Posts Tagged ‘industrial baroque

07
Feb
12

Exhibition: ‘Bernd and Hilla Becher: Mines and Mills – Industrial Landscapes’ at Fotomuseum Winterthur, Zurich

Exhibition dates: 26th November 2011 – 12th February 2012

 

Bernd and Hilla Becher.
 'Grube San Fernando, Herdorf, D' 1961

 

Bernd and Hilla Becher
Grube San Fernando, Herdorf, D
1961
Gelatin-silver print
50 x 60 cm
© Bernd and Hilla Becher / Courtesy of Schirmer/Mosel

 

 

“The pictures were stripped of any artistic frills and reduced to an essentially topographic state, conveying substantial amounts of visual information but eschewing entirely the aspects of beauty, emotion and opinion.”

.
William Jenkins, Curator of the ‘New Topographics’ exhibition, 1975

“The Ruhr Valley, where Becher’s family had worked in the steel and mining industries, was their initial focus. They were fascinated by the similar shapes in which certain buildings were designed. In addition, they were intrigued by the fact that so many of these industrial buildings seemed to have been built with a great deal of attention toward design. Together, the Bechers went out with a large 8 x 10-inch view camera and photographed these buildings from a number of different angles, but always with a straightforward “objective” point of view. They shot only on overcast days, so as to avoid shadows, and early in the morning during the seasons of spring and fall. Objects included barns, water towers, oal tipples, cooling towers, grain elevators, coal bunkers, coke ovens, oil refineries, blast furnaces, gas tanks, storage silos, and warehouses. At each site the Bechers also created overall landscape views of the entire plant, which set the structures in their context and show how they relate to each other.”

.
Wikipedia entry for Bernd and Hilla Becher

“The German artists Bernd and Hilla Becher, who began working together in 1959 and married in 1961, are best known for their “typologies” – grids of black-and-white photographs of variant examples of a single type of industrial structure. To create these works, the artists traveled to large mines and steel mills, and systematically photographed the major structures, such as the winding towers that haul coal and iron ore to the surface and the blast furnaces that transform the ore into metal. The rigorous frontality of the individual images gives them the simplicity of diagrams, while their density of detail offers encyclopedic richness. At each site the Bechers also created overall landscape views of the entire plant, which set the structures in their context and show how they relate to each other. The typologies emulate the clarity of an engineer’s drawing, while the landscapes evoke the experience of a particular place.”

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Peter Galassi, Chief Curator of Photography, MOMA

 

 

Let’s not beat around the bush. Despite protestations to the contrary (appeals to the objectivity of the image, eschewing entirely the aspects of beauty, emotion and opinion; the rigorous frontality of the individual images giving them the simplicity of diagrams, while their density of detail offers encyclopaedic richness) these are subjective images for all their objective desire. The paradox is the more a photographer strives for objectivity, the more ego drops away, the more the work becomes their own: subjective, beautiful, emotive.

Even though the Bechers’ demonstrate great photographic restraint with regard to documenting the object, the documentary gaze is always corrupted / mutated / distorted by personal interpretation: where to position the camera, what to include or exclude, how to interpret the context of place, how to crop or print the image, and how to display the image, in grids, sequences or singularly. In other words there are always multiple (con)texts to which artists conform or transgress. What makes great photographers, such as Eugène Atget, Walker Evans, August Sander and the Bechers, is the idiosyncratic “nature” of their vision: how Atget places his large view camera – at that particular height and angle to the subject – leaves an indelible feeling that only he could have made that image, to reveal the magic of that space in a photograph. It is their personal, unique thumbprint, recognisable in an instant. So it is with the Bechers.

These are intimate images, a personal reaction to space and place, to being. They make my heart ache for their stillness and ethereal beauty. Bravo!

Dr Marcus Bunyan

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

 

 

Bernd and Hilla. 'Becher 
Zeche Germania, Dortmund, D' 1971


 

Bernd and Hilla Becher

Zeche Germania, Dortmund, D
1971
Gelatin-silver print
50 x 60 cm
© Bernd and Hilla Becher / Courtesy of Schirmer/Mosel

 

 

For more than forty years, the photographer couple Bernd (1931-2007) and Hilla Becher (*1934) worked on creating an inventory of industrial architecture. Warehouses, shaft towers, gas tanks, blast furnaces as well as half-timbered houses are among the subjects they photographed throughout Germany, England, France, Central Europe, and the USA. Calling these buildings “anonymous sculptures,” they refer to the artistic quality of the constructions, which played no role for the buildings’ largely unknown builders and users. Their photographs attempt to draw attention to these hidden sculptural qualities and to document them historically as a building tradition in decline.

Bernd and Hilla Becher have always held particular interest for the industrial architecture in the Ruhr region. The exhibition Mines and Mills – Industrial Landscapes systematically examines this aspect of their work for the first time. Even today, names such as the Concordia and Hannibal collieries or Gutehoffnungshütte stand for the industrial history of the Ruhr region. Instead of concentrating on individual buildings, the exhibition approaches the mining facilities (where coal was produced for the smelting works) as a whole and in the context of their urban or natural surroundings. This typology, which the Bechers described as “industrial landscape,” compares the Ruhr region with similar complexes elsewhere in Europe and the USA.

As with their typological multiple and serial views of buildings, Bernd and Hilla Becher strive for a comparative perspective in their industrial landscapes. Demonstrating great photographic restraint in their approach and in the name of a “New Objectivity” dedicated solely to the object, they stand in a long tradition of proponents of the documentary gaze that includes Eugène Atget, Karl Blossfeldt, Walker Evans, Albert Renger-Patzsch and August Sander. Their influence on the history of photography extends from the establishment of the “Dusseldorf School” into the present.

“The main aim of our work is to show that the forms of our time are technical forms, although they did not develop from formal considerations. Just as medieval thought is manifested in the gothic cathedral, our era is revealed in technical buildings and apparatuses,” Bernd and Hilla Becher stated in a conversation from 2005.

The industrial landscapes can be read from historical and social perspectives, to an even greater extent than the familiar photographs of simple building typologies. Next to the monumental, industrial buildings one often sees residential constructions, gardens, and allotment gardens, which convey how intertwined the organisation of life and work was at the time and how deeply rooted people were in this city-like structure. Photographed at waist-height, the broad, open views of the horizontally composed photographs have an aesthetic that is almost atypical of the Bechers. However, the images adhere systematically to the archival thinking of the artist couple.

Press release from the Fotomuseum Winterthur, Zurich website

 

Bernd and Hilla Becher. 'Gutehoffnungshütte, Oberhausen, D' 1963


 

Bernd and Hilla Becher
Gutehoffnungshütte, Oberhausen, D
1963
Gelatin-silver print
50 x 60 cm
© Bernd and Hilla Becher / Courtesy of Schirmer/Mosel

 

Bernd and Hilla Becher.
 'Charleroi-Montignies, B' 1971

 

Bernd and Hilla Becher
Charleroi-Montignies, B
1971
Gelatin-silver print
50 x 60 cm
© Bernd and Hilla Becher / Courtesy of Schirmer/Mosel

 

Bernd and Hilla Becher. 'Duisburg-Huckingen, D' 1970

 

Bernd and Hilla Becher
Duisburg-Huckingen, D
1970
Gelatin-silver print
50 x 60 cm
© Bernd and Hilla Becher / Courtesy of Schirmer/Mosel

 

Bernd und Hilla Becher. 'Zeche Concordia, Oberhausen, D' 1967

 

Bernd und Hilla Becher
Zeche Concordia, Oberhausen, D
1967
Gelatin-silver print
50 x 60 cm
© Bernd und Hilla Becher – Courtesy of Schirmer/Mosel

 

Bernd und Hilla Becher. 'Ensley, Alabama, USA' 1982

 

Bernd und Hilla Becher
Ensley, Alabama, USA
1982
Gelatin-silver print
50 x 60 cm
© Bernd und Hilla Becher – Courtesy of Schirmer/Mosel

 

Bernd und Hilla Becher. 'Hannover Mine 1/2/5, Bochum-Hordel, Ruhr Region, Germany' 1973

 

Bernd und Hilla Becher
Hannover Mine 1/2/5, Bochum-Hordel, Ruhr Region, Germany
1973
Gelatin-silver print
50 x 60 cm
© Bernd und Hilla Becher – Courtesy of Schirmer/Mosel

 

Bernd and Hilla Becher. 'Duisburg-Bruckhausen' 1999

 

Bernd and Hilla Becher
Duisburg-Bruckhausen
1999
Gelatin-silver print
50 x 60 cm
© Bernd und Hilla Becher / Courtesy of Schirmer/Mosel

 

 

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

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

Fotomuseum Winterthur website

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01
Mar
09

The wonderful world of artist Dale Chihuly

March 2009

 

Visit the Dale Chihuly website and click on the installation link to see a truly remarkable artist at work!

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

Marcus

 

 

Dale Chihuly. 'Palazzo Ducale Chandelier' 1998

 

Dale Chihuly
Palazzo Ducale Chandelier
1998

 

 

“Dale Chihuly is most frequently lauded for revolutionising the Studio Glass movement by expanding its original premise of the solitary artist working in a studio environment to encompass the notion of collaborative teams and a division of labor within the creative process.  However, Chihuly’s contribution extends well beyond the boundaries both of this movement and even the field of glass: his achievements have influenced contemporary art in general. Chihuly’s practice of using teams has led to the development of complex, multipart sculptures of dramatic beauty that place him in the leadership role of moving blown glass out of the confines of the small, precious object and into the realm of large-scale contemporary sculpture. In fact, Chihuly deserves credit for establishing the blown glass form as an accepted vehicle for installation and environmental art beginning in the late twentieth century and continuing today.

Stylistically over the past forty years, Chihuly’s sculptures in glass have explored colour, line, and assemblage. Although his work ranges from the single vessel to indoor/outdoor site-specific installations, he is best known for his multipart blown compositions. These works fall into the categories of mini-environments designed for the tabletop as well as large, often serialized forms that are innovatively displayed in groupings on a wide variety of surfaces ranging from pedestals to bodies of natural water. Masses of these blown forms also have been affixed to specially engineered structures that dominate large exterior or interior spaces.

Over the years Chihuly and his teams have created a wide vocabulary of blown forms, revisiting and refining earlier shapes while at the same time creating exciting new elements, such as his Fiori, all of which demonstrate mastery and understanding of glassblowing techniques.  Earlier forms, such as the Baskets, Seaforms, Ikebana, Venetians, and Chandeliers, from the late 1970s through the 1990s have been augmented since the early to mid-1990s with new blown elements. Chihuly and his teams primarily developed these while working in glass factories in France, Finland, Ireland, and Mexico. The resulting Reeds, Saguaros, Herons, Belugas, Seal Pups, and other forms are now juxtaposed with the earlier series, including Macchia, Niijima Floats, and Persians in lively new contexts.

“Since the early 1980s, all of Chihuly’s work has been marked by intense, vibrant colour and by subtle linear decoration. At first he achieved patterns by fusing into the surface of his vessels “drawings” composed of prearranged glass threads; he then had his forms blown in optic molds, which created ribbed motifs. He also explored in the Macchia series bold, colorful lip wraps that contrasted sharply with the brilliant colours of his vessels. Finally, beginning with the Venetians of the early 1990s, elongated, linear blown forms, a product of the glassblowing process, have become part of his vocabulary, resulting in highly baroque, writhing elements. In recent years Chihuly has experimented with Polyvitro to create new interpretations of some of his glass forms.”

Davira S. Taragin on the Dale Chihuly website

 

Dale Chihuly. 'Chiostro di Sant'apollonia Chandelier' 1996

 

Dale Chihuly
Chiostro di Sant’apollonia Chandelier
1996

 

Dale Chihuly. 'Chiostro di Sant'apollonia Chandelier' (detail) 1996

 

Dale Chihuly
The artist with his Chiostro di Sant’apollonia Chandelier (detail)
1996

 

Dale Chihuly. 'Colorado Springs Fountain' installation 2005

 

Dale Chihuly
Colorado Springs Fountain
installation 2005

 

Dale Chihuly. 'Basket Forest' 2005

 

Dale Chihuly
Basket Forest
2005

 

Dale Chihuly. 'Macchia Forest' 2004

 

Dale Chihuly
Macchia Forest
2004

 

Dale Chihuly. 'Ponti Duodo e Barbarigo Chandelier' 1998

 

Dale Chihuly
Ponti Duodo e Barbarigo Chandelier
1998

 

Dale Chihuly. 'Saffron Tower' 2008

 

Dale Chihuly
Saffron Tower
2008

 

Dale Chihuly. 'Saffron Tower' 2008

 

Dale Chihuly
Saffron Tower
2008

 

 

Dale Chihuly website

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23
Nov
08

Opening: Helen Britton ‘The things I see’ at Gallery Funaki, Melbourne

Exhibition dates: 11th November – 6th December 2008

Opening: Tuesday 11th November 2008

 

 

Helen Britton

 

Helen Britton
2008

 

 

Moving through Melbourne’s busy laneways from the Oleh Witer exhibition we arrive at the intimate, stylish Gallery Funaki to view the work of Australian artist Helen Britton who works with the form of contemporary jewellery. The crowd spilled onto the street and the small space was busy with an interesting crowd in attendance.

The exhibition presents brooches, earrings, rings and necklaces built with the artists trademark assemblages. Whilst the necklaces are more prosaic (movie like reels and slinks of melted plastic restrained within metal banding) it is the brooches that capture and hold the viewer’s attention. Sci-fi like grided circles collide with concave discs filled with glistening blue crystals; thrusters and steel from a miniature collapsed lunar landing vehicle vie with clusters of vibrant colours that appear to be imbedded into a lunar landscape: delicate crimped and folded metal landscapes with the appearance of collapsed geometric origami.

These are wonderfully inventive constructions, invigorating for their energy and exuberance. Britton has described her work as “industrial baroque”. Perhaps an equally pertinent description would be spatial, or ‘space baroque’ as the artist investigates the nexus, the cellular biology of matter, reality and the spaces we inhabit.

Marcus Bunyan

 

Helen Britton

 

Helen Britton
2008

 

 

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

Opening hours:
Tues – Friday, 11 – 5pm
Sat 11 – 4pm

Gallery Funaki website

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Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His art work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes Art Blart, a photographic archive and form of cultural memory, which posts mainly photography exhibitions from around the world. He holds a Dr of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne, a Master of Arts (Fine Art Photography) from RMIT University, and a Master of Art Curatorship from the University of Melbourne.

Marcus Bunyan black and white archive: ‘Sleep/Wound’ 1995-96


Marcus Bunyan black and white archive: 'Sleep/Wound' 1995-96 *PLEASE NOTE THIS POSTING CONTAINS PHOTOGRAPHS OF MALE NUDITY - IF YOU DO NOT LIKE PLEASE DO NOT LOOK, FAIR WARNING HAS BEEN GIVEN*

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