Monday, May 4, 2015

Clare Strand at Grimaldi Gavin London

Clare Strand - Pre-The Entropy Pendulum archive image

Clare Strand is a British artist who mostly works with lens based media and in doing so defies the obvious, abandons convention and takes risks. The result - surreal, demanding work that is open to innumerable possibilities.
Currently showing at London's Grimaldi Gavin Getting Better and Worse at the Same Time is an exhibition of balanced opposites;  better and worse, backwards and forwards, up and down and in and out.

The exhibition employs kinetic machines, film and photography to reveal Strand’s discordant relationship with the photographic medium, exploring its promise and limitations through unexpected and eccentric means.

The Happenstance Generator is a large Perspex chamber on a metal plinth. Inside the chamber a selection of the artist’s archives of research images from the past 30 years, will be blown about by hidden fans. The machine will randomly propel images towards the transparent surfaces of the chamber, before being repositioned again by the movement of the air. The images will be highlighted for one moment and disappear the next; much in the way that data and image sequences appear and disappear, grow and diminish in importance, in the constantly changing landscape of everyday visual encounters.

The Entropy Pendulum will have a selected photographic print positioned under its constantly swinging weight. As the pendulum arm swings back and forth, it will rub against the work and over the course of a day will gradually erase parts of the image. Each day throughout the exhibition, a photograph will take its place under the weight of the pendulum, gradually filling up the 35 empty frames on the gallery wall.

The third machine, Control in Motion, is a mutoscope based on an early motion picture device invented in the late 19th century. Working on the same principle as a flip-book but with a circular core, like a Rolodex, a series of 100 pages, representing the subtle grades of the tonal system from black to white, will rotate in a constant motion. With each rotation the cards experience a very slight degradation, initially undetectable to the human eye, but noticeable over time.

The British Journal of Photography spoke with Clare Strand, you can read the piece HERE.

Getting Better and Worse at the Same Time – New work by Clare Strand is on show until 6 June at Grimaldi Gavin, 27 Albemarle Street, London W1S 4DW.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Printed Matter at the first edition of the Melbourne Art Book Fair

Printed Matter NYC are special guests at the inaugural Melbourne Art Book Fair this weekend, May 1-3. The Fair is the first of a series of annual art book events put on by the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV).

You can visit Printed Matter at Booth 5. PM's Acting Director Max Schumann and Fairs  Editions Curator Shannon Michael Cane will join a number of emerging and established publishers, artists, writers and designers from around Australia, as well as ten featured publishers from Japan.

The Printed Matter booth will present a curated selection of artists’ books showcasing recent activity in independent publishing. Schumann will deliver the Keynote Lecture The Possibilities of the Artist Book on Sunday May 3, 2pm, on the origins and development of contemporary artists’ books as an experimental media-art practice. He will also give a second presentation on Saturday, May 2, 1pm, on the history of Printed Matter since its founding in 1976. Printed Matter will also present FORMAL ARRANGEMENTS HAVE BEEN MADE AND CANCELLED, a new publication from Misha Hollenbach, published in partnership with Heavy Time on the occasion of the Fair. The collaged work of B&W images is printed in two sizes (A4 and A5) bound into the same book. The work is published in an edition of 200 and retails for $20.

The Melbourne Art Book Fair has a full weekend of programs including free talks, forums, printing demonstrations, and performances, set within a uniquely designed experience by Melbourne Architecture firm Fold Theory. You can see the full schedule HERE.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Wim Wenders - photographs, at Kunstpalast Dusseldorf

Wim Wenders, Joshua and John (behind), Odessa, Texas 1983
On the occasion of the artist’s 70th birthday in 2015, Museum Kunstpalast in collaboration with Wenders Images and the Wim Wenders Foundation is presenting a selection of 79 large-scale photographs, which invariably are analogue creations, made without artificial lighting or tripod. The exhibits range from artist’s early black-and-white photographs and monumental landscape panorama pictures through to his rarely shown photographs of “Ground Zero” and new works that were made only last year.

Wenders regards his photographic work, in the truest sense of the word, as an interaction of light (phos) and painting (graphein), offering the scope for capturing a unique moment in time.

Wenders started with black-and-white photographs, and later switched to colour photography. In doing so, his interest in photography blended with his passion for painting. Wenders, who initially applied to study at the Academy of Art Düsseldorf without success and in 1967 finally started to study at the then newly-founded College for Television and Film in Munich, discovered the significance of colours for his work: He began to initially “see” a picture for its colours and to define the image section according to the colours.

What I firmly wanted to be, was a painter.
And when pictures really impressed and influenced me,
they were by Vermeer and Rembrandt,
Dutch landscape painters,
later, Klee and Kandinsky and Beckmann,
later still, Edward Hopper and others.
As the filmmaker, which is what I became after some detours,
and also as photographer,
I owe infinitely more to the history of painting
than to the history of film or photography.
Perhaps this is why I want to achieve something with my pictures
that is actually rooted in painting.

You can go to the Museum Kunstpalast site HERE.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

50+ photobooks in 22 years... at Auckland Art Gallery

The Auckland Art Gallery have just acquired a complete set of the 50+ photobooks that I have made over the last 22 years. The first, Four Parts Religion Six Parts Sin, in 1993 and the most recent, Will Any Lonely Person Write to Ponsonby in 2015.

The bookworks are currently on display outside the gallery's research library and can be seen until July 2nd.

Auckland Art Gallery have this to say:
Harvey Benge (born 1944) is a New Zealand photographer who lives and works in Auckland and Paris. Benge's work most often takes the form of limited edition photobooks and he recently donated the 60 publications displayed in this exhibition to the E H McCormick Research Library. The photobooks are published by Benge's imprint FAQEDITIONS as well as specialist publishers Dewi Lewis in the UK, Kehrer Verlag in Germany and Super Labo in Japan, among others.
Benge has collaborated with well-known international photographers such as Daido Moriyama to produce multi-volume photobook sets and has worked with a number of writers to create book works that sympathetically combine texts and photographs.
Benge travels widely and creates tantalising titles for his photobooks. He explains his practice as 'setting out to look at the nature of truth, with photographs that meander amongst the often opposing aspects of truth ... in a world where, when one thing is happening here, something else is happening over there.'

I will be in discussion with Auckland Art Gallery curator Ron Brownson at the gallery auditorium, 11am on Sunday June 21, talking about my photobook practice,

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Sally Mann - what the public sees

Sally Mann - cover image from Immediate Family

In this weekend edition of The New York Times magazine Sally Mann looks back at her career and talks candidly about the controversy that raged when in 1992 the photographs of her children were published in her bookwork Immediate Family.

In September 1992, I published my third book of photographs, “Immediate Family.” The book contained 60 photographs from a decade-­long series of more than 200 pictures of my children, Emmett, Jessie and Virginia, who were about 6, 4 and 1 when I started the project. The photographs show them going about their lives, sometimes without clothing, on our farm tucked into the Virginia hills. For miles in all directions, there was not a breathing soul. When we were on the farm, we were isolated, not just by geography but by the primitive living conditions: no electricity, no running water and, of course, no computer, no phone. Out of a conviction that my lens should remain open to the full scope of their childhood, and with the willing, creative participation of everyone involved, I photographed their triumphs, confusion, harmony and isolation, as well as the hardships that tend to befall children — bruises, vomit, bloody noses, wet beds — all of it.

I expected that the book would be received in much the same way as the one I published four years earlier, “At Twelve.” That book, which showed pictures of young girls on the cusp of adolescence, resulted in modest attention and took about a decade to sell out its small press run. That’s not what happened with “Immediate Family.” Within three months, it sold out its first printing of 10,000...

The overwhelming response was due, in part, to an article about my work by Richard B. Woodward that appeared as a cover story in this magazine around the time the book came out. During the three days of interviews at my home, I was a sitting duck, preening on her nest without the least bit of concealment.

You can read the complete article HERE. And the original piece, The Disturbing Photography of Sally Mann, by Richard B. Woodward HERE.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Roger Ballen - a psychological journey

Roger Ballen - Brian with pet pig,1998

In this weeks Art Weekly post the guardian's Sean O'Hagan talks with controversial photographer Roger Ballen, best known for is portraits of marginalised and mentally unstable South Africans.
“People constantly compare me to Diane Arbus,” says Roger Ballen, wearily. “But I think Samuel Beckett is the key influence on my work. My photographs evoke the absurdity of the human condition, but they are also records of a personal psychological journey. For me, photography is a way of looking in the mirror.”
Alongside Beckett, Ballen cites Carl Jung and the radical 1960s psychoanalyst RD Laing, author of The Divided Self, as touchstones for these journeys. “Jung’s idea of the shadow self is in there, for sure,” he says. “The darkness in all of us that we suppress. I often think that when people react to my pictures, the darkness they see is a reflection of their own repression.”

You can find the complete article HERE, it's a good read.

Roger Ballen - Man drawing chalk faces, 2000

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Auckland - The Easter Show revisited

More years ago than I care to think about I made pictures at Auckland's Easter Show. The event then and now is a strange urbanized derivative of the delightful small country town Agricultural and Pastoral show with prizes for best of this and that animal, art and craft contests, best of pumpkins, tomatoes, and rhubarb plus the fun of the side-shows. There is still all of that, prize bulls and sheep (although no vegetable contests). Most else is high energy escapism with a large helping of kitsch. It's the Easter Show of then on speed.



And some portraits I made this visit: