Filed under: ghost hunting, Identity & Image, Narrative, Photography, repost, Video Art
At the age of thirteen Francesca Woodman took her first self-portrait. From then, up until her untimely death in 1981, aged just 22 she produced an extraordinary body of work (some 800 photographs) acclaimed for its singularity of style and range of innovative techniques. Woodman studied at Rhode Island School of Design, from 1975 – 1979, receiving a grant to spend a year in Rome to continue her studies. Whilst there she produced an extensive body of work and had her first solo exhibition at a bookshop and gallery specializing in Surrealism and Futurism.
Since 1986, her work has been exhibited widely and has been the subject of extensive critical study in the United States and Europe. Woodman is often situated alongside her contemporaries of the late 1970s such as Ana Mendieta and Hannah Wilke, yet her work also foreshadows artists such as Cindy Sherman, Sarah Lucas, Nan Goldin and Karen Finley in their subsequent dialogues with the self and reinterpretations of the female body.
Born in 1958 in Denver, Colorado, Francesca Woodman lived and worked in New York and Italy until her death in 1981. Since 1986 her work has been exhibited widely. Significant solo presentations of Woodman’s work include Francesca Woodman at the Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco (2011-12), which subsequently toured to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2012); Francesca Woodman: Retrospective at the Sala Espacio AV, Murcia, touring to SMS Contemporanea, Siena (both 2009); Francesca Woodman: Photographs at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York (2003) and Francesca Woodman at the Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain, Paris (1998), which subsequently toured to Kunsthal, Rotterdam, The Netherlands (1998); Centro Cultural de Belém, Lisbon, Portugal (1999); The Photographers’ Gallery, London (1999); Centro Cultural TeclaSala, L’Hospitalet, Barcelona (1999-2000); Carla Sozzani Gallery, Milan, (2001); The Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin (2001) and PhotoEspana, Centro Cultural Conde Duque, Madrid (2002). Woodman’s work is represented in the collections of major museums including The Metropolitan Museum of Art; The Whitney Museum of American Art; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Detroit Institute of Arts; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago and Tate/National Galleries of Scotland.
The World of Perception, 2010
digital c-print, 97-7/8 x 77-3/4 inches (framed)
The World of Perception, 2010 – detail
digital c-print, 97-7/8 x 77-3/4 inches (framed)
every… Nicholas Nixon’s Brown Sisters, 2004
digital C-print, 43-1/4 x 52-1/8 inches (framed)
Idris Khan transforms the conceptual art of appropriation into an elegant and substantial meditation on the act of creativity. Appropriating icons of literature, music, and art, Khan methodically layers his material, whether it is Beethoven’s symphony, Milton’s Paradise Lost, or Bernd and Hilla Becher’s stylized sculpture of water towers. The process allows the artist to tease out certain areas adjusting the source material so that the soul of the piece is manifested in Khan’s accreted interpretation. For example, in Struggling to Hear… After Ludwig van Beethoven Sonatas, 2005, Beethoven’s entire series of sonatas becomes a dense wall of near blackness; a virtual illustration of the composer’s deafness.
Khan’s work tests our experience of these other art forms; words and music are experienced sequentially, however the artist compresses time visually. Photographic iconography such as Bernd and Hilla Becher’s water tower series—a body of work based on the inherent nature of recurring form—layer upon one another and ultimately create a ghostly animation describing the ‘essence’ of the form rather than each individual tower.
every…William Turner postcard from Tate Britain, 2004
47-1/2 x 62-1/4 inches (framed)
every… Bernd and Hilla Becher Prison Type Gasholder, 2004
80 x 65 inches
Born in Birmingham in 1978, Khan lives and works in London. Solo exhibitions of his work have been mounted at the Gothenburg Konsthall, Sweden (2011), the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (2009), and K20, Düsseldorf (2008). His work has been exhibited at Forum d’art Contemporain, Luxembourg (2008), the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (2006), the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2006), and the Helsinki Kunsthalle (2005). His work is included in the collections of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Centre Pompidou, Paris, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York City, among others. Most recently, Khan was commissioned to design a permanent public monument for the new Memorial Park in Abu Dhabi. The sculpture will be unveiled in late November 2016.
Caravaggio… The final years, 2006. 101” x 68”
Photo Opportunities, Corinne Vionnet, 2005-2013
We travel, we see a monument, we take a picture. Framing sites of mass tourism in our viewfinders, we create photographic souvenirs that are integral to the touristic experience. Conducting keyword searches of famed monuments in photo sharing web sites, Swiss / French artist Corinne Vionnet culled thousands of tourists’ snapshots for her series Photo Opportunities. Weaving together numerous photographic perspectives and experiences, the artist builds her own impressionistic interpretations – ethereal structures which float gently in a dream-like haze of blue sky.
Series of staged photographs, printed and reproduced photographically
Series of photographs restaging the famous historical press photos in a “positive version” – repeating the original in terms of composition, but changing the characters and the general meaning of the captured events. “The series is another attempt at playing with trauma” Libera comments, “we are always dealing with memorized objects, not the objects themselves. I wanted to employ this mechanism of seeing and remembering and touch upon the phenomenon of memory’s afterimages. This is how we actually perceive those photographs [“Positives”] – the harmless scenes trigger flashbacks of the brutal originals. I have picked the “negatives” from my own memory, from among the images I remembered from the childhood.”
Zbigniew Libera is one of the most interesting and important Polish artists. His works – photographs, video films, installations, objects and drawings – piercingly and subversively (in an intellectual way) play with the stereotypes of contemporary culture. His shocking video works from the 80s (among others “Intimate Rites” and “Mystical Perseverance”) preceded “body art” by 10 years. In mid-90s, Libera began to create “Correcting Devices” – objects which are modifications of already existing products – objects of mass consumption (among others “Universal Penis Expander” and “Body Master. A Play Kit For Children”). He also designs transformed toys – works that reveal the mechanisms of upbringing, education and cultural conditioning, the most famous of which is “Lego Concentration Camp”. From that moment on, he is one of the pillar of the so-called “critical art”, also in the institutional sense – despite the development of his career he is still closely connected with the independent circles. In recent years he has also been preoccupied with photography, especially the specificity of press photography and the ways in which the media shape our visual memory and manipulate the image of history (works from the series “Positives” and “Masters”, 2003).
Beijing Silvermine is a project by french photographer Thomas Sauvin to recover the photographic records of the people of Beijing after the Cultural Revolution, from 1985 when photography (mainly 35 mm) became popular in China, until about 2005, when it began to give way to digital photography.
For several years, Sauvin collected negatives (many of them never printed), recovered from a recycling plant on the outskirts of Beijing. After an exhaustive selection and digitization, he has created a fascinating archive with over half a million 35 mm negatives that has become an intriguing record of the public and private lives of the inhabitants of that city. Over the past 20 years, China has experienced unprecedented economic liberalization, which has completely redefined the way people in its cities thrive, travel, eat and enjoy themselves.
This collection of material from anonymous sources has served as the input for editing a collection of photo books and exhibitions, in which Sauvin provides an authorial contribution to the reinterpretation of a form of appropriation, which has even been the starting point for collaborative pieces such as the animation by chinese visual artist Lei Lei, who selected 3,000 of these images to create an audiovisual piece entitled precisely Recycled in 2013. Director Emiliad Guillermine produced a short documentary that bears witness to Sauvin’s experience and his meticulous collection, sorting, editing and digitization of the thousands of images he recovered.
Thus, Sauvin’s work brings us closer to part of the collective memory of current Chinese society, enabling us to understand how it has changed its cultural dynamics in recent years, while providing a new perspective on the experience of the visual appropriation and recycling at a time when the mass production and consumption of images leads us to understand the importance, but above all the enormous authorial possibilities of the editor and curator to generate new discourses.
Thomas Sauvin (Francia) A photography collector and editor who lives in Beijing. Since 2006 he exclusively works as a consultant for the UK-based Archive of Modern Conflict, an independent archive and publisher, for whom he collects Chinese works, from contemporary photography to period publications to anonymous photography. Sauvin has had exhibitions of his work, and published through Archive of Modern Conflict.
Lei Lei (China) An up-and-coming multimedia Chinese animation artist with his hands on graphic design, illustration, short cartoon, graffiti and music also. In 2009 he got a master’s degree from Tsinghua University. In 2010, his film This is LOVE was shown at Ottawa International Animation Festival and awarded The 2010 Best Narrative Short. In 2013 his film Recycled was selected by Annecy festival and was the Winner Grand Prix shorts – non-narrative at Holland International Animation Film Festival. In 2014 he is the Jury of Zagreb / Holland International Animation Film Festival. and he was the winner of 2014 asian cultural council grant.
Red has more personal associations than any other color. Recognized as a stimulant, red is inherently exciting and the amount of red is directly related to the level of energy perceived. Red draws attention and a keen use of red as an accent can immediately focus attention on a particular element.
Pati Hill, “Alphabet of Common Objects” (c. 1975–79), 45 black and white copier prints, each 11 x 8.5 inches (image courtesy Estate of Pati Hill)
The Personal and Poetic Prints of a Female Pioneer of Copier Art
April 20, 2016
GLENSIDE, Pa. — Last weekend, I made the short drive from Philadelphia to Arcadia University, about a half-hour outside the city. A friend had highly recommended an exhibition on view at Arcadia University, Pati Hill: Photocopier, A Survey of Prints and Books (1974–83). I was not particularly excited to see a show of copier art. How different could the images of these photocopies be from the actual copies themselves? As I drove out to see it, I could not suppress the clichés of regrettable high school art projects, misconstrued collages, silly zines, and ubiquitous hands, faces, and ass cheeks pushed up onto Xerox machines.
Stepping into the gallery, I gazed at the show, curated by Richard Torchia, as it presented grids, lines, and vitrines bursting full of Pati Hill’s delicate, remarkable images, all made on the rather unremarkable IBM Copier II. My cynicism was obliterated. I felt a stunning empathy for these images of daily life, laid bare on the cold, smooth glass of a hulking electronic machine, contextualized by snippets of writing that dipped in and out of memory, metaphor, wit, and the kinds of fleeting thoughts one thinks but never utters aloud.
Installation view of ‘Pati Hill: Photocopier, A Survey of Prints and Books (1974–83)’ at Arcadia University Art Gallery (image courtesy Greenhouse Media)
The perfect everydayness — the absolute banality of the objects Pati Hill copied — creates its own meaning. Each object glimmers and sinks into the darkness of the black pigment that surrounds it like a drawing in the most luscious charcoal. The sheets are all 8 ½ x11 inches, standard copy paper size, but the fragility of the medium struck me as stubborn, poignant, utterly unpretentious. A successful novelist and model in the 1950s, Hill’s artistic production grinded to a halt when she married her third husband, New York gallerist Paul Bianchini, had a child, and became a self-described housewife. As she fell into the role of wife and mother, a 10-year hiatus of her creative practice ensued. In the 1960s, however, she emerged from her hiatus to become a visual artist, in addition to a writer.