All posts filed under: Fine Art

Augustin Rebetez: Method man

“What is a photographer today?” asks Stefano Stoll, director of the biennial Images: Festival des Arts Visuels de Vevey. “There are plenty of shows and museums that ask this question. Now everybody has a smartphone and is a photographer – compare that to the 1960s when only a few people had a camera and there was no digital. It’s a very different world.” His festival tests the boundaries of this world by showing artists who push photography into fantasy and fiction; one of the best examples this year is Augustin Rebetez, who beat off 800 competitors in 2013 to win the prestigious Vevey International Prize. Awarded 40,000 Swiss Francs and a brief to create new work for the festival, he’s come up with a wild installation that combines illustration, performance, music and painting. “Augustin is not the answer, but he is part of the question,” says Stoll. “He’s looking for other ways of self-expression using photography, mixing it with drawing, installation and performance. What’s interesting for us is we’re showing an artist who is asking …

2015-05-20T12:42:31+00:00

Happy museum visitor gets a shock from static generator, 2011. Silver gelatin print (unknown photographer) presented in a handmade sandstone frame enamelled blue. From the series Les Belles Images © Thomas Mailaender.

Thomas Mailaender’s weird and wonderful world

“Thomas Mailaender’s forum and sphere of operations is less the art world than the rowdier public domain where events can easily run out of control,” writes Ian Jeffrey, the respected photography critic. That rowdy sense of anarchy and fun is clearly on show in the French artist’s current exhibition at Roman Road, which is punningly titled Solo Chaud. With liberal use of sheets of white plastic, Mailaender has literally transformed the gallery into a white cube, and populated it with artwork culled from various recent projects – a print on plasterboard, showing a man grabbing and photographing a bird, is taken from his Cyanotypes series; humorous press prints ‘framed’ in roughly-shaped, brightly-coloured clay come from his Les Belles Images collection; large, roughly cut boards showing amateur snaps of everything from hapless plastic surgery fans to questionable bikini lines are relics from the Chicken Museum installation he created at Rencontres d’Arles in 2011. Behind the gallery, in owner Marisa Bellani’s home, more work is on display – lumpen vases, a more traditional large-scale print, and what look like family …

2015-05-05T14:41:55+00:00

Photo-collage with Two Segments at Richard Neutra's Silver Lake house in Los Angeles 1939 © Barbara Hepworth, The Hepworth Photograph Collection

Barbara Hepworth’s never seen before photographs go on display in London

This June, Hepworth: Sculpture for a Modern World – the first major retrospective of the work of British sculptor Barbara Hepworth, as well as her never-before-seen photographs, will open at the Tate Britain. The set of photographs reveal the importance of photography to Hepworth, and how she used it to shape public opinion of her work. As Sophie Bowness, Hepworth’s granddaughter and co-curator of the Tate show explains: “Hepworth had a life-long appreciation of the importance of photography in the recording and reception of her work.” The Hungarian Constructivist artist Laszlo Moholy-Nagy is thought to have taught Hepworth how to use her first camera – a Zeiss Ikon in 1933. The two became friends when Moholy-Nagy moved to London to escape Nazism, and his modernist ideas influenced her greatly. It was after a meeting with the artist on his first trip to London that Hepworth produced her first Self-Photogram (1932 – 33), two self-portraits depicting her fuzzy profile surrounded by a halo of hair. A photogram is an image made by placing objects directly onto photosensitive paper and exposing them …

2015-05-12T13:15:08+00:00

Pre -  The Entropy Pendulum archive image © Clare Strand

Five minutes with…Clare Strand

From photographs inspired by crime scenes to pseudo-scientific experiments, Clare Strand has always marched to the beat of her own drum – and her latest exhibition, Getting Better and Worse at the Same Time, is no exception. Featuring The Happenstance Generator (a machine that blows around images from her research projects) and The Entropy Pendulum (a moving arm that swings backwards and forwards over one of her prints), it’s a quirky, animated take on photography and kinesis that, like her previous projects, is somehow held together by Strand’s idiosyncratic, retro-futuristic aesthetic. BJP took five minutes with the artist to find out more. BJP: Is the work in this exhibition all new, apart from The Happenstance Generator? Clare Strand: It’s all pretty much new – there are few pieces that have been shown but never in the context of a cohesive show. BJP: Did you make it all for the show? Or have you just had a particularly fruitful time of it recently? CS: Yes, most the works have been made for this show. I like working …

2015-05-05T10:56:09+00:00

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BJP #7835: Nude Animal Cigar

The May issue of British Journal of Photography, on sale now, is dedicated to photographers who don’t quite ‘fit in’. Our main feature is Michael Grieve’s interview with Nick Waplington, the iconic British photographer, as he exhibits his photography alongside Alexander McQueen at Tate Britain. For Waplington, the sense of being an outsider runs throughout his work, as does the idea of family. Originally from middle-class Surrey, he made his name with a series of photographs focusing on life on the Nottingham housing estate (where his grandfather had been born and still lived), capturing in lurid colour the ‘pre-Ikea’ interior worlds of two unemployed families 10 years into the Thatcher regime. The resulting photobook, Living Room, brought Waplington to international attention in 1991. And although it was talked about in the same breath as some of his older contemporaries loosely affiliated with the new wave of British documentary at the time, Waplington reflects on his approach differently. “I was inspired by the colour work of Paul Graham, Martin Parr and Tom Woods; I liked their aesthetic, though not necessarily …

2015-04-27T15:18:05+00:00

Lewis Bush – Metropole

BJP

Cities are places of constant change. It’s the nature of them, and it’s what makes them attractive. But not all change is equal; some is organic, some is pernicious and abnormal. London has always been a city in flux. But, for anyone living in London, the transformations of the past few years are impossible to ignore. Huge swathes of the city have been redeveloped, remarkable buildings demolished, long-standing communities displaced. This current period of activity is unique, for it is is undoing many of the things that make the city unique. As social housing becomes luxury flats, as their inhabitants are forced out to the suburbs, the inner zones of the city become ever more homogenous, expensive and dull. This issue is what underlies Metropole, a project that aims to visualise the changing skyline of London, to imagine how the city will come to look in the future and, most importantly, seeks to recreate the sensation of feeling lost in a city that was once familiar. It’s a project partly inspired by the city symphony movies of the 1920s, films that eulogised …

2015-04-21T15:14:33+00:00

Battersea Power Station Control Room A © Gina Soden

The Other Art Fair – an alternative to galleries?

BJP

More than 120 photographers and artists will show their work at The Other Art Fair (TOAF), “a unique platform from which artists can independently showcase their work to gallerists, curators, critics and collectors” which will run from 23 to 26 April at Victoria House in Holborn, London. The selection committee includes artist Gavin Turk and the Curator of Drawings at the Courtauld Gallery, Dr Stephanie Buck. The photographers shown will include Gina Soden, Anastasia Lazurenko, Barbara Nati, and Tommy Clarke (see image-gallery above). Billed as the “UK’s leading artist fair”, Ryan Stanier has directed TOAF since its launch in 2011. Stanier was previously the director of Artbeat, a group which put on pop-up art fairs in Covent Garden. “I had a lot of friends who were practising artists,” Stanier says. “They were putting on these amazing shows outside London but struggling to get their art seen. The difficulty is actually getting people along. “I thought why don’t we create an art fair where we go out and try and find the best unrepresented artists and offer them a stand. It’s an opportunity for …

2015-04-17T13:05:30+00:00

Allyson Anne Lamb – Beefcakes

“In America, cattle are seen as food,” says 26-year-old Allyson Anne Lamb. “People don’t see them as anything other than burgers. But there is a lot more that goes on with animals. I wanted to create a fantasy world where cattle aren’t just food. I wanted to show a relationship between the animal and human.” In Beefcakes, Lamb, who graduated from the School of Visual Arts in New York four years ago, photographed herself naked with cattle at ranches in Texas, Maine and Maryland in the US. “I was already making self-portraits to explore my identity as a young woman, and wanted to have the same conversation about cattle and identity,” she explains. “Cattle are much more rigidly purposed than I am – cows are used for breeding or for their milk their entire lives, for example. I wanted to show a woman physically on or next to a cow to say, ‘Look, here they are at the same time.’” Currently based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Lamb worked on the project from July to December last year. “I looked …

2015-04-17T13:22:25+00:00

Chen Wei – Slumber Song

In a London gallery, Chen Wei prepared for his first British show: we see a chair pelted with tomatoes, a flaking fountain of a stooped child covered in coins, a smashed fish tank with a dead goldfish, ravens pick through detritus in an enclosed space with a low ceiling. A tablecloth – once white, now stained – is spread over a long empty table. Televisions stand side by side in tiny private cubicles, a curtain partially covering them. The dialling wheel of a retrograde telephone is padlocked from use. It’s the day before the opening of the Chinese photographer’s Slumber Song at the Ben Brown Fine Arts in Mayfair. We’re minutes away from Oxford Street, and Chen could easily be mistaken for just another student or tourist. But the slight 34-year-old in trainers and a denim jacket is fast-becoming one of China’s most reputable modern artists, with solo exhibitions in Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Munich, Turin, Seville, Basel and now London. “Do you feel nervous?” I asked him. “No,” he said immediately. “Not nervous at all.“ Highly conceptual …

2015-04-17T13:27:19+00:00

Tatiana Gulenkina – Things Merging and Falling Apart

“I first began experimenting with cameraless techniques in a colour darkroom in 2010,” says Russian photographer Tatiana Gulenkina, who is based in Washington DC. “I originally thought it would be a fun side project but I ended up falling in love with the process. There is something magical about working with your hands.” In Things Merging and Falling Apart, Gulenkina, who last year was shortlisted for Photo Boite’s 30 Under 30 Women Photographers competition, creates photograms, but instead of placing objects directly onto a light-sensitive surface, she suspends them above it, submerges them in water or oil, or moves them around during the exposure. “In the past, I used anything from plants and live organisms to springs, ribbons and cardboard cutouts,” she explains. “I’m not trying to portrait a particular object, and I’m obviously not the first one to come up with this concept.” In one image, Gulenkina placed a flower in a small tank of water on top of light-sensitive paper, for example, letting the stem unravel. “You can sort of see a bud …

2015-04-17T13:30:21+00:00

BJP Staff