Tag Archives: Museum Of Contemporary Art

Tabitha Soren, Running 005824

Tabitha Soren, Running 005824

Tabitha Soren

Running 005824,
, 2012
From the Running series
Website – TabithaSoren.com

Tabitha Soren was born into a military family and grew up all over the world. Snapshots were one of the few ways she had to remember the details that made up her life in the last town or base — so she took them incessantly and spent many afternoons cataloguing them. She headed to New York for college where she received a BA in Journalism and Politics at New York University. After a career in television news shooting 30 frames a second, Soren decided she wanted to concentrate on one frame at a time and spent a year studying photography at Stanford University. Over the past ten years, her projects have been published in The New York Times Magazine, Canteen, Vanity Fair and New York, among others. Soren's work speaks to the twists of fate in life that can unhinge us. Her pictures address what havoc human beings can survive — and what they can't. Public collections include the Oakland Museum of Art, in California, the New Orleans Museum of Art as well as the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, both in Louisiana. Her Running series debuted at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Indianapolis this summer.

Oliver Lang, Daily Life at Surry Hills

Oliver Lang, Daily Life at Surry Hills

Oliver Lang

Daily Life at Surry Hills,
Sydney, 2012
Website – Oggsie.com

Oliver Lang is a photographer who has used a mobile phone camera for several years. In 2011 he was a founding member of the Mobile Photo Group and organised an exhibition of Australian mobile photography as part of the Head On Photo Festival. In 2012 he was invited to teach mobile photography courses at the Australian Centre for Photography, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Art Gallery of New South Wales and also volunteered to teach at the National Centre for Indigenous Excellence as part of the Photolines Program. Oliver is interested in the rise of participatory photography and the innovations that the connected culture of mobile photography is driving. He believes that more than ever before, photography is about community and culture, rather than the camera.

Latin America Week: Erika Diettes

This week, Argentinian photographer Eleonora Ronconi is taking over as guest curator, featuring work created by Latin American photographers…

Les presento a mi segunda selección de la semana: Erika Diettes, fotógrafa colombiana.

I found Erika’s work when I was doing some research on Colombian photographers. I was incredibly moved by her portraits of people who had lost family members to the violent wars in her country. Having grown up during a military coup, where thousands of people were kidnapped and killed, these series really struck a cord with me. I am showcasing two series of hers that go hand in hand, Sudarios and Río Abajo.


Erika was born in Cali, Colombia. She has a Masters in Social Anthropology, and BA in Visual Arts and Communications. Her work explores memory, pain, absence and death and it has been exhibited around Latin America, such as at the Museum of Modern Art in Bogotá, Centro Cultural Recoleta in Buenos Aires and Museum of Contemporary Art in Santiago, Chile, among others. Her more recent series, Sudarios, was part of the Fotofest Biennal 2012, and it is on display at the Trinity Epicospal Church in Houston. Erika has also been interviewed by several publications, El Tiempo, Revista Ñ, El Colombiano, and El Espectador to name a few.


Image from Río Abajo

What does your Latin heritage bring to your work?

Our cultural context defines us, it gives us a foundation for our conceptual criteria and stetics. It makes us react to a certain symbolic world that, as years go by, each of us molds based on our experiences.

The Latin American universe is created by catholic religion, the indigineous and African cosmogonies and the problems and strengths of the contemporary history of each nation. That is why us, Latin people, express ourselves with more passion and feelings, I think we let people see our internal universe more easily. We are not afraid of emotions, on the contrary, it is through them that we relate to others. Without trying to generalize or stereotype, of course, we characterize by a more dramatic sensitivity, full of visual richness and excesses, both in our existence and also in our representation.

The way I build images, both behind the camera and in my universe without a camera, what happens within the frame to what the audience eventually sees when images are exhibited, is the result of all my vital experience, and that is definitely built within my latin culture, my Colombian nationality, my socio cultural context and many other characteristics that make up who I am. That is clearly manifested in my work.

Do you see a difference between work created in Latin America and work created in the States? 

I think that work created in the United States has a much more technical and academic background. Photography as a college degree in the United States has a longer tradition than in our countries. When I started college 14 years ago, the possibility of getting a career in photography did not exist. Nowadays, more people have access to professional cameras and the internet takes us to an endless number of exhibitions and shows around the world, so, in a way, it makes visual models and techniques more homogeneous and differences are not as big.

Where I think there is a more obvious difference is in some of the subjects. United States, as a nation with a high number of immigrants from various countries, produces many projects about identity, questions about borders, immigration and its policies, among others. As an artist, what makes this work interesting is that despite these subjects being so specific, they have something that can connect to different audiences. This is the challenge, this is what made masters great, that they made a very specific subject become Universal.

What is the state of photography in your country–is it well supported, are galleries selling, do photographers have an outlet to show their work? 

I think that in Colombia, photography has an important place. There are more spaces to exhibit and people are more open to see and buy photography. It is a relatively new market, that will need time to establish itself, but it is clear that we are at a point where it is growing and developing rapidly. There are exhibitions being held all the time, emerging artists, more schools, critics and everything that the medium encompasses. They are very interesting times, in my opinion.

Río Abajo
 Río
Abajo is a series where I focus on the clothes which the families of the
disappeared guard as a relic of their loved ones, I make a representation of
one of the most common forms of committing this atrocious crime and that is
stripping the bodies which are thrown into the rivers.

Also,
in many cases, after the endless tortures to which they are subjected while
still alive, these victims are quartered and disfigured post mortem in such a
way that even if their corpses appear it is practically impossible to identify
them. 

We
thus turn ourselves into a country full of unburied corpses and an
infinite number of mourners afflicted by the horror of not being able
to bury their dead.
 

Image from Río Abajo exhibition

Images from Sudarios

Sudarios (Shrouds) is the
result of multiple theoretical concerns, an infinity of technical
quests and an observation of the world from a certain context. 
The intention of the this series is to enable the spectator to enter into and walk through
these impenetrable and apparently alien worlds, when he observes that
moment in which these women close their eyes because they find no
other way to communicate the true dimension of the horror which they
witnessed and the intensity of the sorrow they were subjected to.
This work tells the stories of
twenty women – victims, grief-stricken human beings who, as part of
their torture, were forced to SEE the violence perpetrated against
their loved ones and were left alive so that they would be witnesses
to such horrors. The stories are
diverse but I am convinced that this series speaks of something which
is timeless, universal and infinite. 
These are portraits of the victims who bare themselves before our eyes, showing the evil which some people are capable of and that wish to transcend that earthly realm in the hope of something better. These women want to relay the moment in which they were condemned to remember, given that the possibility of forgetting even the smallest detail does not exist. And I want to record that moment in order to construct this work, because I have the firm conviction that art not only provides an essential space for the building of a country’s memory but also furnishes a means to ease the suffering of people. \

They are the reflection of my experience of sorrow and the result of my interpretation of the effects of violence. And I also think that they are the mirror, in which you, the spectators of the work, can see the reflection of yourselves as your own sorrow becomes that of others. 

Images from Sudarios exhibition

 I always intended to print these portraits on silk because I wanted to transmit, as they themselves told me more than once, that they are beings who no longer belong to the world, that violence had left them dead in life. That is why my intention was always to attain light, diaphanous, phantasmal images that would capture that sensation and that profound wish for transcendence. The same reason explains the overwhelming sense I have that these images should be kept in sacred places and spaces of reflection, where, regardless of our religion, the journey of the work through the space would help us to be not only spectators but turn us, in one way or another, into pilgrims who will enter into communion with these images on the basis of our beliefs, so that, as Susan Sontag says, we may be able to keep this reality in mind from now onwards.

I invite you to look at the Sudarios by keeping in mind that the history of a country cannot be written in silence and its memory should not be constructed in the dark. For that reason, I believe that to tell, record, display and try to understand our history from all possible points of view is not only a need but an obligation.

Tabitha Soren, Running 004907

Tabitha Soren, Running 004907

Tabitha Soren

Running 004907,
, 2012
From the Running series
Website – TabithaSoren.com

Tabitha Soren was born into a military family and grew up all over the world. Snapshots were one of the few ways she had to remember the details that made up her life in the last town or base — so she took them incessantly and spent many afternoons cataloguing them. She headed to New York for college where she received a BA in Journalism and Politics at New York University. After a career in television news shooting 30 frames a second, Soren decided she wanted to concentrate on one frame at a time and spent a year studying photography at Stanford University. Over the past ten years, her projects have been published in The New York Times Magazine, Canteen, Vanity Fair and New York, among others. Soren's work speaks to the twists of fate in life that can unhinge us. Her pictures address what havoc human beings can survive — and what they can't. Public collections include the Oakland Museum of Art, in California, the New Orleans Museum of Art as well as the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, both in Louisiana. Her Running series debuted at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Indianapolis this summer.

Photographers-Turned-Directors: Susan Bright’s Favorites on MOCAtv

In July 2012, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles (MOCA) asked me to compile a playlist of videos directed by photographers for their new online series, MOCAtv. Launched last week, MOCAtv bills itself as the “Global Contemporary Art Channel,” providing a wide range of content related to the arts. Looking to see if photographers’ skills translated into music videos was one of the most enjoyable commissions I have ever had.

My personal interest in music videos is mainly autobiographical. I was a teenager in the 1980s—the heyday of the music video. Videos were crucial to bands’ identity; it was really the only way, apart from photography, that an image was disseminated to the world. MTV was the dominant force, but if you grew up in Britain, it was the quaintly titled BBC show Top of the Pops that was one of the only ways to see them.

Looking back at these videos has evoked amazing memories, but at times, I view some videos with a new perspective and appreciate them now because of who made them and how they look. For example, the mesmerizing Addicted to Love by Robert Palmer was always incredible – but now that I know it was directed by the great British fashion and portrait photographer Terence Donovan, all I can see are the similarities to his later photographs of the 1980s with their strong, almost aggressive, female glamour.  It’s interesting to note where the photographer’s hand is so apparent and successful, and elsewhere, when they lose something of their signature flair by having a moving camera instead of a still shot.

Like many, my introduction to music came via my older brother. Always one step ahead of me, he had very sophisticated taste. My first concert was Souxsie and the Banshees when I was 14. Somehow I managed to persuade him (and more miraculously my parents) that I should go along with him and a gang of heavily hair-sprayed goths. It was not the music that I particularly remember, but the amazing beauty of this particular strand of post punk music. From that moment I was addicted to live concerts and the performance of dressing up.

I knew about New Order due to my brothers liking of Joy Division. I saw them perform that summer and their shortened remix of Blue Monday (1988) is like a backing track to those heady months, which were incredibly hot and renamed by many of my contemporaries as ‘the summer of ale.’ I was 18.

When I was asked to put this playlist together I couldn’t believe that I had never seen the video. I was so delighted that it was done by William Wegman. It is full of lovely references for me. Wegman is an artist who manages to have conceptual credibility and respect in the art world and also make calendars with puppies. I can’t think of any one else who manages such success in both commercial and art worlds with such ease and lack of compromise on either side. His ABC video Alphabet Soup featuring Fay, Batty, Chundo and Crooky is my favorite gift to all new parents; my daughter’s go-to bedtime book is Wegmonolgy and my brother has Weineramas. It’s like all good things in my life are condensed into this one video.

A year after Blue Monday, New Order released Run and asked Robert Frank to direct it. This video combines many different kinds of video techniques into one film. It has both live footage and a narrative. It also uses still photographs many times. Nothing is really explained but it has that coldness, disconnect and mystery which is so crucial to a Frank photograph. The song is not the strongest, but you are held utterly by the video. The ending is pure Frank: it stops on a still photograph where everyone is looking in different directions and the scene is chaotic but happy. In two takes he goes closer in to the black-and-white photograph with a woman clutching a book titled listen to god. About two seconds of existential anxiety almost lost as the song fades out.

Staying in the 1980s is Chris Isaak’s Wicked Game, directed by Herb Ritts. This song, which came out in 1989, was reinserted into popular culture when it was used in a scene of Wild at Heart by David Lynch. The video is trademark Ritts. The female body (Helena Christensen) is Amazonian—sexy, strong and very much associated with the 1980s before the AIDS crisis (although of course the AIDS crisis had very much gripped huge swaths of society by this time). It’s crisp, clean and erotic. He shoots from many angles so the body, although always sensuous, can also become abstracted. This photographic technique, which Ritts has become so famous for, was most eloquently played out in a photograph of five of the most famous supermodels gathered together naked (Stephanie, Cindy, Christy, Tatjana, Naomi, Hollywood, 1989) their limbs lending graphic strength and dynamism to the composition of the picture.

Die Antwoord, I Fink U Freeky directed by Roger Ballen (2012) practically went viral among photography circles recently. The video starts with “Die Antwoord in Association with Roger Ballen.” This is the first time I have seen musicians and the director on equal footing, especially when the band has a much bigger global presence than the photographer.

Ballen has lived and worked in South Africa for most of his life. His work is a swirling mix of reality, fantasy, documentary and personal investigation. He photographs in the poorest white areas of South Africa, and his work is immediately recognizable for its disturbing almost nihilistic qualities, which are confusing in terms of ethics and morals of representation. This video is like a zooped up, hammy musical journey through his work and is so well suited to the band, who have a trickster element to them. They are the perfect artistic combination.

Another South African photographer, Pieter Hugo, has directed Spoek Mathambo, Control which was originally recorded by Joy Division and has again been introduced to a younger generation through the biopic of Ian Curtis in the film Control by Anton Corbijn (who has also done a large number of music videos). Again this has similar elements to the Ballen video in that reality has been pushed to appear fantastical. Of all the videos selected it is the most ‘photographic,’ and you can really see Hugo’s skill in using backdrops to create scenes. If you were to go through freeze framing it each scene could work beautifully as a photograph. It reminds me of his Nollywood series about the horror film industry in Nigeria. For this he took costumed actors and put them into the street causing a tension between reality, fantasy, horror, staging and theater. This video has all of those elements and similar references to the genre, but was filmed in a township in Cape Town. It’s the best cover of Control I have ever heard, making it absolutely belong here in South Africa and not the North of England.

Music videos act as lightening rods to memories. Headier than photographs they possess the most potent Proustain links to the past. When they are at their very best, like the ones I have mentioned here, they are like stills come to life. Photographers can offer a particular way of looking at the world. When that coincides with a similar musical vision the results can be spectacular.

Susan Bright is a New York-based writer and curator. You can see more of her work here

View more of MOCAtv’s programming on their YouTube channel.

Mike Sinclair, Bandstand

Mike Sinclair, Bandstand

Mike Sinclair

Bandstand,
Ames, Iowa, 2012
Website – MikeSinclair.com

Mike Sinclair is an architectural and fine art photographer living in Kansas City, Missouri. His photographs are frequently published in the Architectural Press and elsewhere, including the New York Times, Metropolis, Architectural Record and Interior Design. His work is in several public and private collections, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City; and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, also in Kansas City. He is represented by Jen Bekman Gallery.
 

The Shape of Brazil: Oscar Niemeyer & Vicente De Paulo

Friend of TPP, Ashley Simpson, recently skyped with photographer Vicente De Paulo on the eve of his commissioned project for Visionaire and Paddle8.

Picture 43

Museum of Contemporary Art (MAC), Niteroi, 1991

He was the one to shape the original Brazil, says Brazilian photographer Vicente De Paulo of 104 year-old architect and Rio native Oscar Niemeyer. The architect, renowned for his curvaceous, concrete Modernist designs, is the focus of a special commissioned project by Visionaire and Paddle8, which debuts on the art retail site this week and will come to life in Visionaires RIO issue, out this September. The collaboration features ten 3D photographs of several of Niemeyer’s most iconic citesincluding exterior views of the sensuous Gustavo Campana Palace and images the citys famous hyperboloid Cathedral, all shot by De Paulo. Because Brazilia is my hometown and I had never done a project about the city, I was very excited to be able to go there and shoot those buildings, explains the 46-year-old photographer. Niemeyer brings to Rio this whole glamour because he was based here and did so much. The whole world paid attention. KidsKlout Program . He gave us not just an identity, but the icon of what the symbol of what the Brazilian lifestyle means.

Picture 40

Cathedral of Brasilia, Brasilia, 1958

Picture 41

Cathedral of Brasilia, Brasilia, 1958

Picture 44

Itamaraty Palace (Ministry of External Relations), Brasilia, 1962

Photography Courtesy Vicente de Paulo

Tabitha Soren

Sometimes it’s simply looking at a particular behavior in a new way that evokes a range of emotions. Photographer Tabitha Soren has created a series of photographs, Running, that stir up feelings of panic, tension, curiosity, and concern. Tabitha’s photographs have power in their simplicity, and it’s as if one edge of her photograph is the past and one is the future, creating an in-between narrative that captures a story in flux. As viewers, we are caught in a pivotal moment of cinematic tension, requiring us to imagine what came before and what comes after each image.  The photographs become a series of short stories that seem to shout “get me the hell out of here.”
On June 1st, Tabitha opens a solo exhibition, The Natural World, at the Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art which continues through July 21st. Curator Shauta Marsh states: “Her series of people running struck me.  The pieces were theatrical and sincere all at once.  There’s genuine anxiety in the subject in many of the photos, and that’s what makes them beautiful.”

Born in Texas, and raised across the country as part of a military family, Tabith now lives in Berkeley, CA.  She recieved her BA in Journalism and Politics from NYU, and studied photography at Stanford University and the California College of the Arts.  After a career in journalism and television, she now exhibits across the country and her work is held in numerous public collections.
I am exploring panic, mortality, resilience and favoc in the project.  These images speak to the twists of fate in life that can unhinge us.  I am constantly amazed at what people can survive – and what they can’t.