Posts Tagged ‘simulation

11
Mar
13

Exhibition: ‘Thomas Demand’ at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

Exhibition dates: 30th November 2012 – 17th March 2013

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Sitting here in my non-airconditioned flat trying to survive Melbourne’s autumn heatwave is no fun; my mind has turned to mush. So instead of trying to write an in depth review of this exhibition I shall just make some salient comments, for fear my sweat would literally buckle Demand’s meticulously constructed paper models before he could photograph them.

Demand is firstly a sculpture, constructing studio-sized models of photographs that reference “source material in the archive that already has some fateful resonance,” (Robert Nelson, The Age, 12th December 2012) such as the control room of the Fukushima nuclear reactor, the Geneva hotel bath tub where the German politician Uwe Barschel found a brutal death – personally my mind went to David E. Scherman’s photograph of Lee Miller in Hitler’s bathtub (see below); scenes of nature such as Clearing (2003, below) or Grotto (2006, below) that are hyperreal simulacra of natural phenomena; and modular environments and objects, such as Copyshop (1999), Space Simulator (2003) and Bullion (2003, all below) that strip away the relational intimacy between man and environment by the removal of all labelling and tactility of surface. Demand then photographs his denuded “models” before destroying them, the photograph then becoming the soul evidence of their intrinsic existence (much like the documentary evidence of photographs of Land Art). Demand’s visualisation of the environment is triple coded (photograph, model, photograph), a hybrid tri-articulation that produces new identities that release energies of multiplicity, irony and destabilisation.

Robert Nelson observes in The Age that Demand’s world is paper thin and because the eye detects the forgery, “the famous icon of unthinkable fortune [Bullion] – which might have played a part in some famous heist or the security of a national economy – is also a lie, a tinsel falsehood of no substance… All of Demand’s pictures have an empty or hollow character, which defies the earnest weight of their associations.” Dan Rule insightfully notes that, “By removing the image’s reference or index, only to so painstakingly recast it, he [Demand] begs us to look and look again. These resolutely “unreal” images demand that we consider reality with much greater care.” (Dan Rule, The Age, 19th January 2013). Christopher Allen in The Weekend Australian (2nd March, 2013) states that Demand’s huge final prints, hidden under a layer of Perspex, “adds another level of truth and illusion that preoccupies Demand as it must any serious photographer today. In this case, the photographs can claim to be, for what this is worth, absolutely and literally true in their recording of their subject; it is only the subject itself that is entirely illusory and fabricated.”

Interesting comments all. Demand’s recasting of the relationship between image and referent (image and the object being photographed) is critical to his practice, but I am unsure that all photographers have to be preoccupied with the relationship between truth and illusion as Allen states. As my recent review of the exhibition Confounding: Contemporary Photography noted not all photographs have to confound the relationship between truth and illusion in order to be art. “Collectively, it is the ideas contained within the images in this exhibition that unsettle the relationship between the photograph and the world in the mind of the viewer, not their confounding.” As in the Jeff Wall Photographs exhibition, there is not much emotion in any of these images and perhaps this is an outcome of the long pre-photographic production process.

Demand’s recordings, re-orderings of a constructed reality are fabrications of the highest calibre, amazing to witness at first hand (is that really a model, how does he do that with paper and lighting?!), and yet one is left with a feeling that the work needed something more to go beyond this illusion, some layering that takes the viewer beyond the surface of the image, beyond the understanding of image / model / reality. I look at the photographs, I understand the skill, the imbrication of the process – I think that is the word I want, meaning the covering with a design in which one element covers a part of another – the looking again at a fabricated (our!) reality but the photographs still leave me a little cold of heart, of empty and hollow character. Perhaps that is the point, however it doesn’t make me want to look at the photographs over weeks, months and years and let them reveal themselves to me. Like the paper on which they are printed they are paper thin, one model wonders.

Dr Marcus Bunyan for the Art Blart blog

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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.

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Thomas Demand German 1964- 'Copyshop' 1999

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Thomas Demand German 1964-
Copyshop
1999
C-Print / Perspex
183.5 × 300.0 cm
Collection of John Kaldor, Sydney
Courtesy Taka Ishii Gallery, Sprüth Magers Berlin London, Esther Schipper, Berlin, Matthew Marks Gallery
© Thomas Demand, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn / VISCOPY, Sydney

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Thomas Demand German 1964- 'Kontrollraum / Control Room' 2011

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Thomas Demand German 1964-
Kontrollraum / Control Room
2011
C-Print / Perspex
200.0 × 300.0 cm
Courtesy Taka Ishii Gallery, Sprüth Magers Berlin London, Esther Schipper, Berlin, Matthew Marks Gallery
© Thomas Demand, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn / VISCOPY, Sydney

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Thomas Demand German 1964- 'Labor / Laboratory' 2000

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Thomas Demand German 1964-
Labor / Laboratory
2000
C-Print / Perspex
180.0 × 268.0 cm
Courtesy Taka Ishii Gallery, Sprüth Magers Berlin London, Esther Schipper, Berlin, Matthew Marks Gallery
© Thomas Demand, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn / VISCOPY, Sydney

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Thomas Demand German 1964- 'Space Simulator' 2003

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Thomas Demand German 1964-
Space Simulator
2003
C-Print / Perspex
300.0 × 429.4 cm
Courtesy Taka Ishii Gallery, Sprüth Magers Berlin London, Esther Schipper, Berlin, Matthew Marks Gallery
© Thomas Demand, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn / VISCOPY, Sydney

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Thomas Demand German 1964- 'Regen / Rain' (still) 2008

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Thomas Demand German 1964-
Regen / Rain (still)
2008
35 mm colour film, sound, 4 min, looped
Courtesy Taka Ishii Gallery, Sprüth Magers Berlin London, Esther Schipper, Berlin, Matthew Marks Gallery
© Thomas Demand, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn / VISCOPY, Sydney

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Thomas Demand German 1964- 'Lichtung / Clearing' 2003

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Thomas Demand German 1964-
Lichtung / Clearing
2003
C-Print / Perspex
192.0 × 495.0 cm
Courtesy Taka Ishii Gallery, Sprüth Magers Berlin London, Esther Schipper, Berlin, Matthew Marks Gallery
© Thomas Demand, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn / VISCOPY, Sydney

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Thomas Demand German 1964- 'Grotte / Grotto' (detail) 2006

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Thomas Demand German 1964-
Grotte / Grotto (detail)
2006
C-Print / Perspex
Photograph: Marcus Bunyan

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Thomas Demand German 1964- 'Bullion' 2003

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Thomas Demand German 1964-
Bullion
2003
C-Print / Perspex
42.0 × 60.0 cm
Courtesy Taka Ishii Gallery, Sprüth Magers Berlin London, Esther Schipper, Berlin, Matthew Marks Gallery
© Thomas Demand, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn / VISCOPY, Sydney

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David E. Scherman. 'Lee Miller in Hitler's bath, Hitler's apartment, Munich, Germany 1945' 1945

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David E. Scherman
Lee Miller in Hitler’s bath, Hitler’s apartment, Munich, Germany 1945
1945
From Lee Miller: A Life by Carolyn Burke
© Lee Miller Archives

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Thomas Demand German 1964- 'Badezimmer / Bathroom' 1997

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Thomas Demand German 1964-
Badezimmer / Bathroom
1997
C-Print / Perspex
160.0 × 122.0 cm
Courtesy Taka Ishii Gallery, Sprüth Magers Berlin London, Esther Schipper, Berlin, Matthew Marks Gallery
© Thomas Demand, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn / VISCOPY, Sydney

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Thomas Demand German 1964- 'Tribute' 2011

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Thomas Demand German 1964-
Tribute
2011
C-Print / Perspex
166.0 × 125.0 cm
Courtesy Taka Ishii Gallery, Sprüth Magers Berlin London, Esther Schipper, Berlin, Matthew Marks Gallery
© Thomas Demand, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn / VISCOPY, Sydney

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180 St Kilda Road

Opening hours
10am – 5pm. Closed Tuesdays.

National Gallery of Victoria website

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11
Dec
12

Exhibition: ‘Janina Green: Ikea’ at Edmund Pearce Gallery, Melbourne

Exhibition dates: 28th November 28 – 15th December 2012

 

Installation photograph of 'Ikea' by Janina Green at Edmund Pearce Gallery, Melbourne

 

Installation photograph of Ikea by Janina Green at Edmund Pearce Gallery, Melbourne

 

 

“It is necessary to revisit what Walter Benjamin said of the work of art in the age of its mechanical reproducibility. What is lost in the work that is serially reproduced, is its aura, its singular quality of the here and now, its aesthetic form (it had already lost its ritual form, in its aesthetic quality), and, according to Benjamin, it takes on, in its ineluctable destiny of reproduction, a political form. What is lost is the original, which only a history itself nostalgic and retrospective can reconstitute as “authentic.” The most advanced, the most modern form of this development, which Benjamin described in cinema, photography, and contemporary mass media, is one in which the original no longer even exists, since things are conceived from the beginning as a function of their unlimited reproduction.”

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Jean Baudrillard. ‘Simulacra and Simulation’. 1981 (English translation 1994)

 

“To apprehend myself as seen is, in fact, to apprehend myself as seen in the world and from the standpoint of the world. The look does not carve me out in the universe; it comes to search for me at the heart of my situation and grasps me only in irresolvable relations with instruments. If I am seen as seated, I must be seen as “seated-on-a-chair,” … But suddenly the alienation of myself, which is the act of being-looked-at, involves the alienation of the world which I organise. I am seated on this chair with the result that I do not see it at all, that it is impossible for me to see it …”

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Jean-Paul Satre. ‘Being and Nothingness’ (trans. Hazel Barnes). London: Methuen, 1966, p. 263.

 

“It must be possible to concede and affirm an array of “materialities” that pertain to the body, that which is signified by the domains of biology, anatomy, physiology, hormonal and chemical composition, illness, age, weight, metabolism, life and death. None of this can be denied. But the undeniability of these “materialities” in no way implies what it means to affirm them, indeed, what interpretive matrices condition, enable and limit that necessary affirmation. That each of those categories [BODY AND MATERIALITY] have a history and a historicity, that each of them is constituted through the boundary lines that distinguish them and, hence, by what they exclude, that relations of discourse and power produce hierarchies and overlappings among them and challenge those boundaries, implies that these are both persistent and contested regions.”

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Judith Butler. ‘Bodies That Matter’. New York: Routledge, 1993, pp. 66-67.

 

 

Fable = invent (an incident, person, or story)

Simulacrum = pretends to be a faithful copy, but it is a copy with no original

Performativity = power of discourse, politicisation of abjection, ritual of being

Body / identity / desire = imperfection, fluidity, domesticity, transgression, transcendence

 

Intimate, conceptually robust and aesthetically sensitive.
The association of the images was emotionally overwhelming.
An absolute gem. One of the highlights of the year.

Dr Marcus Bunyan

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

 

Janina Green. 'Waterfall' 1990

 

Janina Green (Australian, born Germany 1944)
Waterfall
1990
Silver gelatin print on Kentmere Parchment paper, tinted with coffee and photo dyes
58 x 48cm
Vintage print

 

Janina Green. 'Pink vase' 1990 reprinted 2012

 

Janina Green (Australian, born Germany 1944)
Pink vase
1990 reprinted 2012
Silver gelatin print on fibre based paper, hand tinted with pink photo dye
85 x 70cm

 

Janina Green. 'Blue vase' 1990 reprinted 2012

 

Janina Green (Australian, born Germany 1944)
Blue vase
1990 reprinted 2012
Silver gelatin print on fibre based paper, hand tinted with blue photo dye
85 x 70cm

 

Janina Green. 'Nude' 1986

 

Janina Green (Australian, born Germany 1944)
Nude
1986
Silver gelatin print on fibre based paper, hand tinted with blue photo dye
60 x 45cm
Vintage print

 

 

My photographs are always about the past.

The Barthesian slogan, “this has been,” is for me, “I was there.” This series of images of a vase from Ikea consists of silver gelatin prints tinted in different coloured photographic dyes; photographs of a simple mass produced vase – its form the familiar vessel which so dominates Art History. “Ikea” for me is symbolic of the useful homely object and of the ideal home. The vase from Ikea no longer exists. The picture of that vase stands in for the vase that once existed. The photograph can be seen now – at this moment. It will continue to exist in the future. Its representation crosses time barriers.

My photographs are always documentations of a private performance.

Every photograph records what is in front of the camera, but my interest is in the occasion and the complex conditions of the making of the photograph – first the negative then the print. Each photograph ends up being a documentation of my state of mind during this intensely private moment as well as something for other people to look at. Because of changing conditions, every one of these prints from that same negative is different. For me each analogue print is an unsteady thing. They are now relics from another era, as is the vase.

As a counterpoint to the repetition of the vase prints, I have selected four vintage works from my archive.

Artists statement by Janina Green

Janina is represented by M.33

 

Janina Green. 'Orange vase' 1990 reprinted 2012

 

Janina Green (Australian, born Germany 1944)
Orange vase
1990 reprinted 2012
Silver gelatin print on fibre based paper, hand tinted with orange photo dye
85 x 70cm

 

Janina Green. 'Green vase' 1990 reprinted 2012

 

Janina Green (Australian, born Germany 1944)
Green vase
1990 reprinted 2012
Silver gelatin print on fibre based paper, hand tinted with green photo dye
85 x 70cm

 

Janina Green. 'Interior' 1992

 

Janina Green (Australian, born Germany 1944)
Interior
1992
C Type print
38 x 30cm
Vintage print / edition of 5

 

Janina Green. 'Telephone' 1986 reprinted 2010

 

Janina Green (Australian, born Germany 1944)
Telephone
1986 reprinted 2010
Silver gelatin print on fibre based paper, tinted with coffee
58 x 48cm

 

Janina Green. 'Yellow vase' 1990 reprinted 2012

 

Janina Green
Yellow vase
1990 reprinted 2012
Silver gelatin print on fibre based paper, hand tinted with yellow photo dye
85 x 70cm

 

 

Edmund Pearce Gallery

This gallery is now closed.

Edmund Pearce Gallery website

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29
Nov
12

Exhibition: ‘Thomas Demand’ at the National Gallery of Victoria International, Melbourne

Exhibition dates: 30th November 2012 – 17th March 2013

 

Installation view of 'Thomas Demand' at NGVI showing, at right, 'Lichtung / Clearing' 2003

 

Installation view of Thomas Demand at NGVI showing, at right, Lichtung / Clearing 2003
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

 

You saw it here first on Art Blart!

Beautiful installation shots of the new Thomas Demand exhibition at NGVI. Jeff Wall installation photographs to follow in the next posting on Saturday. Reviews to follow in due course.

These are all cardboard models created in Thomas Demand’s studio and then photographed. The models are destroyed afterwards leaving the photographs as artefacts and remembrances, both a performance in their own right, but also a record of another performance, that of the creation of the models. Double self, double performativity, double ritual.

Many thankx to Jemma Altmeier and all the media team at NGV for all their wonderful help and congratulations to the curators, Susan van Wyk and Dr Isobel Crombie, for their restrained yet contemporary installations and for getting the exhibitions to Melbourne. They look magnificent. Well done!

Dr Marcus Bunyan

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Many thankx to the NGV for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image. All photographs © Marcus Bunyan © National Gallery of Victoria. May not be reproduced without permission.

 

Thomas Demand is regarded as one of the world’s leading contemporary artists whose work in photography and, most recently stop-animation films, is at the forefront of contemporary art. Demand initially worked as a sculptor who used photography to document his ephemeral creations. From 1993 his creative practice changed and, from then on, he made sculptures for the sole purpose of photographing them. Demand begins with an image, often taken from media sources and frequently dealing with traumatic or politically important events, and creates a life-size replica of the image using paper and cardboard. The effect of these uncanny reconstructions is to destabilise our understanding of the sites which we ‘know’ so well through reproduction. This exhibition features a selection of photographs and 35mm films as chosen by the artist.

 

 

 

Jeff Wall & Thomas Demand: In Conversation, National Gallery of Victoria

 

Thomas Demand (German, b. 1964) 'Lichtung' / 'Clearing' 2003

 

Thomas Demand (German, b. 1964)
Lichtung / Clearing
2003
C-Print / Perspex
Courtesy Taka Ishii Gallery, Sprüth Magers Berlin London, Esther Schipper, Berlin, Matthew Marks Gallery
© Thomas Demand, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn / VISCOPY, Sydney

 

Installation view of 'Thomas Demand' at NGVI showing, at left, 'Badezimmer / Bathroom' 1997 and, at right, 'Labor / Laboratory' 2000

 

Installation view of Thomas Demand at NGVI showing, at left, Badezimmer / Bathroom 1997 and, at right, Labor / Laboratory 2000
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

Thomas Demand. 'Laboratory (77-E-217)' 2000

 

Thomas Demand (German, b. 1964)
Labor / Laboratory
2000
C-Print / Perspex
180.0 × 268.0cm
Courtesy Taka Ishii Gallery, Sprüth Magers Berlin London, Esther Schipper, Berlin, Matthew Marks Gallery
© Thomas Demand, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn / VISCOPY, Sydney

 

Installation view of 'Thomas Demand' at NGVI showing 'Badezimmer / Bathroom' 1997

 

Installation view of Thomas Demand. Badezimmer / Bathroom 1997 at NGVI
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

Thomas Demand. 'Badezimmer / Bathroom' 1997

 

Thomas Demand (German, b. 1964)
Badezimmer / Bathroom
1997
C-Print / Perspex
160.0 × 122.0cm
Courtesy Taka Ishii Gallery, Sprüth Magers Berlin London, Esther Schipper, Berlin, Matthew Marks Gallery
© Thomas Demand, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn / VISCOPY, Sydney

 

Installation view of 'Thomas Demand' at NGVI showing 'Copyshop' 1999

 

Installation view of Thomas Demand at NGVI showing Copyshop 1999
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

Thomas Demand (German, b. 1964) 'Copyshop' 1999

 

Thomas Demand (German, b. 1964)
Copyshop
2009
C-Print / Perspex
Courtesy Taka Ishii Gallery, Sprüth Magers Berlin London, Esther Schipper, Berlin, Matthew Marks Gallery
© Thomas Demand, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn / VISCOPY, Sydney

 

Installation view of 'Thomas Demand' at NGVI showing 'Parlament / Parliament' 2009

 

Installation view of Thomas Demand at NGVI showing Parlament / Parliament 2009
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

Thomas Demand (German, b. 1964) 'Parlament / Parliament' 2009

 

Thomas Demand (German, b. 1964)
Parlament / Parliament
2009
C-Print / Perspex
Courtesy Taka Ishii Gallery, Sprüth Magers Berlin London, Esther Schipper, Berlin, Matthew Marks Gallery
© Thomas Demand, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn / VISCOPY, Sydney

 

 

When you step through the door into the Thomas Demand exhibition you enter a realm that was conceived, meticulously planned, and built to his exacting specifications. Demand designed every aspect of this exhibition. Having selected the photographs and films that he wanted to show in Melbourne, he then went on to design the exhibition space itself.

He was quite specific that the secondary walls had to be full height to create a sense of beautiful rooms rather than a space that has been partitioned. Once this was done he began work on the layout of the show. He carefully planned the sequence in which you would encounter each work, setting up an interesting play between the works. How we read these is an entirely individual experience. Recently someone said to me that they thought the placement of Lichtung / Clearing next to Paneel / Pegboard was an interesting comment on forest clearing and the devastating impact that pulp mills can have on the environment. Until then I had never seen those works in that way.

In conversation during the installation, Thomas explained that he was not interested in putting together an exhibition that then toured around the world. The usual practice of curating an exhibition and then ‘fitting’ it into different exhibition spaces in a number of venues holds little interest for him. So each time you see a Thomas Demand exhibition it has been curated, designed and installed for that particular space.

This is perhaps most obvious when you enter the rooms where the films are showing. From the brightly lit first room you can see through the door way into a darkened room lined with floor to ceiling curtains, but not really. What you see is a darkened room hung with wallpaper that the artist made to look like the kind of sweeping curtains that you might find in a cinema or theatre. It’s theatrical and spectacular but once you enter this space the real treat is Demands films.

Susan van Wyk, 6 February 2013 on the NGV website [Online] Cited 05/09/2020

 

Thomas Demand (German, b. 1964) 'Tribute' 2011

 

Thomas Demand (German, b. 1964)
Tribute
2011
C-Print / Perspex
166 x 125 cm, edition of 6
Courtesy Taka Ishii Gallery, Sprüth Magers Berlin London, Esther Schipper, Berlin, Matthew Marks Gallery
© Thomas Demand, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn / VISCOPY, Sydney

 

Installation view of 'Thomas Demand' at NGVI showing, at right, 'Space Simulator' 2003

 

Installation view of Thomas Demand at NGVI showing, at right, Space Simulator 2003
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

Installation view of 'Thomas Demand' at NGVI showing, at left, 'Grotte / Grotto' 2006 and, at right, 'Space Simulator' 2003

 

Installation view of Thomas Demand at NGVI showing, at left, Grotte / Grotto 2006 and, at right, Space Simulator 2003
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

Thomas Demand. 'Space Simulator' 2003

 

Thomas Demand (German, b. 1964)
Space Simulator
2003
C-Print / Perspex
300.0 × 429.4cm
Courtesy Taka Ishii Gallery, Sprüth Magers Berlin London, Esther Schipper, Berlin, Matthew Marks Gallery
© Thomas Demand, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn / VISCOPY, Sydney

 

Installation view of 'Thomas Demand' at NGVI showing, at right, 'Grotte / Grotto' 2006

 

Installation view of Thomas Demand at NGVI showing, at right, Grotte / Grotto 2006
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

Thomas Demand. 'Grotte / Grotto' 2006 (detail)

 

Thomas Demand (German, b. 1964)
Grotte / Grotto (detail)
2006
C-Print / Perspex
Courtesy Taka Ishii Gallery, Sprüth Magers Berlin London, Esther Schipper, Berlin, Matthew Marks Gallery
© Thomas Demand, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn / VISCOPY, Sydney

 

 

One of the world’s most influential contemporary artists, Thomas Demand, will be the subject of a new exhibition announced by the National Gallery of Victoria.

The exhibition will be the first major Australian survey of the artist’s work and will comprise large scale photographs and films never before shown in Australia.

NGV Director, Tony Ellwood said the addition of Thomas Demand to the NGV’s exhibition schedule is part of an exciting and ambitious summer program.

“When the opportunity came up to hold an exhibition of Thomas Demand’s work this summer, it was just too good to miss. Thomas Demand will be part of a great summer program at the NGV and has been timed to coincide with the Jeff Wall Photographs exhibition being held at NGV Australia.

“We are offering a two-for-one ticket for Thomas Demand and Jeff Wall Photographs, so visitors to the NGV can experience the work of two major artists of international contemporary photography for one ticket price,” said Mr Ellwood.

Works in the exhibition will span the artist’s career from 1997 to 2012. Recent works presented in the exhibition include Control Room (pictured below), which depicts the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant and Tribute, a work based on images taken at the site of tragic mass panic at Europe’s biggest rave party.

Susan van Wyk, NGV Curator of Photography said Thomas Demand is widely regarded as one of the world’s leading contemporary artists.

“Thomas has a unique style in which he creates paper models of objects and scenes, often taken from media sources like flickr or newspaper reports. These intricate life size models are then photographed.

“The results are disquieting images that subvert our understanding of reality and fiction and draws attention to how we engage with the media and modern technologies,” said Ms Van Wyk.

Press release from the NGV website

 

Installation view of 'Thomas Demand' at NGVI showing, at left, 'Vault' 2012 and, at centre, 'Kontrollraum / Control Room' 2011

 

Installation view of Thomas Demand at NGVI showing, at left, Vault 2012 and, at centre, Kontrollraum / Control Room 2011
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

Thomas Demand. 'Kontrollraum / Control Room' 2011

 

Thomas Demand (German, b. 1964)
Kontrollraum / Control Room
2011
C-Print / Perspex
200.0 × 300.0 cm
Courtesy Taka Ishii Gallery, Sprüth Magers Berlin London, Esther Schipper, Berlin, Matthew Marks Gallery
© Thomas Demand, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn / VISCOPY, Sydney

 

Installation view of 'Thomas Demand' at NGVI showing 'Vault' 2012

 

Installation view of Thomas Demand at NGVI showing Vault 2012
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

Thomas Demand. 'Vault' 2012 (detail)

 

Thomas Demand (German, b. 1964)
Vault (detail)
2012
C-Print / Perspex
Courtesy Taka Ishii Gallery, Sprüth Magers Berlin London, Esther Schipper, Berlin, Matthew Marks Gallery
© Thomas Demand, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn / VISCOPY, Sydney

 

 

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180 St Kilda Road

Opening hours:
Open daily 10am – 5pm

National Gallery of Victoria website

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01
Apr
12

Review: ‘Tourist #5: Disappearing Project 1 – 41’ by Nicola Loder at Helen Gory Galerie, Prahran, Melbourne

Exhibition dates: 14th March – 7th April 2012

 

West Bengali woman embroidering the 'Disappearances'

 

West Bengali woman embroidering the Disappearances

 

 

Fredric Jameson wrote that in the postmodern world, the subject is not alienated but fragmented. He explained that the notion of alienation presumes a centralized, unitary self who could become lost to himself or herself. But if, as a postmodernist sees it, the self is decentred and multiple, the concept of alienation breaks down. All that is left is an anxiety of identity… In simulation, identity can be fluid and multiple, a signifier no longer points to a thing that is signified, and understanding is less likely to proceed through analysis than by navigation through virtual space.

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Sherry Turkle. Life on The Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1995, p. 49.

 

 

I have always loved the work of Nicola Loder ever since I saw her solo exhibition Child 1-175: A Nostalgia for the Present at Stop 22 Gallery in St Kilda in 1996. This exhibition is no exception. Loder is the consummate professional, her work is as imaginative and intriguing as ever and there has been a consistent thematic development of ideas within her work over a long period of time. These ideas relate to the nature of seeing and being seen, the mapping of identity and the process of its (dis)appearance.

This latest iteration of her ongoing series Tourist (described in detail, below, in the erudite essay by Stuart Koop) again involves de/reconstructions of identity through slippages, elisions, deletions, disappearances and transformations. In Tourist #5: Disappearing Project 1 – 41 the shroud-like effigies that result from Loder’s project, a reference reinforced by the muslin cloth lying over the bench in the gallery space (see the installation photographs below), are a repeated re-presentation of a lost or missing identity: the disappearance of the person in their own minds; photography’s “capture” of the original person; Loder’s deletion of this identity (I was there) to be substituted by Photoshop’s geometric algorithms; the West Bengali women’s reinterpretation of this disappearance; and the reappearance of a new energy in the colourful, embroidered reinterpretations. I have very much a feeling of a spiritual energy in this last embodiment – think of the link between death and the spirit (as in the Shroud of Turin).

The images have multiple narratives and are already textualised but Loder disrupts this marking, the continual reiteration of norms by weaving a lack of fixity into her objects. In her reconceptualisations of space and matter Loder redefines the significations of the body in the fold of inscription, through a process of materialisation. But this materialisation, like the image seared into the fabric of the Shroud of Turin, still somehow eludes us. This is what makes this work so tantalising…

This interweaving of texts culminates in the body inscribed on another plane existing in, as Loder herself describes it, a “de-constructed non-space somewhere between image, imagination, identity, language and being,” which, as Stuart Koop observes, “is… not a removal or deletion but a reconfiguration beyond verisimilitude, beyond our appearance to others and ourselves.” This is the navigation through a virtual space that Sherry Turkle posits in the quotation at the top of the posting, where the self is decentred and identity is fluid and multiple.

Loder’s exquisitely sensuous description of disappearance allows us to see the phenomenal word afresh. I look forward with a sense of anticipation to the next voyage of discovery the artist will take me on.

Dr Marcus Bunyan for the Art Blart blog

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Many thankx to Nicola Loder, Stuart Koop and Helen Gorie Galerie for allowing me to publish the text and photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

'Tourist #5: Disappearing Project 1 - 41' by Nicola Loder, installation photograph at Helen Gorie Galerie

'Tourist #5: Disappearing Project 1 - 41' by Nicola Loder, installation photograph at Helen Gorie Galerie

 

Tourist #5: Disappearing Project 1 – 41 by Nicola Loder, installation photograph at Helen Gorie Galerie

 

 

Photographer Nicola Loder explores the way in which people see.

The purpose of photography is largely to make things visible. Inspired in part by her experiences teaching blind children photography, Loder reverses photography’s function using it instead to capture objects and experiences that aren’t visible. She embraces Photoshop but counters its typical role of improving clarity and focus, rather using it to collapse images into layers of pattern and colour.

Tourist #5: disappearing project 1 – 40 is a multi-faceted project that teases out notions of seeing and being seen and the role of creator as truth teller. Loder sent out a flyer inviting people who had disappeared to send her a full-length image of themselves with a written description of what happened when they disappeared. The stories and images she received range from out of body near death experiences to the mundane act of sleeping, each shedding light on what people identify as disappearing. Loder then manipulated the submitted images into highly colourful digital patterns, resonant of her earlier photographic work. She took the reworked images to India where they were embroidered onto muslin by local women in West Bengal. The result is beautiful hand-embroidered works that reflect the women’s personal interpretations of the images and incorporate their rich history, cultural patterns and iconography.

“The obliterated, atomised, reconfigured portraits ‘rematerialise’ as tapestries executed by women from a small rural village, at the margins of Indian society, who – but for NGOs dedicated to overcome disadvantage, in this case Street Survivors empowering rural women through skills development – are largely invisible to their communities, to politicians, as well as their castes.

Of course, Loder has paid these women, a means of recognising and honouring their work, a means of bringing them into view, at the margins of economy, welfare and community. Indeed, she has taken their portraits and documented them at work, and it’s a startling contrast. Our middle-class stories, anxieties and interests ending up in the careful hands of these women in colourful saris, sitting and working together, our (largely) passing concerns darned into the muslin cloth in their laps, our own saturated photographic hues indistinguishable from the bright chaos of folded cloth and pleated skirts, with their nimble fingers tracing our desires and cares in bright lurid threads.” (Stuart Koops, 2012)

For Loder India is a central tenet of the project given its multiple associations with disappearing, from the focus on meditation to the burning of bodies at the Ghats in Varanasi, the final act of disappearing. On a personal level Loder lived in Calcutta as a child and views her experience of leaving India as another act of disappearing: both her Indian Ayah (Moti) and India physically disappeared from her life. Involving the women from her Ayah’s village is Loder’s reflection on and tribute to those experiences of disappearing.

Press release from Helen Gorie Galerie website

 

Nicola Loder. 'Tourist #5: Disappearing Project 1-41 (no 11)' 2012 Polyester thread, muslin 86 x 69cm

 

Nicola Loder (Australian, b. 1964)
Tourist #5: Disappearing Project 1-41 (no 11)
2012
Polyester thread, muslin
86 x 69cm

 

Nicola Loder. 'Tourist #5: Disappearing Project 1-41 (no 16)' 2012 Polyester thread, muslin 86 x 69cm

 

Nicola Loder (Australian, b. 1964)
Tourist #5: Disappearing Project 1-41 (no 16)
2012
Polyester thread, muslin
86 x 69cm

 

 

Catalogue Essay by Stuart Koops

Nicola Loder has facilitated childrens’ photography projects before, on several occasions working with marginalised groups, including kids from low socio-economic and non-English speaking schools and kids from the Royal Victorian Institute for the Blind. Indeed she chose these groups with purpose, to consider the role of photography in highlighting certain communities most often occluded on the basis of an incapacity – making the invisible visible, making those who cannot see visible to us, giving those without the means of expression a language we can understand – in many ways, reversing the polarity of familiar concepts, disrupting our conventional understanding.

In teaching blind kids especially, Nicola told me she felt like she was disappearing. Not surprising, I guess, when you try to describe the camera, the lens, optics, focus, framing, composition. When your identity or your role as a photographer dissipates along with the explanatory power of these foundation terms and concepts. And practical demonstrations must at first seem frustratingly pointless.

That profound experience seems to have led Loder to use photography in reverse, as the means to decompose images; to utilise Photo­shop’s algorithms, not to augment or highlight certain attributes in her portraits she ultimately took of these kids, but return images to an undifferentiated field of static, the digital correlate to the original photochemical chaos, the entropy of raw silver halides, which the ‘irrefutable sun’ miraculously sorts into resemblance. In short, to unphotograph the kids somehow, commensurate with their disability and her own disappearance in the workshops.

But it’s not just Loder who has had the experience of disappearing. It’s a profound sensation shared by many and for different reasons, and Loder has collected different accounts of the experience which illustrate the further registers in which one may ‘disap­pear’; from spiritual attainment in transcending physical reality to out of body transcendental near-death experiences, from relief at escaping a difficult situation, to feelings of terror as a child abandoned, or worse, abducted, from the social isolation and alienation of teenagers and adults, to a freedom or liberation from social constraint and physical containment, wanting to leave behind an unhappy circumstance or just wanting to be magically, wonderfully invisible.

Practically speaking, there’s considerable interest in – and information on – how to disappear, especially in America. In 2008 artist Seth Price published How to Disappear from America, excerpted text from found sectarian tracts, paranoid rants and helpful DIY tips to assist anyone wishing to get off the grid without a trace (burn your credit cards, dump your car, hide your tracks, grow your own, etc) including great suggestions about where to go (motorcycle hangouts, punk rocks groups, new age dance studios, soup kitchens, churches, and homeless shelters).

But Loder’s more interested in the personal, individual experience of disappearing. She asked for photo-portraits to accompany people’s descriptions of disappearing, from which she has seemingly excised each subject, using Photoshop as she did before with the blind kids, leaving a whorl of digital effect in the vacant space within their outline, set in high relief against a lounge-room, or a yard, or other family members. Yet on closer inspection this is perhaps a matter of transformation, since ‘disappearing’ may be very different from ‘deletion’.

In Photoshop we are each just so much chroma, luma and shape. A touch of the magic wand and we are separated from the rest of our lives, ‘lassooed’, a godly power to designate liberated from special-effects cinema by the Knoll brothers in 1988 and given to every geek with a Mac II. Since when it’s just too easy to be deleted; two clicks and we’re in the trash.

But in Loder’s work our data is recast, colour intensified, details blurred, outlines softened, curves modified, screens overlaid and so it seems Photoshop’s myriad algorithms – set against their intended technical imperative to optimise appearances – might provide a metaphor for our disappearing, which is indeed not a removal or deletion but a reconfiguration beyond verisimilitude, beyond our appearance to others and ourselves. And while we might lose visual coherence as an image, we are inscribed upon another plane altogether, one at odds with photographic realism, and which Loder describes as a “de-constructed non-space somewhere between image, imagination, identity, language and being.” Like the shimmering dissipation of Kirk on the teleporter’s deck in Star Trek, these subjects are transported to another realm, different orders of reality merging into a new volatile blend. Perhaps it’s a higher plane too where all souls mingle and coalesce as either zeros or ones, a digital afterlife in which everything is equivalent and a new digital equanimity prevails.

Stuart Koops 2012

 

Nicola Loder. 'Tourist #5: Disappearing Project 1-41 (no 8)' 2012 Polyester thread, muslin 86 x 69cm

 

Nicola Loder (Australian, b. 1964)
Tourist #5: Disappearing Project 1-41 (no 8)
2012
Polyester thread, muslin
86 x 69cm

 

Nicola Loder. 'Tourist #5: Disappearing Project 1-41 (no 17)' 2012 Polyester thread, muslin 86 x 69cm

 

Nicola Loder (Australian, b. 1964)
Tourist #5: Disappearing Project 1-41 (no 17)
2012
Polyester thread, muslin
86 x 69cm

 

Nicola Loder. 'Tourist #5: Disappearing Project 1-41 (no 18)' 2012 Polyester thread, muslin 86 x 69cm

 

Nicola Loder (Australian, b. 1964)
Tourist #5: Disappearing Project 1-41 (no 18)
2012
Polyester thread, muslin
86 x 69cm

 

West Bengali women embroidering the 'Disappearances'

 

West Bengali women embroidering the Disappearances

 

 

Helen Gory Galerie

This gallery is now closed.

Nicola Loder 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, an art and cultural memory archive, which posts mainly photography exhibitions from around the world. He holds a Doctor 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.

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