All posts filed under: Fine Art

From the series The Canary and the Hammer © Lisa Barnard

Festival review: what’s hot at Format

In August of 2016, at the International Geological Congress in Cape Town, one of the world’s leading scientists declared we were living at the dawn of a new geological epoch – the human-influenced age. This new era, termed Anthropocene, replaces the current epoch, the Holocene, the 12,000 years of stable climate since during which all human civilisation developed. Format International Photography Festival in Derby, the UK’s largest photography festival, opened this weekend for its eighth edition, aiming to explore this notion of the Anthropocene by asking photographers to respond to the word “habitat”. Featuring more than 200 international artists and photographers across 30 exhibitions, the biennial is situated across independent cinema and exhibition spaces such as Quad, University of Derby and the Derby Museum and Art Gallery. The festival’s flagship exhibition, titled Ahead Still Lies Our Future, is on show at art space Derby Quad, and features work by ten photographers, brought together by curators Hester Keijser and festival director Louise Clements. “I wanted to offer up experiences concerning the complexity of our existence on …

2017-03-28T11:46:25+00:00

Google Naps. From the book Shapeshifter © Marco Pietracupa

Q&A: Marco Pietracupa on his new book, Shapeshifter

Born in the Italian South Tyrol in 1967, Marco Pietracupa moved to Milan in the early 1990s, where he studied at the Italian Institute of Photography and swiftly started working in the art and fashion industries. His work has been published by L’Officiel, L’Uomo Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Wallpaper and Rolling Stone, and he has also shown at Vice’s Milan Gallery, the Brownstone Foundation in Paris, the Asni Gallery in Addis Ababa, among others. He recently published his first monograph, Shapeshifter, with Yard Press.  BJP: How did you get into photography? MP: My passion started a long time ago, when I was very young. I felt the need to communicate in some unique way, with my own language. Photography seemed to me the best medium to express myself. BJP: How did you get into fashion photography? MP: I studied at the Istituto Italiano di Fotografia (Italian Institute of Photography) in Milan, which has a fashion photography course. Fashion’s visual aesthetic was shifting to a style similar to mine at the time and, even though I was new to …

2017-03-22T13:14:29+00:00

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

Face Off, 2010, Roger Ballen, courtesy of Hamiltons

Q&A: Roger Ballen’s new show The Theatre of Apparitions

The photographer of the psyche, Roger Ballen, is in London to show his latest work, The Theatre of Apparitions, the first time he’s exhibited the series. Based in South Africa since the early 1980’s, the New York-born photographer has worked in photography for over thirty years, starting with ‘straight’ documentary but latterly moving into more abstract forms representing the relationship between human and beast, and harking back to the ancient shamanistic visions and symbols which he believes are embedded in us all.  The Theatre of Apparitions is inspired by hand-drawn carvings he saw on blacked-out windows in a women’s prison in South Africa. “The images occupy a perceptual realm – a fragmented world of part – objects where fears of annihilation and chaotic perceptions merge reality and fantasy, self and other,” says Ballen. “These silhouettes are flickering archetypes originating from the collective unconscious of human kind.” BJP: This work is quite different to what you have done before, what inspired it? RB: At the beginning of 2005, I was making a video in a women’s prison in South Africa, in Johannesburg. I went into one of the cells, and …

2017-03-22T13:05:44+00:00

Sadie Wechsler-Eurption

Format Festival – the low down

This year’s edition of the biennial photography festival Format foregrounds work that describes the world around us at a specific moment in history. Habitat is a broad and yet provocative theme, one that is designed to interrogate not only our physical surroundings such as land, sea, plants, other humans and wildlife, but a range of less tangible and often more visually evasive things – the digital and political worlds, for example, or mass migration – which nevertheless have considerable repercussions on our lives. “I wanted to offer up experiences concerning the complexity of our existence on the planet,” says festival director Louise Clements, interviewed for the March 2017 issue of BJP. “Climate, migration, technology: they all seem to be accelerating and the consequences are quite momentous. We are impacting the geology of Earth. It was important to me to do something vital. As a festival, we’re not just here to celebrate the achievements of the artists; we also want to have some kind of impact.” Work by more than 300 artists and photographers will be …

2017-03-21T16:51:43+00:00

TYO2_100, 2016. Courtesy of Roman Road and the artist © Antony Cairns

Exhibition: TYO2-LDN4 by Antony Cairns at Roman Road

The artist is showing new work at the Roman Road gallery, in an exhibition called TYO2-LDN4, which gathers together images made in the last year in London and Tokyo, always at night. Cairns started the original LDN project in London in 2008, and exhibited the work at Les Rencontres d’Arles in 2013; he went on to publish an ebook, LDN EI, which used hacked Kindle e-readers to present deliberately damaged analogue prints in electronic ink. In 2015, Cairns was awarded the prestigious Hariban award, which allowed him to learn about the collotype printing process at the Benrido Collotype Atelier in Kyoto. In this exhibition he’s showing his LDN4 Collotype Glass Plates, plus the same images printed on Japanese Gampi paper. He is also showing photographs from Tokyo petrified on Kindle screens removed from the original reader. The exhibition is open until 22 April 2017; a retrospective of his work in London, Tokyo, Osaka, Los Angeles and Las Vegas, which includes a text by Tate Modern’s Simon Baker, will be published this year by Morel Books. www.antony-cairns.co.uk www.romanroad.com

2017-03-21T12:25:53+00:00

Bientôt (Soon), from the series Ekaterina, 2012 © Romain Mader / ECAL

Romain Mader wins the Foam Paul Huf Award

“Romain Mader’s Ekatarina is notable for the humour and irony with which he addresses serious issues: solitude, love, exploitation and the female body,” said the jury for the Foam Paul Huf Award. “In this Chinese box of a project, each layer opens to reveal a new interpretive possibility. What is real here, and what is fiction? “In the invented Ukrainian town of Ekaterina, mysteriously populated only by women, Mader – or the character he plays – looks for love. Unremarkable in appearance, he spends time with aspiring models and beauty queen hopefuls, frozen behind their smiles.” Mader, who was born in 1988, wins €20,000 plus a solo show at the Foam Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam towards the end of 2017. The Foam Paul Huf Award is an annual prize for image-makers under the age of 35, which was set up in 2007 in memory of Paul Huf, an innovative photographer instrumental in founding the Foam Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam in 2001. Previous winners include Daisuke Yokota (2016), Daniel Gordon (2014), Taiyo Onorato & Nico Krebs (2013), and Taryn Simon and Mikhael Subotzky (2007). The members of the 2017 jury …

2017-03-16T17:28:09+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

Kolobrzeg, Poland, July 26, 1992 © Rineke Dijkstra

Rineke Dijkstra wins the 2017 Hasselblad Award

“Rineke Dijkstra’s photographs and films speak brilliantly to the intricacy of the portrait image: its embodiment in time; its capacity to reveal history; the contingency of the act of exchange between sitter, photographer and spectator; and, ultimately, photography’s revelation of the self. “At a moment when the portrait image dissipates itself in an economy of narcissism and fractal celebrity, Rineke Dijkstra reminds us of the photographic portrait’s public potential,” says Duncan Forbes, chair of the jury for the Hasselblad Award 2017, which has awarded the Dutch photographer the SEK1,000,000 prize [just over £90,000]. Born in 1959 in Sittard, The Netherlands, Dijkstra attended the Gerrit Rietveld Academy and first came to prominence in the 1990s, with a series of photographs of mothers and their children moments after birth, and with portraits of bullfighters just after leaving the ring. In the series Beach Portraits [1992-2002], she showed children by the sea in Europe and the USA, picking out youngsters on the cusp of adolescence. Dijkstra is known for working on long-term projects, such as her series of images of …

2017-03-09T14:52:09+00:00

Forest #6, 2011 © Yan Wang Preston

Yan Wang Preston wins the Syngenta Photography Award

The British-Chinese photographer topped the Professional Commission category with a long-term project titled Forest, which explores the relationship between urbanisation and nature, via China’s tree-dealing business. She’s received a US$15,000 cash prize, plus up to $25,000 to expand the project. Preston’s work will go on show at Somerset House from 09 March – 28 March, alongside the other winners and a curated selection of other work from the competition, which was themed Grow-Conserve this year. Preston is also showing work at Impressions Gallery from 31 March – 24 June – a solo show called Mother River, which was shot over four years along the Yangtze River. The river measures some 6211km from source to delta, and Preston used a strict system and large-format camera to make images every 100km along its length. Second prize in the Professional category in the Syngenta award went to San Francisco-based photographer Lucas Foglia for his series Frontcountry – a project previously featured in BJP. First prize in Sygenta’s Open competition went to Kenneth O’Halloran for a photograph depicting rice production in Tonte, Togo. Matt …

2017-03-09T11:28:39+00:00

BJP Staff