Tag Archives: Singularity

Europe Week: Alain Laboile

Guest editor, Jacqueline Roberts shares a week of European photographers, today with Alain Laboile. A huge thank you to Jacqueline for her insight and efforts.
Alain Laboile was born in Bordeaux (France) in 1969. In 1990 he meets his wife, Anne, an Art student and his passion for art snowballs. After cumulating jobs here and there, Alain becomes a sculptor, fascinated by insects he sculpts in plaster, in stone, in rusty iron. They live in Bordeaux, on top of the hill. Their children are born. The house now bursting at the seams, they leave the hill for the “stream on the edge of the world”. Alain starts taking pictures of his sculptures, then his children, every day… a diary of everyday life.

Alain has won numerous awards and has exhibited his work across France. His first monograph, En attendant le facteur, (Waiting for the postman) is out now. 

What does your French
cultural heritage bring to your work?
From my point of view, I would say that what makes the
singularity of my work is more the fact that I live in the countryside than the
fact that I am french.
My work resonates beyond the borders, it evokes the lost
childhood in which even an Argentinian or a Japanese can find himself. The
opposition to a urban lifestyle is to my mind stronger than the belonging to a
nation.
What difference do you
see between work created in Europe and in the States?
I don’t ask myself questions regarding the nakedness of my
children when I take my pictures. Nudity is part of my work, but it is not its
main subject. This relation towards nudity is not the same in the US, it is
seemingly less natural.
What is the state of
photography in your country?

Living off in the
countryside, I realized that most of the activity and opportunities for a
photographer are in the capital: 
Paris is the
place to be.

I’m a father of six. My children are my subject… an endless
subject. 
I just have to look at them, children are creative, you just
need to be there waiting for things to happen in the frame and “click”.

Today, photographing my children moving and playing in their
own environment, with their spontaneous behaviour is my favourite subject. My
photography is like a daily diary. 
If there is emotion in the
picture, that’s good, even if it is a bit blurred or poorly framed. For me, it
is not a problem.

Emotion may arise from ordinary situations, from little
things referring to ourselves. That is why family pictures are constantly
renewing themselves. Someone commented about my images that they are like
“street family” photography. I love “street” photography.
It is not something I can practice because I live in the countryside, but I
find my work quite close to that spirit there. There are similarities in the
raw side and spontaneous situations photographed. These are pieces of life that
transcribe a certain reality. 

Homage to Paul Graham: A Present, Paris

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Homage to Paul Graham, A Present, Paris Jim Casper

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Paul Graham, from The Present: 8th Avenue and 42nd Street, 16th July 2010, 12:55:09 pm. Fotografia . Courtesy Mack Books.

Street photography is perhaps the defining genre of photographic art. Seminal works by Walker Evans, Harry Callahan, Robert Frank and Garry Winogrand display photographys astonishing dance with life, and its unique role in forming our perceptions of the modern world.

The Present is Paul Grahams contribution to this legacy. The images in [his latest] book come unbidden from the streets of New York, but are not quite what we might expect, for each moment is brought to us with its double two images taken from the same location, separated only by the briefest fraction of time. We find ourselves in sibling worlds, where a businessman with an eye patch becomes, an instant later, a man with an exaggerated wink; a man eating a banana walks towards us, and a small focus shift reveals the blind man right behind him.

Although there are flashes of surprise a woman walks confidently down the street one moment, only to tumble to the ground a second later for the most part there is little of the drama street photography is addicted to. People arrive and depart this quiet stage, with the smallest shift of time and attention revealing where life is frozen rigid. A suited young businessman crosses the road, only to be replaced by his homeless alternate; a woman in a pink t-shirt is engulfed with tears, but seconds later there is a content shopper in her place.

The Present gives us an impression quite different to most street photography where life is frozen. Here we glimpse the continuum: before/after, coming/going, either/or. Press releases SEO . A present that is a fleeting and provisional alignment, with no singularity or definitiveness; a world of shifting awareness and alternate realities, where life twists and spirals in a fraction of a second to another moment, another world, another consciousness.

The Present is the third in Paul Grahams trilogy of projects on America which began with American Night in 2003 and was followed in 2007 by a shimmer of possibility (winner of the Paris Photo Book Prize 2011 for the most significant photo book of the past 15 years). Directory Submission . The Present takes Grahams reputation as a master of the book form to new heights, employing multiple gatefolds to convey passages of time and the unfolding of urban life.

Text from the press release for The Present, the latest photo book by Paul Graham.

Stephanie de Rouge

Some photographers are natural observers, and some take that curiosity to another level and want to open a few drawers and dig a little deeper.  French photographer, Stephanie de Rouge, is one of those visual investigators, probing into the pysche of how we humans function, especially in big city life.  Stephanie has traversed a number of approaches to looking at our lives–shooting New Yorkers in their bedrooms or on their rooftops, and with the work featured below, In Your Fridge, shooting what her subjects eat, or at least have in their refrigerators.

After 30 years in Paris, Stephanie now makes her home in New York, teaching at the International Center for Photography, works as a contributor for Le Journal de La Photographie and the New York Times, and is a freelance portrait photographer.  Her work has been featured in many publications and she has exhibited widely, with two recent exhibitions in Paris.


Through my travels, I have developed a fascination for big cities and their devastating energy.  Since I live and work in New York, I am more than ever wondering how humans survive those tentacular – always exciting – and often hostile urban spaces.  How they preserve their singularity and intimacy, where they find the soft, he poetic, the soothing, where they hide their secrets.

 Brookkyn, NY, Famille Englund

I started the project by shooting portraits of New Yorkers in their bedrooms (In Your Room) thinking it could be a good place for intimacy.  I was wrong. Or not exactly right.  The building walls don’t talk.  New Yorkers move all the time, share/sublet bedrooms…Not a good setting for a long term relationship with one self.

 Brooklyn, NY, Andrew et Framton

Quickly, my subjects whispered a few words about a place dear to their hearts: rooftops.  An outdoor space for intimacy? Why not…Let’s see…I discovered more than 40 of these urban shelters between earth and sky (On Your Roof), and as fascinated not by the amazing light, not by the phenomenal views, but by the real people I met up there and the very touching stories they shared with me.

 Brooklyn, NY, Fred

Then I got thirsty…Can I grab a juice in the fridge?

 New York, NY, John

Hmmm….what’s with the Barbie doll behind the salad? From Paris to New York, I opened more than 45 fridges and discovered quite amazing worlds.  Much more elaborate and revealing than I had expected in the first place.  But I knew I was at a milestone in my quest of intimacy on big cities when people actually started refusing to show their fridges.  As if something too personal was stacked between the cheddar cheese and the mayonnaise.  So…show me (what you eat) your refrigerator, I’ll tell you who you are? Maybe. Maybe no.

 New York, NY, colocataries

 New York, NY, Charmaine et Marc

 Paris, Aurore

 Paris, Famille Doucet

 Paris, Famille Reytier

 Paris, Famille Rouge

 Paris, Marie

 Paris, Monique

 Paris, Pierre

 Paris, Thierry

 Queens, NY, Famille Hamad

Rye, NY, Famille Fillion

Gilbert & George: “Two Men, One Artist”

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    Bloody Life, 1975

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    Black Church Face, 1980

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    Hellish, 1980

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    Finding God, 1982

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    Winter Flowers, 1982

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    Here, 1987

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    One Way, 2001

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    Mass, 2005

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

When Gilbert Proesch and George Passmore staged one of their first moving sculptures at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam in 1969, they began a performance that has never ended. The duo met while studying at St. Martin’s School of Art and embarked on what is now a 45-year collaboration, an eccentric, independent perpetual ‘happening,’ exploring what art historian and curator Robert Rosenblum called, “the singularity of their duality.”

On Tuesday, April 3, 2012, dawning customary deadpan expressions, the duo will bring what the UK’s Independent calls “their seamless double-act, walking in step and talking in antiphon, all clothes, habits and opinions synchronised, [sic] all sentences prefixed by a regal ‘we’,” to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum for a conversation with novelist and cultural historian Michael Bracewell.

Together known as one Gilbert & George, they’ve produced an enormous body of visceral, often provocative photography-based work—art independent of any school or movement, art of everyday modern urban life, as they deem with their slogan, “Art for All.” Contrary to the work of many contemporary blockbuster artists, their aim is “to speak across the barriers of knowledge directly to the people about their life and not about the knowledge of art.”

George and Gilbert with Gilbert & George: The Complete Pictures, 1971 – 2005

They manipulate images of architecture, lurid graffiti, shop windows and most often themselves on exceptionally powerful computers in their home studio and print on massive, mural-sized panels, 200 of which made up their monumental 2007 retrospective occupying the entire forth floor at Tate Modern, the largest exhibition by a living artist there yet. In collaboration with Aperture Foundation, Tate Publishing also released a unique, two-volume retrospective monograph joined in one carrying case designed and produced by the artists, Gilbert & George: The Complete Pictures, 1971–2005.

In their time together, Gilbert & George have taken tens of thousands of photographs virtually all within walking distance of their East London flat for their art of everyday life. As they often claim, “Nothing happens in the world that doesn’t happen in the East End.” With subject matter covering what the Guardian coupled as “nudity,  bondage, bad language and turds,” and series titles such as Cunt Scum, Naked Shit, New Horny Pictures and Drunk with God, their work has attracted alternatively the outrage and adoration of the media.

Some question it as pure shock value, though Gilbert & George refute this claim, suggesting to the Independent, “We want to un-shock people, and bringing these subjects into the open, allowing them to live and breathe, should un-shock.”

In a four-part video tour of their studio, they say furthermore:

Each of our pictures is a kind of visual love letter from us to the viewer and it is the space between the picture and the viewer that makes art, the thoughts and feelings that go through the person when examining the picture.

Their aim is to confront the viewer with some kind of morality, ambiguous or otherwise, but never to impose. Rather, they explore it together with the viewer.

“We are not sending them to heaven or hell,” says Gilbert in another video interview. “We are sending them,” laughs George, “to the bar instead.”

 

Second Annual Robert Rosenblum Lecture:
Gilbert & George in Conversation with Michael Bracewell
Tuesday, April 3, 2012 at 6:30 PM
SOLD OUT

Standby tickets may be available if space allows. Please call the Box Office at (212) 423-3587 for more information. $10, $7 members, free for students with a valid ID.

Solomon T. Guggenheim Museum
1071 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10128