Photographic Island Hopping
The first edition of a new fair in London called ART 13 provided the opportunity to showcase some of the photographers represented by Flowers alongside the work of abstract painters Bernard Cohen & Richard Smith. We divided the booth into two sections, which enabled a distinctly contrasting yet pleasing combination.
Also exhibiting at the fair was A Positive View Foundation, an organisation that regularly stages important international events and exhibitions of contemporary photography. They were previewing works prior to the opening of a major survey of landscape photography at Somerset House titled 'Landmark'. A number of the photographers represented by Flowers are taking part in the exhibition so it made sense to highlight an area of photography that the gallery is especially well known for. I selected works by Robert Polidori, Edward Burtynsky, Nadav Kander & Simon Roberts, which I felt best tied in with the 'Landmark' show but that also made strong connections within a smaller grouping. The selection was prominantly featured in a review of the fair by Photomonitor: photomonitor.co.ukA large piece by Robert Polidori of a street scene in Varanasi stole the show in the end. The piece was clearly visible as you entered the fair and something about the perspective really drew people's attention. Upon closer inspection viewers were treated to some of the most expertly executed large format photography being created by any photographer around. Polidori's images are often composites made up of several images combined either side by side, or in the case of Jataganj Rd images are layered on top of each other to create a kind of infinite resolution - something totally unachievable by a single straight photograph. Coincidentally, another piece from Robert's work in India was on display at the Metropolitan Museum in NY at the same time in a show titled After Photoshop: Manipulated Photography in the Digital Age.
metmuseum.orgThursday, March 7th 2013 10:20am
'A Shifting Sense of Things', Darren Harvey Regan's first solo show at Sumarria Lunn. Text below is taken from the gallery's press release:
In 'A Shifting Sense of Things' Darren Harvey-Regan playfully experiments with the nature of the photographic and its relationship to the material world. Throughout the works Harvey-Regan presents a shifting interplay between the subject, its photographic representation, and the photographic object - the material photograph itself.
Harvey-Regan continually draws our attention to the often overlooked physicality of a photograph. As an object that bears a representational image it is more than mere surface, it is in itself a thing. "The process of translating object to image is that of transposing matter to surface, one thing into another thing. Photographs do not just exist to show things, they are things - more objects amongst the many."
This process of translation is further explored by Harvey-Regan through taking objects from the world and fashioning them in the likeness of images. For example, in 'Beauties of The Common Tool, Rephrased' Harvey-Regan appropriates Walker Evans' 1955 commission for Fortune magazine. Montaging Evans' original tool images together he makes new forms before recreating these constructs in reality by sourcing matching tools, cutting them in half and re-joining them to emulate his montages. The resulting hybridised physical objects are photographed to create the final work, entailing a reversal of photographic trajectory: where photography typically starts with something in the world and makes an image of it, here pre-existing images have been made into something in the world.
The type of representational relationship underpinning these works is what commonly affects the way we order and describe our world. This consideration is further borne out in 'Quotations in Kind’ which incorporates an educational children's book where formative definitions about the nature of perception and language are shaped.
In this installation, comprising of an illustration of stacked bricks in a children's book which is emulated both as a photograph and as a solid concrete sculpture, the same formal quality from the illustration is repeated, 'quoted' as it were, photographically and sculpturally. The book's facing page asks the question 'How many bricks?' and while the photograph and the sculpture accurately transpose the illustration in their own distinct idioms, that of surface and that of solid, the literal answer to the question 'how many bricks?' remains in fact, none.
sumarrialunn.comThursday, February 14th 2013 9:07am
Nadav Kander, BODIES. 6 Women, 1 Man
"Revealed yet concealed. Shameless yet shameful. Ease with unease. Beauty and destruction. These paradoxes are displayed in all my work; an inquiry into what it feels like to be human."
"Wherever I may be, my pictures seek to expose the shadow and vulnerability that exists in all of us, and it is this vulnerability that I find so beautiful." Nadav Kander
The Guardian, The Naked and the Dead by Jonathan Jones guardian.co.uk
The Independent, The Naked Truth by Zoe Pilger independent.co.uk
The Week theweek.co.uk
Huffington Post by Katherine Brooks huffingtonpost.com
Evening Standard by Sue Steward standard.co.uk
Time Lightbox, Renaissance Man by Paul McCauley lightbox.time.com
It's Nice That by Rob Alderson itsnicethat.com
200 Percent Magazine by Thierry Somers 200percentmag.com
Coated in white marble dust and set against the void of the artist’s studio, the subjects of Nadav Kander’s BODIES. 6 Women, 1 Man serve as monumental studies of the human condition. Far from the airbrushed perfection that permeates images of nudity in popular culture, Kander presents us with honest photographs of the human form. The ‘bodies’ featured reference the forms of the classical and renaissance past, whilst modernising the genre of the nude to act as a tool for philosophical investigation.
- Audrey with wrists and toes bent, 2011 (c) Nadav Kander, Courtesy Flowers
- Elizabeth with hand on shoulder, 2010 (c) Nadav Kander, Courtesy Flowers
- Elizabeth with elbows hiding face, 2012 (c) Nadav Kander, Courtesy Flowers
- Mengxi stamping, 2010 (c) Nadav Kander, Courtesy Flowers
- Mengxi lying, 2010 (c) Nadav Kander, Courtesy Flowers
- Stella as Moderno's Saint Cecelia, 2012 (c) Nadav Kander, Courtesy Flowers
Faces turned from the viewer, but bodies offered completely, the forms invite the meditation and self-reflection customarily associated with religious iconography and tomb sculpture. Kander has cited Elizabethan notions of purity as an influence for his bleached treatment of the auburn haired bodies. The subjects are placed awkwardly, contorted and twisted or bowed reverently. In Audrey with Toes and Wrist Bent (2011) the form reclines, her toes and fingers curled uncomfortably from limbs. Flaws laid bare, the figure is exposed and vulnerable to our gaze. It is this sense of vulnerability, and of humanity stripped of its defences that Kander investigates as a point of beauty.
BODIES. 6 Women, 1 Man develops the exploration of the human condition established by Kander in earlier work such as Yangtze - The Long River. Whether photographing the consequences of the incomprehensible development in modern-day China, or a white painted nude suspended against the darkness of his studio, his photographs are linked by their ‘compassionate ruthlessness’, and by the constant strive to explore the poeticism of life’s paradoxes.
nadavkander.comWednesday, January 30th 2013 11:42am
Brush it in
- 'Brush it in' installation view - Joshua Citarella, courtesy of Flowers
- 'Brush it in' installation view - Darren Harvey-Regan, Anne de Vries & Joshua Citarella
- 'Brush it in' installation view - Darren Harvey-Regan & Anne de Vries, courtesy of Flowers
- 'Brush it in' installation view - Christiane Feser & Darren Harvey-Regan, courtesy of Flowers
- 'Brush it in' installation view - Anne de Vries & Fleur van Dodewaard, courtesy of Flowers
- 'Brush it in' installation view - Fleur van Dodewaard, courtesy of Flowers
Curated by Lorenzo Durantini
Selected reviews / Related articles:
British Journal of Photography, Still life by Lorenzo Durantini bjp-online.com
Notes on Metamodernism, The Image Object Post-Photoshop by Luke Turner metamodernism.com
The Imagists, Has Photoshop made us Cynical? theimagists.com
Photomonitor by Anna MckNay photomonitor.co.uk
We Heart by Rob Wilkes weheart.co.uk
Daily Serving by Margaret Zuckerman dailyserving.com
Brush it in is a colloquial expression for a wide variety of alterations made to digital images after they have been captured. The transition from analogue to digital post-production yielded an incredible expansion of existing techniques for image manipulation. Adobe Photoshop was originally developed as a digital emulation of the physical techniques of the darkroom. It quickly developed its own specific vocabulary and it is precisely this language that Brush it in engages with.As digital image making became ubiquitous within popular culture, so did the awareness that digital post- production tools exercised more power for deception than the photographic act itself. Mass-produced commodities inevitably disappoint in an economy increasingly based around images. Objects are subjected to a haptic half-life; the pleasure they produce is inversely related to the power of the image.
An ever secretive and loosely defined field, digital post-production has invariably sharpened the crisis of faith in photographic representation. This loss of faith has levelled the playing field; all manipulative strategies are at once simultaneously expected and disavowed. The artists in this exhibition are instigating what could be called the beginnings of a post-Photoshop engagement with photography. What was once a novel and paradigm shifting digital process has become a banality; it is used everywhere and by everyone. Brush it in hopes to further dismantle the mechanism of image manipulation by highlighting its relationship to sculptural and material interventions.
This shift from novelty to banality follows a similar trajectory as the evolution of screen and browser based net. art to social and relational post-Internet art*. Just as the screen ceased to be a novel form for art to inhabit, digital image manipulation as a transparent means to an end has become increasingly anodyne and self-serving. The North American slickness of the ‘90s directorial mode along with the hyperrealism of the Dusseldorf school in Europe caused a rupture in what the public was willing to accept as plausible photographic representation. This shock, like an iceberg splintering into the sea, created spectacular waves that invariably crashed ashore and destroyed what was left of indexicality, the referent and previous photographic conventions.
All that was devastated is not in ruin. No, it is something closer to an epistemological fatigue, a binary end-of- file sequence that signals the end of a programme. The strain of encountering images that demand credibility whilst offering impossibility has created a palpable sense of fatigue in the general intellect. It has become an afterimage we see when we close our eyes, the unconscious reproduction of photography through our own vision.
Post-Photoshop then could be seen as the slightly jarring moment of opening one’s eyes after a prolonged dream; before clarity and presence take hold, before reason reasserts itself, before recessional perspective is reinstated. It is also a playful provocation amidst the endless proliferation of posts; post-rock, post-digital, post-human, post-everything. The entropic succession of thesis and antithesis becomes a feedback loop that eludes synthesis; photographic manipulation as a physical wet process becomes digital and immaterial only to be re-materialised as physical and sculptural interventions.
*Gene McHugh quoted in The Image Object Post-Internet by Artie Vierkant
Text by Lorenzo Durantini
flowersgallery.comFriday, November 16th 2012 3:31pm
Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin
To Photograph the Details of a Dark Horse in Low Light
This is easily up there as one of my favourite exhibitions of the year. Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin continue to scrutinise photography through an ongoing fascination with the process of photo-montage and by eliminating certain areas of images. This time they also utilise the rudimentary precursor to making photographic prints - the test-strip, as a final outcome in its own right. Other basic darkroom utilities such as dodgers (handmade tools for manipulating the exposure of selected areas on a print) are employed with accidental yet striking effect. Even more so than previous projects I feel that the marriage between technique and sociological concern is particularly effective in this work.
"The title of Broomberg and Chanarin’s new solo exhibition at Paradise Row was originally the coded phrase used by Kodak to describe the capabilities of a new film stock developed in the early 80’s to address the inability of their earlier films to accurately render dark skin.
Jean-Luc Godard famously refused to use Kodak film during an assignment to Mozambique in 1977, on the grounds that the film stock was inherently ‘racist’. In response to a commission to 'document' Gabon, Broomberg and Chanarin recently made several trips to the country to photograph a series of rare Bwiti initiation rituals, using only Kodak film stock that had expired in the late 1950’s."
I was particularly drawn to a series of montages within the project titled Magic and the State. In a second outing of this work at this year's Paris Photo, Paradise Row's director Nick Hackworth explained in an interview that the children on the periphery of the Bwiti ritual were retisent of being photographed. The artists dealt with this problem by physically cutting the figures out of the photographs to respect their privacy. A single photograph of jungle vegetation is montaged behind making very beautiful objects with a straight-forward aesthetic. Hackworth further describes the beauty of the work via the subjects invisibility - that they are invisible at their own behest. And that this is a neat play on the traditional power relationship between the photographer or the observer and the observed or subject.
You can see the short interview here: Paris Photo round-up
For further reading and images:
paradiserow.comSaturday, September 15th 2012 10:00pm
Flowers gallery recently took part in the inaugural edition of Unseen, Amsterdam "a photography fair with with a festival flair". The premise of the fair is that galleries bring new work by established artists or totally undiscovered talent hence the name Unseen. I wanted to stick to this outline as closely as possible but also to somehow respond content-wise to some sort of notion of the unseen. There seemed to be quite a nice link between this theme and W M Hunt's recent book The Unseen Eye: Photographs from the Unconscious, published by Aperture. The book is a catalogue of Hunt's personal collection of 'Anti-portraiture' in which the gaze of each subject is averted, the face obscured, or the eyes firmly closed.
Nadav Kander's latest series Bodies, 6 Woman, 1 Man presents us with honest photographs of the human form. The ‘bodies’ featured reference the forms of the classical and renaissance past, whilst modernising the genre of the nude to act as a tool for philosophical investigation. Faces turned from the viewer, but bodies offered completely, the forms invite the meditation and self-reflection customarily associated with religious iconography and tomb sculpture. An interview with Nadav was conducted at the fair by 200 Percent Magazine: 200percentmag.com
Geir Moseid takes the male role as the unifying theme for a group of stylistically varied photographs. Operating within the borderland of staged/constructed and documentary photographic practice, Moseid’s project questions gender representation within our media-centric society. Male figures are posed with feminine characteristics or caught voyeuristically in somewhat cliched situations.
The Skin I Live by Mona Kuhn continues her fascination with the body as vessel. Kuhn weaves together gestures from the traditional iconography of nude studies with the comfortable body language of her subjects, creating a visual patois at once classical and contemporary. Beneath the mellow surfaces of her photographs lies an explosive energy: the artist’s controlled play with the power of sensuality. The subjects and their gestures are suggestive, but ultimately ambiguous.
aperture.orgIn a separate section of the Unseen Amsterdam fair the participating galleries were encouraged to submit 1 or 2 framed pieces to be hung together. All the work in this section would be made available for sale for less than 1,000 Euros - a really refreshing idea that worked well. We submitted two recent pieces by Raven Smith who had some earlier work in the summer exhibition at Flowers Uncommon Ground (featured as the previous post on this blog). The text below is taken from Raven's website and gives some background to the development of his practice:
"The world we inhabit is a maze; a series of metaphorical, physical and emotional obstacles we’re forever navigating in order to streamline our way through life. A journey peppered with pitfalls, obstructions and traps, wherein our ability to overcome each thing thrown in our path become the basis of life itself. A wrong turn; a false start; a missed exit; and we’re thrown into turmoil, desperate to find our way back to our original path.
In Conurbate Capitulate the subject navigates his way through the debris of the metropolis, grappling with the municipal hindrances he’s presented with. Each step of the journey is its own encapsulated attempt to overcome the impediments of urban distopia. Without inception or destination this presented journey becomes a never-ending visual comment on the infinite restrictions we must endure to survive—our innate need to stay afloat in a submersive culture of detractions.
The photographs here depict moments slanted beyond the confines of natural gravity and yet surrendering implicitly to them. A brick wall floor and a tarmac sky frame our upturned protagonist, literally reflecting the disorder and upheaval of everyday life. Our explorer should fall, gravity dictates that, but he doesn’t fall towards the ground—a battle with gravity itself is fought, won and simultaneously lost as the subject navigates his way through the cornucopia of debris in the modern city."
ihaventgotatumblrtowear.tumblr.comSunday, September 30th 2012 4:00pm