vrijdag 15 augustus 2008

New positions in Contemporary Photography Snap Judgments

Snap Judgments - New positions in Contemporary African Photography 27.06.08 - 30.09.08

This summer the Stedelijk Museum CS presents Snap Judgments, an exhibition of work by 35 contemporary African artists and photographers with unique perspectives on their own continent. The exhibition reveals how artists are using photography to respond artistically to the enormous changes currently taking place in African economic, social and cultural life. The artists also break away from lingering stereotypical images of their cultures, histories and countries. The exhibition was organised by Okwui Enwezor, adjunct curator at the ICP in New York.
Click here below for an impression of the exhibition in Stedelijk Museum CS: Windows Mediaplayer Video>>

Over the last century, photography has proved to be a vital medium in African culture; however, appreciation of African photographers and their unique visual imagery is a recent phenomenon.

By examining the role of visual images in African culture, the exhibition offers a penetrating insight into the rapidly changing social dynamics of the continent. The show includes over 180 works by 35 artists. The majority of the works were produced since 2000, many were commissioned for the exhibition.

Snap Judgments presents photographs from all over the continent, from the Muslim North right down to its southernmost tip. It reveals the vast changes now occurring in African economic, social and cultural life. In addition to revealing individual artistic responses to Africa, Snap Judgments also examines the ways in which its recent photographic art has moved beyond both African traditions and Western influences to explore new aesthetic territories. The show passes over the commercial portrait photography that has dominated the African scene in recent decades and focuses instead on Africa’s increasingly important documentary and fashion photography, as well as conceptual art.

The exhibition highlights several themes. Artists like Zarina Bhimji (Uganda) and Zwelethu Mthethwa (South Africa), make the landscape a vehicle for understanding historical trauma or social alienation. Others focus on the rapid changes occurring in African cities, emphasising urban lifestyles and architectural developments. The human body is also a recurrent subject, sometimes addressed provocatively as in the work of Nigerian-born Oladélé Bamgboyé, who explores the shifting boundaries of identity, gender and sexuality. The history of the continent is likewise represented with many of the younger African artists reconstructing it by challenging or reinventing the narrative of the colonial past.

Some of the participants in Snap Judgments have previously installed work at the Stedelijk Museum. Hentie van der Merwe from South Africa (in 2003) and Hala Elkoussy from Egypt (in 2006) have exhibited work at the Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam. In recent years the Stedelijk Museum presented the work of two members of an earlier generation: Malick Sidibé (from Mali) exhibited at the museum in 2000 and is represented in the collection, as is David Goldblatt, whose work is included in the current show of recent acquisitions, Eyes Wide Open. Mthethwa, Bamgboyé and Elkoussy also have work in the Stedelijk collection.

Snap Judgments was organised by Nigerian-born adjunct curator Okwui Enwezor, now on the staff of the International Center of Photography in New York, where the exhibition was first seen in 2006. Enwezor was previously artistic director of Documenta 11 in Kassel, Germany (2002) and worked as an independent curator on a number of exhibitions of African and other contemporary art and photography. The exhibition is accompanied by an English-language publication, Snap Judgments: New Positions in Contemporary African Photography, containing an essay by Okwui Enwezor (published by ICP/Steidl Verlag).

Artists featuring in the exhibition Snap Judgments:
Doa Aly (Egypt)Lara Baladi (Egypt / Lebanon)Oladélé Bamgboye (Nigeria / UK)Yto Barrada (Marocco)Luis Basto (Mozambique)Zohra Bensemra (Algeria)Zarina Bhimji (Uganda / UK)Mohamed Camara (Mali)Ali Chraibi (Marocco)Omar D. (Daoud) (Algeria)Depth of Field (collective) (Nigeria)Allan deSouza (Kenya / UK / USA)Andrew Dosunmu (Nigeria / USA)Hala Elkoussy (Egypt)Theo Eshetu (Ethiopia / Italy)Mamadou Gomis (Senegal)Kay Hassan (South Africa)Romuald Hazoumé (Benin)Moshekwa Langa (South Africa / the Netherlands)Maha Maamoun (Egypt)Boubacar Touré Mandémory (Senegal)Hentie van der Merwe (South Africa / Belgium)Zwelethu Mthethwa (South Africa)James Muruiki (Kenya)Lamia Naji (Marocco)Otobong Nkanga (Nigeria / the Netherlands)Jo Ractliffe (South Africa)Tracey Rose (South Africa)Fatou Kandé Senghor (Senegal)Randa Shaath (Egypt / Palestine)Mikhael Subotzky (South Africa)Sada Tangara (Mali / Senegal)Guy Tillim (South Africa)Michael Tsegaye (Ethiopia)Nontsikelelo “Lolo” Veleko (South Africa)

This exhibition was organized by the International Centre of Photography with lead support from Altria Group, Inc. and the ICP Exhibitions Committee. Additional funding was generously provided The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Christian K. Keesee, Roberta and Steven Denning, Eni S.p.A., Marjorie G. and Jeffrey A. Rosen, Arthur Walther, Association Francaise d’Action Artistique, Robert Scully and Nancy Peretsman, Meryl and Robert Meltzer, Andrew and Marina Lewin, Jane K. Lombard, Prins Claus Fonds, the Government of Flanders, Mondriaan Foundation, Pamela and Arthur Sanders and the British Council. Support for the exhibition catalogue has been provided by the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation.

Richard Prince Continuation Cowboys Photography

Richard Prince: Continuation 26 June - 7 September 2008. Lees meer ...

Richard Prince (born 1949) is one of the world’s most celebrated artists and artistic innovators.
Prince came to prominence in the 1980s through his celebrated series such as Cowboys, Jokes and Hoods, which appropriate images from magazines, popular culture and pulp fiction to create new photographs, sculptures and paintings that respond to ideas about American identity and consumerism. These works have been critical in challenging ideas of authorship and raising questions about the value of the ‘unique’ artwork.

Prince is, himself, a voracious collector of art, furniture, memorabilia and books, which he houses in a group of buildings alongside his own artworks. His exhibition at the Serpentine is a direct dialogue with his spaces, mirroring the installation of Prince’s work in his own buildings as well as responding to the Serpentine’s unique scale and location. Prince’s diverse collection ranges from books and artworks by artists and writers to classic American ‘muscle cars’. Paintings, photographs and sculptures spanning Prince’s 30-year career are featured at the Serpentine, including new work created especially for this exhibition.

Richard Prince: Continuation follows his recent retrospective, Spiritual America, organised by the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, New York, and is curated by Richard Prince and the Serpentine Gallery.

In the mid-1970s, Prince was an aspiring painter who earned a living by clipping articles from magazines for staff writers at Time-Life Inc. What remained at the end of the day were the advertisements, featuring gleaming luxury goods and impossibly perfect models; both fascinated and repulsed by these ubiquitous images, the artist began rephotographing them, using a repertoire of strategies (such as blurring, cropping, and enlarging) to intensify their original artifice. In so doing, Prince undermined the seeming naturalness and inevitability of the images, revealing them as hallucinatory fictions of society's desires.

Untitled (Cowboy) is a high point of the artist's ongoing deconstruction of an American archetype as old as the first trailblazers and as timely as then-outgoing president Ronald Reagan. Prince's picture is a copy (the photograph) of a copy (the advertisement) of a myth (the cowboy). Perpetually disappearing into the sunset, this lone ranger is also a convincing stand-in for the artist himself, endlessly chasing the meaning behind surfaces. Created in the fade-out of a decade devoted to materialism and illusion, Untitled (Cowboy) is, in the largest sense, a meditation on an entire culture's continuing attraction to spectacle over lived experience.

woensdag 13 augustus 2008

Ben Kruisdijk Röntgen Etchings: Treated X-Ray Photography

Röntgen Etchings: Treated X-Ray photos by Artist Ben Kruisdijk

If you are a regular reader on cultcase you must remember X-Ray Photography as Art: Hidden Faces of The Inner Space where we presented a few prominent works from Nick Veasey, Diane Covert, Bert Myers and Steven N. Meyers. Recently we have been honored and privileged to meet another great X-Ray photographer - Dutch artist Ben Kruisdijk. It was around 2004 when Kruisdijk was a student at the academy when he took his first experiments with Röntgen photos and by now his photos can be described as "drawing x-ray photography hybrids" or as he calls them "Röntgen Etchings".

The person who owns the body of his works is always of little or no importance as Kruisdijk is a formalist, interested in the language of the photo more than in the subject. The images are very expressive, sometimes horrible, and include tumors, broken bones and the like, but also fantastic animal hand drawings and always shown in the most aesthetic form.

As a draughtsman, Kruisdijk likes to treat the photos with a technique he describes as "etching" aiming to relocate concepts and images from the medical world to the art world. "The Röntgen etchings are strongly related to my paper drawings", explains Kruisdijk. "Conceptually they are the same and only differ in their material."

According to Kruisdijk's artist statement, his unique visual language allows him "to create an abstract framework" in which he can "think and dream without obstacles". A space in which "all possible steps can be made without having to obey the laws of physics."

For more art from Ben Kruisdijk ...

dinsdag 12 augustus 2008

Epic photojourney Sweet Life by Ed van der Elsken Documentary Photography

Sweet life. Elsken, Ed van der

Amsterdam: Bezige Bij [published date: 1966] Hardcover Square quarto, 182 pages and 154 gravure plates. (PBC 75; Parr 254, 255) First edition. ‘Sweet life was the report of a world tour through Africa, Asia and America. Van der Elsken took charge of the design of the book himself. Similar to Jurriaan Schrofer’s book Bagara, most of the photographs crossed the gutter on a double page. Van der Elsken made deliberate use of the fact that the gutter in the page cuts the picture in two. In a photograph of Japanese Sumo wrestlers two men are standing facing each other in a fighting pose, surrounded by other wrestlers. The idea of a fight is strengthened in the picture by the fact that the gutter comes precisely between the two men, dividing the spectators also into two groups. A photograph that crosses the gutter like this is often experienced as disturbing because the picture is split in two. The advantage is that a photograph can be blown up to enormous proportions - in Sweet Life even to a size of 60 x 30 cm. There is a close-up, for example, in the book of Kasahara, one of the directors of Sony, displaying two transistor radios. His head and hands are reproduced larger than life, which gives the viewer the feeling of a direct confrontation. Sweet Life was Van der Elsken’s last photobook for the Bezige Bij.’(PBC 75).

Martin Parr and Gerry Badger : The Photobook: A History volume 1/ The Indecisive Moment: The 'Stream-of-Consciousness' Photobook

Ed van der Elsken Sweet Life

Out of stream-of-consciousness photography emerged several distinct genres - the 'personal' documentary, the diaristic photobook, the photonovel and so on. Another was the photographic odyssey, the photographer's quest to find himself (it's generally a boy thing), the photographic version of On the Road. The epitome of this genre is, of course , Robert Frank's The Americans, but not far behind is Ed van der Elsken's epic photojourney - Sweet Life. Whereas Frank criss-crossed the United States, Van der Elsken was even more wide-ranging. Sweet Life is the result of a 14-month world trip that he made in 1960-1, covering West Africa, the Malay Peninsula, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Japan, the United States and Mexico. Sweet Life was the name of a little tramp steamer in the Philippines, which makes its appearance in the book. Not surprisingly, modes of transport form one of the volume's major leitmotifs.

Van der Elsken's rationale for this freewheeling odyssey is typical Existential: 'I didn't understand one damn thing about it, except that it's enough to keep me in a delirium of deligth, surprise, enthusiasm, despair, enough to keep me roaming, stumbling, faltering, cursing, adoring, hating the destruction, the violence in myself and others.'

Although Sweet Life chronicles a journey, Van der Elsken's magnum opus has more in common with William Klein's New York than with The Americans. Like Klein, Van der Elsken designed the whole package himself, in an equally cinematic, improvisational, free-association way - there is no linear determinism in the narrative, though it does progress more-of-less logically from country to country.Like Klein, Van der Elsken brings into play a whole panoply of layout effects - double-page bleeds, crops, running pictures together and so on - and it is an unprecedented book in that a different cover for each of the seven countries in which it was published. Also like Klein's book, van der Elsken's was a big hit in Japan. His work consituted a significant influence on the young japanese photographers of the 1960s, about to be hit by the iconoclasm of the Provoke era.

Van der Elsken's words quoted above describe the tenor of the book as much as his journey. Sweet Life is a sprawing, exuberant cornucopia, a preview of the pure stream-of-consciousness, machine-gun approach that would soon come with the japanese Provoke aestetic, Van der Elsken's work has its dark and pessistic undertones, although in Sweet Life bold, frantic energies predominate.

A reaction by John Gossage : take a look at the book "Barcelona Blanco y Negro" by Xavier Miserachs 1964 to get an idea of where Ed van der Elsken got many of his design moves for "Sweet Life".

maandag 11 augustus 2008

New York Portrait Session by lifeimages Photography

A New York Portrait Session by lifeimages ...

Portraits by Rineke Dijkstra Photography

Rineke Dijkstra - Portraits 4.11.05 - 26.02.06

Final station of the travelling exhibition, organized by the Stedelijk Museum, of work by the Dutch photographer Rineke Dijkstra (b. Sittard 1959). See for more Rineke Dijkstra ...

zondag 10 augustus 2008

Bruce Weber O Rio de Janeiro Photography

O Rio De Janeiro. Photographs by Bruce Weber.
Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1986. 204 pp., 221 duotone and six color photographs, 11x14½".

Bruce Weber's first book since 1983, O Rio de Janeiro is a collection of languid, sensual photographs of the lives of models in Rio, nicely reproduced in duotone and in six colors. On the beach, in restaurants, at nightclubs, in their rooms, Weber's subjects exude a beauty which is at the same time casual and self-possessed. Many of these photographs were shown in a major exhibition at the Robert Miller Gallery, New York, in September of 1986.

By BOYWAY (new york city)
This is by far my favorite among Bruce weber's books. it is a beautifully edited collection of images from many different decades all involving some sensually stunning man or woman living a life of passion, be it sport or narcissitic pleasure. What makes this "bruce weber book "so special is that not all the photographs were shot by mr. weber, however all of them have caught his eye for more than obvious reasons. So it's really in his editing is where the fun lies. A big change is in the variety of males presented, not all are the usual silky-smooth northern european weber cliches. If you are at all intrigued by mr. weber's male and female ideals, you are sure to be delighted at this wonderfuly light hearted and super sexy homage to the state of mind that is Rio ...and Brazil. The sepia tones further heighten the feeling of heat and sun-bleaching where the only way to escape the sun is to give into an erotic adventure. An intoxicating fantasy created with the chicest taste. Lees meer ...

zaterdag 9 augustus 2008

2008 Summer Olympics by the Big Picture Photography

Children of migrant workers from outlying provinces look at themselves in the mirror as they use their hands to form the Olympic Rings after watching the TV live broadcast of the Olympic Games opening ceremony at their quarters August 8, 2008 on the outskirts of Beijing. (Andrew Wong/Getty Images)

A dancer performs during the Opening Ceremony for the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics at the National Stadium on August 8, 2008 in Beijing, China. (Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Fireworks explode over the National Stadium during the Opening Ceremony for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games at the National Stadium on August 8 in Beijing. (Clive Rose/Getty Images)

See also Air Pollution in Beijing by Sean Gallagher.

donderdag 7 augustus 2008

The Future of the City Hans Scholten: Urban Future #2 Photography

Hans Scholten, Urban Future China 2005-2007 (Shanghai)

AMSTERDAM.- Huis Marseille Museum for Photography presents Hans Scholten: Urban Future #2, on view through August 31, 2008. The future of the city: that is the theme raised by Amsterdam artist Hans Scholten (1952) in his photographic project Urban Future. For a number of years now, he has been photographing the urban landscapes of huge cities in Asia and the Middle East. There he captures scenes of rapidly growing neighborhoods, in which chaos and anarchy seem to arise due to a lack of organized city planning. Scholten concerns himself specifically with the way in which the inhabitants themselves shape and set up these neighborhoods: how political, cultural and economic developments determine the outward appearance of these cities. He points out differences and similarities, particularly in the uncontrolled pace of construction and the surprising swiftness with which decay sets in at the same time. Is this the future that awaits cities in the Western world as well?

Hans Scholten began as a sculptor, initially producing installations into which he also incorporated photography. Through the course of time, he came to concentrate solely on this. His background is expressed in the work’s spatial manner of presentation. The project Urban Future is, in fact, a photographic archive which continues to expand and serve as a basis for his development of new models of presentation. On the wall, in large formats, he gives emphasis to the monumental and sculptural qualities of the image, but also to the form of the photographed structures and spaces. In photographic notebooks unfolding across long tables, the images make up a filmic, sequenced account of a journey. The unique character of a specific city vanishes in these sequences; it is the universal image of the urban jungle that emerges. This is how his personal experience moreover becomes palpable to the viewer.

Hans Scholten is interested in the way in which landscapes take shape and in finding the elements that influence this. For his earlier series Terrain Vague (1999) and Reliable Orderliness (2003) he photographed the outlying areas of cities. These tracts of no-man’s land gradually revert to nature. Just as in Urban Future, they have come about in an organic manner, without an overall view or plan. Scholten has now extended his sphere of activity from the outskirts of the city to the city itself. The first series shows how a landscape evolves when nature has free reign; the second, how an urban landscape evolves when man has free reign. Particularly in his photographs of Shanghai and Beijing, where municipal authorities and project developers display quite some architectural vision, the similarity between man and nature becomes visible. Like rampant growth, millions of new inhabitants take over the recently constructed houses and apartment buildings. Having been built cheaply and quickly, the structures gradually collapse beneath this weight.

Rapid construction, concrete structures and little concern for infrastructure characterize both the Chinese cities (Shanghai, Beijing, and X’ian) and those in the Middle East (e.g. Teheran, Shiraz, Beirut, Damascus, Aleppo and Baku). They expand like patchwork quilts due to the inability of municipal authorities to counteract the pressure of a growing economy, as in China, or a growing, young population, as in the Middle East. Urban planning that reflects an interest in history, harmony and homogeneity continues to be a luxury reserved for Western cities.

There are differences though. In China, where money is generally more apparent than in Iran, Lebanon or Syria, there is an orientation toward the West; more high-rise buildings and a diversity of architectural styles can be seen. New residential areas in Middle-Eastern cities consist of low-rise construction derived from traditional styles of architecture. In Iran the houses, shut off from the street, are surrounded by high walls and closed facades, so that the coercive measures of the religious regime have as little influence as possible in the private realm. In Syria and Lebanon the street and public space are, on the other hand, part of the city’s social life, which is also expressed in architecture. And in China the increasingly prevalent ‘gated community’ has developed as a modern-day form of the traditional Chinese house, in which family life takes place around the courtyard.

Hans Scholten is a street photographer, but not in the usual sense of the word, since people play a subordinate role in his images. The structure of the city becomes the dominant factor in his photographs; cars, flower boxes, curtains and trash are the evidence of humanity’s presence somewhere behind all those walls. Scholten photographs in black-and-white, because this abstracts reality in a certain way. The use of black-and-white film allows more room for the imagination and encourages the viewer to reflect on the situations seen in the photographs. To Scholten, color photography has a more documentary character; it distracts the eye from issues that he wants to raise: How does a city take shape? Who or what determines that shape? And what influence does that, in turn, have on life?

The exhibition has been realized in collaboration with Galerie Lumen Travo, Amsterdam, and René Put and with support from the Netherlands Foundation for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture.

Hans Scholten has compiled photographic notebooks specially for the exhibition. These will be on sale at Huis Marseille and Galerie Lumen Travo. Zie een recensie ... See for more city landscapes ...

woensdag 6 augustus 2008

A day in the country Rundvee Cas Oorthuys Topographic Photography

Maliepaard, C.H.J. Ir., Leignes Bakhoven, H.G.A. Ir. (e.a.).,
Rundvee. Medewerkers: Prof. Dr. D.L., Bakker, Ir. W. Bakker (e.a.). Photography : Cas Oorthuys. Amsterdam, Contact. 1948, 196 pp.

maandag 4 augustus 2008

Cas Oorthuys Term in Oxford Alan Bullock Bruno Cassirer Photography

Cas Oorthuys (Dutch photographer), with an Introduction by Alan Bullock

TERM IN OXFORD,Bruno Cassirer, publisher, Oxford, UK - first edition 1963 hardcover, 10�" x 12" 144 pages Dark-blue cloth bound boards with gold type to spine and embossed oxen to front, over 200 black & white photographic plates, and index.

Meet again the architectural granduer of Oxford's buildings - the tower and spire of St Mary-the-Virgin, the great quadrangle of New College, Magdalen Tower, Tom Quad in Christ Church, Hawksmoor's designs for Queen's College and All Souls, Gibbs' Radcliff Camera and the central group of university buildings - the late Gothic Divinity School, the Bodleian Library, and Wren's Sheldonian Theatre - an unbroken series of every period and style.

zaterdag 2 augustus 2008

The front and reverse side of photos Spaarnestad Photo Photography

The front and reverse side of photos
Curated by Rob Moorees and published by mediapartner NRC Handelsblad, this show is an example of the vast possibilities of the Spaarnestad Photo archives. Every photo in its original archive has text and stamps on the backside. The text tells a story about the origin and the whereabouts of the photograph and functions as an provenance of the original print. By scanning both sides it becomes possible to read the photo in more ways then intended by the original maker of the image. Lux Photo Gallery ...