All posts filed under: Fine Art

Untitled (Woman with Eyelashes), 1982-84 © Richard Prince

Doing a Double Take on image appropriation

“Copyright has never interested me,” said Richard Prince in 2011, according to a photographer suing him for image appropriation (and as reported in The Guardian). “For most of my life I owned half a stereo, so there was no point in suing me, but that’s changed now and it’s interesting… “So, sometimes it’s better not to be successful and well-known and you can get away with much more. I knew what I was stealing 30 years ago but it didn’t matter because no one cared, no one was paying any attention.” They’re paying attention now, and Prince’s work is now included in a group show at London’s Skarstedt gallery – Double Take, which also includes work by Roe Ethridge, Collier Schorr, Anne Collier, Barbara Kruger and Robert Heinecken (among others). Spanning from the 1960s to the present day, the show focuses on art that appropriates images, to show “the power of pictures in shaping ideas of identity, gender, race, desire and sexuality”. “The great thing about appropriation is that even though the transformation reads as fiction, everybody knows …

2017-03-06T12:32:17+00:00

Garage, 1975 © John Myers.

The World is Not Beautiful – But It’s There, by John Myers

“I believe photographers have got to come to terms with the world we live in, not the world journalists like, which is spectacular and exciting and makes good copy,” says John Myers. “Photographers and sub editors and journalists, all kinds of journalist want a story. They want to sell papers, and what sells is something unusual. ‘Man with three legs marries 86 year old widow’, it makes a terrific headline. They’re not so interested in what’s going on down the road at number 83.” With photographs of garages, TVs, electricity substations, new builds and his neighbours, Myers’ images of urban life bear him out. Shot within walking distance of his house in Stourbridge between 1973-1981, his archive was part-funded by an Arts Council award, when he was an emerging photographer who’d also just shown at the Serpentine Gallery. But then it lay almost forgotten for 30 years – until Pete James, then-curator of photographs at the Library of Birmingham, came across it, and helped get Myers solo exhibitions at the Ikon Gallery in 2011, and the …

2017-03-02T16:05:28+00:00

Wilteysha, 1993 © Dana Lixenberg. Courtesy of the artist and Grimm, Amsterdam

Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2017 exhibition opens

Questions of truth and fiction, doubt and certainty, and the relationship between the observer and the observed are the key themes of the 2017 Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize. The £30,000 prize rewards a living photographer, of any nationality, for a specific body of work in an exhibition or publication format, which is felt to have significantly contributed to the medium of photography between 1 October 2015 and 30 September 2016. Sophie Calle, born in 1953 in France, has been nominated for her publication My All which finds the artist experimenting with yet another medium – the postcard set. Taking stock of her entire œuvre, this set of postcards functions as a portfolio of Calle’s work, as well as a new investigation of it, in an appropriately nomadic format. Over the past thirty years, Sophie Calle has invited strangers to sleep in her bed, followed a man through the streets of Paris to Venice, hired a detective to spy on herself before providing a report of her day, and asked blind people to tell her about the …

2017-03-02T13:47:53+00:00

Alnis_Stakle_Theory_of_R_06 copy 2

Alnis Stakle’s Theory of R shows Riga’s dark underbelly

When Alnis Stakle first took up photography, he was faced with a rigid conception of what it could and couldn’t be. In Latvia in the 1990s, photography was largely considered a commercial craft, he says, with any more artistic ambitions restricted to banal nudes and sunsets. But for Stakle, photography is “a kind of religion” that has the power to change our relationship to the world. “Photography is a wonderful medium that makes me look at mundane things and events from another perspective, and enables me to grasp the essential in the meaningless,” he explains. Most of his work is driven by the desire to record his surroundings in a deeply personal way, and his new project – Theory of R – marks an important transition in his life. Moving to Latvia’s capital, Riga, in 2011, he found the global economic crisis was creating a grim urban environment beneath the “shiny veneer” of the city’s tourist attractions. “Half of the people of Latvia reside in Riga, and individuals who suffer from poverty and social exclusion are by no means an unusual …

2017-03-01T12:25:13+00:00

Image © Ren Hang, courtesy Stieglitz 19 gallery

An interview with Ren Hang

BJP

“I do not think nudity is challenging – nudity is common, everybody has it,” says Ren Hang. “I like people naked and I like sex; I use nudity so that I can feel more realism and sense of presence.” But whatever his view, his work has proved controversial in his native China, where galleries have found it difficult to show his images and “no Chinese fashion magazines let me make images”. Even so, he’s exhibited in China, Italy, France, Russia, Israel and Sweden, published his work in magazines around the world, and published several books, with organisations such as the respected Editions Bessard. “Ren Hang’s images challenge conventional codes of morality in a still highly conservative society,” states another of his publishers, Editions du Lic. “[…]The artist’s homeland remains harshly censorial against any material it deems immoral and Hang’s work certainly plays with fire.” Editions du Lic claims Hang is part of a new breed of 21st century Chinese artists, “riding the wave of modernisation and cultural reawakening in China”; Hang sees things more simply, …

2017-02-27T16:01:52+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 Fade Like a Sigh © Rana Young and Zora J Murff

Fade Like A Sigh

“Collaboration is a comfortable way of telling our stories in the company of someone else, as this content is too heavy for each of us to revisit alone,” says Rana Young, a Masters student at the University of Nebraska, who’s worked with fellow student Zora J Murff to make a series called Fade Like A Sigh. Initially thrown together by sharing a studio, the pair got talking and soon realised they had much in common. Both come from the Midwest and take a similar approach to photographing “imagery that describes home, or place generally”; both grew up with an absent parent. “Our personal experiences of that are unique, but through conversation we found a commonality,” says Young. “It’s easy to assume that your exposure to a shared experience is different to someone else’s.” Working together felt like a natural next step but they didn’t start to do so until last Autumn, when they were offered a two-person show. Finding images that didn’t quite fit into their other projects, they compared them and “began to notice how …

2017-02-16T16:33:28+00:00

From the series A Smiling Man A Hidden Snake © Yurian Quintanas Nobel

An uneasy vision of Sri Lanka in A Smiling Man and a Hidden Snake

Before Yurian Quintanas Nobel went on holiday to Sri Lanka, friends told him how welcoming the people there are. “And they really are,” he says, “but I always felt there was a kind of darkness in this country. “The recent history of Sri Lanka is very painful in human terms,” he explains. “The country suffered a long civil war that finished only eight years ago, and they had a devastating tsunami in 2004. I remember one afternoon I was taking pictures of a ruined house when a man came out to say hello. We talked for a while and then he told me that his wife and his child had died in the tsunami, and he pointed next to us where they were buried. “These kinds of situations shocked me, and influenced me more than other things like the hospitality of the people and the beauty of the country. What I had in mind while taking pictures was that not everything is what it seems. Sometimes things are not as beautiful as you thought and sometimes, …

2017-03-01T17:34:10+00:00

Installation shot of Incoming by Richard Mosse in collaboration with Trevor Tweeten and Ben Frost at The Curve, Barbican. Image © Tristan Fewings/Getty Images for Barbican Art Gallery

Richard Mosse – Incoming

“A camera is a sublimation of the gun,” Susan Sontag wrote in her seminal collection of essays On Photography, first published in 1977. “To photograph someone is a subliminal murder – a soft murder, appropriate to a sad, frightened time.” But for Richard Mosse’s latest work, Incoming, his camera wasn’t a sublimation – it was the weapon itself. The Irishman’s rise has been vertiginous. Graduating from an MRes in cultural studies in 2003, a decade later he was representing his home country at the Venice Biennale, by way of a postgraduate course in fine art at Goldsmiths, an MFA in photography at Yale University and dozens of solo and group exhibitions in between. In 2015, the Irish photographer was nominated for membership of Magnum Photos – he was to be one of the youngest members of the prestigious agency, invited on the back of one extraordinary photography series, his Congo-based Infra work, which had won the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize a year earlier. But, even as he was welcomed in by Magnum, Mosse privately harboured an increasing sense …

2017-02-22T11:48:48+00:00

D is for Deconstruct. Photos are often reliable documents that show things as they truly are. But just as you cut and paste with paper, scissors and glue, so too can you deconstruct and rebuild a photo – snipping, clipping and nipping as you please. Image from the series “I want to be...”, 2014, Kid’s Wear magazine, vol. 40 © Achim Lippoth, taken from the book ABC Photography

Making photography as easy as ABC

ABC Photography, a children’s guide to photography featuring images by Martin Parr, Wolfgang Tillmans, Nan Goldin, Alec Soth, Sebastiao Salgado and many more, opens at the V&A Museum of Childhood this weekend. Inspired by the recent book edited by Jan von Holleben – who also shoots children’s books himself – the project takes one photographic concept per letter to explain ideas such as deconstruction, composition, exposure and perspective. The text, by Monte Packham, is child-friendly and witty, and draws on the images to make a satisfyingly holistic whole. An exhibition by Tom Hunter called Searching for Ghosts also opens at the V&A Museum of Childhood this weekend, featuring work made with children living on the Boundary Estate. ABC Photography is free, and is open until 11 June in London’s V&A Museum of Childhood. ABC Photography, ed Jan van Holleben, is published by Tarzipan Books. Searching for Ghosts by Tom Hunter is open until 21 January 2018.

2017-02-09T13:54:22+00:00

BJP Staff