≡ Sculpture & Photography: a love affair (part II) ≡

Roughly one year ago I made a post highlighting the love affair between photography and sculpture in contemporary art. The post featured artists that were part of the 2014 selection of Hyères Festival. In this second part what follows is a selection of work based on an exhibited curated on the theme Under Construction – New Positions in American Photography, organized by Foam Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam and Pioneer Works Center for Art and Innovation, showcasing the work of ten artists from EUA and Canada. On the Foam website one can read:

“The far-reaching digitisation of society exerts an unparalleled influence on almost every aspect of the medium. This ranges from entirely new photographic techniques (digitisation of the equipment) and the use of the photographic image (distribution via digital networks) to the value and significance of photography itself (in view of the never-ending stream of many millions of photographic images that are being taken, distributed and manipulated every day). This fundamental reassessment is particularly appropriate and important in a society in which so much culturally relevant information is communicated via images and where an unprecedented and extremely complex dynamic has developed amongst images. In this new world, how can photography or a photograph be defined? What is the value and significance of photography? What is the role of the artist?

“These kinds of questions are of utmost relevance for this new generation of image makers who all represent very specific positions within a complex landscape. One of the most distinguishing features is that the image is constructed and built up from decontextualized elements. Furthermore its aesthetic qualities are largely determined by the use of abstract forms and colors. Whether the photograph is created entirely from scratch or whether it is put together using archetypal images, art history references, archive material or pictures derived from the internet, the end result is fragmented and layered. The artists make use of analogue or digital workflows, or a combination of both, often using advanced post-production software. With the introduction of three dimensionality as a self-evident addition, the photographic image is not always limited to a flat surface.

“The participants of Under Construction are in fact engaged with a reinvention of photography within a totally different societal context, taking account of more than 150 years of photographic history. It is no less than a photographic renaissance.”


svanderbeek43.jpg.pagespeed.ce.a98N5NV-g_© Sara VanDerBeek, Shift, 2014. Digital c-print.

svanderbeek40.jpg.pagespeed.ce.eXjerq5HES© Sara VanDerBeek, Turned Stairs/Pyramid Steps, 2014. Detail view.

svanderbeek41.jpg.pagespeed.ce.0v6mNUHpfq© Sara VanDerBeek, Ancient Objects, Still Lives. Installation view.


katesteciw_interview01© Kate Steciw, Springtime Entropy, 2009.C-Print.

katesteciw_interview04© Kate Steciw, abstract, assistance, bed rest, biology, blade, botanic, clean, clear, close-up, closeup, detail, dew, dew-drop, drop, droplet,
flora, foliage, fresh, green, grow, harmony, hope, leaf, life, light, macro, morning, mourning, nature, organic, pure, purity, purpose,
rain, reflections, scattered, spring, survival, water, warning, weather, wet”,
2012. C-Print.


Cut-(from-Picturing-the-Times-of-your-Life)© Sara Cwynar, Cut (from picturing the times of your life), from the project Flat Death.

Toucan-in-Nature-(Post-it-notes)© Sara Cwynar, Toucan in Nature (post it notes), from the project Flat Death.

Contemporary-Floral-Arrangement-1-(Many-Perrenials-can-be-used-in-arrangements-such-as-this-for-winter-decoration)© Sara Cwynar, Contemporary Floral Arrangement 1, from the project Flat Death.


26089-1391119124-05TOPIARY© Cynthia Talmadge and Matthew Leifheit, Fruit Topiary (Bosc Pears).

IMG-0633-INVspread© Cynthia Talmadge and Matthew Leifheit, Untitled (topiary), 2013.


Crescnent_Eyed_Portrait© Daniel Gordon, Crescent Eyed Portrait. C-print, from the project Back to the Green Line, M+B, Los Angeles, 2013.

banana© Daniel Gordon, Bananas. C-print, from the project Back to the Green Line, M+B, Los Angeles, 2013.

Artichokes_and_Leeks© Daniel Gordon, Artichokes and Leeks. C-print, from the project Back to Screen Selections and Still Lifes, Wallspace, New York, 2014.


higherpictures_joshuacitarella_renderdifference© Joshua Citarella, Render and Difference, 2013, C-print.

23_HourglassLattice© Joshua Citarella, Hourglass in Lattice Configuration II, III & IV, 2015, C-print.


LIPPS_Camera_700© Matt Lipps, Untitled, from the series Library.

LIPPS_03Heads_700© Matt Lipps, Untitled, from the series Horizon/s.


8863_1000© Jessica Eaton, Interpolation Dramatization 7, 2012. Archival pigment print.

8038_1000© Jessica Eaton, cfaal 306, 2013. Archival pigment print.


porter_greet_the_dust© Matthew Porter, Greet the Dust, 2012. Archival pigment print.

porter-VonSternbergHouse-2-crop-fake-WEB© Matthew Porter, Von Sternberg House #2, 2012. Archival pigment print.


© Owen KyddRed Wall, Three Parts, 2013. Video on 40 inch display screen.

© Owen Kydd, Composition Warner Studio. Video on 40 inch display screen.

© Owen Kydd, Knife, 2011. Video on 40 inch display screen.

٠ ‘one becomes what one is by overcoming the wish to be that which one is not’ ٠

9933b11972e57e1eb6a8b3bfdd259287© Coke Wisdom O’Neal, Jessica Sue Layton, from the series The Box (Manhattan), 2005

e8ce28a4a52fc81758d8e3345a97557c© Coke Wisdom O’Neal, Chris and Mike O’Neal, from the series The Box (Manhattan), 2005



44a5bb8c1b8429a5acfab59aad9979a1© Coke Wisdom O’Neal, Tina, from the series The Box (Cleveland), 2010

d3e6104bd958da150131638a7da49290© Coke Wisdom O’Neal, Harold and Kathleen, from the series The Box (Cleveland), 2010

٠ Susan Hiller & the transformative potential of investigation ٠

Susan_Hiller_sisters_of_menonSusan Hiller, Sisters of Menon, 1972 -79. 4 L-shaped panels of automatic writing, blue pencil on A4 paper with typed labels

dedicatedHiller-Press-12Susan Hiller, Dedicated to the Unknown Artists, 1972-76. Installation view, Tate Britain, London.

«In fact, Hiller herself has commented that what her archive includes are moments missed, fleeting encounters with a movement that never registered in consciousness (and that is, as such, homologous with trauma): “We love these pictures because they freeze a movement which otherwise we never realize we see.It is this element in Hiller’s archive that interests me most, a moment of missing out that is akin to the anaesthetizing experience Kant linked to the sublime. As an instance of transcendent greatness to which nothing can adequately be compared, the sublime points (as Kant remarked) to a problem of (or in) judgment. If the majestic, crashing waves and the harsh rock faces on the postcards Hiller collected hint at the natural sublime, the utter banality and clichéd depiction of the postcards together with their obvious manipulation—a trauma of the medium itself that is reminiscent of Warhol—neutralize any such reference. Although the sheer size of the archive with its mass of collected images could produce a sublime effect, that effect is emphatically a result of technical reproduction and serial repetition, and as such is distinctly out of joint with the singularity of the eighteenth-century sublime. […]

Voyage on a Rough Sea Homage to Marcel Broodthaers 2009Susan Hiller, Homage to Marcel Broodthaers: Voyage on a Rough Sea, 2009, 16 archival dry prints

[the writing] testifies to a private communicative practice far removed from the universalizing aspirations of nineteenth-century historicism. What the postcards show and what the written greetings and notes transcribe are less what the individuals who sent them actually saw than — as Hiller herself remarked — what they wanted to see. The moment captured by the postcards, for all its natural drama, is a moment missed. Hiller’s archive is thus a storehouse not of objective facts but rather of desire deferred and reproduced. […]

716d3dfc-9966-4bd8-b3d1-8fdaee915dcb--00000--Timothy_Gallery_Susan_Hiller,_Home_Nursing_Homage_to_Joseph_BeuysSusan Hiller, Homage to Joseph Beuys, series of felt-lined cabinets containing antique bottles of holy water collected by the artist around the world; ongoing from 1969-2011

Photography presents a spatial continuum; historicism seeks to provide the temporal continuum…. Historicism is concerned with the photography of time.” If historicism is concerned with “the photography of time,” then the PP-based archive with its formal, linear succession of moments is its natural institutional outlet, a spatiotemporal continuum that “simultaneously contains the meaning of all that occurred within that time.” As Kracauer and Roland Barthes after him made clear, photography does not show or represent the past or history; it merely marks indexically the moment of its own production

excerpt from Sven Spieker (2008), The Big Archive

susan-hiller-609x430From the Freud Museum 1991-6 by Susan Hiller born 1940Susan Hiller, From the Freud Museum, 1991-97, vitrine installation, size variable; 50 units, mixed media,texts, images.

┐ Stuart Sherman, performance after writing └


Stuart’s Thirteenth Spectacle (time), 1980, can be seen here

“Stuart Sherman, a member of the important generation of American avant-garde performance artists who rose to prominence in the late 1960s and early 1970s, developed his own unique style across various media, the impact of which continues to resonate with the avant-garde eight years after his death. He devoted a large amount of his time to the creation of performances he called “spectacles”, which often took the form of small tabletop performances. These performances involved the manipulation of both familiar and unfamiliar everyday objects atop one or more folding TV dinner tables. Performed by a poker-faced Sherman, the spectacle performances sit in a unique hybrid space that moves between references to various genres including comedy, magic, musicals, minimalism, surrealism, opera, three card monte games, fluxus, and vaudeville. Through these performances, which consisted of series of intricately structured object manipulations, he crafted a unique identity both as creator and performer. While the spectacle performances were generally miniature in scale, they were certainly not miniature in ambition, exploring with great wit topics such as time, language, mortality, eroticism, and personal identity.” via NYU 80WSE Gallery press release

Sherman_04© Babette Mangolte’s portrait of Stuart Sherman, from the Spectacle Performance

┐ Peter Puklus, Handbook to the Stars └

00600500421© Peter Puklus, Handbook to the Stars

“There is a reason why Peter Puklus’ first publication is called Handbook to the Stars, a subtle manifesto of his Ars Poetica. With this handbook he attempts to portray his own universe and provide insight into how his photographic works relate to each other: like galaxies in relative proximity to one another that are bound together by their own gravitational force. The images function alongside one another and through one another, have no sequence or chronology, but exist individually even as they form interconnections and follow their own patterns. Hence they do not necessarily fit on a page in this book; the imaginary distances keep the images in place. This implies that they may appear fragmented, sometimes small, sometimes large, precisely as they coexist in Puklus’ universe of images.

His work is not documentary, nor does it fall within other traditional photographic genres such as staged, portrait or still life photography. Freed from conventions, he works according to his own logic and interests, shifting naturally between genres, themes and media. Coincidence plays a minor role in his work. The famous decisive moment is irrelevant, because it has already taken place at a conceptual level. His photographs are visualisations of preconceived concepts which he initially records in sketches and notes, before painstakingly recreating them and capturing them with an analogue camera.

Puklus’ work is in keeping with contemporary trends in photography. While the focus of many photographers in the ‘90s was on pure documentary, this has now shifted to a personal interpretation of the world, or perhaps more accurately, an interpretation of the inner world. Although photography is Puklus’ primary medium, his method is not purely photographic. He frequently approaches his work as a kind of sculptor or installation artist. The compositions created in a studio-like setting are often spatial constructions, models or collages. In his studies of shapes we encounter fragile constructions, as well as objects to which he has made sometimes simple, sometimes radical alterations with an eye for the interplay of lines and geometric shapes. Like in the studio, his search for formal and three-dimensional aspects is also evident when he take photographs in natural and urban environments. Just as he experiments with objects and shapes, so he also experiments with technology. Where necessary, he exchanges the static for the moving image, combines positive and negative images, and alternates black and white with colour.

Time is an interesting aspect, which is defined by a certain slowness and silence. It is not only the process preceding the actual image that is time-consuming; photographing itself is generally slow and meticulous. His subjects often denote a certain transience or even timelessness. Particularly striking are the photos in which Puklus, using basic materials and self-made objects, recalls the figurative language of avantgarde and constructivist art; or photographs of classical sculptures whose representations recur in various compositions. The lamp is perhaps one of the most frequently recurring motifs. Several of these are often placed in a certain relationship to one another or hung up, immediately calling to mind the trajectories described by celestial bodies.

It is often said that this is a time when photography is undergoing dramatic changes. The question is, however, whether that was ever any different. Since the advent of digital photography, the assumption has been that it would supplant the slower analogue technology. The same goes for the photo book. This was also consigned to the history with the arrival of the internet and advanced digital presentation possibilities. The enormous and growing popularity of the photo book seems, for the time being at least, to prove the contrary. Puklus’ universe argues for the survival of both.”

text by Claudia Küssel

Peter’s website here

┐ Donald Goddard and Hannah Wilke – Love made possible └

All reproductions of Hannah Wilke’s work were removed due to copyrights issues. Here’s the link to her virtual home.

© Hannah Wilke, My Country tis of thee, 1975

Lil Picard: I see you are a collector of Art Deco objects. Why?

Hannah Wilke: I’ve always collected things. Objects have always been important for me. But the older I get the less I need things, especially since I am concerned with my work now. I haven’t been really colJecttng much lately. My work is my collection; the small sculptures replaced the objects that had been made by society, and my work is more important now than any objects I might collect. My own works are my icons.”

excerpt of Picard, Lil. “Hannah Wilke: Sexy Objects.” Andy Warhol’s lnterview, January 1973.

© Hannah Wilke, Pink Champagne, 1975 latex with snaps 45.7 x 137.2 x 17.8 cms

© Hannah Wilke, Landry Lint, C.O.’s, 1974, set of 12 sculptures, Lint, various colors, 13-1/2 x 13-1/2 inches

Goddard: In the beginning, she gave me a lot of direction. But then as time went on, she hardly said a thing. She would go from one place to another. She would go up a ladder, and I would take a picture from below. She would lie down with a gun in her hand as if she were dead. She would arrange herself in relation to the space she was in and how she wanted the composition to be. Eventually, I sort of knew what she wanted, so she didn’t have to say anything.

Takemoto: When did you start filming for the Intra- Venus Tapes? Did Hannah have a clear sense of what and how she wanted things documented, or did the filming become a more organic and ordinary aspect of your lives?

Goddard: In 1990 Hannah and I were in East Hampton. We had a rented house out there for the summer. We went to P. C. Richard and Son to buy some electronic equipment for our vacation, including a video camera and a TV set. Hannah just wanted to document her life and her friends. So that’s what we did. There was nothing planned about it. Of course, Hannah did a lot of performing – informal stuff, mugging and performing for the camera. Many of our friends and relatives are in the tapes, and we shot a lot of footage in the hospital. I remember when we went into the hospital for her bone-marrow transplant. I didn’t videotape the visit, but that’s when we started taking still photographs. Hannah was supposed to put on all these things that connected to her body for some kind of test, a cardiogram or something. The connectors were red with many wires and clips. Hannah thought they were wonderful against her skin and the blue-green gown and got very excited about the visual possibilities. That was one of the first pictures we took for the Intra-Venus still photographs.


Takemoto: Making work about illness sometimes produces the feeling of agency, as if you are somehow fighting illness by transforming it into something else. Do you think this resonated for Hannah? Was there a sense of urgency around making these pictures or documenting as much as possible as a way of slowing down time?

Goddard: I suppose. It was a way of measuring time. The idea was that Hannah was going to show all this work, and the name of the exhibition was going to be “Cured.” So she was always thinking about the work that way. We also looked into therapeutic possibilities: macrobiotic diet, nutritional regimens of various kinds, and alternative doctors and treatments. She read a lot and exercised a lot. Perhaps, all of that is a way of trying to slow down the inevitable. You are doing things that fill your life. It’s as desperate as life is. Life is always desperate. But it was a matter of living rather than dying. Making art was really about living.

excerpt of Looking through Hannah’s Eyes: Interview with Donald Goddard, conducted by Tina Takemoto, in Art Journal, Vol. 67, No. 2, 2008

┐ The blind man and his visual clarity └

artistas_obras_imagens_imagem_136_2037 (1)© João Maria Gusmão & Pedro Paiva

Terence-KohTerence Koh, God, 2007. View of the performance at de Pury & Luxembourg, Zurich. Courtesy Peres Projects, Berlin.

terencekohinstallview1_600_600Installation view of Terence Koh (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, January 19–May 27, 2007). Photograph by Sheldan C. Collins

Sugimoto_Hiroshi_Self-portrait_2003© Hiroshi Sugimoto, Self-portrait, 2003

hiroshi_sugimoto© Hiroshi Sugimoto, from the series Theaters, 1978

“I wish to suggest that we are like philosopher-artists installed in these works, engaged in inscribing and contemplating the line between the real and representation, the trait, which continually both “draws a boundary and with draws from it.” To be this blind man means, for Derrida, to see with one’s hands, and indeed when one interacts with these installations one finds oneself touching – walls, elevator doors, a door jamb or stair railing – whatever is near to hand that will steady one’s balance. The blind man of necessity must also rely on memory, both the memory of objects and spaces (the configuration of the room, one’s location relative to furniture) and, more important, the memory of sight itself. Deceived by shadows, blinded by sunlight, we are like Plato’s cave dwellers, for, like them, the viewer of contemporary art “suffers from sight.” Accustomed to a world of simulation, a world where image is reality, we are full time skeptics for whom light and darkness, truth and falsehood, reality and representation hold equal dangers. We are left to draw blindly, again and again, the line between them.
Not quite performance and not quite sculpture, Nauman’s corridor pieces provoke a series of questions: What is the role of the, for lack of a better word, “viewer’s” body and the effect of the constraints placed on that body? What is the place of vision in works in which there is nothing in particular to see (the blank walls), or in which seeing is frustrated (the image of the back of one’s head), or in which one is blinded (the bright lights) ? And what is the function of representation in works in which nothing much seems to be represented? While it seems clear that Nauman’s works are performative?they involve a setting, an actor, a simple narrative arc, a temporal framework, and what Joseph Roach has called sur rogation (the viewer stands in for the artist)?they also resist the category of performance.2^ They are, at the same time, involved with seemingly more conventional artistic concerns such as vision (we are forced to contemplate our own seeing), subject-object relations (the corridor is both sculpture and stage), and representation (the viewer represents the artist). Performance and sculpture, the real and representation, vision and blindness? the corridor is an apt figure through which to contemplate the passage between conceptual categories. It functions both as a long line (Derrida’s trait) that divides, and as a liminal space that connects?here and there, now and then.”

excerpt of Blink: The Viewer as Blind Man in Installation Art, by Jane Blocker, in Art Journal, Vol. 66, No. 4, 2007

┐ Micael Nussbaumer & The Weaving Factory – chaos as creative force └

41_MG_1350© Micael Nussbaumer, from “Tempo Imprime no Espaço” (lit. translation: Time prints in Space), installation

5© Micael Nussbaumer, “Desfiar”, installation, several different documents from the abandoned Fábrica da Fiação de Tomar (The Weaving Factory), 2010


32© Micael Nussbaumer, video stills, from “O Registador”, 2010

“Each video depicts an intervention in the abandoned space of Fábrica da Fiação. They are loops, without a beginning or an end, which brings them closer to photography rather than video.(…)”

“Micael Nussbaumer’s installation, “O Registador”, explores objects and spaces from the abandoned «Fábrica da Fiação de Tomar». The choice of this weaving factory as the main subject of this exposition was due to the perfect analogy found by the artist between the concepts he wanted to expose and the history of that enterprise.

The beginning of this factory can be described as an attempt to modernize Portugal, following the industrial revolution happening in Europe, meanwhile empowering the national bourgeoisie by increasing competitiveness. It wasn’t randomly that Tomar was chosen to host such enterprise, it was the surrounding environment that created this opportunity; the local river, Nabão, could use the new hydraulic technologies that were spawning across Europe. Effectively it was here that for the first time these technologies were used in Portugal. But even this didn’t prevent its decline in different times as a result of bureaucratic, political and economical reasons. The factory that employed hundreds of families across the region, boosting local development and economy through 200 hundred years under different administrations, close its doors completely in 1975, after a fire, being until this day abandoned. (…)” Micael’s statement. continue reading here

Micael’s work is multi-dimensional enough but I’ll have to add another layer: a personal one. No family member was an employee of the Weaving Factory Micael’s work refers to, nor have I heard personal accounts of what was like to work there, but I do know people who slept, cooked, fucked and partied there not that long ago and that adds a new layer, one related to the memory of affections. In the midst of this sort of living happening at the Factory, I witnessed life and chaos fulfilling the space and I’ve stared death in the eyes. When Micael comes about rearranging the collective memory of this space as if some internal order could bring objects back to life he manages not only to give it a new form – by repetition chaotic systems are put into order, conceptually, abstractly – but he is also making an offering to his viewers, whether he/she realizes it or not. Objects presented in Micael’s installation have a life of their own, they have a soul. They are not inert. They move, they transform, they affect you. They shared the same humid space hundreds of workers did and they were there when it happened… because Micael insisted on the remains of this particular history, these material depictions are kept alive, breaking through the smell of destruction brought upon that place. Sofia

“Some time in 1965 Bruce Nauman made a plaster cast of the space under his chair. Perhaps it was late in the year, after Donald Judd’s “Specific Objects” essay had appeared, or perhaps earlier, for example in February, in relation to Judd’s review of Robert Morris’s Green Gallery exhibition, or in October, after Barbara Rose had published “ABC Art,” her own bid to theorize Minimalism. In any event, Nauman’s cast, taking the by-then recognizable shape of a Minimalist sculpture, whether by Morris or Tony Smith, or Judd himself, was more or less cubic, grayish in color, simple in texture … which made it no less the complete anti-Minimalist object.

Several years later, when the tide against Minimalism had turned, and the attack on Minimalism’s industrial metaphor-its conviction in the well-built object, its display of rational tectonics and material strength-was in full swing, this reaction would move under the banner of “Anti-Form,” which is to say a set of strategies to shatter the constructed object and disperse its fragments. But Nauman’s cast, which he repeated the following year in two other forays-Shelf Sinking into the Wall with Copper-Painted Plaster Casts of the Spaces Underneath (1966) and Platform Made up of the Space between Two Rectilinear Boxes on the Floor (1966)-acting well before anti-form, does not take this route of explosion, or dismemberment, or dissemination. It does not open the closed form of the fabricated object to release its material components from the corset of their construction, to turn them over to the forces of nature-gravity, wind, erosion- which would give them quite another articulation, one cast in the shadow of natural processes of change. Rather, it takes the path of implosion or congealing, and the thing to which it submits this stranglehold of immobility is not matter, but what vehiculates and subtends it: space itself.

Nauman’s attack, far more deadly than anti-form-because it is about a cooling from which nothing will be able to extricate itself in the guise of whatever articulation-is an attack made in the very name of death, or to use another term, entropy. And for this reason, the ambiguity that grips these residues of Nauman’s casts of interstitial space, the sense, that is, that they are object-like, but that without the title attached to them like an absurd label, one has no idea of what they are, even of what general species of object they might belong to, seems particularly fitting. It is as though the congealing of space into this rigidly entropic condition also strips it of any means of being “like” anything. If the constant utilitarian character of Minimalist objects-they are “like” boxes, benches, portals, etc.-or the more evocative turn of process works, continued to operate along the condition of form, which is that, having an identity, it be meaningful, it is the ultimate character of entropy, Nauman’s casts force us to realize, that it congeal the possibilities of meaning as well. Which is to say that this conception of entropy, as a force that sucks out all the intervals between points of space, not only understands the “Brownian movement” of molecular agitation as slowed to a stop, but also imagines the eradication of those distances that regulate the grid of oppositions, or differences, necessary to the production of meaning.

Although he never, himself, pushed his own concerns with entropy into the actual making of casts, Robert Smithson had always considered casting as a way of theorizing entropy, since he had written about the earth’s crust as itself a giant cast, the testimony to wave after wave of cataclysmic forces compressing and congealing life and all the spatial intervals necessary to sustain it. Quoting Darwin’s remark “Nothing can appear more lifeless than the chaos of rocks,” Smithson treasured the geological record as a “landslide of maps,” the charts and texts of the inexorable process of cooling and death.3 For each rock, each lithic band is the evidence of whole forests, whole species that have decayed-“dying by the millions”-and under the pressure of this process have become a form of frozen eternity. In a movingly poetic text, “Strata: A Geophotographic Fiction,” he attempted to prize apart these layers of compression, alternating blocks of writing with strips of photographs showing the fossil record trapped within the magma of the rock, as the demonstrative presentation of wave after wave- Cambrian, Silurian, Devonian, Permian, Triassic, Jurassic-of wreckage.”

excerpt of A User’s Guide to Entropy, by Yve-Alain Bois and Rosalind Krauss, in October, Vol. 78 (Autumn, 1996), pp. 38-88

More of Micael’s work can be seen here

┐ The “hau” of dead birds └

slayton_fauna&_nude_4© Eric Slayton, Nude wtih Hawk, from the series Fauna and Flora, 2000

slayton_orn_cola_4© Eric Slayton, Colaptes Auratus, from the series Ornithological Study, 2003

slayton_orn_acc_4© Eric Slayton, Accipiter Gentilis, from the series Ornithological Study, 2003

Faisoes_06© Sofia Silva, Pheasants IR, 2007

More of Eric Slayton’s work here

“But Hertz had also found—I discovered it amongst his papers—a text whose significance we had both missed, for I had been unaware of it myself. Speaking of the hau, the spirit of things and particularly of the forest and forest game, Tamati Ranaipiri, one of Mr. Elsdon Best’s most useful informants, gives quite by chance the key to the whole problem. ‘I shall tell you about hau. Hau is not the wind. Not at all. Suppose you have some particular object, taonga, and you give it to me; you give it to me without a price. We do not bargain over it. Now I give this thing to a third person who after a time decides to give me something in repayment for it (utu),’ and he makes me a present of something [taonga] . Now this taonga I received from him is the spirit (hau) of the taonga I received from you and which I passed on to him. The taonga which I receive on account of the taonga that came from you, I must return to you. It would not be right on my part to keep these taonga whether they were desirable or not. I must give them to you since they are the hau of the taonga which you gave me. If I were to keep this second taonga for myself I might become ill or even die. Such is hau, the hau of personal property, the hau of the taonga, the hau of the forest. Enough on that subject.’

This capital text deserves comment. It is characteristic of the indefinite legal and religious atmosphere of the Maori and their doctrine of the ‘house of secrets’ ; it is surprisingly clear in places and offers only one obscurity: the intervention of a third person. But to be able to understand this Maori lawyer we need only say: ‘The taonga and all strictly personal possessions have a hau, a spiritual power. You give me taonga, I give it to another, the latter gives me taonga back, since he is forced to do so by the hau of my gift ; and I am obliged to give this one to you since I must return to you what is in fact the product of the hau of your taonga.”

Interpreted thus not only does the meaning become clear, but it is found to emerge as one of the leitmotifs of Maori custom. The obligation attached to a gift itself is not inert. Even when abandoned by the giver, it still forms a part of him. Through it he has a hold over the recipient, just as he had, while its owner, a hold over anyone who stole it. For the taonga is animated with the hau of its forest, its soil, its homeland, and the hau pursues him who holds it.”

excerpt of “The Gift”, by Marcel Mauss

┐ Ian van Coller └

© Ian van Coller, Daisy Angy Kekae (left), from the series Collage Portraits, 2009

“This series combines several influences that have personally been relevant to my art-making process. The work grew out of my experimentation with the use of quilting techniques based on traditions from Africa and Gees Bend, Alabama as a way to tell stories and record oral histories. The manner in which individuals in these portrait collages are presented, was heavily influenced by posters from the period of resistance against apartheid in South Africa. The union posters are now iconic examples of the strong printmaking tradition that grew out of resistance and artistic movements that began in the townships, and which often created “heroic” figures out of ordinary people. The individuals portrayed in the portrait collage series are primarily female domestic and farm workers.

The collages themselves consist of a multi-layered, two-dimensional piece. I print images on Mitsumata fiber paper, which is then soaked in shellac to provide a transparency that allows me to rework both the front and back of the image. The transparency of the paper allows me to layer images on top of one another so that the final piece is essentially multidimensional.”

© Ian van Coller, from the series Memory Boards, 2000-2007 (ongoing)

“This body of work deals with the colonial legacies that have become the social and economic realities of a modern South Africa. Each piece is an exploration of how Euro-centered attitudes have affected my personal history, as well as how they helped construct notions of Africa as the “dark continent.” In an attempt to resolve these dramatically different influences on my life, and to come to terms with my place in the world, I have made very specific choices about the images, materials, and the frames. This body of work originated with the idea of  Zambian “memory boards” as a way to trace personal memory/history, as well as the social memory/ history of South Africa. The frames themselves are transformed into objects that carry content in and of themselves, rather than merely encasing a photograph. Old family snapshots or culturally significant images and texts are also inserted in the frame, expressing the tension between the African and European influences on my identity.”

© Ian van Coller, Ndonganazibovana (left) + IMbedle (right), from the series Colonized Trees, Photogravure & photo litho, 1995

more of Ian’s great body of work here

┐ Ugo Rondinone – I don’t live here anymore └

© Ugo Rondinone, all Untitled, from the series I don’t live here anymore, 1996

“My discovery of Rondinone dates back to a sexy picture I noticed in Flash Art in the mid-1990s, of what I took to be a seductive model revealing a glimpse of appealing cleavage. I hadn’t actually meant to stop at the image, but biology had taken over, as it does. But wait a second. There was something weird about this girl. Why was she so swarthy? And wasn’t that a moustache on her upper lip? Someone had digitally transferred his head onto a photograph of an alluring model and seamlessly confused the two to create an unsettling self-portrait that wobbled between masculinity and femininity as frantically as a woofer.

So that was Ugo Rondinone. Except it wasn’t. A few months later, in Flash Art, he had another show. This time, what stopped me was a gorgeous set of abstract paintings, circles of coloured fog of such exciting brightness that the page seemed to throb. They reminded me of Kenneth Noland’s work: Rothko in the round. Who did these, I wondered? They’re fabulous. It was Rondinone.

Except, of course, it wasn’t. A few Flash Art issues later, I noticed some mad-looking drawings, skilfully achieved with Indian ink, of knotted trees, tossing and turning in the landscape as if they couldn’t get to sleep; and forest clearings writhing with unease, like an angler’s worms. An installation shot showed them to be wall-sized. Weird, I thought. Who did them? Oh, no. It was Rondinone.

As the years wore on, and the 20th century seeped into the 21st, it kept happening. Something in Flash Art would catch my eye, and it would turn out to be by Ugo Rondinone. It was never the same thing twice. Video, photography, painting, sculpture, sound pieces, projections, performance, comic stuff, serious stuff, things with him in them, things with nobody in them — you just couldn’t tell.

So the news that this one-man studio of artists was finally getting a British showing at the Whitechapel came as a blessed relief. I had expected to be put out of my confusion, and finally to be able to grasp who and what Rondinone was. But I was being optimistic.

The Whitechapel show is called Zero Built a Nest in My Navel, which is not a title that gives much away. The line is taken from one of the haikus that Rondinone apparently writes every day, and which take the place of a diary for him.

A few examples are scattered about the walls of his Whitechapel installation, written in white on old bits of wood, of the sort you find washed up on beaches. Here’s an example: Fold back/my love/as you did/my sheets.

Here’s another: Air gets/into everything/even nothing.

While you’re solving these etymological sudokus (clue: there is no solution), I will run a few pertinent biographical facts past you. Rondinone was born in Switzerland in 1964, of Italian parents, so flexibility was his birthright. He studied in Vienna and spent his early career collaborating with the notorious Austrian performance artist Hermann Nitsch, who is probably the most gory artist there has ever been. Nitsch showered himself in blood as if it were bath water. From him, Rondinone would have learnt that life is messy, red, angry, scary, wet and violent. We can safely assume that everything he has done since should be viewed as an attempt to get over the trauma of Nitsch.” excerpt of the article Painter? Poet? Photographer?, by Waldemar Januszczak. continue reading here

┐ Deborah Bohnert └

© Deborah Bohnert, Untitled, from the series Bohnert and Bohnert, 2005

© Deborah Bohnert, Untitled, from the series Bohnert and Bohnert, 2005

© Deborah Bohnert, Untitled, from the series The Little People, 2009

© Deborah Bohnert, Untitled, from the series The Little People, 2009

“…Dada had long operated according to the principle of instability, blurring distinctions between art and mass media (in photomontage), art and mass production (in the readymade), and intention and reception (in public provocations and spectacles). In 1921, Roman Jakobson characterized the movement as “transrational”—an indulgence in sheer relativity and paradox—citing Tristan Tzara as support: “I am against all systems, the most acceptable system is to have no system at all.” Framed by flou, Man Ray’s equivocations—photography is not art/photography can be art/art is not photography—strike one as a form of discursive repurposing that recalls the readymade, or at the very least, a cultivation of irrationality commensurate with automatic writing. What appears at first to be a show of dogmatic inconsistency is in fact an instance of Dada blur and flux, activated by a form of crit ical recycling that would later come to be called détournement—not a negation, precisely, but an intervention or interleaving of new forms into old that is put in play to expose conventional demarcations as redundant. “And yet you still paint?” “Yes . . . to persuade me of its inanity.”


The photographic medium further underscores the references to mass media: like the newspaper, it is itself a form of technological reproduction, and like the news, it is valued for its immediacy. Instantly obsolescent, all bear the double intimation of a frozen present, simultaneously past. Likewise, photographs prove to be the perfect analog to the automatic text in its relation to unconscious processes: inclusive of all that appears in the camera’s viewfinder, mechanically made “memory-records” constituted by visual residue. Deserved or not, photography’s reputation is still that of being an unmediated print—a myth that is foregrounded by the relative directness of the photogram process. The absent camera is replaced by mechanical actions: picking up trash at random on the street, drawing newspaper fragments from a bag . . . or, in Man Ray’s case, absent-mindedly misplacing objects in a developing tray.” excerpt from the article Flou: Rayographs and the Dada Automatic, by Susan Laxton, published in OCTOBER 127, Winter 2009, pp. 25–48.

more of Bohnert‘s work here

┐ Patty Carroll – Anonymous Women └

© Patty Carroll, Untitled, from the series Anonymous Women

© Patty Carroll, Untitled, from the series Anonymous Women

© Patty Carroll, Untitled, from the series Anonymous Women

“Anonymous Women” is a series of “Un-portraits” as Carroll calls them, of women draped – entirely covered – in various fabrics, with minimum props. Lush fabrics, an unlimited color palette and an at times subtle to overt sense of humor infuses the work with a fresh, lingering impact on the viewer. Even though viewers “gaze” at these portraits of women (portraits are politically loaded art objects, which when spoken of become terms, with much historical and gender based baggage) these Anonymous Women don’t participate in the gaze. They don’t give you anything back, and they are not giving you back what you expect, and even less of what you want. The woman is not performing for the camera, she gestures, beneath the burden of the sheet, but she doesn’t show off her body. There might be an anonymous woman in posed in an obvious pose in the cannon of our unspoken body language (look at her piece “Mad”), which if uncovered that you would see clearly, clearly meaning with her face — however, these Anonymous Women will never be uncovered, they remain frozen and some even permanently camouflaged into their backgrounds.

PC: Yeah I do do that, I do work in spurts. I had this other idea (you know I have a lot of ideas) and I thought you know, really the next phase to this would to be really to include more home stuff, and so I brought my model and my assistant and my lights and stuff, to my house, I figure if I can get some more architectural details… But of course we covered everything, [the furniture] it’s all draped, so it was like the idea of still hiding, but…

SD: Yes I love those

PC: Yes I just love them too and there’s something so mysterious and creepy and yet there’s something so comforting about not having color, or not “speaking” to you. Do you know what I mean? I mean people don’t do this anymore but, you know, the summer house is covered in the winter…. the summer house is closed up for the winter, and it’s kind of comforting, about everything not having color, in that nothing is kind of speaking to you, everything has a sheet over it and everything is covered. And that’s how I kind of think of them [her anonymous women] That’s how I think of it, they have personalities, some are more out there, that others, again they have personalities, some are really hiding, some are worried, are afraid, some are more defiant, some are like she’s got a cake plate on her head. She’s kind of offering…. Maybe I could give it to you for your series, then when you’re done with it for your pictures then maybe you can pass it along.(…)

excerpt of an interview by Stephanie Dean, in F-Stop Magazine

More of Patty’s work here

┐ Todd McLellan └

© Todd McLellan, Old Camera, from his recent work Disassembly

© Todd McLellan, Apart Camera, from his recent work Disassembly

© Todd McLellan, Old Typewriter, from his recent work Disassembly

© Todd McLellan, Apart Typewriter, from his recent work Disassembly

‘disassembly’ by canadian photographer todd mclellan is a series of images capturing old relics of our past in its dismantled form. including items such as a typewriter, push lawn mower and a rotary phone, the collection delineates the astounding intricacies and craft of these mechanical objects. every piece and component are positioned in an almost obsessive-compulsive arrangement – by type, size, function – resulting in a clear portrait of an era that we have seemingly left behind.

More of Todd’s work here

┐ Seo-Yeoung Won └

© Seo-Yeoung Won, Chair, from the series Compressed Reality, 2010

© © Seo-Yeoung Won, Wheel, from the series Compressed Reality, 2010

“My work starts with sublimating from a mere common object in dairy life to an entity having a particular denotative meaning. For this, I have paid attention to existing expression methods of painting and installation art that take a dairy life object as a target of expression, and have continued experimentations to realise the methods in a particular space of a photographic studio. The illusion of space created by the painting, and the relationship between an object and space, all these are compressed into a photography taken in a photo studio, for the sake of expression. Also, it presents in a photo the process of representing an object by different media and the differences between them. As the result of this, a common object perceived objectively becomes an entity of expression shared in media such as installation art, painting, and photography, and at the same time an entity of symbolic expression containing the artist’s subjective view.”

Artist statement

More of Seo-Yeoung’s work here

┐ Erwan Frotin └

© Erwan Frotin, Pain à Pieds Bleus, from the series Sketch, 2006

© Erwan Frotin, Perdreau Fantôme, from the series Sketch, 2006

More of Erwan’s weird “species” here work here

┐ Jakob Hunosøe └

@ Jakob Hunosøe, Thermos placed on lamp , from the series Out of Order, 2012

framed, 46,5 x 46,5 cm, Archival Fiber Print, edition of 5

@ Jakob Hunosøe, Tin pot and ceramic pot touching electric kettle on plate , from the series On Things Ordinary, 2010

framed, 46,5 x 46,5 cm, Archival Fiber Print, edition of 5

Rather than objectively exposing the surroundings, Hunosøe uses the photograph as a means of rewriting reality. With simple artifices such as reflections, additions and unexpected combinations, he adds a poetic, surreal dimension to his motifs. The photograph becomes an instrument enabling us to look at the world with different eyes and to uncover new meanings in our immediate surroundings.

Each photograph is based on a clear idea explained in prosaic titles such as “2 x 2 meters of garage objects” or “Mirrored glass of water, coins and used napkin on table.” The intention of the stagings is neither to seduce nor to convince the viewers, seeing that the titles expose the often simple artifices on which each picture is based. Hunosøe’s pictures can be seen as one long series of attempts. The “pseudoscientific”
attempts are not meant to lead to a certain result; rather, they are created in their own

excerpt from text by Marie Laurberg; continue reading here

His work here

┐ Davide Maione └

© Davide Maione, Reaching

© Davide Maione, Beaten (left) and Appeal (right), from Outlines and Annotations

© Davide Maione, What it takes to keep a young girl alive

“What It Takes to Keep a Young Girl Alive is a diptych of photographs that takes its title from a short story by Jayne Anne Phillips. Whilst being the departing point for creating a link between portraiture, narrative and performance, Phillips’ short story functions as fictional milieu for exploring notions of selfhood and subjectivity.

The diptych seizes on the very essence of Phillips’ story: the repetitive gestures of menial labour, the dead end job when there should be a future and the withdrawal from public space to avoid being looked at.

The juxtaposition of the title of the story with the spare photographs succinctly suggests a life of meagre means and a metaphorical expression of a banal and yet tragic predicament. The young girl in the photograph counts and marks the days in the manner of a prisoner. And yet as she does so, she also creates a picture out of the blank wall -perhaps an answer to what could be a question: ‘What does it take to keep a young girl alive?”

More of David’s work here

┐ Muga Miyahara └

© Yuki Onodera, Muga Miyahara, Increase, from the series Tokonoma

© Yuki Onodera, Muga Miyahara, Fear, from the series Tokonoma

“Japan photographer Muga Miyahara’s interpretation of tradition is most noteworthy in his works titled “Tokonoma”. The term refers to a built-in recessed space in a typical Japanese house, usually decorated with a calligraphic or pictorial scroll and an Ikebana flower arrangement. In Miyahara’s vision the Tokonoma becomes a stage presenting a cornucopia of different objects, inviting the viewer to explore a variety of ideas and thoughts. Although the arrangements are zen-like, very pure and simple, they have the effect of disturbing the viewer rather than expressing serenity and tranquillity. A lonely artificial leg, an empty shirt on strings, or knives hanging from the ceiling. Everyone can discover the invisible layers behind the objects for himself. The picture of three bombers and an ascending explosion cloud can – apart from obvious associations with war, air raids and nuclear attacks – be the starting point for various reflections about violence.”

source: voicer

More of Muga’s work here