Posts Tagged ‘drawing

01
Feb
13

Artwork: Hamzeh Carr. ‘And some maid told an ancient tale’ 1926

February 2013

 

In the flesh, the colouring and radiance of these plates has to be seen to be believed.

I shall be posting more of these stunning works. Please click on the artwork for a larger version of the image.

Marcus

 

 

Hamzeh Carr. 'And some maid told an ancient tale' 1926

 

Hamzeh Carr
And some maid told an ancient tale
1926
From Sir Edwin Arnold. The Light of Asia. London: John Lane The Bodley Head Ltd, 1926, p. 44
Limited edition of 3,000 copies

 

 

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02
Aug
12

Exhibition: ‘Painting in Photography. Strategies of Appropriation’ at the Städel Museum, Frankfurt

Exhibition dates: 27th June – 23rd September 2012

 

Installation view of the exhibition 'Painting in Photography. Strategies of Appropriation' at the Städel Museum, Frankfurt

 

Installation view of the exhibition Painting in Photography. Strategies of Appropriation at the Städel Museum, Frankfurt

 

 

To understand the production of art at the end of tradition, which in our lifetime means art at the end of modernism, requires, as the postmodern debate has shown, a careful consideration of the idea of history and the notion of ending. Rather than just thinking ending as the arrival of the finality of a fixed chronological moment, it can also be thought as a slow and indecisive process of internal decomposition that leaves in place numerous deposits of us, in us and with us – all with a considerable and complex afterlife. In this context all figuration is prefigured. This is to say that the design element of the production of a work of art, the compositional, now exists prior to the management of form of, and on, the picture plane. Techniques of assemblage, like montage and collage – which not only juxtaposed different aesthetics but also different historical moments, were the precursors of what is now the general condition of production.

.
“Art Byting the Dust” Tony Fry 1990 1

 

 

They said that photography would be the death of painting. It never happened. Recently they thought that digital photography would be the death of analogue photography. It hasn’t happened for there are people who care enough about analogue photography to keep it going, no matter what. As the quotation astutely observes, the digital age has changed the conditions of production updating the techniques of montage and collage for the 21st century. Now through assemblage the composition may be prefigured but that does not mean that there are not echoes, traces and deposits of other technologies, other processes that are not evidenced in contemporary photography.

As photography influenced painting when it first appeared and vice versa (photography went through a period known as Pictorialism where where it imitated Impressionist painting), this exhibition highlights the influence of painting on later photography. Whatever process it takes photography has always been about painting with light – through a pinhole, through a microscope, through a camera lens; using light directly onto photographic paper, using the light of the scanner or the computer screen. As Paul Virilio observes, no longer is there a horizon line but the horizon square of the computer screen, still a picture plane that evidences the history of art and life. Vestiges of time and technology are somehow always present not matter what medium an artist chooses. They always have a complex afterlife and afterimage.

Dr Marcus Bunyan

PS. I really don’t think it is a decomposition, more like a re/composition or reanimation.
PPS. Notice how Otto Steinert’s Luminogramm (1952, below), is eerily similar to some of Pierre Soulages paintings.

 

  1. Fry, Tony. “Art Byting the Dust,” in Hayward, Phillip. Culture, Technology and Creativity in the Late Twentieth Century. London: John Libbey and Company, 1990, pp. 169-170

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

 

 

Installation view of the exhibition 'Painting in Photography. Strategies of Appropriation' at the Städel Museum, Frankfurt

Installation view of the exhibition 'Painting in Photography. Strategies of Appropriation' at the Städel Museum, Frankfurt

 

Installation views of the exhibition Painting in Photography. Strategies of Appropriation at the Städel Museum, Frankfurt

 

Otto Steinert (1915-1978) 'Ein-Fuß-Gänger' 1950

 

Otto Steinert (German, 1915-1978)
Ein-Fuß-Gänger
1950
Gelatin silver print
28.5 x 39cm
Courtesy Galerie Kicken Berlin
© Nachlass Otto Steinert, Museum Folkwang, Essen

 

Laszlo Moholy-Nagy (1895-1946) 'Photogram' c. 1923-25

 

Laszlo Moholy-Nagy (Hungarian, 1895-1946)
Photogram
c. 1923-25
Unique photogram, toned printing-out paper
12.6 x 17.6 cm
Courtesy Galerie Kicken Berlin
© Hattula Moholy-Nagy / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

 

Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008) '10-80-C-17 (NYC)' 1980

 

Robert Rauschenberg (American, 1925-2008)
10-80-C-17 (NYC)
1980
From the series: In + Out of City Limits: New York / Boston
Gelatin silver print on fibre-based paper
58 x 73cm
DZ BANK Kunstsammlung at the Städel Museum
© Estate of Robert Rauschenberg / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2012

 

Thomas Ruff (b. 1958) 'Substrat 10' 2002

 

Thomas Ruff (German, b. 1958)
Substrat 10
2002
C-type print
186 x 238cm
DZ BANK Kunstsammlung
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2012

 

Hiroshi Sugimoto (Japanese, b. 1948) 'Sam Eric, Pennsylvania' 1978

 

Hiroshi Sugimoto (Japanese, b. 1948)
Sam Eric, Pennsylvania
1978
Gelatin silver print
42.5 x 54.5cm
Private collection, Frankfurt
© Hiroshi Sugimoto / Courtesy The Pace Gallery

 

Wolfgang Tillmans (German, b. 1968) 'paper drop (window)' 2006

 

Wolfgang Tillmans (German, b. 1968)
paper drop (window)
2006
C-type print in artists frame
145 x 200cm
Property of Städelscher Museums-Verein e.V.
© Courtesy Galerie Buchholz, Köln / Berlin
Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main
Acquired in 2008 with funds from the Städelkomitee 21. Jahrhundert

 

Otto Steinert (German, 1915-1978) 'Luminogramm' 1952

 

Otto Steinert (German, 1915-1978)
Luminogramm
1952
Gelatin silver print, printed c. 1952
41.5 x 60cm
Courtesy Galerie Kicken Berlin
© Nachlass Otto Steinert, Museum Folkwang, Essen

 

 

From 27 June to 23 September 2012, the Städel Museum will show the exhibition “Painting in Photography. Strategies of Appropriation.” The comprehensive presentation will highlight the influence of painting on the imagery produced by contemporary photographic art. Based on the museum’s own collection and including important loans from the DZ Bank Kunstsammlung as well as international private collections and galleries, the exhibition at the Städel will centre on about 60 examples, among them major works by László Moholy-Nagy, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Wolfgang Tillmans, Thomas Ruff, Jeff Wall, and Amelie von Wulffen. Whereas the influence of the medium of photography on the “classic genres of art” has already been the subject of analysis in numerous exhibitions and publications, less attention has been paid to the impact of painting on contemporary photography to date. The show at the Städel explores the reflection of painting in the photographic image by pursuing various artistic strategies of appropriation which have one thing in common: they reject the general expectation held about photography that it will document reality in an authentic way.

The key significance of photography within contemporary art and its incorporation into the collection of the Städel Museum offer an occasion to fathom the relationship between painting and photography in an exhibition. While painting dealt with the use of photography in the mass media in the 1960s, today’s photographic art shows itself seriously concerned with the conditions of painting. Again and again, photography reflects, thematises, or represents the traditional pictorial medium, maintaining an ambivalent relationship between appropriation and detachment.

Numerous works presented in the Städel’s exhibition return to the painterly abstractions of the prewar and postwar avant-gardes, translate them into the medium of photography, and thus avoid a reproduction of reality. Early examples for the adaption of techniques of painting in photography are László Moholy-Nagy’s (1895-1946) photograms dating from the 1920s. For his photographs shot without a camera, the Hungarian artist and Bauhaus teacher arranged objects on a sensitised paper; these objects left concrete marks as supposedly abstract forms under the influence of direct sunlight. In Otto Steinert’s (1915-1978) nonrepresentational light drawings or “luminigrams,” the photographer’s movement inscribed itself directly into the sensitised film. The pictures correlate with the gestural painting of Jackson Pollock’s Abstract Expressionism. A product of random operations during the exposure and development of the photographic paper, Wolfgang Tillmans’ (*1968) work “Freischwimmer 54” (2004) is equally far from representing the external world. It is the pictures’ fictitious depth, transparency, and dynamics that lend Thomas Ruff’s photographic series “Substrat” its extraordinary painterly quality recalling colour field paintings or Informel works. For his series “Seascapes” the Japanese artist Hiroshi Sugimoto (*1948) seems to have “emptied” the motif through a long exposure time: the sublime pictures of the surface of the sea and the sky – which either blur or are set off against each other – seem to transcend time and space.

In addition to the photographs mentioned, the exhibition “Painting in Photography” includes works by artists who directly draw on the history of painting in their choice of motifs. The mise-en-scène piece “Picture for Women” (1979) by the Canadian photo artist Jeff Wall (born in 1946), which relates to Édouard Manet’s famous painting “Un Bar aux Folies-Bergère” from 1882, may be cited as an example for this approach. The camera positioned in the centre of the picture reveals the mirrored scene and turns into the eye of the beholder. The fictitious landscape pictures by Beate Gütschow (born in 1970), which consist of digitally assembled fragments, recall ideal Arcadian sceneries of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The photographs taken by Italian Luigi Ghirri (1943-1992) in the studio of Giorgio Morandi (1890-1964) “copy” Morandi’s still lifes by representing the real objects in the painter’s studio instead of his paintings.

Another appropriative strategy sees the artist actually becoming active as a painter, transforming either the object he has photographed or its photographic representation. Oliver Boberg’s, Richard Hamilton’s, Georges Rousse’s and Amelie von Wulffen’s works rank in this category. For her series “Stadtcollagen” (1998-1999) Amelie von Wulffen (born in 1966) assembled drawing, photography, and painting to arrive at the montage of a new reality. The artist’s recollections merge with imaginary spaces offering the viewer’s fantasy an opportunity for his or her own associations.

The exhibition also encompasses positions of photography for which painting is the object represented in the picture. The most prominent examples in this section come from Sherrie Levine (born in 1947) and Louise Lawler (born in 1947), both representatives of US Appropriation Art. From the late 1970s on, Levine and Lawler have photographically appropriated originals from art history. Levine uses reproductions of paintings from a catalogue published in the 1920s: she photographs them and makes lithographs of her pictures. Lawler photographs works of art in private rooms, museums, and galleries and thus rather elucidates the works’ artworld context than the works as such.

Press release from the Städel Museum website

 

Sherrie Levine (b. 1947) 'After Edgar Degas' 1987 (detail)

 

Sherrie Levine (American, b. 1947)
After Edgar Degas (detail)
1987
5 lithographs on hand-made paper
69 x 56cm
DZ BANK Kunstsammlung im Städel Museum, Frankfurt
© Sherrie Levine / Courtesy Jablonka Galerie, Köln

 

Louise Lawler (American, b. 1947) 'It Could Be Elvis' 1994

 

Louise Lawler (American, b. 1947)
It Could Be Elvis
1994
Cibachrome, varnished with shellac
74.5 x 91cm
DZ BANK Kunstsammlung at the Städel Museum
© Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York

 

Oliver Boberg (German, b. 1965) 'Unterführung' [Underpass] 1997

 

Oliver Boberg (German, b. 1965)
Unterführung [Underpass]
1997
C-type print
75 x 84cm
DZ BANK Kunstsammlung
© Oliver Boberg / Courtesy L.A. Galerie – Lothar Albrecht, Frankfurt

 

Richard Hamilton (1922-2011) 'Eight-Self-Portraits' 1994 (detail)

 

Richard Hamilton (English, 1922-2011)
Eight-Self-Portraits (detail)
1994
Thermal dye sublimation prints
40 x 35cm
DZ BANK Kunstsammlung
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2012

 

Wolfgang Tillmans (German, b. 1968) 'Freischwimmer 54' 2004

 

Wolfgang Tillmans (German, b. 1968)
Freischwimmer 54
2004
C-type in artists frame
237 x 181 x 6cm
Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main
© Courtesy Galerie Buchholz, Köln / Berlin
Acquired in 2008 with funds from the Städelkomitee 21. Jahrhundert
Property of Städelscher Museums-Verein e.V.

 

 

Städel Museum
Schaumainkai 63
60596 Frankfurt

Opening hours:
Tuesday – Wednesday 10am – 6pm
Thursday – Friday 10am – 9pm
Saturday – Sunday 10am – 6pm

Städel Museum website

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23
Sep
11

Exhibition: ‘Line and Space. American Drawings and Sculpture since 1960, from a private collection’ at Pinakothek de Moderne, Munich

Exhibition dates: 28th July – 25th September 2011

 

Many thankx to the Pinakothek der Moderne for allowing me to publish the art work in the posting. Please click on the art work for a larger version of the image.

 

 

Barry Le Va. 'Untitled' 1977

 

Barry Le Va (American, b. 1941)
Untitled
1977
Pencil, ink and ballpoint on graph paper
Private collection
Photo: Arne Schultz
© Barry Le Va 2011

 

Sol LeWitt. 'A2' 1967

 

Sol LeWitt (American, 1928-2007)
A2
1967
Painted steel
Private collection
Photo: Arne Schultz
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2011

 

Donald Judd. 'Untitled' 1962

 

Donald Judd (American, 1928-1994)
Untitled
1962
Woodcut on paper, trial proof
Private collection
Photo: Arne Schultz
© Art Judd Foundation, Licensed by VAGA, NY / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2011

 

Gordon Matta-Clark. 'Untitled (cut drawing)' 1974

 

Gordon Matta-Clark (American, 1943-1978)
Untitled (cut drawing)
1974
Cuts in paper
Private collection
Photo: Arne Schultz
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2011

 

 

“The exhibition, part of the AMERICAN SUMMER project, features the predominantly American holdings of drawings and sculptures from a private collection, with most of the works going on public display for the first time. What comes to the fore in this exemplary selection of largely American artists from the sixties and seventies and their impressive groups of works is the relationship between the media of sculpture and drawing. At the heart of the show lies the subtle dialogue between the conceptual ideas of ‘disegno’ and their sensual transfer to the materiality of sculpture.

One of the private collection’s particular strengths is its focus on groups of works by individual artists. As a result, entire rooms have been dedicated to the artists Fred Sandback and Barry Le Va, while in addition larger groups of works by other artists, including Donald Judd or Gordon Matta-Clark, can be studied in detail.

The selection of exhibits creates a display of the art movements of the sixties and seventies: among them, Minimal Art, as represented by Carl Andre, Bill Bollinger, Donald Judd, Dan Flavin and Fred Sandback, Post-minimalism of Barry Le Va or Keith Sonnier, Conceptual Art, as represented by Sol LeWitt, and Land Art of such artists as Michael Heizer and Walter de Maria. The exhibition is enriched with works from the Staatliche Graphische Sammlung München and the Sammlung Moderne Kunst.

A fully illustrated catalogue accompanies the exhibition: ‘Der Raum der Linie – Amerikanische Zeichnungen und Skulpturen’, edited by Michael Semff, Corinna Thierolf and Alexander Klar, with assistance from Pia Gottschaller and Birgitta Heid (containing essays from Jörg Daur, Pia Gottschaller, Birgitta Heid, Christiane Meyer-Stoll, Michael Semff, a conversation with Peter Soriano and an interview with the collector).”

Press release from the Pinakothek de Moderne

 

Barry Le Va. 'Bearings Rolled' 1966

 

Barry Le Va (American, b. 1941)
Bearings Rolled
1966
Ink on paper
Sheet from a series of 15 drawings
Private collection
Photo: Arne Schultz
© Barry Le Va 2011

 

Fred Sandback. 'Untitled (Milanese Drawing)' c. 1971/72

 

Fred Sandback (American, 1943-2003)
Untitled (Milanese Drawing)
c. 1971/72
Chalk on paper
Private collection
Photo: Arne Schultz
© Fred Sandback Archive 2011

 

Dan Flavin. 'from August 5, 1964' 1966

 

Dan Flavin (American, 1933-1996)
from August 5, 1964
1966
Crayon on black paper
Private collection
Photo: Arne Schultz
© Estate of Dan Flavin / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2011

 

Sol LeWitt. 'Incomplete open cube drawing - ten & eleven part variations' undated (c. 1973/74)

 

Sol LeWitt (American, 1928-2007)
Incomplete open cube drawing – ten & eleven part variations
Undated (c. 1973/74)
Pencil and ink on paper
Private collection
Photo: Staatliche Graphische Sammlung München
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2011

 

Robert Mangold. '104" Perimeter Series' 1969

 

Robert Mangold (American, b. 1937)
104″ Perimeter Series
1969
Pencil on paper
Private Collection
Photo: Arne Schultz
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2011

 

 

Pinakothek Der Moderne
Barer Strasse 40
Munich

Gallery Hours:
Daily except Monday 10am – 6pm
Thursday 10am – 8pm

Pinakothek der Moderne website

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04
Mar
10

Three Openings Wednesday 3rd March 2010

March 2010

Camilla Tadich: Slabalong and Mark Hislop: Drawing at Sophie Gannon Gallery; Simon Obarzanek at Karen Woodbury Gallery; Kent Wilson Higher Breeds and Alice Wormald Wayside and Hedgerow at Shifted

 

Camilla Tadich: Slabalong and Mark Hislop: Drawing at Sophie Gannon Gallery, 2 Albert Street, Richmond
March 2nd – March 27th 2010
Sophie Gannon Gallery website

Simon Obarzanek at Karen Woodbury Gallery, 4 Albert Street, Richmond
March 3rd – March 27th 2010
This gallery is now closed

Kent Wilson Higher Breeds and Alice Wormald Wayside and Hedgerow at Shifted, Level 1, 15 Albert Street, Richmond
This gallery is now closed

 

 

Sophie Gannon Gallery opening

 

Sophie Gannon Gallery opening

 

Sophie Gannon Gallery opening - Mark Hislop 'Drawing'

Sophie Gannon Gallery opening - Mark Hislop 'Drawing'

Sophie Gannon Gallery opening - Mark Hislop 'Drawing'

 

Sophie Gannon Gallery opening – Mark Hislop Drawing

 

Camilla Tadich. 'Bordertown' 2010

 

Camilla Tadich (Australian, b. 1982)
Bordertown
2010

 

Sophie Gannon Gallery opening - Camila Tadich 'Slabalong' opening

 

Sophie Gannon Gallery opening – Camila Tadich Slabalong opening

 

Karen Woodbury Gallery - Simon Obarzanek opening

 

Karen Woodbury Gallery – Simon Obarzanek opening

 

 

Simon’s photographs come from observing the physical movements of people pushing through the space around them in a city. He senses a universal language through movement and is drawn to this rather than their faces, as he normally is.

He noted that the “strained movements against gravity struck me with force… When I see a person creating a shape with their body in the street I do not sense the individual but a part, a piece of a larger performance. Each individual connects with others to create a visual language. I did not want faces to interrupt this larger work.”

Simon collects the movements on his camera, as photographic sketches, then he rephotographs the movement using friends and family as models. Removed from the busy streets, dislocated, his subject is isolated and framed against a dark background. Some twist away from the camera, or stagger against an unseen wind, sheltering their face from rain that is not falling. Simon does not show their faces, which emphasises the movement and makes the figures anonymous. These photographs are theatrical and mysterious, emphasising the loneliness and alienation that can be encountered living in a big city.

Text from the Turner Galleries website [Online] Cited 28/06/2019

 

Karen Woodbury Gallery - Simon Obarzanek opening

 

Karen Woodbury Gallery – Simon Obarzanek opening, the artist standing centre in grey t-shirt

 

Karen Woodbury Gallery - Simon Obarzanek opening

Simon Obarzanek. 'Untitled movement No.2 #7' 2010

 

Simon Obarzanek (Israel, lives and works Melbourne, b. 1968)
Untitled movement No.2 No.7
2010
C-Type hand print
100.0 x 120.0 cm

 

Shifted opening - Kent Wilson 'Higher Breeds'

Shifted opening - Kent Wilson 'Higher Breeds'

 

Shifted opening – Kent Wilson Higher Breeds

 

Kent Wilson Image from the 'HoneySucker' series (detail) 2009

 

Kent Wilson
Image from the HoneySucker series (detail)
2009

 

Shifted opening - Alice Wormald 'Wayside & Hedgerow'

Shifted opening - Alice Wormald 'Wayside & Hedgerow'

 

Shifted opening – Alice Wormald Wayside & Hedgerow

 

 

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28
Jan
10

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

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

 

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

Marcus

 

 

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

 

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

 

László Moholy-Nagy. 'K XVII' 1923

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

László Moholy-Nagy. 'Bauhaus Balconies' 1926

 

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

 

Exhibition view, Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt 2009

 

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

 

László Moholy-Nagy. 'A 19' 1927

 

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

 

László Moholy-Nagy Retrospective exhibition view

 

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

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

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

 

László Moholy-Nagy Retrospective exhibition view

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

László Moholy-Nagy Retrospective exhibition view

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

László Moholy-Nagy. 'CH BEATA I' 1939

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

László Moholy-Nagy. 'Untitled' 1936-46

 

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

 

László Moholy-Nagy. 'Untitled' 1937-46

 

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

 

László Moholy-Nagy. 'Untitled' 1939

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

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

Schirn Kunsthalle website

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28
Jun
09

Exhibition: ‘LE MONDE v. DER MOND’ by Matthew Hale at The Narrows, Melbourne

Exhibition dates: 18th June – 11th July 2009

 

Many thankx to Warren from The Narrows for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image. Photographs 1, 4 and 6 are © Tobias Titz 2009.

Dr Marcus Bunyan

 

Matthew Hale. Installation view of DER MOND v LE MONDE at The Narrows, Melbourne

 

Installation view of LE MONDE v. DER MOND by Matthew Hale at The Narrows, Melbourne with n.n. (2008) centre bottom, and Page 93 of MIRIAM DIVORCEE (2008) centre right

 

Matthew Hale (British, b. 1962) 'Page 93 of MIRIAM DIVORCEE' 2008

 

Matthew Hale (British, b. 1962)
Page 93 of MIRIAM DIVORCEE
2008
Paper collage
69 x 103 cm

 

Matthew Hale (British, b. 1962) 'n.n.' 2008

 

Matthew Hale (British, b. 1962)
n.n.
2008
Rifle, paper collage
69 x 153 cm

 

Matthew Hale. 'Page 150 of MIRIAM DIVORCEE' (detail) 2008

 

Matthew Hale (British, b. 1962)
Page 150 of MIRIAM DIVORCEE (detail)
2008
Paper collage

 

 

Below is the only text I could find on the work – some of which was displayed in London earlier this year.

Marcus

 

DER MOND v LE MONDE is Mathew Hale’s first solo exhibition in London for five years. It consists of five works: one two-projector and one three-projector slide piece; a constructed painting (that could equally be described as a wall-mounted sculpture); and two large collage works …

Hale’s work has many possible points of departure: a found photograph, a scrap of paper, a page torn from an instructive and obscure book, a bit of out-moded pornography, some anachronistic advertising from the 1970s or 1980s and so forth. Once plucked from a huge collection of such material amassed in his domestic studio space, the work evolves like an unplanned journey – both moving away and turning back on itself … The path of discovery in Hale’s work is the subject of his work, providing it with narrative and process.

With its roots in the collage traditions of political photomontage, dadaist assemblage and free associative surrealism, Hale’s work prioritises process over methodology or style. It activates a complex web of references that takes in history, politics, literature, and philosophy, as much as it does sex, religion, art, architecture and popular culture. To engage with the work is to become carried along by clues that lead to other clues and then circuitously lead somewhere else unexpected yet somehow familiar. Sometimes the clues are visual, sometimes they are language based, often they are both. Even when the work is finished and exhibited it is in a state of flux, the meaning is not fixed. Hale likes slippage of meaning and this constant state of ambiguity and openness for (mis)interpretation or confusion. He explains the title of the show as follows: ‘[in German] … and strikingly weirdly, “der Mond” means “The Moon” and, as we all know, “Le Monde” means “The Earth”. How can a word flip so totally by crossing a border? I am making a work for the show which hinges on their being apparently identical (almost) and yet meaning precisely the opposite – I wonder how it happened.'”

Text from the London exhibition of this work (note with title reversed!), on the Peer website [Online] Cited 23/06/2009 no longer available on the website

 

Matthew Hale. 'Page 145 of MRS. GILLRAY' 2009

 

Matthew Hale (British, b. 1962)
Page 145 of MRS. GILLRAY
2009
Paper collage

 

Matthew Hale. 'Page 48 of DIE NEUE MIRIAM' 2008

 

Matthew Hale (British, b. 1962)
Page 48 of DIE NEUE MIRIAM
2008
Paper collage

 

Review in Art Monthly, June 2009

 

Review in Art Monthly, June 2009 from the Peer website [Online] Cited 23/06/2009 no longer available on the website

 

 

The Narrows

The Narrows website

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11
Jun
09

Exhibition photographs: ‘Salvador Dalí: Liquid Desire’ Melbourne Winter Masterpieces at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

Exhibition dates: 13th June – 4th October 2009

 

'Salvador Dali: Liquid Desire' Winter Masterpieces exhibition at NGV International, Melbourne

 

 

Installation photographs from the latest Winter Masterpieces blockbuster Salvador Dalí: Liquid Desire from the media preview on the day the exhibition opened at NGV International, Melbourne. Thank you to Jemma Altmeier, Media and Public Affairs Administrator at the NGV for the invitation. Photographs were taken using a digital camera, tripod and available light.

Fantastic to see my friend and curator of the exhibition, Dr Ted Gott, at the opening. Congratulations on a wonderful show!

Dr Marcus Bunyan for Art Blart

 

© All photographs copyright Dr Marcus Bunyan 2009 and the National Gallery of Victoria. All rights reserved. Photographs may not be reproduced without permission.

Photographs proceed from the beginning to the end of the exhibition in chronological order.

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

 

 

Entrance to the 'Salvador Dali: Liquid Desire' Winter Masterpieces exhibition at NGV International, Melbourne

 

Entrance to the Salvador Dalí: Liquid Desire Winter Masterpieces exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

 

3 panel video installation of the Catalan countryside around where Salvador Dali lived

 

3 panel video installation of the Catalan countryside where Salvador Dali lived. 13 minutes duration

 

Early work from the 'Salvador Dali: Liquid Desire' Winter Masterpieces exhibition at NGV International, Melbourne

 

Early work from the Salvador Dalí: Liquid Desire Winter Masterpieces exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

 

'Salvador Dali: Liquid Desire' Winter Masterpieces exhibition at NGV International, Melbourne

Early work from the 'Salvador Dali: Liquid Desire' Winter Masterpieces exhibition at NGV International, Melbourne

 

To the left View of the Cadaques from the Creus Tower 1923; to the right Table in front of the Sea. Homage to Eric Satie 1926 from the Salvador Dalí: Liquid Desire Winter Masterpieces exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

 

Early work from the 'Salvador Dali: Liquid Desire' Winter Masterpieces exhibition at NGV International, Melbourne

 

In the centre The First Days of Spring 1929; to the right Surrealist composition 1928 from the Salvador Dalí: Liquid Desire Winter Masterpieces exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

 

Salvador Dalí. 'The First Days of Spring' 1929

 

Salvador Dalí (Spanish 1904-89, worked in United States 1940-48)
The First Days of Spring
1929
Oil on canvas
The Salvador Dalí Museum, St Petersburg, Florida
Worldwide Rights: © Salvador Dalí, Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí, VISCOPY, 2009
In the USA: © Salvador Dalí Museum Inc., St. Petersburg, FL, 2009

 

dali-installation-j

 

Installation view with The Age art critic Associate Professor Robert Nelson at centre right and The hand. The remorse of conscience 1930 at far right, from the Salvador Dalí: Liquid Desire Winter Masterpieces exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

 

Salvador Dalí. 'Daddy Longlegs of the evening - Hope!' 1940

 

Salvador Dalí (Spanish 1904-89, worked in United States 1940-48)
Daddy Longlegs of the evening – Hope!
1940
Oil on canvas
40.6 x 50.8 cm
The Salvador Dalí Museum, St Petersburg, Florida
Worldwide Rights: © Salvador Dalí, Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí, VISCOPY, 2009
In the USA: © Salvador Dalí Museum Inc., St. Petersburg, FL, 2009

 

Salvador Dalí. 'The disintegration of The persistence of memory' 1952-54

 

Salvador Dalí (Spanish 1904-89, worked in United States 1940-48)
The disintegration of The persistence of memory
1952-54
Oil on canvas
25.4 x 33.0 cm
The Salvador Dalí Museum, St Petersburg, Florida
Worldwide Rights: © Salvador Dalí, Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí, VISCOPY, 2009.
In the USA: © Salvador Dalí Museum Inc., St. Petersburg, FL, 2009

 

Salvador Dalí. 'Soft self-portrait with grilled bacon' 1941

 

Salvador Dalí (Spanish 1904-89, worked in United States 1940-48)
Soft self-portrait with grilled bacon
1941
Oil on canvas
61.0 x 51.0 cm
Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí, Figueres (0043)
© Salvador Dalí, Fundació Gala- Salvador Dalí, VISCOPY, 2009

 

Salvador Dalí (Spanish 1904-89, worked in United States 1940-48) 'Memory of the child-woman' 1932

 

Salvador Dalí (Spanish 1904-89, worked in United States 1940-48)
Memory of the child-woman
1932
Oil on canvas
99.1 x 120.0 cm
The Salvador Dalí Museum, St Petersburg, Florida
Worldwide Rights: © Salvador Dalí, Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí, VISCOPY, 2009
In the USA: © Salvador Dalí Museum Inc., St. Petersburg, FL, 2009

 

dali-installation-l

 

Installation view with Memory of the child-woman 1932 at right from the Salvador Dalí: Liquid Desire Winter Masterpieces exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

 

'Salvador Dali: Liquid Desire' Winter Masterpieces exhibition at NGV International, Melbourne

 

Salvador Dalí (Spanish, 1904-89)
Lobster Telephone
1936

 

'Salvador Dali: Liquid Desire' Winter Masterpieces exhibition at NGV International, Melbourne

'Salvador Dali: Liquid Desire' Winter Masterpieces exhibition at NGV International, Melbourne

 

'Salvador Dali: Liquid Desire' Winter Masterpieces exhibition at NGV International, Melbourne

 

Jewellery gallery at the Salvador Dalí: Liquid Desire Winter Masterpieces exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

 

Salvador Dalí (Spanish 1904-89, worked in United States 1940-48)Alemany and Ertman Incorporated (New York, manufacturer United States late 1940s) 'Bleeding world, pendant' 1953

 

Salvador Dalí (Spanish 1904-89, worked in United States 1940-48)
Alemany and Ertman Incorporated (New York, manufacturer United States late 1940s)
Bleeding world, pendant
1953
Gold, rubies, pearls, diamonds
The Salvador Dalí Museum, St Petersburg, Florida
Worldwide Rights: © Salvador Dalí, Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí, VISCOPY, 2009
In the USA: © Salvador Dalí Museum Inc., St. Petersburg, FL, 2009

 

Television with film installation at 'Salvador Dali: Liquid Desire' Winter Masterpieces exhibition at NGV International, Melbourne

 

Televisions with film installation from the Salvador Dalí: Liquid Desire Winter Masterpieces exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

 

Salvador Dalí (Spanish 1904-89, worked in United States 1940-48) Philippe Halsman (Latvian/American 1906-79, worked in France 1931-40) 'Dalí Atomicus' 1948, printed 1981

 

Salvador Dalí (Spanish 1904-89, worked in United States 1940-48)
Philippe Halsman (Latvian/American 1906-79, worked in France 1931-40)
Dalí Atomicus
1948, printed 1981
Gelatin silver photograph
26.7 x 34.3 cm
Image rights of Salvador Dalí reserved. Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí, Figueres, 2009
© Philippe Halsman / Magnum

 

'Salvador Dali: Liquid Desire' Winter Masterpieces exhibition at NGV International, Melbourne

 

Installation of black and white photography with Dr Ted Gott, curator of the exhibition, with back to camera at centre

 

'Salvador Dali: Liquid Desire' Winter Masterpieces exhibition at NGV International, Melbourne

 

Reproduction of Gala foot. Stereoscopic paintings 1975-76 in an installation using mirrors that would have been originally used to obtain the stereoscopic effect

 

'Salvador Dali: Liquid Desire' Winter Masterpieces exhibition at NGV International, Melbourne

 

Final exhibition space from the Salvador Dalí: Liquid Desire Winter Masterpieces exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

 

Salvador Dalí. 'The Ecumenical Council' 1960

 

Salvador Dalí (Spanish, 1904-89)
The Ecumenical Council
1960
Oil on canvas
299.7 x 254.0 cm
The Salvador Dalí Museum, St Petersburg, Florida
Worldwide Rights: © Salvador Dalí, Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí, VISCOPY, 2009
In the USA: © Salvador Dalí Museum Inc., St. Petersburg, FL, 2009

 

'Salvador Dali: Liquid Desire' Winter Masterpieces exhibition at NGV International, Melbourne

'Salvador Dali: Liquid Desire' Winter Masterpieces exhibition at NGV International, Melbourne

 

Final gallery space from the Salvador Dalí: Liquid Desire Winter Masterpieces exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne featuring The Ecumenical Council 1960

 

 

National Gallery of Victoria (International)
180 St Kilda Road, Melbourne

Opening hours: Salvador Dalí: Liquid Desire is open 7 days a week and until 9pm every Wednesday from 17 June

Tickets
Adult: $23
Concession: $18
Child: $11 (ages 5-15)
Family (2 adults + 3 children): $60
NGV Member Adult: $16
NGV Member Family: $40

Unlimited entry tickets
Adult: $55
Concession: $45
NGV Member Adult: $40

National Gallery of Victoria Dali website

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09
Jun
09

Review: ‘Modern Times: The Untold Story of Modernism in Australia’ at Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne

Exhibition dates: 21st March – 12th July 2009

 

Roy de Maistre (Australian, 1894-1968) 'Colour Composition derived from three bars of music in the Key of Green' 1935

 

Roy de Maistre (Australian, 1894-1968)
Colour Composition derived from three bars of music in the Key of Green
1935
Oil and pencil on composition board
Private Collection

 

 

Despite some interesting highlight pieces this is a patchy, thin, incoherent exhibition assembled by the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney now showing at Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne. Featuring a hotchpotch of work ranging across fields such as drawing, architecture, photography, painting, film, graphic design, craft, advertising, Australiana and aboriginal works the exhibition attempts to tell the untold story of Modernism in Australia to little effect. Within the exhibition there is no attempt to define exactly what ‘Modernism’ is and therefore an investigation into Modernism in Australia is all the more confusing for the visitor as there seems to be no stable basis on which to build that investigation. Perhaps reading the catalogue would give a greater overview of the development of Modernism in Australia but for the average visitor to the exhibition there seems to be no holistic rationale for the inclusion of elements within the exhibition which, much like Modernism itself, seems eclectically gathered from all walks of life with little regard for narrative structure.

With work spanning five decades from 1917-1967 we are presented with, variously, Robert Klippel’s kitsch Boomerang table from 1955, Robin Boyd’s ‘House of Tomorrow’ from 1949, Wolfgang Sievers ‘new objective’ photographs, Berlei’s scientific system for calculating beauty in woman in use till the 1960s, swimsuits from the 1920s-1940s, Featherston chairs from the Australian pavilion at the 1967 Expo, a recreation of Australian architect Harry Seidler’s office (the most interesting part of this being the books he had in his office library: Frank Lloyd Wright, Mies van de Rohe and Concerning Town Planning by Le Corbusier) and the wind tunnel test model of the Sydney Opera House in wood from 1960. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera …

Highlight pieces include the above mentioned test model of the Sydney Opera House which is stunning in its scale and woodenness, in it’s simplicity of shape and form. Other highlight pieces are the colour music compositions of Roy de Maistre which were the tour de force of the show for me, true revelations in their rhythmic synchronic Moebius-like construction with layered planes of colour swirling in purples, greens and yellows. The large vintage photographic print of Sunbaker (1934) by Max Dupain was also a revelation with it’s earthy brown tones, the blending of the atmospheric out of focus foreground with the clouds behind, the architectural nature of the outline of the body almost like the outline of Uluru, the darkness of the head with the sensuality of the head and shoulders framed against the largeness of the hand resting on the sand. Lastly the two paintings and one rug by French artist Sonia Delaunay are a knockout. It says something about an exhibition when the best work in the show are two paintings by a French artist seemingly plucked at random to show external influences on Australian artists and designers.

While the exhibition does attempt to portray the breadth of the development of Modernism in Australia ultimately it falls well short in this endeavour. The most striking example of this shortcoming is the true star of the exhibition – the building that is Heide II itself. Commissioned by John and Sunday Reed and designed by the Victorian architect David McGlashan of the architectural firm McGlashan and Eversit in 1963 the building epitomises everything that is good about architectural Modernism and it’s form overshadows the exhibition itself. In this building we have beautiful spaces and volumes, an amazing staircase down into the lower area, suspended decking overlooking gardens, the blending of inside and outside areas, large expanses of glass to view the landscape, nooks and studies for privacy and the simplicity and eloquence of form that is Modernist design. With money one can indulge in the best of elitist Modernism. With position, position, position one can side steep the alienation of the city and the spread of surburbia where the dream of Australians owning a home of their own still continues in the vast, tasteless expanses of McMansion estates.

Robert Nelson in his review of this exhibition sees the car as creating the suburbs and Modernism as the emptying of the city after 6pm, the lessening of community and the devaluing of space he insists that there is little difference between a Californian bungalow in the suburbs and a utopian geometric neo-Corbusian box by Harry Seidler because they were equally shackled to motor transport.1 This is to miss the point.

Although Modernism in its basic form influenced most walks of life in Australia from swimsuit design to milk bars, from cinema to naturism, from bodies to advertising the most effective expressions of Modernism are architectural (as evidenced by Heide II) and were only open to those with money, power and position. Although Le Corbusier’s concept of public housing was a space ‘for the people’ the most interesting of his houses were the private commissions for wealthy clients. And so it proves here. One can imagine the parties on the deck at Heide II in the 1960s with men in their tuxedo and bow ties and woman in their gowns, or the relaxation of the Reed’s sitting in front of their fire in the submerged lounge. For the ordinary working class person Modernism brought a sense of alienation from the aspirational things one cannot buy in the world, an alienation that continues to this day; for the privileged few Modernism offered the exclusivity of elitism (or is it the elitism of exclusivity!) and an aspirational alienation of a different kind – that of the separation from the masses.

Go to Heide for the glorious gardens, the wonders of Heide II but don’t go to this exhibition expecting grand insights into the basis of Australian Modernism for that story, as Robert Nelson rightly notes, remains as yet untold.

Dr Marcus Bunyan for the Art Blart blog

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

 

An excellent review of the exhibition by Jill Julius Matthews, “Modern times: The untold story of modernism in Australia,” (reCollections Volume 4 number 1) can be found on the Journal of the National Museum of Australia website [Online] Cited 20/02/2019

 

  1. “Emanating from Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum, Modern Times “explores how modernism transformed Australian culture from 1917 to 1967.” But something is missing. The overwhelming modern development in these 50 years was the proliferation of automotive transport, which redefined the layout and function of Australian cities.

    The cars created the suburbs; and as the individual bungalow drew out the vast dormitories of Sydney and Melbourne, the city centre was spiritually drained, dedicated to bureaucratic and commercial premises.

    The story at Heide emphasises the gradual triumph of the tall buildings of the CBD. It doesn’t really reflect how these abstract monuments didn’t contain a soul after 6pm.Although the project makes such a big deal of being interdisciplinary, the social history doesn’t have a robust geographical basis. And because of this, the exhibition and book fail to handle the new alienation that modernism brings: the evacuation of the city and the insularity of suburban people in bungalows with little street life and roads increasingly deemed unsafe for children.

    What does it really matter if a house looks like a Californian bungalow or a utopian geometric neo-Corbusian box by Harry Seidler? In social terms, they’re structurally the same, equally retracting from a sense of community and equally shackled to motor transport. In this sense, the styles are immaterial, except that one of them gives you a feeling of intimacy while the other has a bit more light and is easily wiped with a sponge.

    At the end of the chosen period, the folly of the dominant suburban pattern came to be understood in its dire ecological consequences. Alas, it was too late. The modernist devaluation of space had already occurred, and our whole society had been reorganised around petrol.”

    Robert Nelson. The Age. Wednesday 6th May, 2009

 

 

Roy de Maistre (Australian, 1894-1968) 'Arrested Movement from a Trio' 1934

 

Roy de Maistre (Australian, 1894-1968)
Arrested Movement from a Trio
1934
Oil and pencil on composition board
72.3 × 98.8 cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

 

Roy de Maistre (Australian, 1894-1968) 'Rhythmic composition in yellow green minor' 1919

 

Roy de Maistre (Australian, 1894-1968)
Rhythmic composition in yellow green minor
1919
Oil on paperboard
85.3 x 115.3 cm
Art Gallery of New South Wales
© Caroline de Mestre Walker

 

 

In late 1918, Roy de Maistre collaborated with fellow artist Roland Wakelin in exploring the relationship between art and music. Their experiments produced Australia’s first abstract paintings, characterised by high-key colour, large areas of flat paint and simplified forms. The works received critical acclaim, but modernist developments were largely derided by the conservative establishment.

This painting exemplifies de Maistre’s theory of colour harmonisation based on analogies between colours of the spectrum and notes of the musical scale. It is also aligned with de Maistre’s search for spiritual meaning through abstraction, akin to other artists such as Kandinsky who were interested in the ideas of the theosophy and anthroposophy movements, spiritualism and the occult.

Text from the Art Gallery of New South Wales website

 

Roy de Maistre (Australian, 1894-1968) 'Colour chart' c. 1919

 

Roy de Maistre (Australian, 1894-1968)
Colour chart
c. 1919
30.5 x 40.5 cm
Oil on cardboard
Gift of the executors of the artist’s estate 1968
Art Gallery of New South Wales
© Caroline de Mestre Walker

 

Sonia Delaunay. 'Rhythm' 1938

 

Sonia Delaunay (Ukraine, b. 1885 moved Paris 1905-1979)
Rhythm
1938
Oil on canvas

 

Wolfgang Sievers (German Australian 1913-2007) '"House of Tomorrow" exhibition at Exhibition Building, Melbourne' 1949

 

Wolfgang Sievers (German Australian 1913-2007)
“House of Tomorrow” exhibition at Exhibition Building, Melbourne
1949
Gelatin silver print
National Library of Australia

 

Stanislaus Ostoja-Kotkowski (Poland, Australia 1922-1994) 'Nymphex' 1966

 

Stanislaus Ostoja-Kotkowski (Poland, Australia 1922-1994)
Nymphex
1966
Gelatin silver photograph from electronic image
50.6 x 60.8 cm image/sheet
Gift of Dr George Berger 1978
Art Gallery of New South Wales
@ Estate of Stanislaus Ostoja-Kotkowski

 

Rayner Hoff (United Kingdom, Australia 1894-1937) 'Decorative portrait - Len Lye' 1925

 

Rayner Hoff (United Kingdom, Australia 1894-1937)
Decorative portrait – Len Lye
1925
Marble
30.5 x 22.5 x 16.5 cm
Purchased 1938
Art Gallery of New South Wales

 

Max Dupain. 'Sunbaker' 1934 printed 1937

 

Max Dupain (Australian, 1911-1992)
Sunbaker
1934 printed 1937
Gelatin silver print

 

Grace Cossington Smith (Australia, 1892-1984) 'Rushing' c. 1922

 

Grace Cossington Smith (Australia, 1892-1984)
Rushing
c. 1922
Oil on canvas on paperboard
65.6 x 91.3 cm
Art Gallery of New South Wales
© Estate of Grace Cossington Smith

 

 

Cossington Smith captures the drama of a crowd in Rushing, which depicts commuters clamouring down to the ferries of Circular Quay to get home after work. The flying scarf and fallen hat emphasise the speed at which the travellers are moving and the peril and claustrophobia of a, mostly faceless, city crowd. The steep gangplank and diagonal composition accentuates the dynamism of the painting.

A brilliant colourist, Cossington Smith’s work of the early 1920s adopts a darker palette than the vivid colours she is usually associated with. Inspired by a visit to Sydney in 1920 by the tonalist painter and teacher Max Meldrum, her paintings became studies in tone, rather than colour, a practice she had abandoned by 1925.

Text from the Art Gallery of New South Wales website

 

Robert Klippel 'Boomerang' coffee table 1955

 

Robert Klippel (Australian, 1920-2001)
Boomerang coffee table
1955

 

 

“The Powerhouse Museum travelling exhibition Modern times: the untold story of modernism in Australia explores how modernism transformed Australian culture from 1917 to 1967, a period of great social, economic, political and technological change. From the ideals of abstraction and functionalism to the romance of high-rise cities, new leisure activities and the healthy body, modernism encapsulated the possibilities of the twentieth century. This exhibition is the first interdisciplinary survey of the impact of modernism in Australia, spanning art, design, architecture, advertising, photography, film and fashion.

Modern times is presented at Heide across all four of the Museum’s gallery spaces. It unfolds in thematic sections highlighting key stories about international exchange, the modern body, modernist ‘primitivism’, the city, modern pools, and the Space Age. Comprising over 300 objects and artworks, it showcases works by major artists including Sidney Nolan, Margaret Preston, Albert Tucker, Grace Cossington Smith, Max Dupain, Wolfgang Sievers, and Clement Meadmore, key architects Robin Boyd, Roy Grounds and Harry Seidler, and designers Fred Ward and Grant and Mary Featherston. An installation, Cannibal Tours, by Madrid-based Australian artist Narelle Jubelin is a contemporary adjunct to the exhibition.

Inspired by the futurist visions of various European avant-gardes, modernist ideas were often controversial and shaped by many competing positions. Modern times reveals how these ideas were circulated and took hold in Australia, via émigrés, expatriates, exhibitions, films and publications. Australian contact with significant international modernist sources, such as the Bauhaus school in Germany, occurred through figures such as influential artist and teacher Ludwig Hirschfeld-Mack, who taught Bauhaus principles at Geelong Grammar, and renowned architect Harry Seidler, who played a central role in shaping the modern city in Australia. Hirschfeld-Mack’s extraordinary film Colour Light Play of 1923 is shown for the first time in Australia, and Seidler’s 1948 studio, designed on his arrival from New York, has been re-created for the exhibition.

While modernism was international in character, an ‘Australian modernism’ was first championed in the 1920s by artist Margaret Preston, whose promotion of Aboriginal forms and motifs was important to the understanding of their artistic value. Preston’s designs, Len Lye’s stunning animation Tusalava (1929), Robert Klippel’s boomerang table (c. 1955) and other works show the development of a vernacular modernism.

Other highlights of Modern times include works from the visionary experiment in colour theory by Roy de Maistre and Roland Wakelin in 1919, a model of Robin Boyd’s innovative House of Tomorrow (1949), the iconic Featherston wing sound chairs from the Australian pavilion at the 1967 Montreal Expo, and a large wooden model for Jørn Utzon’s Sydney Opera House.”

Text from the Heide Museum of Art website [Online] Cited 06/06/2009 no longer available online

 

Athlete and movie-star Annette Kellerman's 'Modern Kellerman Bathing Suit for Women' which became commercially available by the mid-1920s. The one-piece bathing suit became Kellerman's trademark.

 

Athlete and movie-star Annette Kellerman’s Modern Kellerman Bathing Suit for Women which became commercially available by the mid-1920s. The one-piece bathing suit became Kellermans trademark
Gift of Dennis Wolanski Library, Sydney Opera House, 2000
Photo: Powerhouse Museum

 

'On hot summer days cool off with Tooth's KB Lager', advertising poster (about 1940).

 

On hot summer days cool off with Tooth’s KB Lager
About 1940
Advertising poster
Colour and process lithograph, artist name “Parker” in image lower right
100.4 x 75.4cm
Sydney Living Museums

 

Grant and Mary Featherston. 'Expo mark II sound chair' 1967

 

Grant Featherston (Australian, 1922-1995) and Mary Featherston (Australian, b. London 1943, migrated to Australia 1952)
Expo mark II sound chair
1967
Aristoc Industries
Polystyrene, polyurethane foam, Dunlopillo foam rubber, Pirelli webbing, fibreglass, hardwood, sound equipment, upholstery fabric
Powerhouse Collection

 

 

The Expo Mark II sound chair, adapted for the Australian domestic market after Expo 67 in Montreal.

A cloth-covered high back winged chair with a circular base. The chair has a circular orange cloth covered cushion in the base and an integral full-width headrest. Two 125mm diameter inserts are pressed into the top of the back of the chair where speakers are fitted inside it. There is a cylindrical knob on the side of the chair.

 

James Birrell. 'A modernist vision of Australia - The interior of the Australian Pavilion at Expo 67 in Montreal' 1967

 

National Archives of Australia
A modernist vision of Australia: Grant and Mary Featherston’s wing sound chairs were a feature of the Australian Pavilion, designed by architect James Maccormick with exhibits selected by Robin Boyd, at Expo 67 in Montreal, 1967
1967

 

 

In 1967 Australia participated in the International and Universal Exposition held in Montreal, Canada. Australia’s Expo ’67 theme was the ‘Spirit of Adventure’. In the 30,000 square feet glass-walled Australian Pavilion, developed by the Australian Government and designed by Robin Boyd, exhibits explored Australian science, arts, people and development. The pavilion was designed as a ‘haven’ of ‘space and tranquillity’ floating above an Australian bushland setting. Inside, 240 innovative sound chairs offered ‘foot-weary Expo visitors’ the chance to hear the voices of famous Australians describing the exhibits, in French as well as English. The Great Barrier Reef was re-created in a lagoon beneath the pavilion while wallabies and kangaroos could be viewed in a sunken enclosure.

Text from the National Museum of Australia website [Online] Cited 20/02/2019

 

James Birrell. 'View of the elevated restaurant, Centenary Pool, Brisbane' Nd

 

James Birrell (Australian, b. 1928)
View of the elevated restaurant, Centenary Pool, Brisbane
Nd
Powerhouse Museum

 

 

“A major exhibition opening for Sydney Design 08 in August, Modern times looks closely at the transformation of modern city life. The advent of cars, freeways, skyscrapers and new entertainment such as cinemas, milk bars, swimming pools, cafes and pubs are all legacies of modernism as revealed through the exhibition. The exhibition spans five decades from 1917 to 1967 – a tumultuous period marked by global wars, economic depression, a technological revolution and major social changes – out of which a modern cosmopolitan culture was shaped.

“The modernist movement was inspired by various European avant-gardes that projected visions of a better future, shaped by many competing positions. It was through émigrés, expatriates, exhibitions and publications that modernism become known in Australia,” Ann Stephen said. Encompassing art, design and architecture, Modern times focuses on seven themes: 1. the human body, image and health; 2. international influences and exchanges; 3. Indigenous art and modernism; 4. Interdisciplinary projects with retailers; 5. city landscapes and urban life; 6. public pools and milk bars; and 7. the space age.

Several great modern public pools were designed in Australia initially as part of an international swimming boom in the 1930s and boosted by the 1956 Melbourne Olympics. These will be shown on a large, immersive, panoramic audio visual screen celebrating the most Australian of past-times, being poolside. The earliest 1920s swimming costumes by silent film star Annette Kellerman, several decades of Australian icon ‘Speedo’ cossies and an early bikini will also be on display.

The much-loved corner milk bar from the 1930s will also be recreated in the exhibition for visitors to enter, complete with lolly jars, milkshakes and a juke box.

Other story highlights in the exhibition include Robin Boyd’s ‘House of Tomorrow’ that featured at the 1949 Modern Home Exhibition in Melbourne; and Boyd’s memorable Australian pavilion at the 1967 Montreal Expo that showcased Australian design including the iconic Featherston wing sound chairs and hostess uniforms designed by Zara Holt, wife of then prime minister Harold Holt.

Modernism also inspired new forms of public art and design like the abstract fountains by Tom Bass on Sydney’s former P&O building and Robert Woodward’s El Alamein Memorial Fountain, a popular tourist site in Sydney’s Kings Cross. Modernism shaped an exultant explosion of experiment as part of the Space Age informing such spectacular architectural feats as Roy Grounds’ dome for the Australian Academy of Science in Canberra and Jørn Utzon’s internationally-acclaimed Sydney Opera House, both featured in the exhibition.”

Text by Ruzan Haruriunyan, “Modern Times: Untold Story Of Modernism In Australia,” on the Huliq News website [Online] Cited 20/02/2019

 

Heide II

Heide II

 

Hedie II photographs by Rory Hyde. More photos of Heide are on his Flickr photoset

 

 

Heide II – commissioned by John and Sunday Reed 1963, designed 1964, constructed 1964-67

Designed by Melbourne architect David McGlashan of McGlashan Everist, it was intended as “a gallery to be lived in” and served as the Reeds’ residence between 1967 and 1980. The building is considered one of the best examples of modernist architecture in Victoria and awarded the Royal Institute of Architects (Victorian Chapter) Bronze Medal – the highest award for residential architecture in the State – in 1968. It is currently used to display works from the Heide Collection and on occasion projects by contemporary artists.

Text from the Wikipedia website

 

Max Dupain (Australian, 1911-1992) 'Australia Square Tower' 1968

 

Max Dupain (Australian, 1911-1992)
Australia Square: a keyhole to the future [Australia Square Tower]
1968
Gelatin silver print
49.9 × 39.2 cm
Courtesy of Max Dupain and Associates

 

Jeff Carter. 'At the Pasha Nightclub, Cooma' c.1957-59

 

Jeff Carter (Australian, 1928-2010)
At the Pasha Nightclub, Cooma
c. 1957-59
Gelatin silver print

 

 

Modern Times: The Untold Story of Modernism in Australia, edited by Ann Stephen, Philip Goad and Andrew McNamara, Powerhouse Publishing, 2008 (paperback).

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

Opening hours:
Tuesday – Sunday
Public holidays
10am – 5pm

Heide Museum of Art website

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07
May
09

Opening 3: ‘So It Goes’ exhibition by Laith McGregor at Helen Gory Galerie, Melbourne

Exhibition dates: 6th May – 23rd May 2009

 

Opening night crowd at 'So It Goes' by Laith McGregor at Helen Gorie Gallery, Melbourne

Opening night crowd at 'So It Goes' by Laith McGregor at Helen Gorie Gallery, Melbourne

 

Opening night crowd at So It Goes by Laith McGregor at Helen Gory Galerie, Melbourne with the works My kinda of Blue (red) and My kind of blue (black) behind

 

 

The opening of the night – simply spectacular!

Great crowd, great atmosphere, great work.

Winner of the Robert Jacks Drawing Prize in 2008, the artist’s work in biro and oil is outstanding. I have never seen such art made using a biro before: truly inspiring. Inventive, funny, poignant and outrageous this is a must see show. Don’t miss it!

Marcus

 

Laith McGregor. 'My kind of blue (black)' 2009

 

Laith McGregor (Australian, b. 1977)
My kind of blue (black)
2009
Ballpoint pen on paper

 

Laith McGregor. 'My kinda of Blue (red)' 2009 (detail)

 

Laith McGregor (Australian, b. 1977)
My kinda of Blue (red) (detail)
2009
Red and blue ballpoint on paper

 

Laith McGregor. 'Wiking' 2009

 

Laith McGregor (Australian, b. 1977)
Wiking
2009
Biro on paper
100.5 x 66.5 cm

 

Laith McGregor. 'Puppy dancing with cougar' 2009

 

Laith McGregor (Australian, b. 1977)
Puppy dancing with cougar
2009
Red and black ballpoint pen on paper
101.0 × 67.0 cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased, Victorian Foundation for Living Australian Artists, 2009
© Courtesy of the Artist and Station Gallery

 

 

“McGregor’s work blurs the boundaries between portraiture, memory and imagination. Into each picture, drawn from and nourished by his past, notions of the unconscious mind are introduced and investigated and the certainty of memory and markers are challenged and slowly unravelled. Figurative forms metamorphose into uncanny, exaggerated, and often incongruous images and arrangements. Beards are grossly elongated, hair extends seamlessly to form a tree or a cocoon that envelopes a face and a neck transforms into a weighted mound in ‘portraits’ that are at once warm, playful and pensive. ‘It’s important for me to see the imagery appear otherworldly, whimsical and strange. I want it to be amusing and serious simultaneously, for the work to push and pull between its contrasting qualities.’

In So It Goes it is his mother and father, who according to Laith ‘kinda looks like Jesus’, that are the subject of his gaze.”

Text from the Helen Gory Galerie website [Online] Cited 07/05/2009 no longer available online

 

Laith McGregor. 'Vertigo' 2009

 

Laith McGregor (Australian, b. 1977)
Vertigo
2009
Blue and black ballpoint on paper

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

Helen Gory Galerie

Helen Gory Galerie is now closed.

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08
Apr
09

Exhibition: ‘William Kentridge: Five Themes’ at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)

Exhibition dates: 14th March – 31st May 2009

Curator: Curator of Media Arts Rudolf Frieling and Mark Rosenthal, adjunct curator of contemporary art at the Norton Museum of Art

 

 

One of my favourite artists in the world. His technique – the palimpsestic nature of his practice where the history, memories and spaces of previous drawings are overwritten again and again on a single piece of paper without their ever being lost (unlike traditional animation techniques) – is amazing. His use of drawing, animation and the camera to record narratives of connection always has personal and archetypal themes – love, loss, bigotry, big business, persecution, reconciliation and social conflict in the stories of his homeland South Africa. His perspective on the world, his knowledge of books and philosophy, his understanding that stories exist as faint, legible remains completes the perception that he is an artist drawn to the line of the world. His work is moving and compassionate as all great art should be.

Marcus

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Many thankx to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art for allowing me to publish the art work in the posting.

 

 

William Kentridge. Drawing for the film Stereoscope [Felix Crying]' 1998–99

 

William Kentridge
Drawing for the film Stereoscope [Felix Crying]
1998-99

 

 

“Combining the political with the poetic, William Kentridge’s work has made an indelible mark on the contemporary art scene. Dealing with subjects as sobering as apartheid and colonialism, Kentridge often imbues his art with dreamy, lyrical undertones or comedic bits of self-deprecation, making his powerful messages both alluring and ambivalent. Perhaps best known for his stop-motion films of charcoal drawings, the internationally renowned South African artist also works in etching, collage, sculpture, and the performing arts, opera in particular. This exhibition explores five primary themes that have engaged Kentridge over the last three decades through a comprehensive selection of his work from the 1980s to the present. Concentrating on his most recent production and including many pieces that have not been seen in the United States, the exhibition reveals as never before the full arc of his distinguished career.”

Text from the SFMOMA website [Online] Cited 01/04/2009 (no longer available online)

 

 

William Kentridge
“Invisible Mending” from 7 Fragments for Georges Méliès
2003
35-mm and 16-mm animation film

 

 

William Kentridge: Five Themes, a comprehensive survey of the contemporary South African artist’s work, will premiere at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) on March 14, 2009. Featuring more than 75 works in a range of media – including animated films, drawings, prints, theater models, sculptures, and books – the exhibition is co-organised by SFMOMA and the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, Florida. The San Francisco presentation, overseen by SFMOMA Curator of Media Arts Rudolf Frieling, will be on view through May 31, 2009.

Curated by Mark Rosenthal, adjunct curator of contemporary art at the Norton Museum of Art, in close collaboration with the artist, the exhibition explores five primary themes that have engaged Kentridge over the past three decades. Although the exhibition highlights projects completed since 2000 (many of which have not been seen in the United States), it will also present, for the first time, Kentridge’s most recent work alongside his earlier projects from the 1980s and 1990s – revealing as never before the full arc of his distinguished career.

Following its debut at SFMOMA, the survey will travel to the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, the Norton Museum of Art, and The Museum of Modern Art in New York. Plans for the European tour – which will tentatively include Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume in Paris, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, the Albertina Museum in Vienna, and the Israel Museum in Jerusalem – are being finalized. Accompanying the exhibition is a richly illustrated catalogue, complete with a DVD produced by the artist for this special occasion. The San Francisco presentation of William Kentridge: Five Themes is made possible by the generous support of the Koret Foundation and Doris and Donald Fisher.

William Kentridge is one of today’s most influential artists, and with this exhibition, SFMOMA continues its commitment to bringing such groundbreaking artists as Olafur Eliasson, Richard Tuttle, and Jeff Wall to local and international audiences,” says SFMOMA Director Neal Benezra, who co-curated the last major retrospective of the artist’s work in the United States in 2001. “Although Kentridge is primarily recognised for his animated films, he has devoted most of his time to making works on paper. The drawn line is completely inseparable from his work in other media, informing everything he creates. His transformation of drawing into animated film reflects his deep interest in how content evolves from process, how meaning accrues through making.”

Exhibition curator Rosenthal adds, “Even as Kentridge has established his reputation as a master draftsman, printmaker, and one of the preeminent artist–filmmakers of our time, he has also expanded the traditional notion of political art, evolving the genre from a conventional depiction of horrors to a more nuanced portrayal of the psychological effects of political events upon those who observe them, whether they be perpetrators, victims, or onlookers.”

Born in 1955 in Johannesburg, where he continues to live and work, Kentridge has earned international acclaim for his interdisciplinary practice, which often fuses drawing, film, and theater. Known for engaging with the social landscape and political background of his native South Africa, he has produced a searing body of work that explores themes of colonial oppression and social conflict, loss and reconciliation, and the ephemeral nature of both personal and cultural memory.

Kentridge first gained recognition in 1997, when his work was included in Documenta X in Kassel, Germany, and in the Johannesburg and Havana Biennials, which were followed by prominent solo exhibitions internationally. His art was widely introduced to American audiences in 2001 through a traveling retrospective – co-curated by Neal Benezra when he served as deputy director of the Art Institute of Chicago – which primarily included works made before 2000. William Kentridge: Five Themes brings viewers up to date on the artist’s work over the past decade, exploring how his subject matter has evolved from the specific context of South Africa to more universal stories. In recent years, Kentridge has dramatically expanded both the scope of his projects (such as recent full-scale opera productions) and their thematic concerns, which now include his own studio practice, colonialism in Namibia and Ethiopia, and the cultural history of post-revolutionary Russia. His newer work is based on an intensive exploration of themes connected to his own life experience, as well as the political and social issues that most concern him.

Although his hand-drawn animations are often described as films, Kentridge himself prefers to call them “drawings for projection.” He makes them using a distinctive technique in which he painstakingly creates, erases, and reworks charcoal drawings that are photographed and projected as moving image. Movement is generated within the image, by the artist’s hand; the camera serves merely to record its progression. As such, the animations explore a tension between material object and time-based performance, uniquely capturing the artist’s working process while telling poignant and politically urgent stories.

Concerning the artist’s innovative film installations of the past ten years, Rudolf Frieling adds: “Kentridge has been considered primarily as an artist who draws for projections. Yet his recent installation-based films explore an expanded cinema space and question the very foundation of what it means to produce and perceive a moving image.”

In light of SFMOMA’s history with Kentridge – in 2004 the museum acquired the artist’s landmark film Tide Table (2003) and a set of related drawings – and the rich holdings of his work in private Bay Area collections, the occasion to present the first major exhibition of his work in San Francisco has particular resonance and reflects the museum’s ongoing commitment to his art. In conjunction with the exhibition, SFMOMA will bring the artist’s multimedia opera The Return of Ulysses to San Francisco for performances at Project Artaud Theater from March 25 through 29, 2009. Kentridge will also present his lecture-format solo performance I am not me, the horse is not mine at SFMOMA on March 14, 2009.

 

The Five Themes

“Parcours d’Atelier: Artist in the Studio” 

The first section of the exhibition examines a crucial turning point in Kentridge’s work, one in which his own art practice became a subject. According to the artist, many of these projects are meant to reflect the “invisible work that must be done” before beginning a drawing, film, or sculpture. This theme is epitomised by the large-scale multiscreen projection 7 Fragments for Georges Méliès (2003), an homage to the early French film director, who, like Kentridge, often combined performance with drawing. The suite of seven films – each depicting Kentridge at work in his studio or interacting with his creations – has only been shown once before in the United States and will be accompanied by a rarely seen group of related drawings, forming an intimate portrayal of the artist’s process.

 

“Thick Time: Soho and Felix” 

A second section of the exhibition is dedicated to Kentridge’s best-known fictional characters, Soho Eckstein, a domineering industrialist and real estate developer whose troubled conscience reflects certain miens of contemporary South Africa, and his sensitive alter ego, Felix Teitlebaum, who pines for Soho’s wife and often functions as a surrogate for the artist himself. The centrepiece of this section, an ongoing work entitled 9 Drawings for Projection, comprises nine short animated films: Johannesburg, 2nd Greatest City after Paris (1989), Monument (1990), Sobriety, Obesity & Growing Old (1991), Mine (1991), Felix in Exile (1994), History of the Main Complaint (1996), WEIGHING . . . and WANTING (1998), Stereoscope (1999), and Tide Table (2003). These projections, along with a key selection of related drawings, follow the lives of Soho and Felix as they struggle to navigate the political and social climate of Johannesburg during the final decade of apartheid. According to Kentridge, the Soho and Felix films were made without a script or storyboards and are largely about his own process of discovery.

 

“Occasional and Residual Hope: Ubu and the Procession” 

In 1975 Kentridge acted in Ubu Rex (an adaptation of Ubu Roi, Alfred Jarry’s satire about a corrupt and cowardly despot), and he subsequently devoted a large body of work to the play. He began with a series of eight etchings, collectively entitled Ubu Tells the Truth (1996), and in 1997 made an animated film of the same name, as well as a number of related drawings. These works also deal with the South African experience, specifically addressing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings set up by the nation’s government in 1995 to investigate human rights abuses during apartheid. Other highlights in this grouping include the film Shadow Procession (1999), in which Kentridge first utilises techniques of shadow theatre and jointed-paper figures; the multi-panel collage Portage (2000); a large charcoal-and-pastel-on-paper work entitled Arc Procession (Smoke, Ashes, Fable) (1990); and some of the artist’s rough-hewn bronze sculptures.

 

William Kentridge. 'Act IV Scene I from Ubu Tells the Truth' 1996-97

 

William Kentridge
Act IV Scene I from Ubu Tells the Truth
1996-97

 

 

“Sarastro and the Master’s Voice: The Magic Flute” 

A selection of Kentridge’s drawings, films, and theatre models inspired by his 2005 production of the Mozart opera The Magic Flute for La Monnaie, the leading opera house in Belgium, will be a highlight of the exhibition. The artist’s video projection Learning the Flute (2003), which started the Flute project, shifts between images of black charcoal drawings on white paper and white chalk drawings projected onto a blackboard, forming a meditation on darkness and light. Preparing the Flute (2005) was created as a large-scale maquette within which to test projections central to the production of the opera. Another theatre model, Black Box/Chambre Noire (2006), which has never been seen in the United States, addresses the opera’s themes, specifically through an examination of the colonial war of 1904 in German South-West Africa, and of the genocide of the Herero people. What Will Come (has already come) (2007), a consideration of colonialism in Ethiopia, presents an anamorphic film installation in which intentionally distorted images projected onto a tabletop right themselves only when reflected in a cylindrical mirror. This work was recently acquired, under the guidance of Rosenthal, by the Norton Museum of Art.

 

“Learning from the Absurd: The Nose” 

The fifth section comprises a multichannel projection made in preparation for Kentridge’s forthcoming staging of The Nose, a Metropolitan Opera production that will premiere in New York in March 2010. The Nose – a 1930 Dmitri Shostakovich opera based on Nikolai Gogol’s absurdist short story of 1836 – concerns a Russian official whose nose disappears from his face, only to turn up, in uniform, as a higher-ranking official moving in more respected circles. Kentridge’s related work, I am not me, the horse is not mine (2008), on view in the United States for the first time, is a room-size installation of projected films that use Gogol’s story as the basis for examining Russian modernism and the suppression of the Russian avant-garde in the 1920s and 1930s.

 

Related Performances 

Acknowledging the profound importance of theatrical work in Kentridge’s oeuvre, SFMOMA will bring the artist’s opera The Return of Ulysses to San Francisco in conjunction with the exhibition. First performed in Brussels in 1998, Kentridge’s acclaimed reinterpretation of Claudio Monteverdi’s classic 1640 opera (based on Homer’s epic poem) is transposed to a mid-20th-century Johannesburg setting. This limited-engagement performance features live actors and musicians, as well as 13 life-size, artisan-crafted wooden puppets and projections of Kentridge’s animated charcoal drawings. The Return of Ulysses will run at Project Artaud Theater from Tuesday, March 24, through Saturday, March 28 (preview March 24, opening March 25), and is a production of Pacific Operaworks, in Seattle, incorporating puppeteers from Kentridge’s longtime collaborator, the Handspring Puppet Company of Cape Town, in South Africa.

In a special opening-night event on March 14, Kentridge will present a lecture-format solo performance of I am not me, the horse is not mine, which premiered at the 16th Biennale of Sydney in June 2008 (and shares the same title of the related multichannel projection making its U.S. debut with the exhibition). This live performance focuses on the development process of Kentridge’s upcoming opera production, The Nose.

 

Definitive Publication with Companion DVD

To coincide with the exhibition, SFMOMA and the Norton Museum of Art, in association with Yale University Press, will publish a richly illustrated catalogue (hardcover, $50). In the catalogue’s principal essay, exhibition curator Mark Rosenthal presents a portrait of the artist, showing the interrelationship between aspects of Kentridge’s character and the protagonists that populate his work. Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, chief curator at the Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art, examines the artist’s themes and iconography in closer detail, addressing Kentridge’s working methods as he moves freely between disciplines. Rudolf Frieling demonstrates that although Kentridge is not typically discussed as an installation artist, there are compelling reasons to consider him as such. Cornelia H. Butler, Judith B. Hecker, and Klaus Biesenbach, curators at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, explore the subject of performance in Kentridge’s work. Finally, a conversation between Kentridge and Michael Auping, chief curator at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, focuses on the artist’s drawing practice. In addition, the artist has written texts to introduce each of the book’s five plate sections.

For the first time, Kentridge will produce a DVD for distribution with the publication, making the catalogue unique among existing literature on the artist. Combining intimate studio footage of the artist at work with fragments from significant film projects, the DVD offers a fascinating look at how Kentridge’s ideas evolve from raw concept to finished work.

Press release from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

 

 

William Kentdridge
Johannesburg
1989

 

William Kentridge. 'Felix in Exile' 1994

 

William Kentdridge
Drawing for the projection Felix in Exile
1994

 

 

William Kentdridge
Felix in Exile
1994

 

More videos of William Kentridge’s work are available on You Tube

 

 

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SFMOMA website

William Kentridge on Wikipedia

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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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