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Tarot: Death and the Emperor

With 2017 declared as the ‘year of photography’, I decided to challenge myself and start a new project. It would give my work some much-needed focus and perhaps even give myself an excuse to actually do some work!

The theme I landed on was ‘Tarot’ – I could not tell you how I thought of it, but it just clicked one day, riding the subway home. It is a subject that has always had my interest and it would require thought, planning, models and a semi-streamlined vision to bring something new to the card images. The main goal being: to produce a body of work with some coherence whilst practicing my technical abilities. And to create a few kick-ass images along the way obviously! There will be 22 opportunities to do so while working on the major arcana, then a further 16 for the minor arcana – and then there are the suit cards (lower numbers).

Let’s see how far we’ll get within a year, shall we?

I posted a casting call on Model Mayhem and got a lot of initial interest. Mostly from the guys! As the weather did not warm up until April, I had to wait a while before getting stuck in.

The first shoot would be with Mark (ModelTO, Model Mayhem #3385858) who would model for my Death card. Mark’s only stipulation for any shoot is that his face cannot be shown. No Problem! There were a few small technical hiccups – I had lines going through all of my plates. They are not terrible, but mildly bothersome. I later found out that these were caused by putting the freshly poured plate into my silver bath too quickly – a problem I had never *ever* had before moving to Canada!

Death: card number 13

Giving all that is superficial and concentrating on what is basic, fundamental and truly important. An End. Symbol for beginnings, endings, change, transformation or transition. The flip side: resistance to change, being unable to move on.

We went with a fairly traditional ‘hangman’ look, and an ‘angelic’ one for the 3rd image.

 

 I personally really like the last image as it is more original than the other two – even though I like those as well. Mark had a tough time sitting still for that particular image as the temperatures were still not that high (around 10 -12 degrees Celcius) and he was barely clad in the shade! We may have to arrange for another shoot at some point and re-take that image.
 
The second shoot would be with Craig (Craigtwo, Model Mayhem #3302539), who I cast as the Emperor. Craig has an amazing strong look to him, and I feel we put that to good use in a strong persona. The dreaded lines did show up a few times during this shoot, but overall it was camera angles and movement / suggestion of movement that proved most challenging in this shoot.
 
The Emperor: card number 4
 
A symbol of Mars, sterility of regulation and unyielding power. The top of the secular hierarchy, the ultimate male ego, the absolute ruler of the world. Symbol for authority, father-figure, structure and a solid foundation. The flip side: domination, excessive control, rigidity and inflexibility.
 
We decided on a modern take of the ruler: the business man in suit and put emphasis on the flip-side of the card.
 
The emperor tarot shootThe emperor tarot shootThe emperor tarot shoot
 

 

 

Art or ‘Art’?

We have entered February and it seems like the rains never ends. Our newly purchased Toyota Celica already died on us once, which resulted in it having to be carted off to get the battery replaced. I have been inside the house mostly, next to a cozy little fire burning in the living room, looking for work. (Please do share if you know of any cool part-time jobs going in the Cambridge area!)

Apart from that, I’ve taken to actually reading some of my books! One of my newest additions was ‘Art’  by Clive Bell. This little gem from 1923 (6th printing) tells us all about ‘Art’ and what makes it ‘Art’ in the boisterous and somewhat  arrogant tones of Mr. Bell. It’s fairly light and even a little humorous at times and I thought I’d share some of the ideas set out in the book and my view on them.

Art, he says, should be about significant form – and significant form, it turns out, is mostly found in primitive art. In periods of turmoil, man seems to have a preoccupation with the spiritual whereas periods of comfort dull the minds with materialism. Art is about feeling and good design (colour, forms) and does not need to represent reality as we see it all around us or even be beautiful.

Most of us have been brought up with a certain idea of what art is and what art should look like and it’s immensely hard to shake those thoughts. (I too used to believe art should be beautiful, then I believed it should be meaningful.) Bell goes even further to state that all art should be freed from religious, mythological, literary, scientific and intellectual connections and references. A reference might stir an emotion – which is intellectually and culturally dictated and therefore not genuine. And that’s where I really start to struggle. I, like everyone else, have learned to look at art and think about it in a certain way – and despite my academic years (or maybe due to!) – I fail to envision how an image might look that is completely without reference.

Glancing back mostly to the Victorian period (dull grey and drab, without passion) and the Impressionists out of whom he favors Cézanne, the book is clearly written in the early part of the 20th century.  He is overly avert of salon painters or the royal academy and he despises ‘pretty pictures’ that especially the working classes seem to value.

The question is: can his theories be applied to the early 21st century where every person can express their own creativity is so many different ways? The ‘pretty picture’ which he despises, is everywhere. I’m not even talking about pictures of kittens or puppies per se. Some images are going viral over the world, on Twitter and Facebook and ripped off by a sheer mind-boggling number of blogs. Does the creator of that image consider him/ herself an artist? Or a photographer? Or……? Don’t get me wrong, I love seeing fantastic landscapes or creative model shots – and images of kittens – but is it art? There is some amazing sculptural and digital art out there – but since it is referencing to allegory, stories, politics, literature, science, etc – is it art? Is there a real difference between art and fine art? Does the difference only matter for galleries and dollar signs? I recon the line can be drawn but it will be a fine one centering around hefty discussions filled with personal tastes.

It almost seems to me that galleries and museums have not even changed that much over the years, still showing the classic masters whenever they can, making space for but a few newcomers. And who are the newcomers? Bell speaks of plush positions being opened up by the government – artists that would be hired by the government to create art for the nation. Does it still work this way? Does not every person want a plush, well-payed position, even though it means having to create art? The ones with the biggest mouths and the best art-babble-BS will be the first in. How many of these hired artists would be ‘true’ artists, who would pursue the arts even if it meant living like a beggar?

So even though this book is a very interesting read, I find it hard to agree with mr. Bell on all aspects of this theory. From an aesthetic and theoretical point of view he may well be correct, but I find it a tad short-sighted as it very nearly dismisses all modern artworks. The theory is mainly revolved around paintings and antique forms of art such as pottery and tapestry and I found it a great short-coming that photography (even though it was not considered a ‘proper’ form of art yet around this time) is not mentioned in any significant way.

Should you be interested in reading this book for yourself, you can buy it on Amazon as they’re still re-printing it:

USA

 

UK

 

Large Format Photography: Day 24 & 25 in the Netherlands

As the weather is turning colder and the days grow shorter, I took the fine sunny weather earlier this week as possibly the last opportunity of 2013 to create some wet plate collodion images.

I started day 24 in the backyard. The number of sunny hours had dropped from around 9 hours to maybe 6, covering only half the garden instead of the full space. I opted to shoot in the shade for most of the afternoon, adjusting for the sun once it hit my spot. The images taken of hands are my own hands, and I used an air release pump attached to the lens, operated by foot, to take the image. All these images have been taken with my modern Rodenstock lens at f5.6, exposures range from 5 to 12 seconds. I seem to have had some sort of light leaking onto my plates as all of them seem to have fogged over from a short side down to the middle. I actually like the way it looks on these images – especially on the images including the phone – but I should look into that before using the darkbox again.

 

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The next day, I opted to take the darkbox and camera on the road. I had wanted to photograph my hometown ever since I started on the wet plate process and – not unimportant – I needed to prove to myself that I would be able to work outdoors without my darkroom blowing over. I drove across the river and set the camera in place in a beautiful sunny spot after asking permission from the land owners, and kept the darkbox slightly sheltered from the winds by placing it alongside the car.

Despite some minor issues with my chemicals (The collodion sliding off the plate, the silver layer seems quite heavy, and the emulsion is showing a million tiny pinholes) I am happy to say that I got an almost decent image out of it, even if it cannot be viewed as a proper ambrotype… It also shows that the amazingly cheap projector lens would be capable of service and I need a bit more practice in the field.

 

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Amsterdam: UNSEEN photo fair

A few hours ago, I got back from the Unseen Photo Fair in Amsterdam. I got on the train this morning from Dusseldorf to arrive at the gates when they opened up at 12:00 and wouldn’t leave till 18:00. My feet ache and my back is killing me (I really need to stop buying books!) but man – It was AMAZING!

Seriously – if you have a chance to visit the fair tomorrow or over the weekend – DO SO! If not: keep on reading as I’ll attempt to share some of the best work the fair has to offer this year:

 

I started off at the ‘fair grounds’ end of the whole thing, as I came walking down from Central station. The Photo Fair is housed over several buildings at the Westergasfabriek and passing the Kallenbach Gallery I couldn’t stop myself from wandering in. Their current display has been curated to fit the photography theme and the works of Patrick Cooper, Bram Spaan and Francisco Reina really caught my eye.

Since I had made the first stop already, I decided I might as well pay a short visit to Gallery 33 a couple of doors down the road. Here, the art was a little more illustration-inclined, although with definate photographic influences. The works by Atelier Olschinsky (both the cities and metamorphosen works) and Dan Matutina proved to have the biggest pull on me.

 

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Next, I passed the book hall. Never one to refuse looking at books, let alone looking at art books, let alone looking at PHOTOGRAPHY art books, I went in. The book hall itself is not very big, but the selected seller here have some good material. Most, if not all of it is new as there are many publishers present, and a few photographers are selling their own made / published wares.

I particulary liked the stands of Basboek, run by Bas Fontein, who finds new and humerous ways to interpret the things most of us mortals would call failure. The stand of Geirmundur Klein was special for the man’s obvious love of his photography, and the way he chose to express it in his handcrafted limited edition sets of polaroids. Apart from that, his image sets of crematoriums caught my attention – I’m always game for a slight bout of morbidity – the clean lines, perfectly accentuating the depressing architecture are enough to send anyone into a swift downward spiral.

 

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After looking at the books I took a little break a queued up to have my photo taken at the Inside Out photo project. The little trailer-like contraption spits the image out in a mere minute or so and I have to admit I was quite impressed by the picture quality. The images are then pasted to floors and walls (some folks took them home) to become part of the on-going project.

“The INSIDE OUT project has travelled from Ecuador to Nepal, from Mexico to Palestine to New York and is next headed to Amsterdam. Visitors are invited to have their portrait taken in a mobile photo booth and instantly printed on poster-scale format to then become a part of the exhibition and an ever-growing, global artwork. You will become the artwork, your face the statement.”

 

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Then, finally, it was time for the main event: the galleries and their display of yet-to be discovered photographic talent or works of known photographers that had not been displayed before. Just a little part of me was hoping for a slightly rubbish show so this part would not have to be this long, but (thanks goodness) – I had no such ‘luck’.

 

At Peter Lav Gallery (Copenhagen, Denmark) I spotted the black and white works of Adam Jepessen. I was actually surprised to learn that the 3 smaller images were not made by an alternative printing technique, but by photocopying and oil paints. The larger work was fully built up with photocopies and pins. Regardless, the looming dark tones set the sombre mood fantastically.

At Galerie Conrads (Dusseldorf, Germany) the slightly hidden works of Sascha Weidner, pigment prints on paper are beautiful in their coloration and execution, even if I might not find the subject matter amazingly powerful or surprising.

At Galerie Bart (Nijmegen, the Netherlands) I found myself surprisingly interested in the works of both artists on display, Yvonne Lacet and Femke Dekkers. I normally won’t go for anything too cubistic or abstract, but these images seemed well-conceived and perfectly executed. I later heard that the white paper shapes used by Yvonne are actually tiny!

At Seelevel Gallery (Amsterdam, the Netherlands) I spotted the three cubist nudes by Koen Hauser and had to look at them twice to be able to fully admire the clean lighting and editing done on them.

At Pobeda Gallery (Moskow, Russia) I really liked the polaroid-like images by Anna Skladmann, frivolous and casual in their nature, reminding me (and I am sure a lot of other people) of the joyfulness of childhood and of days gone by in general.

At L A Noble Gallery (London, UK) I had the best time with two lovely ladies who showed me the works of Anne Leigniel, even letting me have a look at some more of her fascinating works on their computer (thanks again!). Anne’s photographs are deceptively simple, photographing used artists’ cloths on a single nail and the images being greatly enlarged. The cloth, and the degree to which it has been used, varies per person, just as the way it is offered to the photographer (somtimes, even washed and folded!) presenting us with an indirect portrait of the original owner. Correct me if I’m wrong, but these images do work best in a set or series, and they had four up for this fair.

At Galerie Alexs Daniels Reflex (Amsterdam, the Netherlands) there were a few amazing images on display by Hisaji Hara, the operating table in the display box being my personal favourite, possibly of the whole fair.

At G/P Gallery (Tokyo, Japan) I was impressed with most work on diplay. There. I have said it. I must have a weakness for Japanese artists for I usually find most of what they produce in the visual arts more than interesting. Daisuke Yokota, Taisuke Koyama and Takashi Kawashima all had stunning work on display, be it all different. In spite of myself (normally favouring Black and white images) I would have to say that the colourful rainbow images by Taisuke Koyama were my favorite this time round.

At Michael Hoppen Contemporary (London, UK) I saw the works of Alberto Villar, which, if I remember correct, were part of the advertisement campaign for the fair. The works are great up close, good sharpness and contrast, without losing the same sort of icky clouding sensation when looking at some good ol’ taxidermy on formaldehyde. Again, a little morbid, and therefore right up my street.

At VU la Galerie (Paris, France) I was treated to a good bit of grey. I never shy away from a good bit of grey, and certainly not if it’s been made by Ester Vonplon. Please don’t snigger, I mean it. The textures within the images themselves reminded me of the wet collodion process – and the lack of contrast, combined with the bleak imagery, made me think of purgatory.

At Martin Asbaek gallery (Copenhagen, Denmark) The dreamy images of Astrid Kruse Jensen would not have been misplaced in a fashion magazine, the subdues, slightly darkened tones setting a mildly depression tone.

At Galerie Esther Woerdehoff (Paris, France) we are offered bleak, snow-capped mountains, a shimmering of the black rock in the distance. An acute sharpness to these images by Michael Schnabel really makes them radiate!

At Flowers Gallery (London, UK) I spotted a couple of images by Esther Teichmann, from the series Mythologies and again, it were the subtle tones that attracted me. The soft, feminine images might have helped a bit too. The image ‘Channon’ by Mona Kuhn was simply stunning. A fine art nude in subdued tones and shadowplay. What more can you ask for?

At Galerie Wouter van Leeuwen (Amsterdam, the Netherlands) I loved the dye sublimation prints by Michael Wolf, and truth be told, they were pulling quite a crowd – in as far as that was possible in the fairly narrow display booths. From the subtle tones to the recognisable but slightly absurd scenes – beautiful!

At NextLevel Galerie (Paris, France) it was ‘On her skin #1’, by Asako Shimizu, with its beautiful colors and serene setting that really caught my eye.

At Gun Gallery (Stockholm, Sweden) they seemed a little unprepared as when I asked for their details, they could not provide me with a flyer, card or businesscard, but offered to write me their details on a little note. Don’t let in deter you to check out the work of their artist Julia Hetta though!

At Gallery Taik Persons (Berlin, Germany) the recent paperworks of Maija Savolainen are a beauty to behold. As thoughtful creations that challenge the way we percieve photography as a medium of representative truth they are not actually horizons or sunsets, but pieces of transparent paper photographed in folds on angle. Simple yet stunning.

At Kahmann Gallery (Amsterdam, the Netherlands) the four works of Schilte and Portielje were doing remarkably well, with apparently 3 out of 4 sold already by the time I visited them. The works are stunning, though not very large and very painterly in execution.

At Galerie Les Filles Du Calvaire (Paris, France) the inverted images labelled ‘black screen’ were quite interesting, although I would have liked to know who made them!

At Aando Fine Art (Berlin, Germany) I first noticed the haunting landscape images of Kim Boske, before admiring the grand images of nature that Bae Bien-U produced. Both artists manage to convey an image of nature with a power of it’s own, one that man would do good to either fear or respect.

At Kuckei + Kuckei (Berlin, Germany) the finely detailed scenes by Guillermo Srodek-Hart were nice, but the image of the Town Barber was definately the best for me. I love the way the focus seems to be on the chair and the shop, but then you see the barber standing behind the chair, in the mirror. Not quite there, but not quite absent.

 

Also there (no image included in the gallery – sorry!) was Sipke Visser. He is working on a photography project that includes mailing out images to random strangers, and (sometimes) receiving mail back from them. He collected his works so far into a book – and is currently still going on it, taking images at the fair as well.

 

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Lastly, I’d like to share two final initiatives from the photo fair. Have fun if you’re going and share your thoughts!

 

‘Visually impaired is a series of touch-sensitive photography of blind or children with poor eyesight. Upon touching the image, it becomes visible, but only temporarily.

The Tintype studio (Arjen Went and Manon Navarro) with Alex Timmermans: Alchemist. The man, the legend! He is making tintypes and ambrotypes for fun and profit – go and have your image taken in this antique craft. But beware! The process will take some time, and it might get busy so book yourself in to avoid dissapointment.

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Dusseldorf: Kunstpunkte

This last weekend and the weekend prior, Dusseldorf’s artists opened the doors to their galleries and work spaces to the general public. Navigating the site and selecting a few favorites from the 250+ people and locations participating was not an easy task, but I managed to bring it down to a list of around 12 locations/ artists I wanted to see, with the option to drop some of those if needed. To make matters worse (or more interesting, depending on your disposition) I had a few art galleries I wanted to visit that were participating in the dc-open last weekend.

 

I started near the Altstadt in the RitterstraBe to visit photographic artist Takato Shigeru. He is the only one to occupy this space and it looked very clean, almost clinical. Definitely not what I expected to see judging from the hand-pulled prints and cyanotypes on display! I especially loved his ‘the Moon’ images and the segmented display he chose for them. If you like his ‘Television Studios’ series, there is an exhibition opening this week.

 

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Following, I stopped at the CitadellstraBe 15, at the Horst Schuler Gallery, which currently hosts a display by MAGMA, dye transfer editions – a project by Roman Schramm and Egbert Haneke, which contains “Dye Transfer Editions by Timur Si-Qin, Thea Djordjadze, Josephine Pryde, Jochen Lempert, Dan Graham, F.C. Gundlach, Leonore Mau, Erwin Blumenfeld, Gabi Steinhauser and Susanne M. Winterling.” I had never really looked into this process but I have to say the colors on these prints are magnificent! a simple grey concrete wall turns into a delightful display of colorations, which, as a digital print would have fallen very flat indeed. Reds are truly red, and blacks run as deep as night. The exhibition runs till the 12th of October if you care to go and see it.

 

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Next stop on the list was the BKK-Kunstforum on the BirkenstraBe 47 where supposedly 19 artists have their workshop. The size of the workspace would have made it a good contrast against the lonely photographer in his own space, but I found nothing of the sort. The two sections I found opened contained a smaller space where a few of the artists were selling some of their works (for very reasonable prices I might add) and the other section contained 3 pieces of video art and a bar. I expected to see a little more than that to be honest!

FlurstraBe 57 proved to be more interesting. The gallery, Cosar HMT, was unfortunately not open, but on the first floor I found the most beautiful workspace a photographer could have wished for, occupied by … a photographer: Thea Weires. There were some impressive images (the sheer size of them alone!) and props around the place and the kids seemed to be having a good time to the music that was playing.

 

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The last stop I would make was at the HoffeldstraBe 42, to see the work of photographic artist Hiroko Inoue. I was very impressed by her ‘Mori’ images on display and asked to take a photo for this blog. Lucky for me she was actually present and we had a lovely chat about Germany, the presence of images in a physical space and coping with the lack of workspace.

 

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It was the perfect ending to my little tour of Dusseldorf’s art scene, let’s do it again next year!

Dusseldorf: Heinrich Heine Institut & Theatermuseum

In the last few weeks it’s been very hot in the whole of Europe. Thank goodness we’re having a real summer and none of that wishy-washy nonsense we normally have to put up with. Apart from going into town, barbequing at the Rhine and swimming at a local pool, Georgiana and myself have been to the Heinrich Heine Institute and the Theater museum, both in Dusseldorf.

 

This will be a short post, as neither was much fun.

 

The Heinrich Heine Institute was, on the day we went, manned by a single lady at a desk – who most cheerfully allowed us in and presented us with a free English audio guide. When taking the tour, the audio guide often failed to give us additional information to what we could already see for ourselves and proved excellent at stating the obvious. There was some nice furniture and a few paintings, but at the end of the tour, we still failed to see why this man was held in such high regard.

 

Heinrich Heine Institut

 

At the Theater Museum we did not fare any better. First, it does not cater to English-speakers. We were explained in fine detail by the man taking our coupons which way to walk and what to see first, beginning with the temporary exhibit which seemed to have been put together by a bunch of amateurs. It consisted of a collage of sorts, made up by home-printed and cut photographs of behind-the-scene footage. Normally I love to see photographs, but not like this.

Upstairs, where the permanent exhibition resides we were treated to  a few nice images and costumes – but we had come expecting a little more….history. One room particularly, centered around WWII was remarkably empty. I ventured into a hallway (the door was open to allow a draft in the hot weather) where I found a beautiful piece – the best in the building I dare say. A shame it wasn’t officially on display.

 

 

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Kunsthalle & Stadtmuseum Dusseldorf

Last Friday the 21st of June, Georgiana and myself had the whole day to ourselves as my partner Sean and her partner George were at a work-related outing and not expected to return home until after 21:00 at the earliest. We first went to the Kunsthalle, where they was a shared exhibition with the works of Henri Chopin, Channa Horwitz and Guy de Cointet and even though I am normally not a fan of minimalist, abstract works of art, some of the works on display were simply exquisite. Such detail and fine craftsmanship – and the little brochure accompanying the show did the works printed in it no justice at all. Some things need to be seen live!

The exhibition next to it featured the works of Michael Kunze and spans a couple of decades of his work. It is interesting to see the major shift in styles the artist has encountered and I initially had some trouble believing all the works came from the same hand. Some of the works are amazing, stunning, beautiful or thought-proving. Others I thought were cluttered, messy, ill-conceived or spoiled by 1-2 elements. I don’t mind being provoked by art – as anything beats being bored – but it seems that all (to me) offending works stemmed from the period of 2005-2006. Strange….. Also, there is a wide variety in sizes, the smallest being a common size of roughly 40 x 60 cm and the largest (“Morgen”) being 6 huge canvasses put together to create an image several meters across.

Both exhibitions run to the 30th of June 2013, so you’ll have to be quick if you want to see it!

 

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Next on the list was free rhubarb and gooseberry cake and coffee at the MaxHaus as I had a couple of coupons 🙂

Needless to say it tasted most excellent!

 

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As we still had half of the afternoon left, we went to the Dusseldorf Stadtmuseum. It is right around the corner from the Max Haus and again, we had coupons for free entry. We started on the first floor, where we were stopped after about 20 minutes by an overzealous employee, asking for our tickets (we were LITERALLY the only ones there) and if we would stow our bags. I refused, mine just being a small handbag, after which she continued to explain in rapid German that we needed to be very very careful as the bags may easily damage some of the works on display. *Sigh* Fiiiiine, we’ll promise to be careful. I normally don’t go to a museum intending to damage anything, thank you very much. Then, she pointed out that we were in the wrong section completely and needed to start downstairs as that’s where the older items are, and we were now nearly in the present. We told her we didn’t care much for the ‘correct’ order after which she frowned but otherwise left us alone, occasionally ‘casually’ passing by to check on us.

 

 

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KIT (Kunst im Tunnnel)

On the Wednesday, Georgiana and myself went to the current exhibit of KIT (Kunst im Tunnel) in Dusseldorf. For some reason, and I have no idea where this idea came from, I thought the KIT Tunnel would go underneath the Rhine for quite a stretch. But it was nothing of the sort. Yes, It’s a bit of tunnel. Yes, it’s not small. I don’t think it actually goes under the Rhine as it would not be deep enough, but I could be wrong.

We went in and the current exhibit turned out the be centered around the theme ‘Brasil’

 

There were  not may art pieces on display. The video work by Tatiana Blass – “Half of the speech on the Ground; Deaf Piano” was very impressive and more than a little bit sad. The video (roughly 10 minutes) features a pianist playing a piece by Chopin on a concert piano whilst two men in turn pour a mixture of molten wax and vaseline into the body of the piano. The sound slowly gets distorted, the pianist has a harder time playing, until, finally, the piano is silenced forever. Piano torture in true form, symbolizing the loss of voice, the inability to speak and words being cut off.

A sculpture of hers, cerco #4 was imbued with a sense of movement, whilst at the same time, the bronzed dead pheasant within a prison of sorts, was not going anywhere in a hurry. A nice contrast that stirs emotions of unease.

The drawings/ photographs by Mauricio Lanes – ‘Progresso” were beautifully executed. A simple yet elegant idea where the artist formed the word Progresso on the floor in graphite powder and left it up the audience to do with it as they pleased, all the while taking still images from the ceiling. These images where then transformed and arranged on the wall as the installation shows.

The other video work on display, also featured among our favorites and we watched the full loop twice. “Bronze Revirado”  by Pablo Lobato shows young lads ringing the local church (?) bell, swinging it round and round ever faster, making their movements of swinging, pulling and avoiding a devastation blow from the edge of the bronze bell into a dance of sorts. The images are hypnotic, simple yet entertaining as you see a young generation engaging into this mixture of ritual and play.

The images from “education for adults” by Jonathas de Andrade were based on the simple word-cards that children use(d) in school all over the world. Myself included, being from the Netherlands and raised in the 80’s, know this system as well as many of you. The images are supposed to convey a timeless vision of Brasil as the concepts were taken from talks with a women analfabetic group over a months time – and in some of the images were could agree, where some seemed positively dated. They did provide us with quite a lot of viewing material and quite a bit of amusement as most the images as executed well and can be interpreted in various ways.

Even though the selection of works on display was not vast, there is always that one thing you don’t quite ‘get’ . For us it was the work of Marcelo Cidade who, in his metal sculptures tried to convey a sense of movement, of trickery of the eye and a notion of uselessness. Something that seems rubbery is actually metal. What seems light and casual is actually solid. I did half understand his ” e Agora, Jose?” yellow bands over wooden sawhorses, The black block plate on the floor was a little less impressive (sorry, no image).

The last work I will comment on was Matheus Rocha Pitta – “Die Abnahme”, at least, that’s what we think it was. the floor plan was a little unclear about the work in the central little space, and the brochure with information about the artists and works told us nothing about it. What it seemed to be was a random display with supermarket products, some opened or half-eaten and, due to the lack of explanation of the artists’  motivation, we missed the point completely.

 

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Dusseldorf: Hetjens-Museum / Deutsches Keramikmuseum

Yesterday, Georgiana and myself went to the local Ceramics-museum. I had a coupon, so entry was free for both of us. Being a very warm and beautiful sunny afternoon, we had the entire place to ourselves! Although Georgiana seemed a little disappointed that the museum’s collection didn’t hold much modern design or many innovative pieces, I quite liked some of the historical items on display.

 

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Normally I do not hold a great fascination for ceramics, apart from that I seem to be buying flowerpots and vases everywhere and I don’t even have my own balcony, garden or ever buy or receive flowers!I was pleasantly surprised at some of the items – there were a few to provide me with inspiration and even one or two to add to a personal shopping list. I wouldn’t mind owning a pair of porcelain containers like the ones from the dinner service Magnolia, designed by Fance Franck for the ‘Dansk International’ (1983/ 84)

 

Afterwards we went for ice cream and little R&R in front of one the museums nearby. Apparently they are nice enough to put sun loungers outside around the fountain when it’s warm enough 🙂

Let’s hope the great weather keeps up as I’m traveling to the Netherlands this Sunday to finally start mixing those chemicals and start wet plate shooting!

 

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Elephant roadside breakdown

antique elephant by the roadNot just fun and games with photographs as Linus’ car gets a flat tyre on our way to the restorer and we have to haul the antique elephant out of the boot – again!

RAC roadside recovery