All posts filed under: Features

Hometown of Robert Frank, Wipkingen, Zurich. From the series Hometown © John MacLean, courtesy Flowers Gallery

On show at Format: John MacLean’s Hometown

John MacLean’s Hometown project has its origins in his childhood fascination with great historical leaders such as Gandhi, Churchill, Stalin and Mao. As he got older, he kept his interest in biographies, but became more drawn to the lives of artists. “I started reading artists’ biographies and the genesis of this project was asking myself why I feel connected to some artists and not to others,” he says. “That gave me the idea of writing down a list of my art heroes, my mentors by proxy, who have kept me inspired along the way.” It also gave him the notion of visiting the places in which those artists grew up to see how – or if – these locations influenced their later work, with the added challenge of trying to capture that influence photographically. “The project is about the places these artists spent their formative years aged six to 12, the years where they’re absorbing everything in their environment – the years that, in this fantasy documentary, are translated into the adult artist’s work.” MacLean compiled …

2017-03-22T13:13:25+00:00

Illustrated People #14, on show in Düsseldorf. Images © Thomas Mailaender, courtesy NRW-Forum Düsseldorf

On show: The Fun Archive by Thomas Mailaender

As I enter the main entrance of the NRW-Forum museum in Düsseldorf, I do a double take. Just above me, caught at the periphery of my vision, is a poster from the museum’s upcoming exhibition, featuring a hairy bare arse emblazoned with a freshly raw tattoo simply stating the word ‘FUN’. Its juxtaposition against the backdrop of this elegantly conservative 1920s German building only heightens the strangeness of this vision. It also confirms that I must be in the right place. The multimedia artist Thomas Mailaender is in the process of installing his first solo museum show, The Fun Archive, opening in time for Düsseldorf Photo Weekend. We have met before but struggle and fail to remember when. Walking through the gallery space is like entering into the organised chaos of a building site as workers in overalls construct various makeshift walls, boxes and rooms. This is going to be no ordinary exhibition. Mailaender guides me into a room and explains that this is to be the ‘bunker’. It’s not yet painted but will be a concrete …

2017-03-16T17:39:00+00:00

From the series Talcum © Seba Kurtis, courtesy Christophe Guye Galerie

Seba Kurtis’ new work on migrants goes on show

It was discarded by the side of the road in Austria – a poultry lorry seeping human decay. When the authorities entered in August 2015, they found 71 bodies collapsed in a heap of necrosis, among them children, one a baby. All had died of asphyxiation. Beyond the horror, the discovery pointed to a complex global network of traffickers and asylum seekers. Some of the dead were confirmed as Syrian; others were harder to identify. The owner of the lorry, which had set off from Budapest, was a Bulgarian of Lebanese origin. Shortly after, the Hungarian police detained three East Europeans and an Afghan, all likely “low-ranking members of a Bulgarian- Hungarian human-trafficking gang”. A week later, a photo of three-year-old Alan Kurdi’s body washed up on a beach near Bodrum, went viral, putting an innocent human face on the migration crisis in Europe, which by now had become a deeply divisive political issue. The lorry in Austria was different. The victims remained invisible. The descriptions of the discovery forced you to make your own …

2017-02-20T13:14:43+00:00

From the series Manhattan Sunday © Richard Renaldi

Richard Renaldi reflects on shooting Manhattan Sunday

It’s Saturday night, and darkness has spilled across the city, transforming Manhattan’s sidewalks into a catwalk of bacchanalia, spotlighted by street lamps and neon piping. Clusters of sinewy figures in tank tops lean on metal railings outside favourite haunts such as Studio 54 or Paradise Garage, hips cocked, smoking cigarettes. A wall painting of a large, fleshy tentacle reaching out of a rolling wave frames a set of black doors with signs indicating ‘General Admission’ and ‘VIP Only’. Stepping into a hidden world, you head downstairs and join a steadily expanding crowd of bodies swaying to tribal house beats, swirling in artificial mist and the odour of hormone-spiked sweat laced with chemical stimulants. Faces blur. Everything begins to lose focus. It’s just past midnight when we join photographer Richard Renaldi’s journey through the night. The timestamp [00.07] captions the first image – a shiny, half-full dance floor – in his new photobook, Manhattan Sunday, published by Aperture. Shot over five years, the book delineates a night out on New York’s gay clubbing scene, celebrating its …

2017-02-16T13:39:12+00:00

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Daniel Stier’s Weird Science

Fascinated by the strange environments typical of pure scientific research, Daniel Stier set about investigating the idea of the experiment as an art form. “I am interested in the experiment, the idea of work that people do without any clear outcome. This constant loop of doing something, maybe failing and then starting again. That is exactly what we do as artists,” he tells BJP.

2016-11-02T18:05:47+00:00

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Photographing Stage Four Hodgkins Lymphoma

The dichotomy between documenting and experiencing an event is a predicament faced by even the most established photographer, the continual dilemma of where to draw the line – when to shoot, and when to put the camera down. This dilemma however, came early on in 20 year old photographer Johnny Griffiths’ career. On the 13th April 2015, his partner Hannah was diagnosed with stage four Hodgkins Lymphoma. “The hardest thing was to find that balance between being a documentarian and being a boyfriend,” says Griffiths. “I had to keep reminding myself what the actual importance of it was.” His series It’s Cancer, follows the unpredictable summer the couple faced as Hannah carried out her treatment. Within weeks of Hannah’s diagnosis, the couple had returned to her home in Reading to begin a six month course of chemotherapy. “We were just being normal 20 year olds, having a good time and then it just kind of happened quite out of the blue. Hannah went to Berlin for her 20th birthday and on the flight back she …

2016-09-16T12:29:36+00:00

From My Winter Holiday in Beijing © Cedric Van Turtlebloom

My Winter Holiday in Beijing

Cedric Van Turtlebloom’s contemporary documentary style centres around everyday life – but not as we know it. Currently editing his second photobook, in which he takes a quizzical look at China’s burgeoning middle class and its penchant for artificial ski slopes, his visual stories are anything but conventional.

2016-09-09T22:51:30+00:00

BJP Staff