Posts Tagged ‘the body

03
May
20

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

May 2019

*PLEASE NOTE THIS POSTING CONTAINS ART PHOTOGRAPHS OF MALE NUDITY – IF YOU DO NOT LIKE PLEASE DO NOT LOOK, FAIR WARNING HAS BEEN GIVEN*

 

Marcus Bunyan (Australian, born England 1958) 'Untitled' 1995-96 From the series 'Sleep/Wound'

 

Marcus Bunyan (Australian, born England 1958)
Untitled
1995-96
From the series Sleep/Wound
Gelatin silver print

 

 

Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in. I drink at it;
but while I drink, I see the sandy bottom and detect
how shallow it is. Its thin current slides away, but
eternity remains. I would drink deeper; fish in the sky,
whose bottom is pebbly with stars.

.
Thoreau, Walden

 

 

The series Sleep/Wound appeared in my solo exhibition titled The Cleft in Words, The Words As Flesh, at Stop 22 Gallery, St Kilda, Melbourne in 1996.

The series consists of ethereal, intimate photographs of my partner and myself in sleep positions, taken on infra-red film, the only time I ever used such film. I was fascinated (and still am) with the positions of the body in space, and how it moves in different environments.

The second part of the series are photographs of a performance, that of the cutting of my partners back. Paul and I held a dance party at a house on Punt Road in South Yarra where our friend Woody (David J. Wood of Bent Metal fame) was being evicted. The party, naturally enough called Eviction, was held to raise money for HIV/AIDS. Paul and I decorated the house, painting large, colourful kundalini symbols such as snakes and mandalas on the walls. In one room, painted with the seven colours of the main chakras, and to ambient music connected to earth, spirit and cosmos – I cut my partners back. Half the people fled, but the other half recognised the powerful spiritual connection that was happening in the performance (remember at this time, blood in terms of being gay, was tainted because of HIV/AIDS infection). I then smeared Paul’s blood on the walls of the house with my hands, crossing the boundary of the taboo by touching a bodily fluid whist acknowledging something that is essential to human life.

After packing up all the equipment from the party, we both headed to the Tasty nightclub (if any of you remember the Tasty raid) to have a good dance, with the blood still drying on Paul’s back. People were shocked at seeing his cut back. When we got back home at 6am in the morning I took out my trusty Mamiya RZ67 and took these beautiful photographs of one of the most connected, spiritual experiences of my life.

My thankx go to Paul as always for being my muse and partner without whom these experiences and photographs would never have been possible.

Marcus

 

I am scanning my negatives made during the years 1991-1997 to preserve them in the form of an online archive as a process of active memory, so that the images are not lost forever. These photographs were images of my life and imagination at the time of their making, the ideas I was thinking about and the people and things that surrounded me.

All images © Marcus Bunyan. Please click the photographs for a larger version of the image. Please remember these are just straight scans of the prints, all full frame, no cropping !

Photographs are available from this series for purchase. As a guide, a vintage 8″ x 10″ silver gelatin print costs $700 plus tracked and insured shipping. For more information please see my store web page.

 

 

Marcus Bunyan (Australian, born England 1958) 'Untitled' 1995-96 From the series 'Sleep/Wound'

 

Marcus Bunyan (Australian, born England 1958)
Untitled
1995-96
From the series Sleep/Wound
Gelatin silver print

 

Marcus Bunyan (Australian, born England 1958) 'Untitled' 1995-96 From the series 'Sleep/Wound'

 

Marcus Bunyan (Australian, born England 1958)
Untitled
1995-96
From the series Sleep/Wound
Gelatin silver print

 

Marcus Bunyan (Australian, born England 1958) 'Untitled' 1995-96 From the series 'Sleep/Wound'

 

Marcus Bunyan (Australian, born England 1958)
Untitled
1995-96
From the series Sleep/Wound
Gelatin silver print

 

Marcus Bunyan (Australian, born England 1958) 'Untitled' 1995-96 From the series 'Sleep/Wound'

 

Marcus Bunyan (Australian, born England 1958)
Untitled
1995-96
From the series Sleep/Wound
Gelatin silver print

 

Marcus Bunyan (Australian, born England 1958) 'Untitled' 1995-96 From the series 'Sleep/Wound'

 

Marcus Bunyan (Australian, born England 1958)
Untitled
1995-96
From the series Sleep/Wound
Gelatin silver print

 

Marcus Bunyan (Australian, born England 1958) 'Untitled' 1995-96 From the series 'Sleep/Wound'

 

Marcus Bunyan (Australian, born England 1958)
Untitled
1995-96
From the series Sleep/Wound
Gelatin silver print

 

Marcus Bunyan (Australian, born England 1958) 'Untitled' 1995-96 From the series 'Sleep/Wound'

 

Marcus Bunyan (Australian, born England 1958)
Untitled
1995-96
From the series Sleep/Wound
Gelatin silver print

 

Marcus Bunyan (Australian, born England 1958) 'Untitled' 1995-96 From the series 'Sleep/Wound'

 

Marcus Bunyan (Australian, born England 1958)
Untitled
1995-96
From the series Sleep/Wound
Gelatin silver print

 

Marcus Bunyan (Australian, born England 1958) 'Untitled' 1995-96 From the series 'Sleep/Wound'

 

Marcus Bunyan (Australian, born England 1958)
Untitled
1995-96
From the series Sleep/Wound
Gelatin silver print

 

Marcus Bunyan (Australian, born England 1958) 'Untitled' 1995-96 From the series 'Sleep/Wound'

 

Marcus Bunyan (Australian, born England 1958)
Untitled
1995-96
From the series Sleep/Wound
Gelatin silver print

 

Marcus Bunyan (Australian, born England 1958) 'Untitled' 1995-96 From the series 'Sleep/Wound'

 

Marcus Bunyan (Australian, born England 1958)
Untitled
1995-96
From the series Sleep/Wound
Gelatin silver print

 

Marcus Bunyan (Australian, born England 1958) 'Untitled' 1995-96 From the series 'Sleep/Wound'

 

Marcus Bunyan (Australian, born England 1958)
Untitled
1995-96
From the series Sleep/Wound
Gelatin silver print

 

Marcus Bunyan (Australian, born England 1958) 'Untitled' 1995-96 From the series 'Sleep/Wound'

 

Marcus Bunyan (Australian, born England 1958)
Untitled
1995-96
From the series Sleep/Wound
Gelatin silver print

 

Marcus Bunyan (Australian, born England 1958) 'Untitled' 1995-96 From the series 'Sleep/Wound'

 

Marcus Bunyan (Australian, born England 1958)
Untitled
1995-96
From the series Sleep/Wound
Gelatin silver print

 

Marcus Bunyan (Australian, born England 1958) 'Untitled' 1995-96 From the series 'Sleep/Wound'

 

Marcus Bunyan (Australian, born England 1958)
Untitled
1995-96
From the series Sleep/Wound
Gelatin silver print

 

Marcus Bunyan (Australian, born England 1958) 'Untitled' 1995-96 From the series 'Sleep/Wound'

 

Marcus Bunyan (Australian, born England 1958)
Untitled
1995-96
From the series Sleep/Wound
Gelatin silver print

 

Marcus Bunyan (Australian, born England 1958) 'Untitled' 1995-96 From the series 'Sleep/Wound'

 

Marcus Bunyan (Australian, born England 1958)
Untitled
1995-96
From the series Sleep/Wound
Gelatin silver print

 

Marcus Bunyan (Australian, born England 1958) 'Untitled' 1995-96 From the series 'Sleep/Wound'

 

Marcus Bunyan (Australian, born England 1958)
Untitled
1995-96
From the series Sleep/Wound
Gelatin silver print

 

Marcus Bunyan (Australian, born England 1958) 'Untitled' 1995-96 From the series 'Sleep/Wound'

 

Marcus Bunyan (Australian, born England 1958)
Untitled
1995-96
From the series Sleep/Wound
Gelatin silver print

 

Marcus Bunyan (Australian, born England 1958) 'Untitled' 1995-96 From the series 'Sleep/Wound'

 

Marcus Bunyan (Australian, born England 1958)
Untitled
1995-96
From the series Sleep/Wound
Gelatin silver print

 

Marcus Bunyan (Australian, born England 1958) 'Untitled' 1995-96 From the series 'Sleep/Wound'

 

Marcus Bunyan (Australian, born England 1958)
Untitled
1995-96
From the series Sleep/Wound
Gelatin silver print

 

 

Marcus Bunyan black and white archive 1991-1997

Marcus Bunyan website

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05
May
19

Exhibition: ‘Erwin Olaf’ at the Gemeentemuseum den Haag and Fotomuseum Den Haag / the Hague Museum of Photography

Exhibition dates: 16th February – 16th June 2019

Curators: Wim van Sinderen with the assistance of Hanneke Mantel (both of Gemeentemuseum Den Haag and The Hague Museum of Photography)

 

 

Erwin Olaf (Netherlands, b. 1959) 'Joy' 1985

 

Erwin Olaf (Netherlands, b. 1959)
Squares, Joy
1985
Gelatin silver print

 

 

As a storyteller, Erwin Olaf is a contemporary photographer whose work addresses most current concerns of the world – discrimination, gender, sexuality, taboo, climate change, reality, equality, power, racism, freedom of expression and democracy – through staged studio and outdoor photographs of incredible technical and visual skill.

The key to his work is the twist that he gives his cinematic, perfect worlds – the hidden crack in the facade, the unhinging of the link between reality and representation. These not so perfect worlds are often inspired by stories of the past, whether those stories may be present in the works of Vermeer, the still lives of the Dutch painters of the 16th and 17th century, Caravaggio, the Olympic Games of 1936, Norman Rockwell paintings, film noir, or clothes of the 1950s and 1960s.

The stillness and silence of the photographs subjects let the viewer examine the details of the mise en scène… the perfectly placed Coke bottle and apple, the shredded American flag in Palm Springs, The Kite (2018); the bandaged knee, the dripping ice cream in Rain, The Ice Cream Parlour (2004); and also admire the beautiful textures and lighting of the finished “product”, for Olaf’s aesthetic riffs on subverting theatrical performances and magazine fashion shoots.

Olaf let’s the viewer’s eye move without restraint across the terrain of the photographs, letting them soak up the atmosphere of his hyperreal tableau vivant. Both seductive and disturbing, his photographs challenge us to interrogate our own story – who are we, what do we really believe in, and what can we do to change prejudice and bigotry in a hostile world.

Dr Marcus Bunyan for Art Blart

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

 

 

“What I want to show most of all is a perfect world with a crack in it. I want to make the picture seductive enough to draw people into the narrative, and then deal the blow.”

.
Erwin Olaf

 

“In 1982, I saw an exhibition of Robert Mapplethorpe in Amsterdam that blew me off the socks. I just had a Hasselblad, I was inspired by his craftsmanship and the beautiful prints, and I thought: this is what I want too. In the series ‘Squares’ (1983-93) you clearly see his influence. I started asking people that I knew from the nightlife if they wanted to pose for me in my studio, which I had decorated in a squat of a friend. For example, the boy with the champagne bottle worked in the wardrobe of my favourite disco.”

.
Erwin Olaf (excerpt from the book ‘Erwin Olaf – I am’)

 

“My earliest work reflects my life in that time. I was a moth – I really loved the nightlife. In the late seventies, the early eighties was a hedonistic period: Disco and the beginning of the punk, the sexual revolution. I loved watching people play with gender, the theatrical of the nightlife, all the roles they could take.”

.
Erwin Olaf

 

“The camera offered me a possibility to enter a world that was not mine. I was able to hide behind the camera, but also be part of what I saw. As a photographer, you can look at people. You’re observing. I wanted to focus my gaze on groups that were outside the ‘normal’ society. One of my first photography assignments for school had as a theme ‘what’s normal?’. I still ask myself that.”

.
Erwin Olaf (excerpt from the book ‘Erwin Olaf – I am’)

 

 

Gemeentemuseum Den Haag and The Hague Museum of Photography are to honour one of the Netherlands’ most famous photographers, Erwin Olaf (b. 1959), with a double exhibition. Olaf, whose recent portraits of the royal family drew widespread admiration, will turn sixty this year – a good moment to stage a major retrospective. The Hague Museum of Photography will focus on Olaf’s love of his craft and his transition from analogue photojournalist to digital image-maker and storyteller. Olaf will himself bring together some twenty photographs by famous photographers of the past who have been a vital source of inspiration to him. Gemeente Museum Den Haag will show non-commissioned work by Olaf from 2000 to his most recent series, including the work he produced in Shanghai and his most recent series Palm Springs, on display for the first time. Olaf will be showing his photography in the form of installations, in combination with film, sound and sculpture.

 

Erwin Olaf – Palm Springs: behind the scenes

 

Erwin Olaf (Netherlands, b. 1959) 'First Aids Benefit Club Flora Palace Amsterdam, I' 1983

 

Erwin Olaf (Netherlands, b. 1959)
First Aids Benefit Club Flora Palace Amsterdam, I
1983
Gelatin silver print

 

Erwin Olaf (Netherlands, b. 1959) 'First Aids Benefit Club Flora Palace Amsterdam, II' 1983

 

Erwin Olaf (Netherlands, b. 1959)
First Aids Benefit Club Flora Palace Amsterdam, II
1983
Gelatin silver print

 

Erwin Olaf (Netherlands, b. 1959) 'Squares, Pearls' 1986

 

Erwin Olaf (Netherlands, b. 1959)
Squares, Pearls
1986
Gelatin silver print

 

Erwin Olaf (Netherlands, b. 1959) 'Chessmen, XVII' 1988

 

Erwin Olaf (Netherlands, b. 1959)
Chessmen, XVII
1988
© Erwin Olaf
Courtesy Hamiltons Gallery, London / Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York

 

 

“Chessmen was inspired by a chance meeting with my former photography teacher at the School for Journalism. A few years after I graduated there, I met him on the street. When I showed him my work in my studio, he said, “Say, would you like to publish a book?” He had recently taken over a publishing house for a pittance. The only problem was that I didn’t have enough work for a book. “Oh,” he said, “you only need sixty-four pages. And if you leave a page white next to each photo, you will need thirty-two photos. “At home I thought about it while listening to the radio – a chess program was just going on. At one point the presenter said: “This is an attacking game with thirty-two pieces. A war game. “I knew immediately: I’m going to make chess pieces. Those few words on the radio were all I needed; I had a clear picture in mind. Earlier I had been thinking about how I could do something with the theme of power. Power is something weird. Why do people abuse their power? Or why do you want it? Why do some people allow others to exercise power over them? From those questions came the idea of ​​a power game and the people who play it. ”

Erwin Olaf (excerpt from the book Erwin Olaf – I Am)

 

Erwin Olaf (Netherlands, b. 1959) 'Chessmen, XXIV' 1988

 

Erwin Olaf (Netherlands, b. 1959)
Chessmen, XXIV
1988
© Erwin Olaf
Courtesy Hamiltons Gallery, London / Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York

 

Erwin Olaf (Netherlands, b. 1959) 'Blacks, Esmeralda' 1990

 

Erwin Olaf (Netherlands, b. 1959)
Blacks, Esmeralda
1990
© Erwin Olaf
Courtesy Hamiltons Gallery, London / Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York

 

 

“The Blacks series is largely inspired by Janet Jackson’s album Rhythm Nation 1814. In one song, she sings: “In complete darkness we are all the same / It is only our knowledge and wisdom that separates us / Don’t let your eyes deceive you.” A few years earlier I had been hitchhiking to Paris and southern France, together with a friend with an Indonesian background. I was admitted without problems in all kinds of clubs, but they refused him at the door. At that time I became much more aware of the fact that the amount of pigment in your skin can have serious consequences. So when I heard Janet Jackson sing, I thought: this is my theme. I can create a group of people where everyone is equal.”

Erwin Olaf (excerpt from the book Erwin Olaf – I Am)

 

 

Journalistic training

Erwin Olaf was studying journalism in Utrecht in the 1980s when, having noticed that he was unhappy, one of his lecturers pressed a camera into his hands. ‘I loved the thing right from the word go,’ says Olaf, ‘the weight, the cool metal in my hand. It felt so natural. And when I took my first photographs, I knew I had found my calling.’ Olaf began taking journalistic photographs of theatre performances, worked for progressive magazines and volunteered for COC Nederland (which represents LGBTI interests). In his early work Olaf often depicted the human body quite graphically, breaching the restrictions on sexuality, the body and gender. He describes himself at that time as an angry adolescent, though his taboo-breaking work was highly significant in terms of visual freedom in the Netherlands.

 

Early work at The Hague Museum of Photography

The exhibition at The Hague Museum of Photography will start with his early work. Chessmen (1987-88) was one of Olaf’s first non-commissioned series, which came about when he was given the opportunity to produce a photobook. He had to fill 32 pages and he wanted to focus on the theme of power. He had heard an item on the radio about chess, a game of war consisting of 32 pieces. Olaf portrayed the game in a series of provocative images, featuring visible genitals, small half-naked people with kinky attributes, and extremely fat women in bondage outfits. The series did not go unnoticed. He received criticism for it, but also the Young European Photographers Prize.

 

Skill

Another early series shows the engagement that has remained important throughout Olaf’s career. Blacks (1990) is based on a song by Janet Jackson with the line, ‘In complete darkness we are all the same. It is only our knowledge and wisdom that separates us’. The series reflects Olaf’s battle for equality, and also his technical skill. In these baroque portraits, literally everything is black as coal, yet Olaf managed to give the images a rich tonality, both with his camera and in the developing process. A self-taught photographer, he has shown himself to be a master, not only of old-fashioned darkroom processes, but also of new techniques that have emerged in rapid succession since the digital revolution. He did pioneering work with Photoshop in the famous series Royal Blood (2000). Thanks to this new technique, he is even better able to experiment to his heart’s delight in his staged photography.

 

Sources of inspiration

Besides his own work, at The Hague Museum of Photography Erwin Olaf will be bringing together some twenty photographs by photographers who are his most important sources of inspiration, ranging from a vintage still life with roses by the late nineteenth-century photographer Bernard Eilers to self-portraits by Robert Mapplethorpe and Rineke Dijkstra. The work of these photographers inspired him, made him look in a different way at his own artistic practice, or pushed his photography in a new direction. By showing these pictures alongside his early work, which is imbued with his love of his craft, Olaf will give visitors to the Museum of Photography an idea of what has shaped him as a photographer.

 

Gemeentemuseum Den Haag

The exhibition at the Gemeentemuseum will begin, even before the entrance to the galleries, with the life-sized installation Keyhole (2012). The exterior has two long walls with panelling above which framed photographs hang, as in a classic interior. But visitors can watch two films through the keyhole in the doors on either side of the installation. It will be immediately apparent that the Gemeentemuseum is highlighting a new development in the work of Erwin Olaf. Here, he is going one step further, presenting his photography in exciting combinations of film, sound and sculpture.

 

Social engagement

Erwin Olaf’s work has always been highly personal and socially engaged. The clearest influence on the development of his work has been the events surrounding 9/11. Since then, the bombastic, baroque staging of his previous work has made way for more vulnerability and serenity. This has produced images that are very popular with the public: highly stylised film scenes staged perfectly down to the smallest detail, often bathed in light as if they were paintings, with an uncomfortable underlying message. As in the series Rain (2004), which appears to capture the moment between action and reaction after a shocking event. The series Grief (2007), shot in a 1960s setting, is about the first moment of response, the first tear.

Recent events are also reflected in Olaf’s work. He made the Tamed & Anger self-portraits (2015) in response to the Charlie Hebdo attack. In other works he addresses issues like the position of the individual in a globalising world, the exclusion and stereotyping of certain groups of people, and taboos associated with gender and nudity. The exhibition at the Gemeentemuseum will thus afford a glimpse inside Olaf’s turbulent and sometimes dark mind. A visit to the exhibition will be like wandering through his head.

 

Palm Springs: final part of a triptych

Erwin Olaf’s most recent series, Palm Springs (2018), will premiere at the exhibition in the Gemeentemuseum. It is part of a triptych about cities undergoing change, the other two parts being Berlin (2012) and Shanghai (2017). The Berlin series was produced in a period when dark clouds were gathering above Europe. It highlights Olaf’s concerns about freedom of expression and democracy, and the transfer of power from an older to a new generation. Shanghai is a hypermodern metropolis in China with a population of 24 million. The series made in this city explores what happens to the individual in an environment like this. In Palm Springs, Olaf again focuses on topical issues. One of the key themes is climate change, though at the same time the images also recall the America of the 1960s. In a beautiful series of portraits, landscapes – this was the first time Olaf had photographed landscapes – still lifes and filmic scenes he refers to issues like teenage pregnancy, discrimination, religious abuses and polarisation. The series tells the story of people withdrawing into gated communities as reality invades their paradise.

 

Photographs of royal family

A very special addition to the double exhibition will be Erwin Olaf’s photographs of the Dutch royal family. As part of the exhibition at the Gemeentemuseum he will bring together many of the photographs that the Government Information Service commissioned him to take of the royal family. He also took the picture that the family used as a Christmas greeting last December. ‘I’m proud of the royal family,’ says Olaf, ‘because they are a binding factor in a democracy that is sometimes very divided. I’m happy to be able to contribute to that.’

 

Successful artist

The double exhibition will show how Erwin Olaf has developed from angry provocateur to one of the Netherland’s most famous and popular photographers. His work now features in the collections and exhibitions of museums the world over, including China, Russia, The United States of America and Brazil. In 2008 The Hague Museum of Photography showed his Rain, Hope, Grief and Fall series. In 2011 he won the prestigious Johannes Vermeer Prize, and in 2018 the Rijksmuseum purchased almost 500 photographs and videos by Erwin Olaf.

 

Biggest retrospective to date

Together, the exhibitions at the Gemeentemuseum and the Museum of Photography will constitute the biggest retrospective of Olaf’s work ever staged, spanning the period from the early 1980s to his most recent work. In the words of Erwin Olaf: celebrating 40 years of visual freedom.

The double exhibition has been curated by Wim van Sinderen with the assistance of Hanneke Mantel (both of Gemeentemuseum Den Haag and The Hague Museum of Photography), and has come about in close collaboration with Erwin Olaf and his studio.

Press release from the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag [Online] Cited 04/05/2019

 

Erwin Olaf (Netherlands, b. 1959) 'Royal Blood, Di, †1997' 2000

 

Erwin Olaf (Netherlands, b. 1959)
Royal Blood, Di, †1997
2000
© Erwin Olaf
Courtesy Hamiltons Gallery, London / Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York

 

 

“I made the Royal Blood series to celebrate Photoshop as the new craft. I wanted to make something that was clearly fiction and would be impossible without Photoshop. A theme that was in the air at the time was that violence was suddenly identified with glamor. I never understood why criminals, even murderers, have fans. People worship them! And every cinema is chock full of people watching violence every week. I wanted to expose the attraction of blood, violence and celebrity – that live fast, that young ideal. Now I could no longer do this type of work. The emotion behind it has disappeared – I have already told that story. But it remains an important part of my legacy.”

Erwin Olaf (excerpt from the book Erwin Olaf – I am)

 

Erwin Olaf (Netherlands, b. 1959) 'Rain, The Ice Cream Parlour' 2004

 

Erwin Olaf (Netherlands, b. 1959)
Rain, The Ice Cream Parlour
2004
© Erwin Olaf
Courtesy Hamiltons Gallery, London / Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York

 

Erwin Olaf (Netherlands, b. 1959) 'Hope, The Hallway' 2005

 

Erwin Olaf (Netherlands, b. 1959)
Hope, The Hallway
2005
© Erwin Olaf
Courtesy Hamiltons Gallery, London / Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York

 

Erwin Olaf (Netherlands, b. 1959) 'Berlin, Freimaurer Loge Dahlem, 22nd of April, 2012' 2012

 

Erwin Olaf (Netherlands, b. 1959)
Berlin, Freimaurer Loge Dahlem, 22nd of April, 2012 [Masonic Lodge Dahlem]
2012
© Erwin Olaf
Courtesy Hamiltons Gallery, London / Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York

 

Erwin Olaf (Netherlands, b. 1959) 'Keyhole #6' 2012

 

Erwin Olaf (Netherlands, b. 1959)
Keyhole #6
2012
© Erwin Olaf
Courtesy Hamiltons Gallery, London / Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York

 

Erwin Olaf (Netherlands, b. 1959) 'Shanghai, Huai Hai 116, Portrait #2' 2017

 

Erwin Olaf (Netherlands, b. 1959)
Shanghai, Huai Hai 116, Portrait #2
2017
© Erwin Olaf
Courtesy Hamiltons Gallery, London / Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York

 

Erwin Olaf (Netherlands, b. 1959) 'Palm Springs, The Kite' 2018

 

Erwin Olaf (Netherlands, b. 1959)
Palm Springs, The Kite
2018
Courtesy Hamiltons Gallery, London / Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York
© Erwin Olaf

 

Erwin Olaf (Netherlands, b. 1959) 'Palm Springs, The Family Visit - Portrait I' 2018

 

Erwin Olaf (Netherlands, b. 1959)
Palm Springs, The Family Visit – Portrait I
2018
© Erwin Olaf
Courtesy Hamiltons Gallery, London / Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York

 

 

Gemeentemuseum Den Haag
Stadhouderslaan 41, 2517 HV Den Haag

Opening hours:
Tuesday – Sunday 10.00 – 17:00

Gemeentemuseum Den Haag website

Fotomuseum Den Haag
Stadhouderslaan 43
2517 HV Den Haag

Opening hours:
Tuesday – Sunday 11.00 – 17.00
The museum is closed on Mondays

Fotomuseum Den Haag website

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02
Sep
14

Exhibition: ‘Robert Heinecken: Object Matter’ at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York

Exhibition dates: 15th March – 7th September 2014

 

A bumper posting on probably the most important photo-media artist who has ever lived. This is how to successfully make conceptual photo-art.

A revolutionary artist, this para-photographer’s photo puzzles are just amazing!

Marcus

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

*PLEASE NOTE THIS POSTING CONTAINS ART PHOTOGRAPHS OF FEMALE NUDITY – IF YOU DO NOT LIKE PLEASE DO NOT LOOK, FAIR WARNING HAS BEEN GIVEN*

 

 

Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006) 'Figure Horizon #1' 1971

 

Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006)
Figure Horizon #1
1971
Ten canvas panels with photographic emulsion
Each 11 13/16 x 11 13/16″ (30 x 30 cm)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of Shirley C. Burden, by exchange

 

Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006) 'Le Voyeur / Robbe-Grillet #2' 1972

 

Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006)
Le Voyeur / Robbe-Grillet #2
1972
Three canvas panels with bleached photographic emulsion and pastel chalk
14 x 40″ (35.6 x 101.6 cm)
George Eastman House, Rochester, New York. Museum Purchase with National Endowment for the Arts support

 

Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006) 'Child Guidance Toys' 1965

 

Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006)
Child Guidance Toys
1965
Black-and-white film transparency
5 x 18 1/16″ (12.7 x 45.8 cm)
The Art Institute of Chicago. Gift of Boardroom, Inc.

 

Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006) 'Lessons in Posing Subjects / Matching Facial Expressions' 1981

 

Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006)
Lessons in Posing Subjects / Matching Facial Expressions
1981
Fifteen internal dye diffusion transfer prints (SX-70 Polaroid) and lithographic text on Rives BFK paper
15 x 20″ (38.1 x 50.8 cm)
Collection UCLA Grunwald Center for Graphic Art, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. Gift of Dean Valentine and Amy Adelson

 

Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006) 'Kodak Safety Film / Taos Church' 1972

 

Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006)
Kodak Safety Film / Taos Church
1972
Black-and-white film transparency
40 x 56″ (101.6 x 142.2 cm)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Committee on Photography Fund

 

Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006) 'As Long As Your Up' 1965

 

Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006)
As Long As Your Up
1965
Black-and-white film transparency
15 1/2 x 19 5/8″ (39.4 x 49.8 cm)
The Robert Heinecken Trust, Chicago. Courtesy Petzel Gallery, New York

 

Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006) 'Periodical #5' 1971

 

Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006)
Periodical #5
1971
Offset lithography on found magazine
12 1/4 x 9″ (31.1 x 22.9 cm)
Collection Philip Aarons and Shelley Fox Aarons, New York

 

Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006) 'Six Figures/Mixed' 1968

 

Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006)
Six Figures/Mixed
1968
Layered Plexiglas and black-and-white film transparencies
5.75 x 9.75 x 1.5″ (14.61 x 24.77 x 3.81 cm)
Collection Darryl Curran, Los Angeles

 

Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006) 'Figure / Foliage #2' 1969

 

Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006)
Figure / Foliage #2
1969
Layered Plexiglas and black-and-white film transparencies
5 x 5 x 1 1/4″ (12.7 x 12.7 x 3.2 cm)
Collection Anton D. Segerstrom, Corona del Mar, California

 

Kaleidoscopic-Hexagon-#2-WEB

 

Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006)
Kaleidoscopic Hexagon #2
1965
Six gelatin silver prints on wood
Diameter: 14″ (35.6 cm)
Black Dog Collection. Promised gift to San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

 

Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006) '24 Figure Blocks' 1966

 

Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006)
24 Figure Blocks
1966
Twelve gelatin silver prints on wood blocks, and twelve additional wood blocks
14 1/16 x 14 1/16 x 13/16″ (35.7 x 35.7 x 2.1 cm)
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Gift of Jeanne and Richard S. Press

 

Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006) 'Multiple Solution Puzzle' 1965

 

Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006)
Multiple Solution Puzzle
1965
Sixteen gelatin silver prints on wood
11 1/4 x 11 1/4 x 1″ (28.6 x 28.6 x 2.5 cm)
Collection Maja Hoffmann/LUMA Foundation

 

 

The Museum of Modern Art presents Robert Heinecken: Object Matter, the first retrospective of the work of Robert Heinecken since his death in 2006 and the first exhibition on the East Coast to cover four decades of the artist’s unique practice, from the early 1960s through the late 1990s, on view from March 15 to September 7, 2014. Describing himself as a “para-photographer,” because his work stood “beside” or “beyond” traditional ideas associated with photography, Heinecken worked across multiple mediums, including photography, sculpture, printmaking, and collage. Culling images from newspapers, magazines, pornography, and television, he recontextualized them through collage and assemblage, photograms, darkroom experimentation, and rephotography. His works explore themes of commercialism, Americana, kitsch, sex, the body, and gender. In doing so, the works in this exhibition expose his obsession with popular culture and its effects on society, and with the relationship between the original and the copy. Robert Heinecken: Object Matter is organized by Eva Respini, Curator, with Drew Sawyer, Beaumont and Nancy Newhall Curatorial Fellow, Department of Photography, The Museum of Modern Art. The exhibition will travel to the Hammer Museum, and will be on view there from October 5, 2014 through January 17, 2015.

Heinecken dedicated his life to making art and teaching, establishing the photography program at UCLA in 1964, where he taught until 1991. He began making photographs in the early 1960s. The antithesis of the fine-print tradition exemplified by West Coast photographers Ansel Adams and Edward Weston, who photographed landscapes and objects in sharp focus and with objective clarity, Heinecken’s early work is marked by high contrast, blur, and under- or overexposure, as seen in Shadow Figure (1962) and Strip of Light (1964). In the mid-1960s he began combining and sequencing disparate pictures, as in Visual Poem/About the Sexual Education of a Young Girl (1965), which comprises seven black-and-white photographs of dolls with a portrait of his then-five-year-old daughter Karol at the center.

The female nude is a recurring motif, featured in Refractive Hexagon (1965), one of several “photopuzzles” composed of photographs of female body parts mounted onto 24 individual “puzzle” pieces. Other three-dimensional sculptures – geometric volumes ranging in height from five to 22 inches – consist of photographs mounted onto individual blocks, which rotate independently around a central axis. In Fractured Figure Sections (1967), as in Refractive Hexagon, the female figure is never resolved as a single image – the body is always truncated, never contiguous. In contrast, a complete female figure can be reconstituted in his largest photo-object, Transitional Figure Sculpture (1965), a towering 26-layer octagon composed from photographs of a nude that have been altered using various printing techniques. At the time, viewer engagement was key to creating random configurations and relationships in the work; any number of possibilities may exist, only to be altered with the next manipulation. Today, due to the fragility of the works, these objects are displayed in Plexiglas-covered vitrines. However, the number of sculptures and puzzles gathered here offer the viewer a sense of this diversity.

Heinecken’s groundbreaking suite Are You Rea (1964-68) is a series of 25 photograms made directly from magazine pages. Representative of a culture that was increasingly commercialized, technologically mediated, and suspicious of established truths, Are You Rea cemented Heinecken’s interest in the multiplicity of meanings inherent in existing images and situations. Culled from more than 2000 magazine pages, the work includes pictures from publications such as Life, Time, and Woman’s Day, contact-printed so that both sides are superimposed in a single image. Heinecken’s choice of pages and imagery are calculated to reveal specific relationships and meanings – ads for Coppertone juxtaposed with ads for spaghetti dinners and an article about John F. Kennedy superimposed on an ad for Wessex carpets – the portfolio’s narrative moves from relatively commonplace and alluring images of women to representations of violence and the male body.

Heinecken began altering magazines in 1969 with a series of 120 periodicals titled MANSMAG: Homage to Werkman and Cavalcade. He used the erotic men’s magazine Cavalcade as source material, making plates of every page, and randomly printing them on pages that were then reassembled into a magazine, now scrambled. In the same year, he disassembled numerous Time magazines, imprinting pornographic images taken from Cavalcade on every page, and reassembled them with the original Time covers. He circulated these reconstituted magazines by leaving them in waiting rooms or slipping them onto newsstands, allowing the work to come full circle – the source material returning to its point of origin after modification. He reprised this technique in 1989 with an altered issue of Time titled 150 Years of Photojournalism, a greatest hits of historical events seen through the lens of photography.

 

Installation views of 'Robert Heinecken: Object Matter' at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

Installation views of 'Robert Heinecken: Object Matter' at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

Installation views of 'Robert Heinecken: Object Matter' at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

Installation views of 'Robert Heinecken: Object Matter' at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

 

Installation views of Robert Heinecken: Object Matter at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
Photos by Jonathan Muzikar
© The Museum of Modern Art

 

Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006) 'Breast / Bomb #5' 1967

 

Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006)
Breast / Bomb #5
1967
Gelatin silver prints, cut and reassembled
38 1/2 x 38 1/4″ (97.8 x 97.2 cm)
Denver Art Museum. Funds From 1992 Alliance For Contemporary Art Auction

 

Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006) 'Then People Forget You' 1965

 

Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006)
Then People Forget You
1965
Gelatin silver print
10 3/8 x 12 15/16″ (26.3 x 32.8 cm)
The Art Institute of Chicago. Gift of Boardroom, Inc.

 

Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006) 'Cliche Vary / Autoeroticism' 1974

 

Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006)
Cliche Vary / Autoeroticism
1974
Eleven canvas panels with photographic emulsion and pastel chalk
39 1/2 x 39 1/2 in. (100.3 x 100.3 cm)
Collection Susan and Peter MacGill, New York

 

Robert Heinecken. 'Surrealism on TV' 1986

 

Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006)
Surrealism on TV
1986
216 35 mm color slides, slide-show time variable
The Robert Heinecken Trust, Chicago; courtesy Cherry and Martin Gallery, Los Angeles
© 2013 The Robert Heinecken Trust.

 

Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006) 'Shiva Manifesting as a Single Mother' 1989

 

Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006)
Shiva Manifesting as a Single Mother
1989
Magazine paper, paint and varnish
Collection Philip F. Denny, Chicago
© 2014 The Robert Heinecken Trust

 

 

Transparent film is also used in many of Heinecken’s works to explore different kinds of juxtapositions. In Kodak Safety Film/Christmas Mistake (1971), pornographic images are superimposed on a Christmas snapshot of Heinecken’s children with the suggestion in the title that somehow two rolls of film were mixed up at the photo lab. Kodak Safety Film/Taos Church (1972) takes photography itself as a subject, picturing an adobe church in New Mexico that was famously photographed by Ansel Adams and Paul Strand, and painted by Georgia O’Keeffe and John Marin. Presented as a negative, Heinecken’s version transforms an icon of modernism into a murky structure flanked by a pickup truck, telephone wires, and other modern-day debris.

Heinecken’s hybrid photographic paintings, created by applying photographic emulsion on canvas, are well represented in the exhibition. In Figure Horizon #1(1971), Heinecken reprised the cut-and-reassemble techniques from his puzzles and photo-sculptures, sequencing images of sections of the nude female body, to create impossible undulating landscapes. Cliché Vary, a pun on the 19th-century cliché verre process, is comprised of three large-scale modular works, all from 1974: Autoeroticism, Fetishism, and Lesbianism. The works are comprised of separately stretched canvas panels with considerable hand-applied color on the photographic image, invoking clichés associated with autoeroticism, fetishism, and lesbianism. Reminiscent of his cut-and-reassembled pieces, each panel features disjointed views of bodies and fetish objects that never make a whole, and increase in complexity, culminating with Lesbianism, which is made with seven or eight different negatives.

In the mid-1970s, Heinecken experimented with new materials introduced by Polaroid – specifically the SX-70 camera (which required no darkroom or technical know-how) – to produce the series He/She (1975-1980) and, later, Lessons in Posing Subjects (1981-82). Heinecken experimented with different types of instant prints, including the impressive two-panel S.S. Copyright Project: “On Photography” (1978), made the year after the publication of Susan Sontag’s collection of essays On Photography (1977). The S.S. Copyright Project consists of a magnified and doubled picture of Sontag, derived from the book’s dustcover portrait (taken by Jill Krementz). The work equates legibility with physical proximity – from afar, the portraits appear to be grainy enlargements from a negative (or, to contemporary eyes, pixilated low-resolution images), but at close range, it is apparent that the panels are composed of hundreds of small photographic scraps stapled together. The portrait on the left is composed of photographs of Sontag’’ text; the right features random images taken around Heinecken’s studio by his assistant.

Heinecken’s first large-scale sculptural installation, TV/Time Environment (1970), is the earliest in a series of works that address the increasingly dominant presence of television in American culture. In the installation, a positive film transparency of a female nude is placed in front of a functioning television set in an environment that evokes a living room, complete with recliner chair, plastic plant, and rug. Continuing his work with television, Heinecken created videograms – direct captures from the television that were produced by pressing Cibachrome paper onto the screen to expose the sensitized paper. Inaugural Excerpt Videograms (1981) features a composite from the live television broadcast of Ronald Reagan’s inauguration speech and the surrounding celebrations. The work, originally in 27 parts, now in 24, includes randomly chosen excerpts of the oration and news reports of it. Surrealism on TV (1986) explores the idea of transparency and layering using found media images to produce new readings. It features a slide show comprised of more than 200 images loaded into three slide projectors and projected in random order. The images generally fit into broad categories, which include newscasters, animals, TV evangelists, aerobics, and explosions.

Text from the MoMA press release

 

Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006) 'Figure Cube' 1965

 

Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006)
Figure Cube
1965
Gelatin silver prints on Masonite
5 7/8 x 5 7/8″ (15 x 15 cm)
The Robert Heinecken Trust. Courtesy Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona, Tucson

 

Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006) 'Figure in Six Sections' 1965

 

Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006)
Figure in Six Sections
1965
Gelatin silver prints on wood blocks
8 1/2 x 3 x 3″ (21.6 x 7.6 x 7.6 cm)
Collection Kathe Heinecken. Courtesy The Robert Heinecken Trust, Chicago

 

Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006) 'Fractured Figure Sections' 1967

 

Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006)
Fractured Figure Sections
1967
Gelatin silver prints on wood blocks
8 1/4 x 3 x 3″ (21 x 7.6 x 7.6 cm)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York. The Photography Council Fund and Committee on Photography Fund

 

Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006) 'The S.S. Copyright Project: "On Photography"' (Part 1 of 2) 1978

 

Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006)
The S.S. Copyright Project: “On Photography” (Part 1 of 2)
1978
Collage of black and white instant prints attached to composite board with staples
b 47 13/16 x 47 13/16″ (121.5 x 121.5 cm)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Purchased as the partial gift of Celeste Bartos

 

Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006) 'Recto/Verso #2' 1988

 

Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006)
Recto/Verso #2
1988
Silver dye bleach print
8 5/8 x 7 7/8″ (21.9 x 20 cm)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Mr. and Mrs. Clark Winter Fund

 

Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006) 'Figure Parts / Hair' 1967

 

Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006)
Figure Parts / Hair
1967
Black-and-whtie film transparencies over magazine-page collage
16 x 12″ (40.6 x 30.5 cm)
Collection Karol Heinecken Mora, Los Angeles

 

Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006) 'V.N. Pin Up' 1968

 

Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006)
V.N. Pin Up
1968
Black-and-white film transparency over magazine-page collage
12 1/2 • 10″ (31.8 • 25.4 cm)
Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. Gift of Daryl Gerber Stokols

 

Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006) 'Typographic Nude' 1965

 

Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006)
Typographic Nude
1965
Gelatin silver print
14 1/2 x 7″ (36.8 x 17.8 cm)
Collection Geofrey and and Laura Wyatt, Santa Barbara, California

 

Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006) 'Are You Rea #1' 1968

 

Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006)
Are You Rea #1
1968
Twenty-five gelatin silver prints
Various dimensions
Collection Jeffrey Leifer, San Francisco

 

Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006) 'Are You Rea #25' 1968

 

Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006)
Are You Rea #25
1968
Twenty-five gelatin silver prints
Various dimensions
Collection Jeffrey Leifer, San Francisco

 

Robert Heinecken (American, 1931–2006) 'Cybill Shepherd / Phone Sex' 1992

 

Robert Heinecken (American, 1931–2006)
Cybill Shepherd / Phone Sex
1992
Silver dye bleach print on foamcore
63 x 17″ (160 x 43.2 cm)
The Robert Heinecken Trust, Courtesy of Petzel Gallery, New York

 

Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006) 'MANSMAG: Homage to Werkman and Cavalcade' 1969

 

Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006)
MANSMAG: Homage to Werkman and Cavalcade
1969
Offset lithography on bound paper
8 3/4 x 6 5/8″ (22.2 x 16.8 cm)
The Robert Heinecken Trust, Chicago

 

 

The Museum of Modern Art
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New York, NY 10019
T: (212) 708-9400

Opening hours:
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Friday, 10.30 am – 8.00 pm
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12
Jan
13

Text: ‘Orality, (n)framing and enactment in the art of Jacqui Stockdale’ in IANN magazine Vol.8, ‘Unfound in Australia’, October 2012

January 2013

 

Jacqui Stockdale. 'Negro Returno, Long Gully' 2012

 

Jacqui Stockdale (Australian, b. 1968)
Negro Returno, Long Gully
2012
Type C Print
100 x 78cm

 

 

“What does it mean, to rediscover an unknown continent through the medium of photography in the 21st century? The seven artists that appear in this “Unfound in Australia” issue are well versed in the photographic technique and language familiar to modern art, yet show cultural distinctness that is nothing short of extraordinary. Our readers might experience a sense of shock or alienation from their work, which combines the new with the old. This kind of unsettling feeling may very well be an unconscious reaction to what we consider to be the ‘other.’ It is my hope that our readers will rediscover the power of photography as a chronological and visual language through these works of long under appreciated modern Australian photography.

.
IANN magazine
Vol.8, “Unfound in Australia,” October 2012 ‘IANN Magazine’ website [Online] Cited 06/01/2013

 

 

My text that appears in IANN magazine Vol.8, “Unfound in Australia” (October 2012) on the art of Jacqui Stockdale is a reworking of the review of her exhibition Jacqui Stockdale: The Quiet Wild at Helen Gorie Galerie in April – May 2012. It is a good piece of writing but it is the “lite” version of the text that I wrote. Instead of the “heavy” version fragmenting away on some long forgotten backup hard drive, and for those of you that like a little more conceptual meat on the bone, it is published below.

Other artists featured in the Volume 8 edition of IANN magazine include Marian Drew, Henri Van Noordenburg, Justine Khamara, Magdalena Bors and Christian Thompson.

Dr Marcus Bunyan

 

 

Orality, (n)framing and enactment in the art of Jacqui Stockdale

The concept of Orality is important in the art of Australian Jacqui Stockdale for her works are visual tone poems. Portraying identities in flux, her mythological creatures rise above the threshold of visibility to engage our relationship with time and space, to challenge the trace of experience.

Stockdale uses the body not as passive object but as descriptive and rhapsodic theme, the body as pliable flesh acting as a kind of threshold or hinge of experience – between interior and exterior, viewer and photograph, longing and desire. Drawing on personal places and stories, assemblage and performance (the process of painting the models and the outcome of this interaction), Stockdale creates a wonderful melange of archetypal characters that subvert traditional identities and narratives. Her creatures “shape-shift” and frustrate attempts at categorisation and assimilation.

The artist inverts cultural stereotypes (which embody elements of fixity, repetition, and ambivalence) located within the realms of the fetish, the scopic, and the Imaginary in order to dis/place the collective memory of viewers that have been inscribed with a stereotypical collective vernacular. In this process the work elides “fantasy” which Bhabha suggests plays a formative role in colonial exercises of power.1 In Stockdale’s upside-down world (quite appropriate for the “land down under”), “Each new identity is one of inversion; man becomes woman, child becomes adult, animals transform into humans and vice-versa.”2

An example of this inversion can be seen in her latest series of photographs, The Quiet Wild (2012). Here Stockdale unsettles traditional textual readings, the titles of her photographic portraits indecipherable to the uninitiated, a coded language of identity and place. Lagunta, Leeawuleena and Jaara for example, are three Aboriginal names meaning, respectively, Tasmanian Tiger, the name for the land around Cradle Mountain on that island and the name for the Long Gully region around Bendigo, Victoria (Stockdale’s native area); El Gato is the cat and Gondwanan the name for the southernmost of two supercontinents (the other being Laurasia) before the world split apart into the structure that we known today.

Stockdale’s performative tactics and multiple modes of address, her polyvocal subject if you like, may be said to be an effect of intertextuality3: “a conscious recognition and pursuit of an altogether different set of values and historical and cultural trajectories.”4 Undeniably her re-iterations and re-writings of cultural trajectories as ritual performative acts have links to Bakhtin’s idea of the carnivalesque and the carnival paradigm, which accords to certain patterns of play where “the social hierarchies of everyday life… are profaned and overturned by normally suppressed voices and energies.”5

It is through this “play” that the context of the photographs and their relationship to each other and the viewer are “framed.” This device emphasises the aesthetic rather than information and encourages the viewer to think about the relationship between the body, the world of which it is part and the dream-reason of time.6

This intertextual (n)framing (n meaning unspecified number in mathematics) encourages the viewer to explore the inbetween spaces in the meta-narrative, “and by leaps (intuitive leaps, poetic leaps, leaps of faith)”7 encourage escapism. Through the (n)framing of the body and the enactment of multiple selves Stockdale narrativises her mythological creatures, her charged bodies initiating new conditions of Otherness in the mise-en-scène of being. This is why her images are so powerful for her art approaches Otherness using a visual Orality and a theatrical openness that encourages disparate meanings to emerge into consciousness. It is up to us as viewers to seek the multiple, disparate significances of what is concealed in each photograph – in the myth of origin; in something that can’t be explained by man; in the expression of meaning of the things that are beyond us.

Dr Marcus Bunyan
August 2012

 

Footnotes

  1. “According to Bhabha, stereotypes are located within the realms of the fetish, the scopic, and the Imaginary. He suggests that fantasy plays a formative role in colonial exercises of power. Bhabha describes the mechanism of cultural stereotypes as embodying elements of fixity, repetition, fantasy, and ambivalence, and suggests that if certain types of images are constantly presented in a range of different contexts, they will become imprinted onto the collective memory of viewers and inscribed within a collective vernacular.”
    Vercoe, Caroline. Agency and Ambivalence: A Reading of Works by Coco Fusco,” in Fusco, Coco. The Bodies That Were Not Ours. London: Routledge, 2001, p. 240.
  2. Stockdale, Jacqui. Artist statement 2012
  3. Intertextuality “is always an iteration which is also a re-iteration, a re-writing which foregrounds the trace of the various texts it both knowingly and unknowingly places and dis-places.” Intertexuality is how a text is constituted. It fragments singular readings. “The reader’s own previous readings, experiences and position within the cultural formation” also influences these re-inscriptions.”
    Keep, Christopher, McLaughlin, Tim and Parmar, Robin. “Intertextuality,” on The Electronic Labyrinth website [Online] Cited 13/11/2011
  4. Fisher, Jean. “Witness for the Prosecution: The Writings of Coco Fusco,” in Fusco, Coco. The Bodies That Were Not Ours. London: Routledge, 2001, pp. 227-228.
  5. Anon. “Carnivalesque,” on the Wikipedia website. [Online] Cited 13/05/2012
  6. Bacon, Julie Louise. “Liquid Archive: On Ambivalence,” in Liquid Archive. Melbourne: Monash University Museum of Art (MUMA), 2012, p. 119
  7. Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, Barbara. “The Museum – A Refuge for Utopian Thought,” in Rüsen, Jörn; Fehr Michael, and Ramsbrock, Annelie (eds.). Die Unruhe der Kultur: Potentiale des Utopischen. Velbrück Wissenschaft, 2004. In German.

 

 

Marcus Bunyan writings

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11
Nov
12

Exhibition: ‘The Body as Protest’ at the Albertina, Vienna

Exhibition dates: 5th September – 2nd December 2012

 

 

Ishiuchi Miyako (Japanese, b. 1947)
1906#38
Nd
Courtesy by The Third Gallery Aya

 

 

“The past neglect of the body in social theory was a product of Western mind-body dualism that divided human experience into bodily and cognitive realms. The knowledge-body distinction identifies knowledge, culture, and reason with masculinity and identifies body, nature, and emotion with femininity. Viewing human reason as the principal source of progress and emancipation, it perceives “the rational” as separate from, and exalted over, the corporeal. In other words, consciousness was grasped as separate from and preceding the body (Bordo 1993; Davis 1997). Following feminist thinking about women’s bodies in patriarchal societies, contemporary social theories shifted focus from cognitive dimensions of identity construction to embodiment in the constitution of identities (Davis 1997). Social construction theories do not view the body as a biological given but as constituted in the intersection of discourse, social institutions, and the corporeality of the body. Body practices, therefore, reflect the basic values and themes of the society, and an analysis of the body can expose the intersubjective meaning common to society. At the same time, discourse and social institutions are produced and reproduced only through bodies and their techniques (Frank 1991, 91). Thus, social analysis has expanded from studying the body as an object of social control and discipline “in order to legitimate different regimes of domination” (Bordo 1993; Foucault 1975, 1978, 1980) to perceiving it as a subject that creates meaning and performs social action (Butler 1990). The body is understood as a means for self-expression, an important feature in a person’s identity project (Giddens 1991), and a site for social subversiveness and self-empowerment (Davis 1997).”

.
Orna Sasson-Levy and Tamar Rapoport. “Body, Gender, and Knowledge in Protest Movements: The Israeli Case,” in ‘Gender & Society’ 17, 2003, p. 381. For the references in the quotation please see the end of the paper at attached link.

 

 

Despite my great admiration for John Coplans photographs of his body, on the evidence of these press photographs and the attached video, this exhibition seems a beautiful if rather tame affair considering the subject matter. Of course these photographs of the body can be understood as a means for self-expression and self-empowerment but there seems little social subversiveness in the choice of work on display. The two Mapplethorpe’s are stylised instead of stonkingly subversive, and could have been taken from his ‘X’ portfolio (the self portrait of him with a bull whip up his arse would have been particularly pleasing to see in this context). The exhibition could have included some of the many artists using the body as protest during the AIDS crisis (perhaps my favourite David Wojnarowicz or William Yang’s Sadness), the famous Burning Monk – The Self-Immolation (1963) by Malcolm Browne, photographs by Stellarc, Arthur Tress, Duane Michals, Nan Goldin, Diane Arbus, Francesca Woodman, Sally Mann, Cindy Sherman to name but a few; even the Farm Security Administration photographs of share cropper families by Walker Evans and Dorothea Lange would have had more impact than some of the photographs on display here. Having not seen the entire exhibition it is hard to give an overall reading, but on the selection presented here it would seem that this was a missed opportunity, an exhibition where the body did not protest enough.

Dr Marcus Bunyan

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

 

 

theartVIEw – The Body as Protest at ALBERTINA

 

 

Hannah Villiger (Swiss, b. 1974)
Block XXX
1993-1994
© The Estate of Hannah Villiger

 

 

Ketty La Rocca (Italian, 1938-1976)
Le mie parole e tu
1974
Courtesy Private Collection, Austria

 

 

John Coplans (British, 1920-2003)
Self Portrait Interlocking Fingers No 6
1999
Silbergelatinepapier
Albertina, Wien

 

 

Bruce Nauman (American, b. 1941)
Studies for Holograms
Siebdruck, 1970
© VBK, Wien 2012
Foto: © Rheinisches Bildarchiv Köln

 

 

Robert Mapplethorpe (American, 1946-1989)
Vincent
1981
Silbergelatinepapier
© Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation

 

 

The exhibition The Body as Protest highlights the photographic representation of the human body – a motif that has provided a wide variety of photographers with an often radical means of expression for their visual protest against social, political, but also aesthetic norms.

The show centres on an outstanding group of works by the artist John Coplans from the holdings of the Albertina. In his serially conceived large-format pictures, the photographer focused on the rendering of his own nude body, which he defamiliarised through fragmentation far from current forms of idealisation. Relying on extremely sophisticated lighting, he presented himself in a monumental and sculptural manner over many years. His photographs can be understood as amalgamations of theoretical and artistic ideas, which in the show are accentuated through selective juxtapositions with works by other important exponents of body-related art.

The body also features prominently in the work of other artists such as Hannah Wilke, Ketty La Rocca, Hannah Villiger, Vito Acconci, Bruce Nauman, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Miyako Ishiuchi. By means of these positions, such diverse themes as self-dramatisation, conceptual photography, feminism, body language, and even transience are analysed within an expanded artistic range. Moreover, the exhibition offers a differentiated view of the critical depiction of the human body as it has been practiced since 1970.

Text from the Albertina website

 

 

Hannah Wilke (American, 1940-1993)
Gestures
1974-76
Basierend auf der gleichnamigen
Video Performance von 1974
(35:30 min, b&w, sound)
Silbergelatinepapier
12 Blatt je 12,7x 17,8 cm
© Marsie, Emanuelle, Damon and Andrew Scharlatt, The Hannah Wilke Collection & Archive, L.A./ VBK, Wien 2012

 

 

John Coplans (British, 1920-2003)
Frieze No. 6
1994
Silbergelatinepapier
Albertina, Wien

 

 

John Coplans (British, 1920-2003)
Self Portrait (Hands)
1988
Silbergelatinepapier
Albertina, Wien

 

 

Ketty La Rocca (Italian, 1938-1976)
Craniologia
1973
Radiografie mit überblendeter Fotografie
SAMMLUNG VERBUND

 

 

Robert Mapplethorpe (American, 1946-1989)
Thomas
1986
Silbergelatinepapier
© Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation

 

 

John Coplans (British, 1920-2003)
Self Portrait Interlocking Fingers No 17
2000
Silbergelatinepapier
Albertina, Wien

 

 

John Coplans (British, 1920-2003)
Back with Arms Above
1984
Silbergelatinepapier
© The John Coplans Trust

 

 

Albertina
Albertinaplatz 1
1010 Vienna, Austria
Phone: +43 (0)1 534 83-0

Opening hours:
Daily 10am – 6pm
Wednesday 10am – 9pm

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27
Sep
12

Text: ‘The defining of Apollonian and Dionysian ideals in images of the male body’ Dr Marcus Bunyan / Exhibition: ‘Robert Mapplethorpe’ at the Ludwig Museum of Contemporary Art, Budapest

Exhibition dates: 25th May – 30th September 2012

 

F. Holland Day (American, 1864-1933) 'The Vision (Orpheus Scene)' 1907

 

F. Holland Day (American, 1864-1933)
The Vision (Orpheus Scene)
1907
Platinum print
24.4 x 18.4 cm (9 5/8 x 7 1/4 in.)

 

 

“Perfection means you don’t question anything about the photograph. There are certain pictures I’ve taken in which you really can’t move that leaf or that hand. It’s where it should be, and you can’t say it could have been there. There is nothing to question as in a great painting. I often have trouble with contemporary art because I find it’s not perfect. It doesn’t have to be anatomically correct to be perfect either. A Picasso portrait is perfect. It’s just not questionable. In the best of my pictures, there’s nothing to question – it’s just there.”

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Robert Mapplethorpe

 

 

Written in 1996 (but never published until now), this is one of my earliest pieces of research and writing. While it is somewhat idealistic in many ways, hopefully this piece still has some relevance for the reader for there are important ideas contained within the text.

 

Baron Wilhelm von Gloeden (1856-1931), Germany 'Two nude men standing in a forest' Taormina, Sicily, 1899

 

Baron Wilhelm von Gloeden (1856-1931)
Two nude men standing in a forest
Taormina, Sicily, 1899
Albumen print

 

 

The defining of Apollonian and Dionysian ideals in images of the male body

Photography has portrayed the Apollonian and Dionysian ideals of the body throughout its history, but has never fully explored the theoretical implications and consequences of this pairing. Our presentation of the body says precise things about the society in which we live, the degree of our integration within that society and the controls which society exerts over the innerman.1 My research concentrated on how images of the male body, as a representation of the Self/Other split, have been affected by these ideals.

We can clearly define the Apollonian (beauty, perfection, obsession, narcissism, voyeurism, idols, fascism, frigid, constraint, oppression, the defined, the personalised, an aggression of the eye linked to greed and desire) and Dionysian (ecstasy, eroticism, hysteria, energy, anarchy, promiscuity, death, emotion, bodily substances and the universal). In reality the boundaries between these ideals are more ambiguous.

For example, in the work of the American photographer Fred Holland Day we see allegorical myths portrayed by beautiful youths, many of which to modern eyes have a powerful homoerotic quality.

“In close proximity to eroticism associated with homosocial bonding and sexuality, these pictures were infused with desire and anxiety, repulsion and attraction … Day’s male nudes possess the aesthetic trappings of refined art and high culture … but also contain a frisson of impending sexual release and bodily pleasure, to say nothing of their sado-erotic inflection and paedophilic associations.”2

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According to some critics,3 societies acceptance of photographs of Apollonian or Orphic (Dionysian) youths [see 2 different critical views]4 in that era (the fin de siecle of the nineteenth century and the early years of the twentieth century), was based on what was seen as their chaste, idyllic nature. They represented ‘ephebes’ – males who were between boy and man – who posed no threat to the patriarchal status quo. To other critics5 these ‘ephebes’ present a challenge to the construction of heterosexual / homosexual identity along gender lines, echoing Foucault’s thoughts on the imprisoning nature of categories of sexual identity.6

For Day, physical beauty was the testimony of a transcendent spirit.7 His portraits tried to uncover the true spirit of his subjects, revealing what was hidden behind the mask of e(x)ternal beauty. But what was being revealed? Was it the subject’s own spiritual integrity, his true self, or a false self as directed by the photographer whose instructions he was enacting? Was it F. Holland Day’s erotic fantasies the subject was acting out, or was it a perception of his own identity or a combination of both? These works show Day as both director and collaborator, his idols equally unattainable and available, resilient and vulnerable. In portraying this beauty, was Day embracing a seductive utopia in which this Apollonian beauty leads away from the very Dionysian spirit he was trying to engage with?

At around the same time a Prussian named Baron Wilhelm von Gloeden was also taking photographs of scantily clad local peasant youths, based on Arcadian themes. “In von Gloeden’s perception of the world human figures are not in themselves merely erotic, but become aesthetic objects … a setting in which beautiful things are the content of the image.”8

While this may be true, the focus of the images is always on what Von Gloeden desired, his full frontal nudes drawing our eyes to the locus of sexual desire, the penis. Von Gloeden’s “transformation of ordinary working class boys into the very image of antique legend,”9 the conjunction of the Apollonian and the Dionysian, blurs the distinctions between the two. Both Day and Von Gloeden were wealthy, educated, influential men who had a desire for working class boys. Did they help create an erotic tension across class lines and effect a particular Camp taste when society at that time (the first decade of the 20th century) was beginning to define areas of sexual categorisation that would label gay men perverts and degenerates? Even today, comparing contemporary critical analysis of Von Gloeden’s photographs can produce vastly differing conceptualisations as to the evidence of sexual overtones:

“The distinction between form and sexual attractiveness is tenuously maintained and the expression of the subjects’ face suggests a lofty remoteness rather than sexual availability or provocativeness.”10

“Von Gloeden’s pictures are fairly specific in depicting erotically based encounters between Mediterranean males. In many of them, the gazes shared between young men or the suggestive relationships of figure to figure hint at activities that might take place beyond the cameras range.”11

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For Day and Von Gloeden the need to possess something beautiful, something that was taboo, compensated both photographers for something they had lost – their youth. This transfers their death onto the object of their possession; the beautiful youths ‘captured’ in their photographs. Georges Bataille links eroticism to the inner life of man, the true self, and the eroticism of these photographs opens the way to a viewing of death and allows the photographer the power to look death in the face. According to Bataille, possession of something beautiful negates our need to die because we have objectified our need in someone else.12

What we know and understand about the world is partially built on images that are recorded, interpreted and imprinted in our brains as the result of the experiences we encounter throughout our lives. Our memory is forever fragmenting our remembered reality. It provides us with a point of view of the reality of the world in which we live and on which our identities are formed. When we look at a photograph we (sub)consciously bring all of our social encultration, our hates, our desires and our spirit to bear on the definition of that photograph at the time of viewing (an each viewing can be different!). Inherently embedded in any photograph then, are all these Dionysian stirrings – of desire, of eroticism, of death and of memory. Even if the photograph is entirely Apollonian in content the definition of that photograph can be open to any possibility, by any body.

One photographer who sought to access, and have connection to, fundamental truths was the American photographer Minor White. Studying Zen Buddhism, Gurdjieff and astrology, White believed in the photographs’ connection to the subject he was photographing and the subject’s connection back via the camera to the photographer forming a holistic circle.13 When, in meditation, this connection was open he would then expose the negative in the camera hopeful of a “revelation” of spirit in the subsequent photograph. White feared public exposure as a homosexual and struggled for years to resist the shame and disgust he felt over his sexual desires. Very few of his male portraits were exhibited during his lifetime, his Dionysian urgings difficult to reconcile with or assimilate into his images of peace and serenity, images that urged unity of self and spirit, of yin and yang. In the East yin / yang is both / and, being transformable and interpenetrating whilst in the West black / white is either/or not both, being exclusive and non-interactive. But who is to say what is ugly or what is beautiful? What is black or what is white?

In the work of the American photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, we can see the formalised classical aesthetic of beauty combined with content which many people are repelled by (pornography, sexuality, violence, power) creating work which is both Apollonian and Dionysian.14 Peoples’ disgust at the content of some of Mapplethorpe’s images is an Apollonian response, an aesthetic judgement, a backing away from a connection to ‘nature’, meaning ‘that which is born’. Mapplethorpe said, “I’ve done everything I show in my photographs,”15 revealing a connection to an inner self, regardless of whether he intended to shock. Those seeking suppression of Mapplethorpe’s photographs, mainly conservative elements of society, cite the denigration of moral values as the main reason for their attacks. However Mapplethorpe’s S&M photographs sought to re-present the identity of a small subculture of the gay community that exists within the general community and by naming this subculture he sought to document and validate its existence. The photograph can and does lie but here was the ‘truth’ of these Dionysian experiences, which conservative bigots could not deny – that they exist.

In the NEA/Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center controversy surrounding Mapplethorpe16 his work was defended on aesthetic grounds, not on the grounds of homoerotic content, of freedom of expression or artistic freedom. The classical Apollonian form of his images was emphasised. As one juror put it, “Going in, I would never have said the pictures have artistic value. Learning as we did about art, I and everyone else thought they did have some value. We are learning about something ugly and harsh in society.”17 Ugly and harsh. To some people in the world S&M scenes are perfectly natural and beautiful and can lead to the most transcendent experience that a human being can ever have in their life. Who is to decide for the individual his or her freedom to choose?

This Apollonian fear of the Dionysian ‘Other’, the emotional chaotic self, was found to involve fear of that which is potentially the ‘same as’ – two sides of the same coin. This fear of ‘the same’, or of the proximity of the same, or of the threat of the same, can lead to violence, homophobia, racism and bigotry. Mapping out sexual identities’ toleration of difference, which is ‘the same as’, recognises that there are many different ways of being, and many truths in the world.

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In conclusion I have determined that the definition of Apollonian and Dionysian ideals in images of the male body are at best ambiguous and open to redefinition and reinterpretation. The multiplicity of readings that can be attached to images of the male body, in different eras, by different people illustrates the very problematic theoretical area these images inhabit. As we seek to ‘name’, to categorise, to nullify the ‘Other’ as a Dionysian connection to earth and nature, it may cause an alienated ‘Self’ to revolt against Apollonian powers of control in order to break down the lived distance that divides people. This creates situations / encounters / experiences that are regarded as transgressive and a threat to the hegemonic fabric of society.

But do these experiences offer an alternative path for the evolution of the human race? Not the replacing of one patriarchal, capitalist system with another based on ecstatic spiritual consciousness but perhaps a more level playing field, one based on a horizontal consciousness (a balance between Apollonian and Dionysian), a ‘knowing’ and understanding, a respect for our self and others. My claim as an’Other’ is that these perceived transgressions, not just the binary either / or, may ultimately free human beings and allow them to experience life and grow. Where nothing is named, everything is possible.

Marcus Bunyan 1996

 

  1. Blain, Robert. The Decorated Body. London: Thames & Hudson, 1979, p. 5, Introduction
  2. Crump, James. F. Holland Day – Suffering the Ideal. Santa Fe: Twin Palms, 1995, p. 11
  3. Foster, Alasdair. Behold The Man – The Male Nude In Photography. Edinburgh: Stills, 1989, p. 9
  4. Jussim, Estelle. Slave To Beauty – The Eccentric Life And Controversial Career of F. Holland Day, Photographer, Publisher, Aesthete. Boston: Godine, 1981, pp. 175-176; Ellenzweig, Allan. The Homoerotic Photograph. New York: Columbia University, 1992, p. 59
  5. Ellenzweig, p. 59
  6. Weeks, Jeffrey. Against Nature:  Essays on history, sexuality and identity. London: Rivers Osram Press, 1991, p. 164
  7. Day, F. Holland. “Is Photography An Art?” p. 8, quoted in Crump, James. F. Holland Day – Suffering The Ideal. Santa Fe: Twin Palms, 1995, p. 20
  8. Ellenzweig, p. 39
  9. Leslie, Charles. Wilhelm von Gloeden, Photographer. New York: Soho Photographic, 1997, p. 86
  10. Dutton, Kenneth R. The Perfectible Body. London: Cassell, 1995, p. 95
  11. Ellenzweig, p. 43
  12. Bataille, Georges. Death And Sensuality. New York: Walker And Company, 1962, p. 24
  13. Bateson, Gregory. Steps To An Ecology Of Mind – Collected Essays On Anthropology, Psychiatry, Evolution And Epistemology. St. Albans: Paladin, 1973
  14. Danto, Arthur C. Mapplethorpe – Playing With The Edge. Essay. London: Jonathon Cape, 1992, p. 331
  15. Interview with Robert Mapplethorpe quoted in Cooper, Emmanuel. The Sexual Perspective. London: Routledge, 1986, p. 286
  16. Ellenzweig, p. 205, Footnote 1
  17. Cembalest, Robin. “The Obscenity Trial: How They Voted To Acquit,” in Art News December 1990 89 (10), p. 141 quoted in Ellenzweig, p. 208

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

 

 

Minor White (American, 1908-1976) 'Arches of the Dodd Building (Southwest Front Avenue and Ankeny Street)' 1938

 

Minor White (American, 1908-1976)
Arches of the Dodd Building (Southwest Front Avenue and Ankeny Street)
1938
Gelatin silver print

 

 

Minor White (American, 1908-1976)
Tom Murphy (San Francisco)
1948
Gelatin silver print

 

 

Robert Mapplethorpe (American, 1946-1989)
Self Portrait
1975
Gelatin silver print
© Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. Used with permission

 

 

Robert Mapplethorpe (American, 1946-1989)
Derrick Cross
1983
Gelatin silver print
© Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. Used with permission

 

 

Robert Mapplethorpe (American, 1946-1989)
Thomas
1987
Gelatin silver print
© Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. Used with permission

 

 

Robert Mapplethorpe (American, 1946-1989)
Two Tulips
1984
Gelatin silver print
© Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. Used with permission

 

 

A renowned figure of contemporary photography, Robert Mapplethorpe (1946-1989) was in his element in a domain defined by conventions and revolt, classicism and non-conformist cultures, where each picture serves as a document of hard-fought identities, as well as inciting and recording social and artistic debates. The Ludwig Museum Budapest features nearly two hundred works by Robert Mapplethorpe, from his early Polaroid photos to pieces from his final years. Realised in collaboration with the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation New York, this large-scale exhibition is presented to a Hungarian audience for the first time.

Initially, Mapplethorpe had no intention of becoming a photographer. His early collages and altar-like installations incorporated found elements including photos from magazines. Seeking to give these works a more personal and perfect touch, he decided to shoot the photos himself. His major subjects were his immediate environment and personal desires: the alternative circles of the New York art scene, his identity as a homosexual, non-traditional forms of sexuality, and the communities organised around them. The New York of the seventies was a great melting pot of contiguous subcultures, sexual freedom, post-Pop and rock’n’roll. Mapplethorpe’s environment included Andy Warhol and his entourage from the Factory, the superstars of his films as well as the inhabitants of the legendary Chelsea Hotel, who inspired his art and became part of his audience.

His portraits of famous individuals and those longing for fame also positioned their photographer within their circle. He was a renowned artist seeking to establish relationships with people who stand out, one way or another, from the rest of society, without submitting himself to them. Posing for his camera were film stars, musicians, writers and visual artists, the celebrities and central figures of New York in the seventies and eighties, including pornographic film stars and body builders. He made engaging and elegant portraits attesting to his intense attention, humour, and ambition toward a sense of the monumental.

Mapplethorpe developed an increasingly committed and professional attitude to photography. His quest for the perfect image led him to classical compositions and subjects. While precision of forms and a quality of reserve were combined in his works, his intense attention to his models remained unchanged; he photographed torsos and floral still-lifes with the same cool professionalism. His nudes evoke classical Greek statues and Renaissance masterpieces, with their arrangement and sculptural approach to the body dating back to traditions that have existed for several hundred years. Such an incarnation of classical formalism, however, was juxtaposed with shocking new subjects and stark sexual fetishes, resulting in radical re-creations of the approach to tradition.

The perfect image called for the perfect body: his shots of black men, female body-builders and austere flowers seem to articulate his one and only vision, again and again. He almost always worked in the studio, most often in black and white, using increasingly defined tones. With unified backgrounds and balance of forms, his photos remove the subjects from their own realities to relocate them in the timeless, frozen space of the photograph. In terms of their statue-like beauty and rigorous composition of every detail, his pictures continue and renew the classical photographic tradition all at once. Such classical virtues, however, did not make these photos exempt from criticism: both his subject matter and their manner of presentation sparked controversy. Their sexual themes aroused unease, and criticism of the work failed to make a distinction between the statue-like beauty of body parts and torsos, the sexual stereotypes associated with black male bodies, and the objectification of the bodies.

Mapplethorpe’s works created a place for homosexual and S&M identities in the domain of high art, subverting conventions, transgressing unspoken social agreements and revealing prejudices, in line with the artist’s personal desires and self-definition. In the United States, during the eighties, in the first moments of horror in the face of AIDS, the condemnation of homosexuality and the undefined dread of the disease became entwined. Such developments stirred up the already intense controversies around Mapplethorpe’s photos, adding a new overtone to the voice of conservative protesters. (Mapplethorpe was diagnosed with AIDS in 1986, and he died in the spring of 1989 due to complications related to the disease).

The cultural-political debates of the so-called Culture Wars in the late 1980s and 1990s in the United States, fuelled the decision of the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., to cancel its leg of the travelling exhibition “The Perfect Moment,” which included several thought-provoking photos that the conservative right-wing had denounced as obscene and arrogant assaults on public taste. A long and heated debate was to follow, including both hysterical and absurd commentaries, triggering police actions and a trial against a subsequent venue, the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati as well as its director. Though the museum and its director were eventually cleared of all charges, the case continued to shape the cultural-political landscape in the US, which partly concluded in a revision of the public funding of artworks and is still referred to today as an outstanding example of the methodology of censorship.

Press release from the Ludwig Museum of Contemporary Art website

 

 

Robert Mapplethorpe (American, 1946-1989)
Ken Moody and Robert Sherman
1984
Gelatin silver print
© Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. Used with permission

 

 

Robert Mapplethorpe (American, 1946-1989)
Untitled
c. 1973
Gelatin silver print
© Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. Used with permission

 

 

Robert Mapplethorpe (American, 1946-1989)
Lisa Lyon
1982
Gelatin silver print
© Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. Used with permission

 

 

Robert Mapplethorpe (American, 1946-1989)
Ajitto
1981
Gelatin silver print
© Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. Used with permission

 

 

Robert Mapplethorpe (American, 1946-1989)
Self Portrait
1988
© Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. Used with permission

 

 

Ludwig Museum of Contemporary Art
1095 Budapest  Komor Marcell Street 1
Hungary 06 1 555-3444

Opening hours:
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Closed on Mondays

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01
Sep
12

Exhibition: ‘Naked Before the Camera’ at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Exhibition dates: 27th March – 9th September 2012

 

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

 

 

Franck-François-Genès Chauvassaignes (French, 1831 - after 1900) 'Untitled [Female Nude in Studio]' 1856-59

 

Franck-François-Genès Chauvassaignes (French, 1831 – after 1900)
Untitled [Female Nude in Studio]
1856-59
Salted paper print from glass negative
19.1 x 15.2cm (7.5 x 6 in.)
Purchase, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation Gift, through Joyce and Robert Menschel, 1998
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Public domain

 

 

This corner of a painter’s atelier somewhere in France in the middle of the nineteenth century is scarcely tethered to time or place; it could as easily be a loft in New York today or, had photography existed four centuries earlier, a studio in the Italian Renaissance. What is surprising here is the absence of even the thinnest disguise – no swags of drapery, elaborate coiffure, or skeins of beads as are commonly found in the work of other purveyors of “studies for artists.” Here, the model is utterly naked. With her intelligent head and dirty feet, this young woman helped found the matter-of-fact modelling sorority joined a decade later by Édouard Manet’s Olympia.

Text from the Metropolitan Museum of Art website

 

Eugène Durieu (French, 1800-1874) 'Untitled [Seated Female Nude]' 1853-54

 

Eugène Durieu (French, 1800-1874)
Untitled [Seated Female Nude]
1853-54
Albumen silver print from glass negative
6 13/16 × 4 11/16 in. (17.3 × 11.9cm)
Gilman Collection, Purchase, Mr. and Mrs. Henry R. Kravis Gift, 2005
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Public domain

 

 

Durieu was a lawyer and early advocate and practitioner of photography in France who, in 1853-54, made a series of photographic studies of nude and costumed figures as models for artists. The French Romantic painter Eugène Delacroix helped him pose the figures and later praised the prints, from which he sketched, as “palpable demonstrations of the free design of nature.” While the painter saw the accurate transcription of reality as a virtue of photography, Durieu knew that a good photograph was not simply the result of the correct use of the medium but, more significantly, an expression of the photographer’s temperament and vision. In an important article he emphasised the interpretative nature of the complex manipulations in photography and explained that the photographer must previsualise his results so as to make a “picture,” not just a “copy.”

This photograph proves Durieu’s point: through the elegant contours of the drapery, the smooth modelling of the flesh, and the grace and restraint of the pose, the picture attains an artistic poise that combines Delacroix’s sensuality with Ingres’s classicism, and rivals both.

Text from the Metropolitan Museum of Art website

 

Charles Alphonse Marlé (French, 1821 - after 1867) 'Untitled [Standing Male Nude]' c. 1855

 

Charles Alphonse Marlé (French, 1821 – after 1867)
Untitled [Standing Male Nude]
c. 1855
Salted paper print from paper negative
25.7 x 17.6cm (10 1/8 x 6 15/16 in.)
Purchase, Ezra Mack Gift and The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation Gift through Joyce and Robert Menschel, 1991
Metropolitan Museum of Art

 

 

Marlé’s photograph was probably intended as an aid for painters and sculptors. The jury-rigged arrangement of podium, books, and potted tree, as well as the painting held in the background by a studio assistant, may strike the modern viewer as an incongruous contrast to the heroic gesture of the model. Marlé and those who bought his photograph, however, would have been absorbed by the grand academic pose and likely would have thought the awkward accoutrements of little consequence.

Text from the Metropolitan Museum of Art website

 

Félix-Jacques-Antoine Moulin (French, 1800 - after 1875) 'Untitled [Two Standing Female Nudes]' c. 1850

 

Félix-Jacques-Antoine Moulin (French, 1800 – after 1875)
Untitled [Two Standing Female Nudes]
c. 1850
Daguerreotype
Visible: 14.5 x 11.1cm (5 11/16 x 4 3/8 in.)
The Rubel Collection, Purchase, Anonymous Gift and Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 1997
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Public domain

 

 

Although Moulin was sentenced in 1851 to a month in jail for producing images that, according to court papers, were “so obscene that even to pronounce the titles… would be to commit an indecency,” this daguerreotype seems more allied to art than to erotica. Instead of the boudoir props and provocative poses typical of hand-coloured pornographic daguerreotypes, Moulin depicted these two young women utterly at ease, as unselfconscious in their nudity as Botticelli’s Venus.

Text from the Metropolitan Museum of Art website

 

 

Depicting the human body has been among the greatest challenges, preoccupations, and supreme achievements of artists for centuries. The nude – even in generalised or idealised renderings – has triggered impassioned discussions about sin, sexuality, cultural identity, and canons of beauty, especially when the chosen medium is photography, with its inherent accuracy and specificity. Through September 9, 2012, Naked before the Camera, an exhibition of more than 60 photographs selected from the renowned holdings of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, surveys the history of this subject and explores some of the motivations and meanings that underlie photographers’ fascination with the nude.

“In every culture and across time, artists have been captivated by the human figure,” commented Thomas P. Campbell, Director of the Metropolitan. “In Naked before the Camera, we see how photographers have used their medium to explore this age-old subject and create compelling new images.”

The exhibition begins in the 19th century, when photographs often served artists as substitutes for live models. Such “studies for artists” were known to have been used by the French painter Gustave Courbet, whose Woman with a Parrot (1866), for instance, is strikingly similar to photographer Julien Vallou de Villeneuve’s Female Nude of 1853. Even when their stated purpose was to aid artists, however, the best of these 19th-century photographs of the nude were also intended as works of art in their own right. Two recently acquired photographs, made in the mid-1850s by an unknown French artist, are striking examples. Not only are they larger than all other photographic nudes from the time, they stand out due to an extraordinary surface pattern that interrupts the images and suggests a view through gossamer or a photograph printed on finely pleated silk rather than paper. The elegant Female Nude harkens back to an Eve or Venus and is vignetted by the camera lens as if seen through a peephole, while her male counterpart is shown in strict profile in a pose that recalls precedents from antiquity. Each figure draws from the past while being presented in a strikingly modern way, without any equivalent among other 19th-century studies for artists.

Not all photographers of the nude were motivated by artistic desire. The second section of Naked before the Camera includes photographs made for medical and forensic purposes, as ethnographic studies, as tools to analyse anatomy and movement, and – not surprisingly – as erotica. The lines between such categories were not always clearly drawn; some photographers called their images “studies for artists” merely to evade the censors, while viewers of the G. W. Wilson Studio’s Zulu Girls (1892-93) or Paul Wirz’s ethnographic photographs of scantily clad Indonesians from the 1910s and 1920s were undoubtedly titillated by the blending of exoticism and eroticism.

Beginning in the fertile period of modernist experimentation that followed on the heels of World War I, photographers such as Brassaï, Man Ray, Hans Bellmer, André Kertész, and Bill Brandt found in the human body a perfect vehicle for both visual play and psycho-sexual exploration. In Distortion #6 (1932) by André Kertész, a woman’s body is stretched and pulled in the reflections of a fun-house mirror – a figure from a Surrealist dream that stands in stark contrast to the images of perfect feminine beauty by earlier photographers.

In mid-20th-century America, photographers more often communicated an intimate connection with their subjects. Following the example of Alfred Stieglitz’s famed portraits of Georgia O’Keeffe, photographers such as Edward Weston, Harry Callahan, and Emmet Gowin made many nude studies of their wives. Callahan’s photograph of his wife and daughter, Eleanor and Barbara, Chicago (1954), for instance, gives the viewer access to a private, tender moment of intimacy.

In the wake of the sexual revolution of the 1960s and the AIDS crisis that began in the 1980s, artists began to think of the body as a politicised terrain and explored issues of identity, sexuality, and gender. Diane Arbus’s Retired man and his wife at home in a nudist camp one morning, N.J. (1963) and A naked man being a woman, N.Y.C. (1968), Larry Clark’s untitled image (1972-73) from the series Teenage Lust, and Hannah Wilke’s Snatch Shot with Ray Gun (1978) are among the works featured in the concluding section of the exhibition.

Press release from the Metropolitan Museum of Art website

 

Julien Vallou de Villeneuve (French, 1795-1866) '[Reclining Female Nude]' c. 1853

 

Julien Vallou de Villeneuve (French, 1795-1866)
[Reclining Female Nude]
c. 1853
Salted paper print from paper negative
11.8 x 16.0cm (4 5/8 x 6 5/16 in.)
Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 1993
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Public domain

 

 

A student of the painter Jean François Millet and a lithographer of scenes of daily life, costume, and erotica in the 1820s and 1830s, Vallou reportedly took up photography in the early 1840s, but his early photographs have not been identified. Perhaps they depicted naked women, a subject for which it was improper to acknowledge authorship.
Between 1851 and 1855, however, Vallou made a series of photographs of female nudes that he marketed (and legally registered) as models for artists. Vallou’s nudes have long been associated with those of Gustave Courbet, who is known to have used photographs in his painting process. Although no absolute one-to-one correspondence can be pointed to, the heavy soporific quality of Vallou’s models is very close to Courbet’s concept of the nude, and the reclining figure displayed here is strikingly similar in pose to the painter’s Woman with a Parrot (1866), on view in the galleries for nineteenth-century painting.

Text from the Metropolitan Museum of Art website

 

Brassaï (French (born Romania), Brasov 1899 - 1984 Côte d'Azur) 'Nude' 1931-34

 

Brassaï (French (born Romania), Brasov 1899 – 1984 Côte d’Azur)
Nude
1931-34
Gelatin silver print
14.1 x 23.5cm (5 9/16 x 9 1/4 in.)
Twentieth-Century Photography Fund, 2007
© The Estate of Brassai
Metropolitan Museum of Art

 

 

One of the most radically abstract of Brassaï’s nudes, this image was published in 1933 in the inaugural issue of the avant-garde magazine Minotaure. With the figure’s head and legs cut off by the picture’s edges, the twisting, truncated torso seems to float in space like an apparition – an ambiguous, organic form with an uncanny resemblance to a phallus. This transformation of the female figure into a fetish object is a hallmark of Surrealism that reflects the important influence of Freud’s psychoanalytic theory on European art of the early twentieth century.

Text from the Metropolitan Museum of Art website

 

Man Ray (American, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1890 - 1976 Paris) 'Arm' c. 1935

 

Man Ray (American, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1890 – 1976 Paris)
Arm
c. 1935
Gelatin silver print
29.7 x 23.0cm (11 11/16 x 9 1/16 in.)
Ford Motor Company Collection, Gift of Ford Motor Company and John C. Waddell, 1987
© 2012 Man Ray Trust / Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY / ADAGP, Paris
Metropolitan Museum of Art

 

 

Man Ray’s photograph of an arm is cropped so abstractly that it seems to metamorphose into other body parts – a knee, a calf, a thigh – or into some utterly unidentifiable yet heroic form. This image appeared on the cover of Formes Nues (1935), which also included the work of Brassaï, László Moholy-Nagy, Franz Roh, and George Platt Lynes, among others.

In the magazine’s introduction, Man Ray wrote, “were it not for the fact that photography permits me to seize and to possess the human body and face in more than a temporary manner, I should quickly have tired of this medium.”

Text from the Metropolitan Museum of Art website

 

André Kertész (American (born Hungary), Budapest 1894 - 1985 New York City) 'Distortion #6' 1932

 

André Kertész (American (born Hungary), Budapest 1894 – 1985 New York City)
Distortion #6
1932
Gelatin silver print
23.4 x 17.3cm (9 3/16 x 6 13/16 in.)
Ford Motor Company Collection, Gift of Ford Motor Company and John C. Waddell, 1987
© The Estate of André Kertész / Higher Pictures
Metropolitan Museum of Art

 

 

Although Kertesz had long been interested in mirrors, reflections, and the idea of distorting the human figure, he did not seriously investigate their photographic possibilities until 1933, when the risqué French magazine Le Sourire commissioned him to make a series of figure studies. Using a funhouse mirror from a Parisian amusement park, Kertesz, who had never photographed nudes before, spent four weeks making about two hundred negatives.

Kertész accentuated the narrow ribcage and long waist of the ideal contemporary woman by photographing his model in a carnival mirror. If the top half of this beautiful nude resembles those Modigliani painted, the swell of the haunch recalls Mannerist nudes and their nineteenth-century revivals, especially Ingres’ grande odalisque.

Text from the Metropolitan Museum of Art website

 

Irving Penn (American, Plainfield, New Jersey 1917 - 2009 New York City) 'Nude No. 57' 1949-50

 

Irving Penn (American, Plainfield, New Jersey 1917 – 2009 New York City)
Nude No. 57
1949-50
Gelatin silver print
39.4 x 37.5cm (15 1/2 x 14 3/4 in.)
Gift of the artist, 2002
© 1950-2002 Irving Penn

 

Diane Arbus (American, 1923-1971) 'Retired man and his wife at home in a nudist camp one morning, N.J.' 1963

 

Diane Arbus (American, 1923-1971)
Retired man and his wife at home in a nudist camp one morning, N.J.
1963
Gelatin silver print
39.9 × 37.9cm (15 11/16 × 14 15/16 in.)
Metropolitan Museum of Art

 

 

Arbus’s interest in the tension between revelation and concealment comes into starkest focus in the portraits she made at Sunshine Park, a family nudist camp in New Jersey. While nudism might be considered the ultimate form of exposure, it often required a different kind of cover-up. As the artist remarked in an unpublished article written for Esquire magazine in 1966: “For many of these people, their presence here is the darkest secret of their lives, unsuspected by relatives, friends, and employers in the outside world, the disclosure of which might bring disgrace.”

Text from the Metropolitan Museum of Art website

 

Diane Arbus (American, 1923-1971) 'A naked man being a woman, N.Y.C.' 1968

 

Diane Arbus (American, 1923-1971)
A naked man being a woman, N.Y.C.
1968
Gelatin silver print
38.2 x 36.2cm
Metropolitan Museum of Art

 

Mark Morrisroe (American, 1959 - 1989) 'Untitled [Two Men in Silhouette]' c. 1987

 

Mark Morrisroe (American, 1959 – 1989)
Untitled [Two Men in Silhouette]
c. 1987
Gelatin silver print
28.4 x 20.8cm (11 3/16 x 8 3/16 in.)
Twentieth-Century Photography Fund, 2009
© The Estate of Mark Morrisroe (Ringier Collection) at Fotomuseum Winterthur
Metropolitan Museum of Art

 

 

Sexuality and mortality – which many would say are central preoccupations of humankind – are key to Morrisroe’s biography and art. The son of a drug-addicted mother, a teenage hustler, and a precocious punk queer, Morrisroe carried a bullet (shot by a disgruntled john) in his chest from the age of eighteen and consequently walked with a limp that added one more element to his outsider self-image. Sex and death were persistent themes in his work, with pronounced poignancy after his 1986 AIDS diagnosis. In this work, Morrisroe has taken a page from a gay S&M magazine, cut out the shapes of two naked men, and used the sheet as a negative to print a unique image in which the figures – literally absent – appear as dark silhouettes against a netherworld of sexual activity.

 

 

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26
Oct
11

Exhibition: ‘Polly Borland: Smudge’ at Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York

Exhibition dates:  22nd September – 29th October 2011

 

Many thankx to Paul Kasmin Gallery for allowing me to publish the text and photographs in the posting. Each photograph has been printed in three editions (small: 44 x 38.5 cm, edition of 3 plus 3 APs; medium: 76 x 65 cm, edition of 6 plus 3 APs; and large-scale prints: 147.5 x 122 cm, edition of 3 plus 3 APs).

 

 

Polly Borland. 'Untitled III' 2010

 

Polly Borland (Australian, b. 1959)
Untitled III
2010
C-print

 

Polly Borland. 'Untitled IV' 2010

 

Polly Borland (Australian, b. 1959)
Untitled IV
2010
C-print

 

Polly Borland. 'Untitled XIII' 2010

 

Polly Borland (Australian, b. 1959)
Untitled XIII
2010
C-print

 

Polly Borland. 'Untitled XXXIV' 2010

 

Polly Borland (Australian, b. 1959)
Untitled XXXIV
2010
C-print

 

 

Paul Kasmin Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of photographs by Polly Borland from her Smudge series, curated by Danny Moynihan. Opening on September 22, 2011 at 511 W. 27th Street, this will be the artist’s first show with the gallery.

In this body of arresting portraits, Borland dresses and directs her models; manipulating their various costumes, makeup and body positioning to create her own visual language. With faces obscured by wigs, nylon hose and masks, her anonymous subjects are captured in moments of great openness and vulnerability.

Of his experience modelling for Borland, the musician Nick Cave writes, “I am struck by Polly’s deep love for her subjects and the dignity that exists in their dysmorphia. Because her pictures are never voyeuristic, never observational and never merely shocking. Rather, Polly seems to me to be shooting into a distorted mirror and simply bringing back heartbreaking refracted images of herself.”

Borland’s captivating, intimate portraits convey a keen sensitivity to her subjects. “It’s a long time that the camera has been bringing us news about zanies and pariahs, their miseries and their quirks. Showing the banality of the non-normal. Making voyeurs of us all…” writes Susan Sontag in her essay accompanying Borland’s The Babies catalogue, “…But this is particularly gifted, authoritative, intelligent work. Borland’s pictures seem very knowing, compassionate; and too close, too familiar, to suggest common or mere curiosity.”

Borland was born in Melbourne, Australia in 1959, and moved to the United Kingdom in 1989. She has recently relocated to Los Angeles.

Text from the Paul Kasmin Gallery website

 

Polly Borland. 'Untitled XXIV' 2010

 

Polly Borland (Australian, b. 1959)
Untitled XXIV
2010
C-print

 

Polly Borland. 'Untitled XL' 2010

 

Polly Borland (Australian, b. 1959)
Untitled XL
2010
C-print

 

Polly Borland. 'Untitled XXVI' 2010

 

Polly Borland (Australian, b. 1959)
Untitled XXVI
2010
C-print

 

Polly Borland. 'Untitled XXXVIII' 2010

 

Polly Borland (Australian, b. 1959)
Untitled XXXVIII
2010
C-print

 

 

Paul Kasmin Gallery
293 Tenth Ave.
New York, NY 10001
511 W. 27th Street
New York, NY 10001
Phone: 212.563.4474

Opening hours:
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Paul Kasmin Gallery website

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23
Oct
11

Exhibition: ‘Raphaël Dallaporta: Observation’ at Foam, Amsterdam

Exhibition dates: 2nd September – 26th October 2011

Foam Paul Huf Award 2011

 

 

Raphaël Dallaporta. 'Fragile, Blood 1' 2010

 

Raphaël Dallaporta (French, b. 1980)
Fragile, Blood 1
2010
© Raphaël Dallaporta

 

 

The positive pleasure of inflicting cruelty at an ambiguous physical and ethical distance. Use limited only by the imagination of the user. Detonated remotely using a laptop computer. 10 million times. US$3 each.

Marcus

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

 

 

Raphaël Dallaporta (French, b. 1980) 'Domestic Slavery, Angha' 2006

 

Raphaël Dallaporta (French, b. 1980)
Domestic Slavery, Angha
2006
© Raphaël Dallaporta

 

Raphaël Dallaporta 'Domestic Slavery, Henriette' 2006

 

Raphaël Dallaporta (French, b. 1980)
Domestic Slavery, Henriette
2006
© Raphaël Dallaporta

 

 

Domestic Slavery, 2006

Cold, distant images of building facades are associated with text. The narratives are written by Ondine Millot to describe the events that took place at the exact address of the buildings in the photographs. The spectator comes to understand that the series deals with an often undocumented consequence of human trafficking: modern slavery.

The images force us to come to terms with the upsetting reality that is hidden behind the ordinary facades. Raphaël Dallaporta denounces unbearable situations where one human being reduces another to the status of thing, and gives it depth through the distance of the photographs and his refusal to sensationalise.

Text from the Musée Nicéphore Niépce website [Online] Cited 29/03/2020

 

Raphaël Dallaporta. 'Ruins (Season 1), The Balkh-AB gorges, Afghanistan' 2011

 

Raphaël Dallaporta (French, b. 1980)
Ruins (Season 1), The Balkh-AB gorges, Afghanistan
2011
© Raphaël Dallaporta

 

 

Ruin, Season 1, 2011

In the autumn of 2010, Raphaël Dallaporta took part in an archaeological mission in the Bactriane region in Afghanistan, scene of Alexander the Great’s mythical conquest. Using a drone he designed himself, he took aerial photographs of endangered or heretofore unknown archaeological sites in a country at war. The remote controlled device was timed to take photos of unrivalled precision every five seconds. The way the images are put together with their voluntarily asymmetrical contours depict these inaccessible monuments and places at their best. The most cutting-edge technology reveals the artist’s themes – destruction, the precariousness of things. It brings to light that which was and is no longer. Is this not the very definition of all photography?

Text from the Musée Nicéphore Niépce website [Online] Cited 29/03/2020

 

Raphaël Dallaporta (French, b. 1980) 'Fragile, "Four Moods", Black Bile'  2010

 

Raphaël Dallaporta (French, b. 1980)
Fragile, “Four Moods”, Black Bile 
2010
© Raphaël Dallaporta

 

Raphaël Dallaporta. 'Fragile, Cardiopulmonary system' 2010

 

Raphaël Dallaporta (French, b. 1980)
Fragile, Cardiopulmonary system
2010
© Raphaël Dallaporta

 

 

Undetermined circumstances

The body of the subject whose presumed identity is …, aged 92, was found in a ditch around 10.05am by a walker whose attention had been attracted by his dog.

The autopsy that we carried out on the body showed the presence of a state of extremely advanced putrefaction with partial skeletonisation, consistent with a death dating back one month in an outdoor environment; it is not possible to be more precise. There is no immediately detectable cause of death. No lesions suggesting recent detectable violence were observed. As for identification, the deceased is an adult male, wearing a pacemaker and an old surgical scar on the abdominal wall.

 

Fragile, 2010

Raphaël Dallaporta photographs organs, like the encyclopaedic colour plates for an anatomy class. The legend, again, explains the origins of these silent images. The organ represented is not the issue; the reason for its presence on the slab is the issue. The apparent neutrality of the shot, according to a strict protocol (frontal shot, on a black background enabling the strong lighting of the « subject »), isolates each fragment of the body as a clue that enables to determine the cause of death. These relics of flesh and bone have a real role to play. But the way they are shot lends them a metaphysical and philosophical dimension that reminds us of life’s ephemeral nature and human vulnerability.

Text from the Musée Nicéphore Niépce website [Online] Cited 29/03/2020

 

Raphaël Dallaporta. 'Fragile, Pacemaker' 2010

 

Raphaël Dallaporta (French, b. 1980)
Fragile, Pacemaker
2010
© Raphaël Dallaporta

 

 

French photographer Raphaël Dallaporta (b. 1980) received the Foam Paul Huf Award earlier this year from an international jury. The prize is organised by Foam and is awarded annually to up and coming international photographers below the age of 35. A major aspect of the award is an exhibition. Observation appears at Foam from 2 September to 26 October. Characteristic of the show’s four series is the clinical, perceptive style of photography. Dallaporta’s photos possess an inner tension that stems from the beauty of the object and the serious tone of the subject. The photographer works intensively with specialists in fields relating to his series. Jury chair François Hébel (director of Les Rencontres d’Arles international photography festival) comments on Dallaporta’s work that ‘He combines involvement with a highly analytical approach to social perversities. His uncompromising, conceptual and extremely creative approach mark him as an authentic artist who stands out in the young generation of photographers.’

The landmines in the Antipersonnel series have an exquisite beauty: small, with pleasant colours and an attractive form. Elegantly photographed, simply framed and persuasively presented, their aesthetic quality is what first attracts attention. Until we realise the full purpose of their existence: pure cruelty.

Fragile features frontal and objective shots of organs and limbs taken from corpses. Dallaporta worked with a team of forensic surgeons for this series. While the physicians were looking for causes of death, Dallaporta recorded the body parts they examined and the instruments they used. The power of this work comes from the combination of apparently neutral images and texts relating to human pain.

Dallaporta also worked with experts when making Ruins. He travelled with a team of French archaeologists to Afghanistan. Using a drone – a small remote-controlled helicopter – he took numerous photos of the war-ravaged landscape. In combination, these form a single large aerial picture that also shows traces of ancient civilisations. Past and present come together in this series of almost scientific photos.

In Domestic Slavery, Dallaporta (pictures) and Ondine Millot (text) tackle the tragic reality of this phenomenon: people, many unregistered migrants, held against their will in places where their voice cannot be heard. While their names have been altered, the stories are true. Dallaporta’s clinical, unsentimental pictures of the buildings in which these modern-day slaves are kept testify to the banality of day-to-day inhumanity.

Text from the Foam website

 

Antipersonnel, 2004

Unknown objects seem to emerge from the darkness. The legend quickly informs us that they are anti-personnel mines. Raphaël Dallaporta deals with the object reproduced to scale and lets us imagine the consequences of its existence. There are no bloody reportage images to illustrate the mutilations caused by these devices. The photographer presents us with contemporary still life that appear inoffensive but that tend to be aestheticised by photographic techniques all the better to erase the actual use of the object.

Text from the Musée Nicéphore Niépce website [Online] Cited 29/03/2020

 

Raphaël Dallaporta. 'Antipersonnel, Blast Mine Type 72B China' 2004

 

Raphaël Dallaporta (French, b. 1980)
Antipersonnel, Blast Mine Type 72B China
2004
© Raphaël Dallaporta

 

 

Type 72 blast mines are said to make up 100 million of China’s 110 million antipersonnel landmine stockpiles (Chinese officials claim this figure is exaggerated). Manufactured by China North Industries Corporation (NORINCO), Type-72s are reportedly priced at US$3 each. The Type-72B includes an anti-handling mechanism that makes it impossible to neutralise – if the mine is moved more than 8º from the horizontal, it will explode, amputating the limb that activated it.

 

Raphaël Dallaporta. 'Antipersonnel, Submunition BLU-­3/B USA' 2004

 

Raphaël Dallaporta (French, b. 1980)
Antipersonnel, Submunition BLU-­3/B USA
2004
© Raphaël Dallaporta

 

 

On release from a CBU-2C.A bomb this 785 g submunition – known as the “Pineapple” – is stabilised and slowed in its descent by six fins. Each CBU-2C/A contains 409 BLU-3/Bs, of which nearly 25 percent do not explode on impact. d: 73mm W: 785g

 

Raphaël Dallaporta. 'Antipersonnel, Bounding Fragmentation Mine M-16, USA' 2004

 

Raphaël Dallaporta (French, b. 1980)
Antipersonnel, Bounding Fragmentation Mine M-16, USA
2004
© Raphaël Dallaporta

 

 

When detonated the M-16 antipersonnel bounding fragmentation mine is shot up approximately 1.5m in the air and explodes within 0.5 seconds, creating a lethal radius of 10m. Nicknamed the “Bouncing Betty,” each mine is supplied with four tripwires (two olive-green, two sand-coloured) and a wrench. In September 2002 (the most recent statistics available) the USA had 465,330 M16s in stock.

 

Raphaël Dallaporta. 'Antipersonnel, Directional Fragmentation Mine M-18/A1, USA' 2004

 

Raphaël Dallaporta (French, b. 1980)
Antipersonnel, Directional Fragmentation Mine M-18/A1, USA
2004
© Raphaël Dallaporta

 

 

A “Claymore” directional fragmentation mine releases 700 steel balls when detonated by a hand-turned dynamo, a tripwire or, when used with the “Matrix” system, remotely using a laptop computer. (Multiple Claymores can also be linked together using a detonator cord.) A 1996 Department of the Army filed manual states that, “the number of ways in which the Claymore may be employed is limited only by the imagination of the user.” In September 2002 (the most recent available statistics), Claymores made up 403, 096 of the 10, 404, 148 landmines stockpiled by the USA.

 

Raphaël Dallaporta (French, b. 1980) 'Antipersonnel Bounding Fragmentation Mine, V-69, Italy' 2004

 

Raphaël Dallaporta (French, b. 1980)
Antipersonnel Bounding Fragmentation Mine, V-69, Italy
2004
© Raphaël Dallaporta

 

 

Antipersonnel Bounding Fragmentation Mine, V-69, Italy. The V-69 can be set off by footfall pressure or through a tripwire. When detonated the fuse sets off propellant gases that fire the mine’s inner body 45cm above the ground. This explodes sending out more than 1,000 pieces of chopped steel. Between 1982 and 1985, its manufacturer Valsella sold around 9 million V-69s to Iraq. The mine was given a nickname by Iraqi minelayers: the “Broom”. 120mm, 3.2kg.

 

 

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16
Feb
11

Judith Butler: Who I am – vectoring the body, a life worth living, framing war

February 2011

 

 

This is a photograph I took of Lord Buddha at Wot Poh, Bangkok, something beautiful to meditate on!
Click on the photograph for a larger version.

 

 

I love reading Judith Butler; she challenges you to think about the world in different ways, always intelligently and insightfully.

 

“We can think about demarcating the human body through identifying its boundary, or in what form it is bound, but that is to miss the crucial fact that the body is, in certain ways and even inevitably, unbound – in its acting, its receptivity, in its speech, desire, and mobility. It is outside itself, in the world of others, in a space and time it does not control, and it not only exists in the vector of these relations, but as this very vector.11 In this sense, the body does not belong to itself.

The body, in my view, is where we encounter a range of perspectives that may or may not be our own. How I am encountered, and how I am sustained, depends fundamentally on the social and political networks in which this body lives, how I am regarded and treated, and how that regard and treatment facilitates this life or fails to make it liveable. So the norms of gender through which I come to understand myself or my survivability are not made by me alone. I am already in the hands of the other when I try to take stock of who I am. I am already up against a world I never chose when I exercise my agency. It follows, then, that certain kinds of bodies will appear more precariously than others, depending on which version of the body, or of morphology in general, support or underwrite the idea of the human life that is worth protecting, sheltering, living, mourning. These normative frameworks establish in advance what kind of life will be a life worth living, what life will be a life worth preserving, and what life will become worthy of being mourned. Such views of lives pervade and implicitly justify contemporary war. Lives are divided into those representing certain kinds of states and those representing threats to state-centered liberal democracy, so that war can then be righteously waged on behalf of some lives, while the destruction of other lives can be righteously defended.”

Butler, Judith. Frames of War: When is Life Grievable? London: Verso, 2010. pp. 52-53

 

Footnote 11. A given morphology takes shape through a specific temporal and spatial negotiation. It is a negotiation with time in the sense that the morphology of the body does not stay the same; it ages, it changes shape, it acquires and loses capacities. And it is a negotiation with space in the sense that no body exists without existing somewhere; the body is the condition of location, and every body requires an environment to live. It would be a mistake to say that the body exists in its environment, only because the formulation is not quite strong enough. If there is no body without environment, then we cannot think the ontology of the body without the body being somewhere, without some “thereness.” And here I am not trying to make an abstract point, but to consider the modes of materialization through which a body exists and by means of which that existence can be sustained and/or jeopardized.

 

 

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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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