All posts filed under: Exhibitions

The Post-Apartheid State of South Africa

Mohau Modisakeng, one of the most promising young South African artists today, was born in Soweto, Johannesburg in 1986 and lives and works between Johannesburg and Cape Town. He studied at Michaelis School of Fine Art, Cape Town. In 2016 he was awarded the Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Visual Art, the most prestigious award in Africa. His new work’s title, Bophirima, is from the artist’s mother tongue Setswana, meaning ‘West’ or ‘where the sun sets’, but can also be interpreted as ‘twilight’ or ‘before dusk’. The series reflects on his own personal experiences of growing up in Apartheid and Post-Apartheid South Africa, with central themes which revolve around violence, labour, security and ritual. Originally trained in sculpture, Modisakeng uses the technique of the self-portrait – through large-scale photographs, performance and video installations – to mediate on his own identity and the political processes within his country. The artist uses his body to explore the influence of South Africa’s violent history, allowing his body to represent a marker of collective history. Modisakeng says: “The real work for me is in relating …

2016-05-27T17:40:16+00:00

© Christto & Andrew_Current Obssesion

Parataxic Distortion in Dubai

Doha-based artists Christto and Andrew forming their artistic union in 2012. In that time, they have worked across photography, mixed media and film, The partnership is motivated by the desire to create “strong statements [that] challenge stereotypes” surrounding their new home in the Gulf region, and the lifestyle associated with Dubai culture. They do this by producing “a stream of hyperrealism”, a sometimes conspicuous, garish use of portraiture, acerbic in its humour. “Traditional ideas about photography have been continually stretched with the advent of new tools and methodsin the industry, including widespread uses of appropriation and performance, paving the way for radical changes in how we conceive of this art form. Christto & Andrew are part of this artistic movement bent on toppling long-held structures,” the gallery said in a statement. The pair received international attention through their inclusion in Foam Magazine’s Talent Issue in 2014. “Parataxic Distortion is a fantasy of what something should be, an expectation growing out of the emotional stress of living, resulting in the generating of stereotypes; a pigeonholing of individuals to …

2016-05-25T17:14:28+00:00

Dorothy Bohm, 'Rue Tholozé, Montmartre, 1954'

Unseen London, Paris, New York, 1930s-60s

Today, London, Paris and New York are so familiar that it is hard for a modern viewer to imagine them afresh without the visual expectations fostered by art, film and advertising in the digital age. Yet when each of these photographers arrived at their respective destinations, they found cities that were strange and new. They responded by photographing them without prejudice or expectation. The photographs reveal three cities defined, in many ways, by social division and political tension, but also capable of a unique and characterful beauty. The exhibition, Ben Uri Gallery and Museum began life as an Art Society founded by émigré Jews in Whitechapel’s ghetto in July 1915. , includes many works never previously exhibited in the UK, and each series presents an opportunity to view an aspect of the work of a renowned photographer in real depth. Wolfgang Suschitzky was born in Vienna in 1912 and arrived in London via Amsterdam in 1935, fleeing Nazi persecution. Suschitzky had trained as a photographer in his native Vienna and was already adept at both …

2016-05-25T11:27:39+00:00

Punks on the Kings Road, 1981, Dick Scott-Stewart

Stomping Ground: London subcultures in the 70s and 80s  

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, New Romantics began to hang out at the Blitz club in Covent Garden, Rockabillies lined the pavements of Elephant and Castle, wrestling matches enlivened Battersea Arts Centre, punks scared the well-to-do passers by on the Kings Road. In a new exhibition at the Museum of London, titled Stomping Grounds, life in London is reflected through its ‘scenes’ and subcultures. Despite being a freelance photographer for over 30 years, Richard Scott-Stewart’s work is relatively unknown. The exhibition brings to light 38 of his best personal photographs from the time. Anna Sparham, curator of the show and Curator of Photographs at the Museum of London, said: “Dick Scott-Stewart was an accomplished professional photographer who mastered the challenges of black and white film image-making. “He held great respect for his subjects, recognising and identifying with people on the periphery Mog Scott-Stewart, Dick’s wife, said: “Dick’s work is part of the bigger 18th and 19th century photographic project of humanising London and the people who live here. Drawing his inspiration from some of the great European and American …

2016-05-23T16:04:56+00:00

Robert Mapplethorpe

Volker Hinz’ Portraits of History’s Most Iconic Photographers

When Vogue 100: A Century of Style opened at London’s National Portrait Gallery last month, featuring Josh Olins’ portraits of Kate Middleton for June’s edition of British Vogue, The Guardian’s art columnist, Jonathan Jones, questioned whether they should be classed as works of art. “A Vogue cover shot is not a serious portrait,” he wrote on 2 May. “Nice face, nice clothes… but is a glossy picture of Kate Middleton in any way a serious work of art?” Can the same ever be asked of, for example, Alberto Korda’s images of Che Guevarra? Among the most iconic portraits of a revolutionary ever taken, are they not portraits worthy of a gallery hook? How about the work of Volker Hinz, a World Press Photo award-winning photographer who, for 40 years, helped shape the visual language of Stern magazine? His portraits have been shown in 58 exhibitions over the course of five decades; indeed, many are held in private collections and museums around the world. Are Hinz’s images of Muhammed Ali not serious portraits? What about his portraits …

2016-05-19T15:05:37+00:00

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The Private Moments of Marilyn Monroe

In 1945, De Dienes was the first professional photographer to photograph a model named Norma Jeane Baker before she became Marilyn Monroe. One of Marilyn’s first lovers, de Dienes photographed Monroe privately in 1945, 1946, 1949 and 1953. In doing so, he captured a young and ambitious woman in the early stages of becoming maybe the most iconic star in the history of American cinema. And the sensitivities, as well as the darker, more troubled nature of the star, who died of a Barbiturate overdose in 1962 after suffering from mental illness and substance abuse for several years. In November 1945, de Dienes, a successful New York fashion photographer, moved temporarily to Hollywood. His first task was to find a model for his experimental, often nude photography. De Dienes called numerous modeling agencies until an agency sent over a young lady who had been camping out in the office, eager to get her start in Hollywood. It was Norma Jeane Baker, a 19-year-old “miracle”, as de Dienes wrote in his 1983 memoir. De Dienes didn’t take any nude photographs of young Norma Jeane, …

2016-05-18T14:03:12+00:00

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Rasha Kahil’s Anatomy of a Scandal navigates the virtual domain to reclaim the female form

Online trolling occupies not only the darkest corners of the Internet, but occurs daily on both the public and private spaces of social media. It is so widespread that last year in the UK alone, 694 individuals – the equivalent of two a day – were found guilty of offences under the Malicious Communications Act, which states that it is an offence to send a threatening, offensive or indecent electronic communication with the intent to cause distress or anxiety. On finding herself target of such trolls, Kahil’s own personal experience naturally became an invigorating stimulus to generate new work, building on previous themes of intimacy, the body and what it is to be a woman she explores through her photography. “Anatomy of a Scandal actually started with the series that I exhibited quite a few years ago, In Your Home,” explains Kahil. Generated over three years, the 2011 series encompassed spontaneously composed semi-nude self-portraits in acquaintances and friend’s homes across the world, without their knowledge. In Your Home was subsequently shown in Kahil’s hometown of …

2016-05-13T12:45:01+00:00

2 SFMOMA expansion 2015

Inside the New San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

If you are into photography, the last three years have dragged interminably in Northern California. Since the lights went out at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) in 2013, when it closed for a massive expansion on the back of a blockbusting Garry Winogrand retrospective that brought in huge crowds, there’s been a sense of loss and anticipation. Founded in 1935, the museum has always been the city’s visual arts powerhouse. It was also the first North American museum to collect photography seriously, and has mounted many stellar photography exhibitions in its eight decades. The intervening period has seen other photography venues emerge from its shadow; most notably Pier 24, an exhibition space dedicated to a large and eclectic private photography collection that rivals many museums, housed in a massive set of vaults under the Bay Bridge. Those lucky enough to snag a slot via its reservation system (limited to just 20 viewers at a time) have enjoyed thematic exhibitions – such as  last year’s Secondhand, devoted to found imagery that has been reworked, …

2016-05-11T11:55:50+00:00

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Gillian Wearing’s A Room With a View at Brighton’s HOUSE festival

The group shuffles through a slim opening in the make-shift wooden house structure, curious as to where the loud banging, crunching and the occasional toot of a loud car horn is coming from. Inside, the room is pitch black, illuminated only by a wide flat screen hung on the wall, framed with a pair of crimson red curtains. A window, if you like. We are at the the University of Brighton Galleries, watching the hypnotic video installation by Gillian Wearing, who is this year’s Brighton HOUSE Festival’s Invited Artist. The film, A Room With Your Views,, co-commissioned by Brighton Festival, is a compilation of short clips of the views from people’s windows from 167 different countries. With each location, the view is at first obscured by a curtain or blind, which is then pulled back to unveil anything from a romantically lit night scene over River Arno in Florence, to the derelict land and corrugated metal roofs of a civilian camp in South Sudan, to a tabby cat gazing out onto the morning rush in …

2016-05-17T16:06:20+00:00

Wild animals in created sets: “What does it mean to be indigenous?”

“Looking at the work of artist like Stubbs made me interested in the disconnect between animals and their habitat,” Carnegie says, as his work goes on display at the John Martin Gallery in London. George Stubbs’ painting of a Zebra, created in 1763, was based on an animal he saw in a private menagerie, is placed in what looks like a north European woodland. “The painting appears perfectly balanced and correct although the animal is in a habitat with which it is not normally associated,” Carnegie says. “Reflecting on these historical works led to thoughts about native and alien species, and what it means to be indigenous. There is an assumption that where things are, is where they belong, and a belief that native is good and alien is bad,” writes Carnegie. “Sometimes people appear to interpret the terms, native and alien, to suit their own particular prejudices. Somewhere I imagine a voice saying, ‘Surely if it is attractive and there aren’t many of them it must be native?’” All the animals in Carnegie’s series, titled  Long Ago and …

2016-05-06T11:40:39+00:00

BJP Staff