1986-89) and sex pictures (1992). Sherman’s investigation of macabre narratives followed a trajectory of the physical disintegration of the body, and features prosthetic parts as a stand-in for the human body. A gallery devoted to Sherman’s exploration of myth, carnival, and fairy tales pairs works from her 2003 clowns with her 1985 fairy tales series. These theatrical pictures revel in their own artificiality, with menacing characters and fantastical narratives.

Galleries devoted to single bodies of work are interspersed among the thematic rooms. Sherman’s seminal series the Untitled Film Stills, comprising 70 black-and-white photographs made between 1977 and 1980, are presented in their entirety (the complete series is in MoMA’s collection). Made to look like publicity pictures taken on movie sets, the Untitled Film Stills read like an encyclopaedic roster of female roles inspired by 1950s and 1960s Hollywood, film noir, B movies, and European art-house films. While the characters and scenarios may seem familiar, Sherman’s Stills are entirely fictitious. Her characters represent deeply embedded clichés (career girl, bombshell, girl on the run, housewife, and so on) and rely on the persistence of recognisable manufactured stereotypes that loom large in the cultural imagination.

Other series presented in depth include Sherman’s 1981 series of 12-colour photographs known as the centerfolds. Originally commissioned by Artforum magazine, these send-ups of men’s erotic magazine centerfolds depict characters in a variety of emotional states, ranging from terrified to heartbroken to melancholic. With this series, Sherman plays into the male conditioning of looking at photographs of exposed women, but she turns this on its head by taking on the roles of both (assumed) male photographer and female pinup. The history portraits investigate the relationships between painter and model, and are featured in depth in the exhibition. These theatrical portraits borrow from a number of art historical periods, from Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, and Neoclassical. This free-association sampling creates an illusion of familiarity, but not with any one specific era or style (just as the Untitled Film Stills evoke generic types, not particular films). The subjects (for the first time, many are men) include aristocrats, Madonna and child, clergymen, women of leisure, and milkmaids, who pose with props, elaborate costumes, and obvious prostheses.

Sherman has explored the experience of ageing in a youth- and status-obsessed society with several bodies of work made since 2000. For her headshots from 2000-2002 (sometimes called Hollywood / Hamptons), the artist conceived a cast of characters of would-be or has-been actors (in reality secretaries, housewives, or gardeners) posing for head shots to get an acting job. With this series, Sherman underscores the transformative qualities of makeup, hair, expression, and pose, and the recognition of certain stereotypes as powerful transmitters of cultural clichés. Her monumental 2008 society portraits feature women “of a certain age” from the top echelons of society who struggle with today’s impossible standards of beauty. The psychological weight of these pictures comes through in the unrelenting honesty of the description of ageing and the small details that belie the attempt to project a certain appearance. In the infinite possibilities of the mutability of identity, these pictures stand out for their ability to be at once provocative, disparaging, empathetic, and mysterious.

Press release from the MOMA website

 

Cindy Sherman. 'Untitled #193' 1989

 

Cindy Sherman (American, b. 1954)
Untitled #193 
1989
Chromogenic colour print
48 7/8 x 41 15/16″ (124.1 x 106.5cm)
The Doris and Donald Fisher Collection

 

Cindy Sherman. 'Untitled #213' 1989

 

Cindy Sherman
Untitled #213 
1989
Chromogenic colour print
41 1/2 x 33″ (105.4 x 83.8cm)
Courtesy the artist and Metro Pictures, New York

 

Cindy Sherman. 'Untitled #216' 1989

 

Cindy Sherman (American, b. 1954)
Untitled #216 
1989
Chromogenic colour print
7′ 3 1/8″ x 56 1/8″ (221.3 x 142.5cm)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of Werner and Elaine Dannheisser

 

 

Gallery 7

Sherman’s history portraits (1988-90) investigate modes of representation in art history and the relationship between painter and model. These classically composed portraits borrow from a number of art-historical periods – Renaissance, baroque, rococo, Neoclassical – and make allusions to paintings by Raphael, Caravaggio, Fragonard, and Ingres (who, like all the Old Masters, were men). This free-association sampling creates a sense of familiarity, but not of any one specific era or style. The subjects (for the first time for Sherman, many are men) include aristocrats, Madonnas with child, clergymen, women of leisure, and milk-maids, who pose with props, costumes, and obvious prostheses. Theatrical and artificial – full of large noses, bulging bellies, squirting breasts, warts, and unibrows – the history portraits are poised between humorous parody and grotesque caricature.

A handful of Sherman’s portraits were inspired by actual paintings. Untitled #224 was made after Caravaggio’s Sick Bacchus (c. 1593), which is commonly believed to be a self-portrait of the artist as the Roman god of wine. In Sherman’s reinterpretation, the numerous layers of representation – a female artist impersonating a male artist impersonating a pagan divinity – create a sense of remove, pastiche, and criticality. Even where Sherman’s pictures offer a gleam of art-historical recognition, she has inserted her own interpretation of the canonised paintings, creating contemporary artefacts of a bygone era.

Wall text from the exhibition

 

Cindy Sherman. 'Untitled #359' 2000

 

Cindy Sherman (American, b. 1954)
Untitled #359 
2000
Chromogenic color print
30 x 20″ (76.2 x 50.8cm)
Collection Metro Pictures, New York

 

 

Gallery 8

After almost a decade of staging still lifes with dolls and props, in her 2000-2002 head-shots series Sherman returned to a more intimate scale and to using herself as a model. The format recalls ID pictures, head shots, or vanity portraits made in garden-variety portrait studios by professional photographers. First exhibited in Beverly Hills, the series explores the cycle of desire and failed ambition that permeates Hollywood. Sherman conceived a cast of would-be or has-been female actors posing for head shots in order to get acting jobs; later, for an exhibition in New York, she added East Coast types. Whichever part of the country they’re from, we’ve seen these women before – on reality television, in soap operas, or at a PTA meeting. With these pictures, Sherman underscores the transformative qualities of makeup, hair, expression, and pose, and the power of stereotypes as transmitters of cultural clichés. She projects well-drawn personas: the enormous pouting lips of the woman in Untitled #360 suggest a yearning for youth, while the glittery makeup and purple iridescent dress worn by the character in Untitled #400 indicate an aspiration to reach a certain social status. In her role as both sitter and photographer, Sherman has disrupted the usual power dynamic between model and photographer and created new avenues through which to explore the very apparatus of portrait photography itself.

 

Cindy Sherman. 'Untitled #465' 2008

 

Cindy Sherman (American, b. 1954)
Untitled #465 
2008
Chromogenic colour print
63 3/4 x 57 1/4″ (161.9 x 145.4cm)
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
Purchase, with funds from the Painting and Sculpture Committee and the Photography Committee, 2009

 

Cindy Sherman. 'Untitled #466' 2008

 

Cindy Sherman (American, b. 1954)
Untitled #466
2008
Chromogenic colour print

 

Cindy Sherman. 'Untitled #474' 2008

 

Cindy Sherman
Untitled #474 
2008
Chromogenic colour print
7′ 7″ x 60 1/4″ (231.1 x 153cm)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Acquired through the generosity of an anonymous donor, Michael Lynne, Charles Heilbronn, and the Carol and David Appel Family Fund

 

 

Gallery 10

Set against opulent backdrops and presented in ornate frames, the characters in Sherman’s 2008 society portraits seem at once tragic and vulgar. The figures are not based on specific women, but the artist has made them look entirely familiar in their struggle with the impossible standards of beauty that prevail in a youth – and status – obsessed culture. At this large scale, it is easy to decipher the characters’ vulnerability behind the makeup, clothes, and jewellery. The psychological weight of these pictures comes through the unrelenting honesty of their description of ageing, the tell-tale signs of cosmetic alteration, and the small details that belie the characters’ attempts to project a polished and elegant appearance. Upon careful viewing, they reveal a dark reality lurking beneath the glossy surface of perfection. As with much of her work, in her society portraits Sherman has demonstrated a remarkable capacity to channel the zeitgeist. These well-heeled divas presaged the financial collapse of 2008, the end of an era of opulence – the size of the photographs alone seems a commentary on an age of excess. Among the numerous iterations of contemporary identity, these pictures stand out as at once provocative, disparaging, empathetic, and mysterious.

Wall text from the exhibition

 

Cindy Sherman. 'Untitled #475' 2008

 

Cindy Sherman (American, b. 1954)
Untitled #475 
2008
Chromogenic colour print
7′ 2 3/8″ x 71 1/2″ (219.4 x 181.6cm)
The Broad Art Foundation, Santa Monica

 

 

Gallery 11

Because the majority of Sherman’s pictures feature the artist as model, they showcase a single character. In the 1970s Sherman experimented with cutouts of multiple figures, in her whimsical 1975 stop-motion animated short film Doll Clothes and her rarely seen 1976 collages, which were achieved through a labor-intensive process of cutting and pasting multiple photographs. When Sherman began working digitally in the early 2000s, she was able to more easily incorporate multiple figures in one frame, allowing for a variety of new narrative possibilities. Where the early works chart the movements and gestures of a single character through space, the multiple figures in recent works interact with one another to create tableaus.

Wall text from the exhibition

 

 

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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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