Posts Tagged ‘zen


Exhibition: ‘Henri Cartier-Bresson. The Geometry of the Moment “Landscapes'” at Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg

Exhibition dates: 3rd September 2011 – 13th May 2012


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


Henri Cartier-Bresson (French, 1908-2004) 'FRANCE. Brie. 1968'


Henri Cartier-Bresson (French, 1908-2004)
FRANCE. Brie. 1968
Gelatin silver print
© Henri Cartier-Bresson /Magnum Photos



To take a photograph is to align the head, the eye and the heart. It’s a way of life.

To take a photograph is to hold one’s breath when all faculties converge in the face of fleeting reality.

Henri Cartier-Bresson



Henri Cartier-Bresson (French, 1908-2004) 'SOVIET UNION. Armenia. Visitors at village on the Lake Sevan. 1972'


Henri Cartier-Bresson (French, 1908-2004)
SOVIET UNION. Armenia. Visitors at village on the Lake Sevan. 1972.
Gelatin silver print
© Henri Cartier-Bresson /Magnum Photos


Henri Cartier-Bresson (French, 1908-2004) 'FRANCE. Alpes de Haute-Provence. Near Cereste. 1999'


Henri Cartier-Bresson (French, 1908-2004)
FRANCE. Alpes de Haute-Provence. Near Cereste. 1999.
Gelatin silver print
© Henri Cartier-Bresson /Magnum Photos



Henri Cartier-Bresson was one of the most accomplished and influential photographers of the 20th century; he was the acknowledged ‘master of the moment’, and many of his images are veritable masterpieces of photographic history. With this exhibition, the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg is featuring another pioneering figure in its series of shows on great modernist photographers, which has to date included Brassaï (2004), Lee Miller (2006) and Edward Steichen (2008). The around 100 exhibits included in this very personal exhibition were originally compiled by Henri Cartier-Bresson, who died in 2004, under the heading of Paysages (Landscapes). His widow, the photographer Martine Franck, has also agreed to lend a rare group of seven lithographs from her private collection exclusively for this presentation.

Born in 1908 in Chanteloup, near Paris, Henri Cartier-Bresson’s original ambition was to be a painter, but he abandoned his art studies after only a short time. In 1930 he decided to concentrate on photography. He later worked as second assistant to the film director Jean Renoir and also directed a number of his own documentary films. After escaping from a German prisoner-of-war camp on his third attempt in 1943 he joined the French Resistance, and in 1947 he founded the now world-famous Magnum photo agency with four colleagues.

During his photographic career Henri Cartier-Bresson travelled widely through Europe, Mexico, India, China, Indonesia, the United States of America and the former Soviet Union. He always used an inconspicuous Leica rangefinder camera, and it was on these travels between 1933 and 1999 that the black-and-white landscape photographs were created. The impressive simplicity and precise composition of these images give them a meditative quality, and also show how strongly Cartier-Bresson’s photographic practice was influenced and inspired by Far Eastern philosophical concepts. In the mid-1960s Georges Braque had given him the book Zen in the Art of Archery by Eugen Herrigel; for Cartier-Bresson, this short monograph contained all the fundamental elements upon which his photographic aesthetic was based, above all because it described actual experience and dealt with every aspect of human life. It was the chronicle of a learning process, a questioning of the self, the pursuit of inner perfection and the achievement of harmony with the world.

All of Cartier-Bresson’s photographs have a black border around them [Marcus: not all!]. This characteristic feature is an explicit reference to the extreme precision of the photographer’s method, as it tells the viewer that the final image is exactly the same as the negative and has therefore not been cropped. The image was mentally ‘edited’ by the photographer as he took the picture – at the very moment when the shutter opened. His photographs contain all the key components: light and shadow, rigorous composition, the golden section, the element of chance. Using this ‘geometry of the moment’, he combined planes and lines, people and situations into a perfect arrangement.

The exhibition is arranged and constructed according to the principle of geometric composition. The Kunstmuseum commissioned the photo artist Frauke Eigen to design a concept for the presentation of the works. Past Cartier-Bresson exhibitions have always been arranged chronologically, thematically and geographically. Frauke Eigen has developed an innovative installation concept that shows the inner connection between the pictures through formal correspondences for the first time. Over and above the individual picture, the visitor becomes aware of how a design principles returns in the next picture in a modified fashion. The viewer can thus trace an abstract story of vivid forms from the first to last photograph, experiencing in the process something about the unique language of Henri Cartier-Bresson.

As a photographer, Cartier-Bresson’s style was marked by discretion and extreme sensitivity. He was also an incredibly self-effacing person: he rarely gave interviews and hated being photographed. In 1947, the Museum of Modern Art in New York even planned a large posthumous retrospective of his work, as they believed that he had been killed in the war. When Cartier-Bresson heard about this he decided to travel to the United States, and the exhibition was subsequently held with the artist present. The Frenchman loved stories like this.

Around 1973, at the height of his fame, Henri Cartier-Bresson abandoned photography and from then on only picked up his camera on rare occasions. Returning to his artistic roots, he devoted his time and energy to drawing, concentrating mainly on landscapes. He regarded this as merely a change in terms of ‘technique’, as his drawings were created with the same eye, the same sense of form and geometry as his photographs. For him, photography was an immediate action, whereas drawing was a form of meditation.

Sam Szafran, a painter and friend of Cartier-Bresson’s, once said to him: “In order to go fast you have to proceed very slowly. You have to observe, see how things occur, understand them, feel them, otherwise you will run into danger…”

In this sense, the exhibition The Geometry of the Moment, which has been organised in cooperation with the photo agency Magnum Photos, Paris and with the foundation HCB, Paris, forms the perfect complement to the large-scale thematic display The Art of Deceleration. Motion and Rest in Art from Caspar David Friedrich to Ai Weiwei, which will be shown in a parallel presentation at the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg from 12 November 2011 onwards.

Press release from the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg website


Henri Cartier-Bresson (French, 1908-2004) 'Serbia. Bass player on the road Belgrade-Kraljevo, to play at a village festival near Rudnick' Yugoslavia 1965


Henri Cartier-Bresson (French, 1908-2004)
Serbia. Bass player on the road Belgrade-Kraljevo, to play at a village festival near Rudnick
Yugoslavia 1965
Gelatin silver print
© Henri Cartier-Bresson /Magnum Photos


Henri Cartier-Bresson (French, 1908-2004) 'ITALY. Tuscany. Sienna. 1933'


Henri Cartier-Bresson (French, 1908-2004)
ITALY. Tuscany. Sienna. 1933.
© Henri Cartier-Bresson /Magnum Photos


“I was visiting the museum and happened to look out of an upstairs window, and saw this empty marketplace, stark in its lack of activity.”



Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg
Abteilung Kommunikation
Hollerplatz 1 38440
Phone: +49 (0)5361 2669 69

Opening hours:
Tuesday to Sunday 11am – 6pm
Monday closed

Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg website


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Review: ‘all about … blooming’ exhibition by JUNKO GO at Gallery 101, Melbourne

Exhibition dates: 25th February – 14th March 2009


“We live in a world where high achievers are congratulated, yet true achievements are not related to what we can get done, but to how deeply we aware of how wonderful it is to be alive. In this exhibition, flowers are not only a predominant source of visual inspiration, looking at them also engenders a kind of appreciation and wonder. The fragile and ephemeral flower provokes in me an awareness of the human condition that reveals the true nature of our existence.

My goal is to create images which are strong and soft, bold and precise, beautiful and ugly, figurative and abstract, all at once. My greatest challenge is to make art about what it is to be human … What really matters in art making to me is a kind of awareness – a being able to say, ‘I am as I am’.”

Text from the artist statement



Junko Go. 'Opium Poppy' 2008


Junko Go
Opium Poppy


“One person’s heaven is another’s nightmare. Seeing both sides to every story can be a blessing and a curse. Good and bad, right and wrong, purity and impurity are inextricably linked.”



A delicate, refined but strong presence is felt in the work of Junko Go in the her new exhibition ‘all about … blooming’ at Gallery 101, Melbourne. Nominally landscape painting about flowers but featuring thoughts and ideas about the seed, the shoot, pollen and the breath of life the work addresses the essence of what it is to be human and live compassionately on this earth in an intelligent and profound way.

Denying the nihilism of abstract expressionism each mark is fully considered by being attentive to the connection between brush, hand and meaning. Almost childlike in their use of charcoal and acrylic her dogs, crosses and flowers, jottings and dashes, rain and rivers, seeds and people show a Zen like contemplation in the marks she makes on the canvas – just so. A releasement towards things is proffered, a letting go of the ego to create an awareness of just being. There is genuine warmth and humility to this work.

In Opium Poppy (2008, above) the darkness of the nightmare is represented by the black marks, ascending like Jacob’s ladder balanced by the mandala like poppies whose petals seem like feathers of a bird’s wing – a flight of fancy both good and bad. In Pollen (2009) bees swarm around a sunflower leaving traces of their presence, a bird flies close to a tiny blue cloud, the sun burst forth in a tiny patch of aqua colour, and people hug arm in arm. As Go says, “Bees in a flower bear pollen unawares and play a crucial roll for the plant to survive. Our love, kindness, warmth and wisdom affect one another unawares and play a crucial roll for our planet to survive.”  In New Shoot (2008, below) the puzzle of our existence, the nature of our existential being is laid bare for all to see.

In Seeds (2008) Go reminds us that rather than being focused on what we hoped for, we must make the most of whatever opportunities we are blessed with. This means being aware of the gifts one possesses, not the distance between ‘I’ and want, need and desire – now! The seed of our experience – the calm before the force that propelled us into existence – is already present within us.

Go’s musings on the existential nature of our being are both full and empty at one and the same time and help us contemplate the link to the breath of the sublime. In the end Go’s paintings are about endings and beginnings, about being strong or not, about the infinity of the seed and about our responses to living in harmony on this planet. Through the seed, the shoot, the flower and the earth access may be granted to the sublime and this perfectly sums up the work of this artist, a reflection of her energy and radiance transferred to the canvas. I loved it.

Dr Marcus Bunyan

Many thankx to Gallery 101 for allowing me to publish the art work in the posting. Please click on the art work for a larger version of the image.


Junko Go. 'New Shoot' 2008


Junko Go
New Shoot


“Each of us is born to fill a special place in this world. In the process, we sometimes have trouble finding our niche. Life is like a jigsaw puzzle in which we make every effort to find our own place that makes a right connection with others, with the world and even with the whole universe.”


Junko Go. 'Red Hot Poker' 2009


Junko Go
Red Hot Poker


“Push and pull our inner strength. Sometimes, we need courage to take risks in confronting pain and loss in order to gain a deep and profound experience.”




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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: ‘Orphans and small groups’ 1994-96 Part 2

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