Monday, August 31, 2015

Hellen van Meene at FOTOMUSEUM DEN HAAG


For the last 20 years, Hellen van Meene (b. 1972) has ranked among the world’s top photographers. Her highly distinctive style and timeless, intimate images of young girls on the brink of adulthood have attracted international acclaim. Solo shows and group exhibitions have won her admirers in places as far away as Japan, Korea and the US. The Hague Museum of Photography now presents the first ever major retrospective of her entire oeuvre.
Hellen van Meene career took off in a big way immediately after her graduation from the Rietveld Academie (Amsterdam) in 1996. Following various group exhibitions and a solo show at the Paul Andriesse gallery in Amsterdam, her international breakthrough came with a solo exhibition at the Photographers’ Gallery in London. Since then, her work has been acquired by major museums in the Netherlands and around the world. Collections in which it can now be found include those of the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, Victoria & Albert Museum (London) and MoMA (New York). Although Van Meene has continued to develop and her choice of subject has widened over the past twenty years, her work has always displayed the same consistent and distinctive personal style. Whatever the nature of her photographs - whether autonomous art works, images commissioned by the New York Times or Tank Magazine, portraits of young girls in Tokyo or Los Angeles, or portraits of dogs – each of them is always and unmistakeably ‘a Hellen van Meene’. Van Meene’s unique style is characterized by the timeless and mysterious atmosphere in her images and by her consistent use of natural light. Due to the crucial importance of lighting in her photographs, but also because of the particular way she stages her pictures of adolescent girls, her work is sometimes compared with that of major painters of the past, from Botticelli and Velázquez through to the Pre-Raphaelites of the nineteenth century. Van Meene draws her models – often young girls – from her immediate social circle or spots them in the street. She doesn’t care who the girl is or where she comes from. For that reason, she deliberately refrains from titling her photographs; the identity of the subject is irrelevant. The photographic image represents a mere moment in time, carefully staged by the photographer; the subject may look quite different the next day – especially if she is a girl in an ‘in-between phase’, hovering on the brink of adulthood. Time flies by: The Years Shall Run Like Rabbits. What remains is a timeless image that frequently offers no clue as to whether it was produced at the start of Van Meene’s career or just this year. To underline the intimacy of her photographs, Van Meene presents them in the form of small-format prints, forcing the viewer to come close to see them. The retrospective at the Hague Museum of Photography, consisting of over ninety photographs, is accommodated in six vivid, enclosed spaces. It extends from Van Meene’s earliest photographic works, produced in 1994, right through to her most recent images, never previously seen in the Netherlands. The exhibition is accompanied by a book of the same name, containing an essay by Martin Barnes, Senior Curator of Photographs at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. The publication is available in Dutch (Ludion, ISBN 978-94-9181-932-2), English (Aperture, ISBN 978-1-59711-317-5) and German (Schirmer/Mosel, ISBN 978-3-8296-0717-9).

The exhibition, The Years Shall Run Like Rabbits, is open now and shows until November 29, 2015

You can see more of Hellen van Meene's work on her website HERE.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

BOOK MACHINE from onestar press comes to Sydney's Volume 2015 / Another Art Book Fair

BOOK MACHINE at Centre Pompidou, 2013

Volume 2015 / Another Art Book Fair is Sydney's first edition of a fair dealing with artist's books and is presented in in partnership with Perimeter Books (Melbourne) and Printed Matter, Inc. (New York).

Paris based artist book publisher onestar press will be presenting their BOOK MACHINE initiative, which has been successfully presented in the past at Centre Pompidou, Paris.

There is a call for participants who will each work with a graphic designer to to conceive, design and complete a book project. Taking place from 9 to 13 September, there will be nine morning and afternoon sessions each of three and a half hours running over five days. Each session will host twenty participants working alongside twenty graphic designers. There is no charge for participation. Registration closes 2 September.

You can find out more and register HERE.

onestar press is dedicated to the production of books and multiples by artists. The overall production of onestar press includes more than 300 books, 300 multiples and artists’ films since 2000. The space and freedom given to artists, the flexibility in the realization of their concepts, the access to and use of new technologies have allowed onestar press to collaborate with international artists on a variety of projects. The vision of onestar press, concerning contemporary creation, remains non-didactic and diversified. These beliefs translate through the publication of artists from different generations, countries and attitudes. This action serves as a means to constitute a subjective "encyclopedia", as a reflection of our civilization. You can go to their site HERE.

a selection of artist's books from onestar press

VOLUME 2015 | Another Art Book Fair will be presented from 11–13 September at Artspace, Sydney. The fair has a specific focus on independently produced, artist-led publications and related materials that are responsive, discursive, irreverent, and that function as creative and politically engaged modes of communication.
VOLUME 2015 is the official, not-for-profit offsite event for Sydney Contemporary 2015, the second iteration of which will run concurrently at Carriageworks. In addition to showcasing over 90 exhibitors across the spectrum of contemporary art book production from zines to antiquarian books, limited editions to photobooks, the weekend-long event will also feature an extensive program of talks, workshops led by artists and publishers, launches, readings, book signings and film screenings.

VOLUME 2015| HOURS AND LOCATION / Friday 11 September: 5–9pm, Saturday 12 September: 11am – 7pm, Sunday 13 September: 11am–6pm
FREE and open to the public Artspace The Gunnery Building 43–51 Cowper Wharf Road, Woolloomooloo 2011

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Paul Graham talks about his show The Whiteness of the Whale


Currently showing at San Francisco's Pier 24 Photography is Paul Graham's exhibition The Whiteness of the Whale. The museum has produced a 15 minute video with Paul talking about the show. It is well worth a look. You can go to it HERE.

The Pier 24 exhibition brings together three bodies of work made by Paul Graham in the United States between 1998 and 2011, American Night (1998–2002), a shimmer of possibility (2004–06), and The Present (2009–11). The Whiteness of the Whale features nearly sixty works, ranging from singular large-scale photographs to sequences of over twenty images. This exhibition marks Pier 24 Photography’s first single-artist presentation and the only time a shimmer of possibility has been presented in its entirety. Graham’s three bodies of work from this period operate as an informal trilogy, linked not only by common subject matter, but also by underlying issues such as racial and social inequality, the texture of everyday life, and the nature of sight, perception, and photography itself.
The Whiteness of the Whale is on view from August 3, 2015 - February 29, 2016.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Geert Goiris - photographs loaded with mystery and surprise

Geert Goiris - Lying Awake from ROMA Publications

From time to time I come across work where I say to myself - I wish I had done that! Belgium photographer Geert Goiris is one such artist. His deceptively simple images are pregnant with meaning and are loaded with mystery and surprise. The works go way beyond the obvious and are layered with possibilities. Goiris avoids the problems that we all face where work only deals with description and surface. There is so much more going on in his photographs. The work is demanding, hard to figure out, there is a strange narrative and that's what pulls you back for more. It is not easy making work like this, where so often intelligence can give way to cleverness. Geert Goiris clearly knows the difference.

And Geert Goiris also makes photobooks, these are worth checking out too. You can see more on his site HERE.

Below are works from Geert Goiris' series Resonance. I particularly like how he moves from B&W to color and how superficially the images seem to bear little relationship one to another.

Geert Goiris - Andrea, 2011

Geert Goiris - Albino, 2003

Geert Goiris - Ecologist Place, 2006

Geert Goiris - Wave Land, 2002

Geert Goiris - The Pagodas, 2001

Geert Goiris - Polar Line, 2002

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Jo Ractliffe -The Aftermath of Conflict at THE MET NYC

Jo Ractliffe - Roadside stall on the way to Viana, 2007

Jo Ractliffe's photographs of Angola and South Africa presented as The Aftermath of Conflict is now showing at The Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art NYC.

Throughout her career, South African photographer Jo Ractliffe (born 1961) has directed her camera toward landscapes to address themes of displacement, conflict, history, memory, and erasure. This exhibition brings together selected works from three of her recent photographic series that focus on the aftermath of the Angolan Civil War (1975–2002) and its relationship with the Border War (1966–89) fought by South Africans in Angola and present-day Namibia. For Ractliffe and many other South African civilians, Angola during these wars was an abstract place, a "secret, unspoken location where brothers and boyfriends were sent as part of their military service." When seen consecutively, these three series reveal Ractliffe's deepening engagement with the region's complex histories as an attempt to "retrieve a place for memory." The earliest series, Terreno Ocupado (2007–8), was produced during Ractliffe's first visit to Angola's capital, Luanda, five years after the end of the Civil War. These images highlight the structural instability of the capital's shantytowns and question what it means for land to be occupied, abandoned, and struggled over. While working on As Terras do Fim do Mundo (2009–10), Ractliffe traveled alongside ex-soldiers returning to the desolate places in the Angolan countryside where they had fought. The Borderlands (2011–13) examines the impact of the wars in Angola within South Africa's borders. For this most recent project, she photographed militarized landscapes that had been occupied by the South African army, tracing histories of displacement that began during the colonial and apartheid periods and continue to unfold today. The photographs in all three series were originally produced as either gelatin silver prints or archival pigment prints on cotton paper; the inkjet prints on display here were made by the artist specially for this exhibition. 

The exhibition opened Monday of this week and runs until March 6, 2016. More on THE MET site HERE.

Jo Ractliffe - Video club, Roque Santeiro market, 2007

Jo Ractliffe -Template for digging graves, Pomfret, 2013

Monday, August 24, 2015

PHOTO SHANGHAI - In its second edition, 11-13 September

Now in its second edition, Photo Shanghai returns to the Shanghai Exhibition Centre from 11-13 September. The organisers say this: ...with an objective of positioning Shanghai as THE destination  for Western collectors to acquire both emerging and established artists from across the Asia Pacific region. It will also affirm itself as the place where collectors from the East can easily access photography from the West, for the first time on this scale. 

The fair, small by European standards, has a varied and interesting offering and is not to be underestimated.
With around 50 participating galleries you can see work at Gagosian NYC et al, Flowers London, Taka Ishii Tokyo, Stanley-Wise NYC and Magnum.
In Asia for the first time, a special museum scale exhibition of 156 works by celebrated American artist Taryn Simon will be presented by Gagosian. Simon’s seminalBirds of the West Indies series showcases the artists unique weaving of photography, text and graphic design which has made her one of the finest contemporary photographers working today.  And there is a "talks" programe with presentations from Peter MacGill, Erwin Olaf, Zelda Cheattle and Alessandra Sanguinetti, amongst others.

You can see more at the PHOTO SHANGAI site HERE.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

BOOK CASE STUDY - a 4 day photobook workshop in Amsterdam and the UNSEEN PHOTO FAIR


The 5th edition of BOOK CASE STUDY kicks off in Amsterdam on Monday September 14. Running for 4 days, BCS is a workshop dedicated to giving hands-on experience in photobook publishing. Participants will work together with top course leaders from the international community of photobook makers. The program includes working on dissecting and re-writing an existing photobook, talks, including one from Cristina de Middel, and the making of a working dummy focusing on participants own work.
And, included in the cost, on on Friday September 18, workshop attendees can go along to Amsterdam's Unseen Photo Fair. The full package price which includes lunch is only €295. Sounds great to me!

You can find out more by going to the BOOK CASE STUDY site HERE.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Joachim Schmid ROCKS - Ikea SUCKS

Joachim Schmid at Paris Photo 2014

Schmid's latest bookwork takes a jab at Swedish furniture retailer Ikea with a work simply called Ikea Sucks. JS says this: In my opinion they owe me money. They don’t agree. In order to recuperate the disputed amount I made this book. The prices of all items bought at Ikea are listed in the book. The revenue from sales of the complete edition equals the total of my purchase. All materials used for the production of the book were involuntarily supplied by Ikea. The book’s pages are Ikea note sheets, the cover is made of Ikea wrapping paper and cardboard, the typographic elements and photos are taken from the Ikea catalog. The twenty-five copies of the book are numbered and signed using an Ikea pencil which is attached to each copy. Everything is kept neat and flat and in place by a belly band made of an Ikea measuring tape.

Conceptual artist Joachim Schmid  is a master of the banal, the overlooked and the found. And is a typological magician. His practice revolves around the artist book of which he has produced many, rivaling Moriyama, Araki and Parr in the volume of his output. 

Many of Schmid's bookworks are printed on demand often by Blurb or Lulu. They are concise, focused and generally inexpensive. You can buy Ikea Sucks direct from Joachim Schmid's website HERE along with the rest of his huge output. And more often than not you will find him at one or other of the many artists' book-fairs. I'm sure you'll find him at Printed Matter's NY Art book Fair, 18 - 20 September of this year. Finally, more about JS at Wikipedia HERE.

Friday, August 14, 2015

The Walther Collection - The Lay of the Land, new visions from Africa

Mame-Diarra Niang, Satellite I, from Metropolis, 2015.

The Walther Collection has announced the inauguration of a new multi-year exhibition series on contemporary photography and video art from Africa, to be presented in thematic exhibitions in New York from 2015 to 2017. Expanding the collection's longstanding focus on African photography, this program features a diverse range of emerging artists who are exploring new visions of social identity in Africa and the African Diaspora.

The first exhibition, The Lay of the Land, which opens Thursday September 10, brings together three young artists who are examining the effects of the built environment on African landscapes from Dakar to Johannesburg. Born a generation after the liberation movements that swept Africa in the 1960s, Edson Chagas (Angola), François-Xavier Gbré (Côte d'Ivoire), and Mame-Diarra Niang (Senegal/France) investigate the promises and failures of the postcolonial city. Uniting their works is a vivid attention to color and form. The artists systematically portray monumental civic buildings or banal apartment complexes, imposing avenues or lonely corners, profiling spaces discovered on travels within the African continent and abroad. Their images of physical structures and public spaces -- whether functional or incomplete -- are encoded with the values, dreams, contradictions, and politics of urban life. In The Lay of the Land, rather than providing purely documentary statements, Chagas, Gbré, and Niang pose open-ended questions about the changing visual narratives of the landscape.

You can go to The Walther Collection website HERE.

The Walther Collection Project Space, 526 West 26th Street, Suite 718 New York, NY 10001

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Goran Bertok - REQUIEM

Goran Bertok is a Slovenian photographer who states that he was dismissed from the services of the Yugoslav National Army after a diagnosis of having a psychopatic personality. Bertok writes: There are more important things than photography. More important to me. I reached them also through photography, but have nevertheless no particular wish to enter into its world (or the world of art) more than necessary. Perhaps this is the cause of effort with photography, these objections. There is a misunderstanding of sorts going on. Sometimes I feel like I could give up photography without any remorse. Actually photography does not interest me. I am interested in several motifs, which I have been trying to get to over the years. Several more motifs alongside which I do not feel any effort and resistance towards photography. OMG I like this person.

In my mail this morning was Goran Bertok's latest bookwork, REQUIEM, published by the angry bat (thank you Matej). The book, in fact there are two, reminded me why I like bookworks. The work is a tactile object. It has a presence of its own, it begs to be opened.
And more, the work is direct and uncompromising. Death. We don't think about it, talk about it, and we are afraid of it. Goran Bertok deals with it.

Old age, disease, death and facing death bodies are somehow placed on the edge of the contemporary society, which rather uses various channels to emphasize the imperative of health, youth and strength. Bertok approaches death from the perspective of life: he is intrigued by its mythology reflecting through history the notion of the so-called dignified death, he is fascinated by the psychological effects of the omnipresent fear of death and by the organic remnants of the once alive bodily system. He never idealizes death, as it always stands for fear, pain, agony and pain, he rather sees it as a consequence of life. text by Miha Colner.

Published in an edition of 300 copies, you can order the book direct from the angry bat HERE. Dimensions, 16 x 21 cm / 46 pages / paper, cordenons natural evolution white 140g /
selfbound japanese binding / high quality offset print. And you can check out Goran Bertok's website HERE.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Wolfgang Tillmans - Book for Architects at The Met NYC

Wolfgang Tillmans - Book for Architects, 2014. Two-channel video installation

Running through until November 1st, Wolfgang Tillmans's installation Book for Architects (2014) is on view at the Metropolitan Museum for the first time since its debut at the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale. Over a period of ten years, Tillmans (German, born 1968) photographed buildings in thirty-seven countries on five continents to produce Book for Architects. The 450 photographs are presented in a site-specific, two-channel video installation projected onto perpendicular walls. Book for Architects shows architecture through the eyes of the artist. Tillmans seeks to express the complexity, irrationality, madness, and beauty found in quotidian buildings, street patterns, and fragments of spaces. He achieves this from a technical standpoint by using standard lenses, which most closely approximate the perspective of the naked eye. Additionally, Tillmans designs the experience of the exhibition in the installation space itself—from the proximity and arrangement of the projected images to the seating, which is designed in a bleacher-like arrangement to enable a range of perspectives and views of the work. Through this cyclic series of photographs of largely anonymous building exteriors, interiors, city shots, and street views, Tillmans presents a personal portrait of contemporary architecture that will be familiar to everyone.

Friday, August 7, 2015

VISION ANEW - The lens and screen arts, today


Photographer, educator and writer Adam Bell was kind enough to send me a copy of his new bookwork VISION ANEW. Edited by Bell and Charles H. Traub and published by the University of California Press, the work charts a path through the minefield of contemporary lens based practice where every day more than a billion images are made. The book is an essential read for any of us immersed in this chaotic world of over production.

Adam Bell says this: VISION ANEW broadens the discussion about what constitutes the lens-based arts, what they can do and their significance in the world... the lens arts are a slippery matrix for innumerable activities... constantly changing applications... force us to remain vigilant and mindful about the changing nature of the lens arts. The anxiety that accompanies this unstable ground gives rise to not only wild and fanciful speculation about the future but also dread-filled proclamations on the state of the medium.

And from the University of California Press: The ubiquity of digital images has profoundly changed the responsibilities and capabilities of anyone and everyone who uses them. Thanks to a range of innovations, from the convergence of moving and still image in the latest DSLR cameras to the growing potential of interactive and online photographic work, the lens and screen have emerged as central tools for many artists. Vision Anew brings together a diverse selection of texts by practitioners, critics, and scholars to explore the evolving nature of the lens-based arts. Presenting essays on photography and the moving image alongside engaging interviews with artists and filmmakers, Vision Anew offers an inspired assessment of the medium’s ongoing importance in the digital era. Contributors include Ai Weiwei, Gerry Badger, David Campany, Lev Manovich, Christian Marclay, László Moholy-Nagy, Walter Murch, Trevor Paglen, Pipilotti Rist, Shelly Silver, Rebecca Solnit, and Alec Soth, among others. This vital collection is essential reading for artists, educators, scholars, critics, and curators, and anyone who is passionate about the lens-based arts.

VISION ANEW is a must read for any of us making pictures. You can get a copy from UC Press HERE. And while you are at it you can go to Adam Bell's website HERE.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Photographers whose work I like - No27/ Dieter de Lathauwer

Dieter de Lathauwer - from the series today is not a lucky day for you

I met Dieter de Lathauwer briefly at Photo London back in May of this year. Dieter messaged me on facebook and now we are fb friends. Looking at Dieter's website I liked what I saw. His work mostly deals with landscape. But he mixes things up a bit, and there is wry sense of humor running through the work. De Lathauwer's work is spare yet loaded. The pictures convey a sense of something just happened or something about to and his restricted color pallet underlines the sense of mystery. And close to my heart, this guy has an ear an eye a whatever for compelling titles for his series. Get these: The elephant and the bubble, today is not a lucky day for you, 25 landscapes and a suicide note. WTF, you just have to find put more.
In keeping with his photography Dieter de Lathauwer's about bit on his website is equally spare. He says that he is a visual artist/photographer who lives and works in Ghent, Belgium. He is also a member of PHOTOLIMITS  a belgium based platform for documentary photography. You can go to his website HERE.

Below are some photographs from Dieter's 2011 series Sada. He describes the work:  A poetic series influenced by the start of the crisis in Portugal. The river Sado guided me from the capital Lisboa to the touristic Algarve. It is about landscapes I want to wrap around me like a warm strange cloth, and interiors as entrances to escapes. I love that last sentence! Not to mention the pictures!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Paul Graham at PIER 24 San Francisco and a new title from MACK

Paul Graham, New Orleans (Cherries on sidewalk), from the series a shimmer of possibility, 2006

Pier 24 Photography presents The Whiteness of the Whale, a solo exhibition by British photographer Paul Graham (b. 1956) who lives and works in New York City. For the first time, this exhibition brings together three bodies of work made in the United States between 1998 and 2011, American Night (1998–2002), a shimmer of possibility (2004–06), and The Present (2009–11). The Whiteness of the Whale features nearly sixty works, ranging from singular large-scale photographs to sequences of over twenty images. This exhibition marks Pier 24 Photography’s first single-artist presentation and the only time a shimmer of possibility has been presented in its entirety. Graham’s three bodies of work from this period operate as an informal trilogy, linked not only by common subject matter, but also by underlying issues such as racial and social inequality, the texture of everyday life, and the nature of sight, perception, and photography itself.

British publisher MACK have produced a bookwork to support the Pier 24 show, or does the show support the book? They say this:
The Whiteness of the Whale brings together Paul Graham’s three bodies of American photographs: American Night, a shimmer of possibility and The Present, made from 1998 to 2011. These 3 remarkable photographic series reflect upon the social fabric of contemporary America, whilst trying to find something closer to the experience of being and seeing in the world today.
American Night (2003) examines the social fracture of America – the great divide between have and have-not rendered through the dichotomy of light and darkness, presence and absence. The images oscillate between high-key near invisible photographs in bright light, and the antithesis – deeply saturated colour images of freshly minted homes glowing under California’s blue skies.
a shimmer of possibility (2007), is an American epic of the small and incidental. Originally published as twelve photographic visions of everyday life, the stuttering sequences form a kind of 'filmic haiku', revealing the flow of life found in quotidian America, where we share moments with people waiting for a bus, cutting the grass, or smoking a cigarette. a shimmer of possibility was winner of the 2011 Paris Photo Book Prize for the most significant Photobook of the past 15 years.
The Present (2011) taken in the streets of New York, and unfolds two images of the same scene separated only by the briefest fraction of time. Here the present is revealed to be a fleeting and provisional alignment, glimpsed as part of an ever flowing continuum of life: before/after, coming/going, either/or.

The catalogue is printed in wide gamut inks on natural white paper, and coincides with the exhibition at Pier 24, San Francisco. It includes newly commissioned texts by David Chandler and Stanley Wolukau-Wanambwa.

Published in collaboration with Pier 24, San Francisco. 240 pages, 24 cm x 30.5 cm, hardback book with tipped in image, housed in a printed mailing box, Publication date: August 2015. €65.00 £50.00 $75.00

You can order  The Whiteness of the Whale from MACK HERE.