Monday, 30 May 2011

Contacts

As the months fly by, I continue with my project "Little gifts" and realised that I have been making much imagery but haven't really been sharing or showing anyone. The image above is one of the 11 contact sheets that I have from shooting the objects that remain. These contacts have become more interesting than the individual shots on the film of roll as they document a repetitiveness, an obsessiveness of photographing the same objects time and time again, trying to get that perfect shot, when what it is I am looking for is lost. I feel this documented process is something very revealing and should be shown in its basic form. I still need to finalise this part of the project but there is something very powerful about photography being seen as a way to think, to grieve and to process.


Films


"Fuji Fujicolor Reala, 100asa, Troubled Land, 1984, from the series Films, 2011" pictured above is a new body of work by Paul Graham currently showing at Anthony Reyolds Gallery, but it does close on 4th June, so it's the last week to see this extraordinary body of work.


Graham's series "Films"
is rather simple in its process but excels in aesthetics by questioning the very structure that makes the medium what it is and has been. The press release explains, "While examining his work of the past 30 years for the major survey exhibition arriving at the Whitechapel Gallery this month, Graham became enraptured with the base material of his craft and began to reflect upon the physical substance with which his images were made. Scanning the negatives for the exhibition, he began also to scan the blank film ends and unexposed frames from each body of work. What Graham gathered in the process he saw as a 'negative retrospective' of his practice. These luscious and beguiling abstract images are nothing more than greatly enlarged images of raw emulsion, the colour dye clouds formed in the exposure and development of film."

The images are presented in a small, classic manner that reflects the beauty of the imagery and the nostalgic element to the work. This series is very beautiful and has very successfully brought together nostalgia and abstraction in a highly considered and thoughtful examination of the medium.

http://www.anthonyreynolds.com/home.htm


Sunday, 22 May 2011

The Bunkier Sztuki

One of the many highlights at the opening weekend of Photomonth Krakow, but one that really resonates in my mind was the Alias. Survey exhibition at The Bunkier Sztuki Contemporary Art Gallery where Broomberg & Chanarin gave a talk about the concept behind the curation. What was very interesting was the reasoning behind the use of installation shots instead of the original pieces for all the artists’ works in the exhibition. Originally from the constraints of budgetary requirements, came this new use of imagery, installation photography being propelled to a new level, seen worthy as a gallery exhibit in its own right.


Each piece was a copy of the original. None of the artists in the exhibition existed; rather the works existed as copies of the fictitious , anonymous, experimental and alternative personas that each artist in the exhibition had wished to inhabit to produce work outside the realm of reality. As you walked through the exhibition you had a little book detailing the biographies of the artists, all of which were fictitious. This itself could be seen as an exhibit as when you viewed the pieces you spent much of the time reading the text, trying to work out what was truthful, or even more interestingly, knowing nothing was truthful but believeing what you read. One image, which really demonstrated this beautifully for me, was a piece showing Gillian Wearing’s exhibition at Maureen Paley I believe. This installation shot, blown up to over 60 inches and printed as a poster then installed into the gallery perfectly posed the questions; what makes a photograph photography, who is the artist – does it matter, what’s the notion of the original and where is the medium headed?


For me, this survey, incomplete as it said it was has propelled forward some very interesting and exciting concepts surrounding the notion of what constitutes the medium in this changing time. Broomberg & Chanarin have created an opening, a space whereby questions that need answering, but are hesitantly suggested, or more commonly not mentioned at all, come into play. Interesting times, there is a space here, I wonder who takes it to the stage.


Read more here: http://bunkier.art.pl/en


Miesiąca Fotografii w Krakowie 2011



So I am back from Krakow, in fact I have been back for a week now but before I posted about my trip I really needed some time to digest everything that was seen, viewed and experienced. I am not too sure were to start really, so much happened and what a trip it was, but this is a good place to start, our location and our locals!


The apartment choice was fantastic, being right next to The Bunkier Sztuki Contemporary Art Gallery and a couple of minutes from the main square. The festival bureau was located just behind, in a stunning building on Sw. Tomasza Street positioned over a great local called Cafe Camelot. We spent many an afternoon and evening drinking and eating in these beautiful places, taking in the Polish culture, discussing photography and if everyone would benefit from having an Alias of their own.


The opening weekend was packed full of Alias openings from Friday to Sunday we walked around the city entering numerous galleries and museums, taking in the stunning city scenery while we walked. From George and Patricia Beacher, Jack of Surprises to Plantinga on the first night to Lester B. Morrison, Neville Lister and Not in Order of Appearance finalising on Sunday afternoon. Each opening proved to be another mindful, extraordinarily well curated exhibit, providing visually exciting uses of the medium alongside imaginative biographies of nonexistent artists.


Keep up to date with the festival here: http://www.photomonth.com/index.php/en/page/1/news.html

Monday, 9 May 2011

Alias

So only a few days now until the opening weekend of Photomonth in Krakow 2011, guest curated by Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin. I am sure by now you will have seen all the publicity about this years theme, "Alias", if you haven't yet seen what everyone is talking about then here is a little piece from the press release that will surely get you excited and inspired!


"Could it think, the heart would stop beating". Fernando Pessoa


"Twenty-three writers (of fiction, fact and medical history) were each commissioned to create a text describing an invented persona, which was then assigned to a visual artist to inhabit. The work that accompanies these texts is the result of each individual artist’s residency in their fictitious character.


It’s an experiment that was set up to fail, because it shouldn’t be that easy to stop being yourself; to break with your own particular political and ethical concerns. Yet most of the artists we approached bravely took up the challenge.


‘We never disembark from ourselves,’ complained the Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa in The Book of Disquiet. We wanted to give our contributors the chance to do precisely this: to disembark.

The Chilean novelist Roberto Bolaño’s fictional anthology, Nazi Literature in The Americas, showed just how helpful the fictitious persona could be when exploring moral and political territory too terrifying to explore honestly in our own skin." Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin, April 2011

Artists and writers include to name but a few, Rut Blees Luxemburg, Polly Braden, Jeremy Deller, Roe Etheridge, Gabriel Orozco, Clare Strand and Gordon MacDonald, Brown & Bri, David Campany, Fernando Pessoa, Ella Saltmarshe, Jennifer Higgie, Sean O’Toole, Helen deWitt, Ivan Vladislavic, Brad Zellar and so many more.

I am heading out on Thursday evening for the opening weekend, so I am busy finalising my plans and travel arrangments, I can't wait it is going to be an amazing trip. I hope to see many people out there too.

http://www.photomonth.com/index.php/en/page/1/aktualnosci.html


Thursday, 5 May 2011

Film Still

Above is a still taken from the film I made commemorating my dearest friends death on 21st April last year. What I filmed was simple, the dawning of the 21st one-year on from 00:00 every hour for 10 minutes until 12:10. I simply filmed the light on the speech I wrote for his funeral, something that has been very intrinsic in this process. The film documents the quiet, sometimes silence of time passing from darkness into light.


It was a very important process for me to go through this time period, one year on, connecting with a time where a momentous decision was made and through the act of filming, capture, connect and ultimately share an experience I was unable to alter.


I have 130 minutes of footage to edit down to 13 minutes, so the journey begins now.


Paul Graham

I visited the Whitechapel Gallery this afternoon to see the new Paul Graham show, "Paul Graham: Photographs 1981 - 2006" and after the previous John Stezaker show, this had a lot to live up to, but of course it did. The exhibition brings together many bodies of work, and is a truly delightful insight into Graham's eyes, his world and his work over the last twenty-five years.

The Whitechapel describes the exhibition as "Graham’s photographs transform the banality of a social security office or a suburban lawn into compelling scenes. Yet for all the immediacy of his saturated colours and large formats, these pictures are also about what cannot be seen. ‘I realised that concealment… has run through… my work, from the landscape of Northern Ireland, and the unemployed tucked away in backstreet offices, to the burdens of history swept under the carpet in Europe or Japan. Concealment of our turmoil from others, from ourselves even’."

For me, the work that deeply inspires and touches me is the series "A shimmer of possibility" not only are the images and installation stunning, but the books produced by Steidl are expectional. This body of work brings together the banaiity of everyday life, interjected with moments of the sublime. This really is a great exhibition and is definitely worth a visit, it finishes on the 19th June 2011.


Image copyright Paul Graham, courtesy of Anthony Reynolds Gallery.