Tag Archives: Mediums

Displaced History and the Art of Collective Memory

Somewhere in Switzerland there’s a municipal archive, the collective memory of a town, with negatives and newspapers and postcards and photographs that tell the story of the area from 1880–1940. It’s the collective paper memory of the place, including a picture of four children who might not have grown into respected elders, a picture of a priest who may have performed important rituals in the town, a picture of a young woman whose face you might recognize—if the town’s memories are your own.

On the other hand, for photographer Nicolas Dhervillers, who spent only six months residing in Sion, the people in those images were more like characters in a play he would write. Acting the parts to which the photographer assigned them, they appear throughout a series called My Sentimental Archives which will be exhibited at Galérie Bacqueville in Lille, France through Nov. 20. In a meditation on appropriation, each photograph is a two-in-one. Dhervillers’ landscape photography from the area was subjected to a digital process adapted from the cinematic “day for night” technique, lending an eerie look to pictures taken in broad daylight; the archival figures are placed within those landscapes and washed with the unnatural digital light.

“It was very important to find a technique that gives an impression of being ‘outside time,’” Dhervillers told TIME in an email. “Thus, it’s not about a simple photograph but rather a photograph that mixes different mediums that I particularly like: theater for the positions and attitudes of the characters, movies for the light, photography for the idea of controlling the framework, painting for the final rendering.”

Each figure from the archives—small, dusty, black and white people—has been carefully restored by Dhervillers. And, in the process of restoration, the photographer says he felt that the images raised a spiritual question: can we create a present, a now, out of the scraps of the past? “The appropriation of the collective memory, of photographic memory, overlaps with the desire to question a picture in a larger sense,” he said. “This series takes us into a fictional space outside of time, through the photographic processing.”

Dhervillers has worked with appropriated figures before; his series Tourists uses images taken from the internet. But in this case, in the end, his questions about photographic appropriation took on another dimension: the archives from which Dhervillers took the figures did, in a way, become “his.” Even if he didn’t share the town’s history, he felt he knew its inhabitants well. “I spent a lot of time with these little characters,” he said. “I raised them, I colorized them, I gave them life.”

This interview has been translated from French.


Nicolas Dhervillers is a Paris-based photographer represented by School Gallery/Olivier Castaing in Paris.

Jacqueline Roberts

It is with great pleasure and excitement that I introduce Jacqueline Roberts as next week’s guest curator and writer.  She will be sharing the work of six contemporary European photographers over the course of the week, exposing us to image makers an ocean away. Today I will be celebrating her wonderful work that beautifully explores children and childhood.

Jacqueline is a Spanish photographer born in Paris and now lives and works in Wincheringen, Germany, with her husband Gareth and their children Madoc, Malen and Emrys–making her a perfect European ambassador of photography. Her work has been shown in France, Spain, Germany and Luxembourg and has won various international awards, including the International Photography Awards in New York and the Prix de la Photographie in Paris. Jacqueline works with different photographic mediums, both digital and analogue, as well as with photographic techniques from the 19th century. She has published two books with editor Galerie Vevais, within the collector’s series Werkdruck and she is currently preparing her third monograph Kindred Spirits, which will be published next year.
 Kindred Spirits is a celebration of childhood and by extension life, tinged with nostalgia; a constructed memory for the future… a family album, simply. At a time in my life where my children are growing up and my parents are ageing… a reminder of the trace of time and fleeting nature of life.
 images from Kindred Spirits

Triptychs is primarily a tribute to my children, all born on the same day, which consists of three triple triptychs. With this series of portraits I wanted to emphasise the connection between them, the fraternal bond, the communion almost, that exists between them. Three distinct individuals yet connected. It was relevant therefore to present the work as triptychs, for the religious connotations it confers to the images but also to embrace the symbolism of the number three in a wider cultural realm. Three represents the triad of family: male, female, and child; the triad of the cycle of life: birth, life, and death; the triad of time: past, present and future; the triad of human nature: mind, body and soul and the Holy Trinity: The Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit… like an allusion to the sacred status of the child in our contemporary western societies.

images from Triptychs

High and Low: Jim Goldberg’s Works in Process

Although a photographers process is integral to his/her work, it is often a carefully guarded secret. Most photographers tend to keep the development of their work to themselves, sometimes choosing to seek counsel only from a small circle of trusted friends.

It comes as a surprise, then, to find Magnum photographer Jim Goldbergs reworked sketches, videos and maquettes of his groundbreaking books openly shared online.

For Goldberga photographer whose approach has always been eclectic, evolving, and utilizing other mediums, including textthe very act of sharing these works in progress is an important and formative part of the final product.

Goldberg talked to LightBox about the process of revisiting, sharing and republishing two of his groundbreaking works. Rich and Poor (1977-85) juxtaposes two economic classes through intimate environmental portraits and personal statements written on the prints by the subjects, while Raised by Wolves (1985-95) documents the lives of homeless runaways in San Francisco and Los Angeles through photographs, text, drawings and interviews.

Being a teacher for so long, Ive realized that so much of what you teach students is about learning to respect the importance of process. Watching students grow is interestingand them observing my process helps them see that its not that mysterious of a thing to do. In order to figure this artmaking stuff out, its trial and error and experimentation, and takes some time and hard thinking. Putting work out in many forms and stages is an extension of how I see things. I feel the art process is best served when it invites comments and constructive criticism from people. Its a strategic gesture, too, because the feedback I receive helps me move forward with my ideas, which is what process is aboutto craft and evolve something.

Rich and Poor

I was invited by Steidl to republish Rich and Poor. Up to this point my archive was mostly analog. proveedor factura electrnica . Revisiting Rich and Poor meant that it was time to start digitizing my older work. I started by going through all of my contact sheets and re-editing. My studio ended up scanning a lot of images that were never printed in the original book, which in turn gave me a way to experience my old work with a beginners mind. This got me excited about seeing things I had passed over years before during my original edit. When I originally made the work, I was getting so much positive feedback about how I was using images with text that the stand-alone images fell by the wayside. Or perhaps back then I didnt have the courage to include images that functioned simply as straight photographs.

Revisiting the archive excited me on many levels. The freshness of my youth particularly resonated with me, but it also gave me thirty years of distance to look back at these images. Aside from the overall nostalgic patina, I feel like I was looking at these images with a critical distance for the first time. Im now able to separate my own impulses with the overarching history/context of what was happening in the 70s and 80s.

I also wanted to conceptually tie the past in with the present and so decided to revisit a few of the original subjects and map where they are today. I plan to include this in the new Rich and Poor edition via a small insert of contemporary imagery.

Raised by Wolves

Raised by Wolves has been out of print for some time, which has made it expensive and difficult to findso people are constantly asking me for it. Its also been almost 20 years since the book was published, so I felt it would be a good time to put it back on the table as something to look at again, as well as digitize.

Raised by Wolves was a good ten years of working with the kids; collecting ephemera;and making the exhibition and the book.

Still when it came time for the book and exhibition to be produced, and all the deadlines were mounting, aesthetic choices had to be made quickly as to what would be included and what was to go back into boxes. So there was a lot that hasnt been looked at since.

My studio manager and I started brainstorming on strategies to get the work out there again, and we decided that the best way would be to make something to put up on my website.

So we took a new intern to the studiowho happened to be a production whizzand had him organize and digitize everything. I gave him some guidance and checked in with him often on we had had discovered on that particular day, but for the most part gave him free reign as to what could be explored and organized.

Based on what I was witnessing on the streets, I knew that I needed to record what I was experiencing in ways that just couldnt be done with the camera alone. I have, since the beginning of my career, used text, video, audio, Polaroids, found objects, and ephemera. With Raised by Wolves it was my first attempt to incorporate all these various approaches into one project.

Raised by Wolves,video by Jim Goldberg

The children in Raised by Wolves were living hard liveslives that were leading to nowhere. So now, when I reheard a recording that the intern (Brandon) had found in some box, and I heard the voice of lets say Tweeky Dave, well that added something that would extend to the viewers experience of the project.

Its always good to find things that you havent found before. Im not doing it because I have nothing else to do or because Im old and I may as well go back into my archive. Im going back into my archive with purposeto see what I can reinvent. Im still vibrant and making new work. directory submission . The making of the new work guides how the old work looks.

Beyond Rich and Poor and Raised by Wolves, Goldberg is revisiting and re-imagining other projects from his archive. A previously unpublished series titled Coming and Going is being reworked as a series of Japanese small books. Goldberg is also reevaluating and reworking Open See, the project for which he was given the Henri Cartier-Bresson Award in 2007 and the Duestche Borse Award in 2011. Goldberg plans a new edition that will be more expansive than the original, one that will further explain the complexities of the situationof immigration, being a refugee and being trafficked in a place and time. Working roughs for the proposed book and multimedia sketches for the project again are available online. Goldberg says of his process Its always good to find things that you havent found before and Im going back into my archive with purposeto see what I can reinvent. Im still vibrant and making new work. The making of the new work guides how the old work looks.

Photographer/Artist Jim Goldberg is a member of Magnum Photos and Professor of Art at the California College of Arts and Crafts. He Lives in San Francisco.

Ori Gersht: Artist Book

Photoworks have commissioned these videos as part of their collaboration with Israeli-born artist, Ori Gersht. Here we are given an intimate behind-the-scenes look at Artist Book and his recent exhibition, This Storm is What We Call Progress, held at the Imperial War MuseumArtist Book was reviewed, somewhat disparagingly, in the latest issue of 1000 Words. The main crux of the writers argument pointed towards how the images perform (or fail to) in book format compared to experiencing the work as an exhibition. Not a new bone of contention by any means but obviously a noteworthy one since Ori Gerhst is both a highly accomplished and mindful artist, somebody from whom you would expect a more discerning approach to such an adaptation. As a piece of visual communication Artist Book is sloppy and ill-considered. Certain design decisions in relation to the book’s scale and size undersell his photography regardless of any “intimate/fetishistic object” PR spin that is put on it. Yes the production is impeccable, yes it offers a glimpse into Gerhst’s well of inspiration and yes the stories he narrates are undeniably emotive and beautifully shot but the simple fact remains; the project doesn’t translate well across mediums. It is therefore useful to remember that while the photobook market is booming the printed page is not always the best outlet for a photographer’s ideas. Artist Book is a case in point.

TIME 100 Includes Artist Christian Marclay

Our annual TIME 100 magazine issue takes stock of the 100 most influential people of the year, and this year that list included Christian Marclay, the artist behind the highly-regarded video piece The Clock. That piece is only one highlight from the artist’s varied career— which extends itself in across an array of mediums, from sound and performance, to photography and sculpture—some of his other work is featured in the gallery above.

Geoff Dyer—whose many books include The Ongoing Moment, a series of essays about photography—wrote about Marclay for TIME:

© Christian Marclay / Courtesy Paula Cooper Gallery, New York and White Cube, London; Installation Photo: Todd-White Art Photography

Installation view of The Clock at White Cube Mason’s Yard, London (Oct. 15 – Nov. 13, 2010)

Wherever it has been shown, Christian Marclay’s The Clock has been met with a rare combination of critical approval and public affection—love, even. The idea was audacious in its simplicity and herculean in execution: take moments in films when people are interacting with time—looking at their watches, hurrying to intercept the 3:10 to Yuma or hanging on to the hands of Big Ben—and splice them together in such a way that they unfold in real time over 24 hours, so that the whole thing becomes an accurate (to the minute) timepiece. During the film’s opening run in London, I had intended to stay long enough to get the gag—10 minutes?—before hurrying on to a lunch date. It was so hypnotic, so thrilling, that I ended up watching 20 hours over a month, arranging life and appointments (for which I was invariably late) in such a way as to catch previously unseen segments of that celluloid epic called a day.

Read more about this year’s most influential people in the TIME 100.

Pieter Hugo at MAXXI


from Permanent Error, 2009. © Pieter Hugo

RE-CYCLE. Strategies for Architecture, City and Planet

Exhibition on view:
December 1, 2011–April 29, 2012

National Museum of XXI Century Arts (MAXXI):
Via Guido Reni, 4/A
00196
Rome, Italy
+39 06 399 67 350

The National Museum of XXI Century Arts (MAXXI) will explore artistic approaches to recycling in their exhibition RE-CYCLE. Strategies for Architecture, City and Planet. Mainly focused on the modern architecture of recycling, the exhibit will feature over 80 works of several artists working in various mediums. In addition to including architectural models and drawings, the exhibit will also feature music, film projections, and photography, including the work of Aperture-published photographer Pieter Hugo. Images from Hugo’s series Permanent Error—which focuses on Agbogbloshie, a large landfill for technological waste in Ghana—will be on display. Hugo’s series Looking Aside was featured in Aperture issue 186.

Illumination: An Interview with Rinko Kawauchi

By Anna Carnick

Illuminance by Rinko Kawauchi

Picture 1 of 10

Rinko Kawauchi’s photographs celebrate the tiny gestures and unexpected patterns of everyday life. Known for her dreamlike yet unflinching aesthetic, the Tokyo-based artist explores the extraordinary in the mundane, championing the translucent beauty of life’s fleeting moments.

This past month, Kawauchi debuted Illuminance, her twelfth book and her first to be published outside of Japan, as well as an exhibition by the same name at the Gallery at Hermès. Drawn from fifteen years of work, this collection of previously unpublished images continues Kawauchi’s exploration of the fundamental life cycles and the world’s often overlooked wonders.

Amid all the excitement, Ms. Kawauchi sat down to answer a few of our questions.

AC: What first drew you to photography, and what about the medium keeps you engaged?
RK: I just like to think about our life and world through photography. It is the best method for me.

What type of camera(s) do you use?
Rolleiflex and Canon 5D. I just feel a good match with them. Also, they’re not too heavy.

Your work is so ethereal, connected by threads of seemingly random yet repetitive patterns. When you step out into the world to shoot, what are you looking for?
I’m looking for something to touch our subconscious.

What motivates you thematically as an artist?
My works are always meant to reveal evidence of life—such as the cycles, for example. This is what I need to live, so I would say that is my theme.

You have an extensive list of book titles under your belt now. Is there something specific you love about the book format, as opposed to other mediums?
I’ve just really loved the book format more than [any] others since I was small.

Lyrical, visual associations often structure your books. In Illuminance, for example, a circular child’s toy lies opposite a wall of spiraling graffiti, and an elongated spider stands opposite a lacy canopy of trees. How would you describe your process of image selection and composition?
It is really hard to explain it. I just follow my instincts—for shooting as well. I just would like to see something in the middle.

When determining a book’s composition, how do you maintain an emotional or narrative flow without becoming overly stiff or structured?
One image can be independently successful, but I believe that another, new perspective can be borne by connecting images to images, making a sequence of images.

Illuminance: how would you describe the series in your own words?
My obsession itself.

How was the title chosen?
As a metaphor for our life, in which we have different point of views. There are many ways to see our world.

Your exhibition opened recently at the Gallery at Hermès as well. Can you speak to the differences for an artist between book and exhibition presentation?
Making a book is more personal. Having an exhibition is a collaboration with a place, a space (Hermès, in this case).

For you, what is the biggest difference between Illuminance and your earlier books or series?
Time. It has been ten years since I published my first books.

How do you see yourself evolving as an artist?
I just would like to progress as an artist, as a human being with my work.

Thank you!

 

Illuminance is available now through Aperture.

The Illuminance exhibition is at the Gallery at Hermès now through July 16th.
691 Madison Avenue, Fourth Floor, New York, NY, (212) 751-3181
Gallery open Monday–Saturday, 10:00 am–6:00 pm.

Artist profile:
Rinko Kawauchi (born in Shiga, Japan, 1972) studied graphic design and photography at Seian Junior College of Art and Design. Among her awards and accolades are the 1997 Grand Prix Prize at the Guardian Garden’s 9th Hitotsubo Exhibition, the 27th Ihei Kimura Photography Award in 2002, and the 2009 International Center of Photography Infinity Award in Art. She has had solo exhibitions at Fondation Cartier, Paris; Photographers’ Gallery, London; Galleria Carla Sozzani, Milan; Hasselblad Center, Göteborg, Sweden; and Museum of Modern Art, São Paulo, among other international venues. Kawauchi lives and works in Tokyo.

 

 

Photographer #268: Catherine Chalmers

Catherine Chalmers, 1957, USA, is a photographer, but also concentrates on video and other mediums. She studied Engineering and holds an MFA in Painting from the Royal College of Art in London. She uses life insects and other animals to create her images. In 2010 she received a Guggenheim Fellowship for a project on leafcutter ants. This video project also contains photography, sculpture and drawing. In 2004 Aperture released her second book American Cockroach, raising questions on how we humans look at the animals we perceive as pests. The series is devided in three parts; Residents, Imposters and Executions. Her first book was Foodchain showing encounters between predators and pray against a white backdrop. Catherine has exhibited around the world and has been published extensively. The video below is made by Chalmers. The following images come from the series Genetically Engineered Mice, American Cockroach; Imposters and Foodchain; Pinkies.


Website: www.catherinechalmers.com