Sylwia Kowalczyk

Lethe is the river that cleanses Dante in Purgatory, the one that wipes memories of the dead as they drink from it or bathe in it. The poet Sylvia Plath steps up from ‘the black car of Lethe, Pure as a baby’. It is an escape, a relief from our own physical limitations. ‘The soul that has been rash enough to drink from the fount of Lethe… is reincarnated and again cast into the cycle of becoming’, according to Mircea Eliade.

As important recollections slip from our memory, this loss brings its own kind of grief. The past becomes a vast, blank territory where even the most important memories from childhood are erased – if we do not remember them, perhaps these might as well not have happened in the first place.

‘Lethe’ wins in PDN Photo Annual 2016 ‘Personal’ category and is now shortlisted for The Renaissance Photography Prize with the accompanying exhibition at Getty Images Gallery, just off Oxford Street in Central London from 7th September 2016.

http://www.sylwiakowalczyk.com

Yishay Garbasz

»My mother lost parts of her soul in those places and I had to go back to collect them… As I am a photographer, the camera was going to be my tool to help me see.«
Yishay Garbasz

British-Israeli photographer Yishay Garbasz uses a bulky large-format camera “to force herself to slow down.” Her project In My Mother’s Footsteps is an exploration of the inheritance of memory as well as a healing process. Garbasz’s mother was born in Berlin in 1929 and fled from the Nazis with her family to Holland in 1933. In 1942, at the age of fourteen, she was incarcerated and deported to Westerbork, then to Theresienstadt. Via Auschwitz-Birkenau, she arrived in Christianstadt and was sent in April 1945 on one of the infamous death marches to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, where she was liberated by British forces.

In the making of this project, Garbasz traced her mother’s path for a year, often on foot, over long distances. The large camera forced her to spend time at each location, letting the image come to her, opening herself and the lens to what was there, admitting her own vulnerability.

http://www.yishay.com/footsteps.html

Whitfield Lovell

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Whitfield Lovell is an artist whose poetic and intricately crafted tableaux and installations document and pay tribute to the passage of time and to the daily lives of anonymous African-Americans. Inspired by images from his archive of photographs, tintypes, and old postcards from the end of the Civil War to the beginning of the civil rights movement, Lovell provides these obscure figures with identity and dignity. He creates meticulously rendered, life-sized, charcoal portraits on such wooden objects as sections of walls, fences, or barrels, evoking a haunting sense of their presence. He places these portraits in the context of found, everyday objects — including frying pans, spinning wheels, bed frames, clocks, irons, and musical instruments — to reveal the individual through items related to his or her life. These compelling and seemingly simple installations are informed by contemporary art practice as well as folk art, vernacular art, and the physical conditions of marginalized communities. Creating remarkably elegant works, Lovell evokes memories of the past while transcending the specifics of time and space.

Whitfield Lovell received a B.F.A. (1981) from the Cooper Union School of Art. He taught at the School of Visual Arts in New York from 1987 to 2001 and has been a visiting artist at such institutions as Rice University (1995), the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (2001), and the Contemporary Art Center of Virginia (2002). Lovell’s work has appeared in numerous solo and group exhibitions at national venues such as the Seattle Museum of Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Kin IX (To Make Your False Heart True), 2008 Conte on paper, sterling silver canteen 30 x 22 1/2 x 1 3/4 inches

Kin IX (To Make Your False Heart True), 2008
Conte on paper, sterling silver canteen
30 x 22 1/2 x 1 3/4 inches

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– See more at: http://www.macfound.org

Idris Khan

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The World of Perception, 2010
digital c-print, 97-7/8 x 77-3/4 inches (framed)

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The World of Perception, 2010 – detail
digital c-print, 97-7/8 x 77-3/4 inches (framed)

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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.

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every…William Turner postcard from Tate Britain, 2004
47-1/2 x 62-1/4 inches (framed)

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every… Bernd and Hilla Becher Prison Type Gasholder, 2004
80 x 65 inches

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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.

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Caravaggio… The final years, 2006. 101” x 68”

https://fraenkelgallery.com

Vik Muniz: Art with wire, sugar, chocolate and string

Brazilian-born, Brooklyn-based fine artist Vik Muniz has exhibited his work all over the world. Using unexpected materials to create portraits, landscapes and still lifes — which he then photographs — he delights in subverting a viewer’s expectations.

Why you should listen to him:
Because he’s self-effacing, frankly open and thought-provoking, all at the same time. Vik Muniz’s explorations into the power of representation and his masterful use of unexpected materials such as chocolate syrup, toy soldiers and paper confetti mean that his resulting images transcend mere gimmickry.

Muniz is often hailed as a master illusionist, but he says he’s not interested in fooling people. Rather, he wants his images to show people a measure of their own belief. Muniz has exhibited his playfully provocative work in galleries all over the world and was recently featured in a documentary entitled “Waste Land,” screened at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. The film follows Muniz around the largest garbage dump in Rio de Janeiro, as he photographs the collectors of recycled materials in which he finds inspiration and beauty. Describing the history of photography as “the history of blindness,” his images simply but powerfully remind a viewer of what it means to see, and how our preconceptions can color every experience.

http://www.vikmuniz.net

Jacob’s Ladder

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After returning home from the Vietnam War, veteran Jacob Singer (Tim Robbins) struggles to maintain his sanity. Plagued by hallucinations and flashbacks, Singer rapidly falls apart as the world and people around him morph and twist into disturbing images. His girlfriend, Jezzie (Elizabeth Peña), and ex-wife, Sarah (Patricia Kalember), try to help, but to little avail. Even Singer’s chiropractor friend, Louis (Danny Aiello), fails to reach him as he descends into madness.

Release date: November 2, 1990 (USA)
Director: Adrian Lyne
Budget: 25 million USD
Screenplay: Bruce Joel Rubin
Music composed by: Maurice Jarre