Friday, August 28, 2015

Geert Goiris - photographs loaded with mystery and surprise

Geert Goiris - Lying Awake from ROMA Publications

From time to time I come across work where I say to myself - I wish I had done that! Belgium photographer Geert Goiris is one such artist. His deceptively simple images are pregnant with meaning and are loaded with mystery and surprise. The works go way beyond the obvious and are layered with possibilities. Goiris avoids the problems that we all face where work only deals with description and surface. There is so much more going on in his photographs. The work is demanding, hard to figure out, there is a strange narrative and that's what pulls you back for more. It is not easy making work like this, where so often intelligence can give way to cleverness. Geert Goiris clearly knows the difference.

And Geert Goiris also makes photobooks, these are worth checking out too. You can see more on his site HERE.

Below are works from Geert Goiris' series Resonance. I particularly like how he moves from B&W to color and how superficially the images seem to bear little relationship one to another.

Geert Goiris - Andrea, 2011

Geert Goiris - Albino, 2003

Geert Goiris - Ecologist Place, 2006

Geert Goiris - Wave Land, 2002

Geert Goiris - The Pagodas, 2001

Geert Goiris - Polar Line, 2002

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Jo Ractliffe -The Aftermath of Conflict at THE MET NYC

Jo Ractliffe - Roadside stall on the way to Viana, 2007

Jo Ractliffe's photographs of Angola and South Africa presented as The Aftermath of Conflict is now showing at The Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art NYC.

Throughout her career, South African photographer Jo Ractliffe (born 1961) has directed her camera toward landscapes to address themes of displacement, conflict, history, memory, and erasure. This exhibition brings together selected works from three of her recent photographic series that focus on the aftermath of the Angolan Civil War (1975–2002) and its relationship with the Border War (1966–89) fought by South Africans in Angola and present-day Namibia. For Ractliffe and many other South African civilians, Angola during these wars was an abstract place, a "secret, unspoken location where brothers and boyfriends were sent as part of their military service." When seen consecutively, these three series reveal Ractliffe's deepening engagement with the region's complex histories as an attempt to "retrieve a place for memory." The earliest series, Terreno Ocupado (2007–8), was produced during Ractliffe's first visit to Angola's capital, Luanda, five years after the end of the Civil War. These images highlight the structural instability of the capital's shantytowns and question what it means for land to be occupied, abandoned, and struggled over. While working on As Terras do Fim do Mundo (2009–10), Ractliffe traveled alongside ex-soldiers returning to the desolate places in the Angolan countryside where they had fought. The Borderlands (2011–13) examines the impact of the wars in Angola within South Africa's borders. For this most recent project, she photographed militarized landscapes that had been occupied by the South African army, tracing histories of displacement that began during the colonial and apartheid periods and continue to unfold today. The photographs in all three series were originally produced as either gelatin silver prints or archival pigment prints on cotton paper; the inkjet prints on display here were made by the artist specially for this exhibition. 

The exhibition opened Monday of this week and runs until March 6, 2016. More on THE MET site HERE.

Jo Ractliffe - Video club, Roque Santeiro market, 2007

Jo Ractliffe -Template for digging graves, Pomfret, 2013

Monday, August 24, 2015

PHOTO SHANGHAI - In its second edition, 11-13 September

Now in its second edition, Photo Shanghai returns to the Shanghai Exhibition Centre from 11-13 September. The organisers say this: ...with an objective of positioning Shanghai as THE destination  for Western collectors to acquire both emerging and established artists from across the Asia Pacific region. It will also affirm itself as the place where collectors from the East can easily access photography from the West, for the first time on this scale. 

The fair, small by European standards, has a varied and interesting offering and is not to be underestimated.
With around 50 participating galleries you can see work at Gagosian NYC et al, Flowers London, Taka Ishii Tokyo, Stanley-Wise NYC and Magnum.
In Asia for the first time, a special museum scale exhibition of 156 works by celebrated American artist Taryn Simon will be presented by Gagosian. Simon’s seminalBirds of the West Indies series showcases the artists unique weaving of photography, text and graphic design which has made her one of the finest contemporary photographers working today.  And there is a "talks" programe with presentations from Peter MacGill, Erwin Olaf, Zelda Cheattle and Alessandra Sanguinetti, amongst others.

You can see more at the PHOTO SHANGAI site HERE.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

BOOK CASE STUDY - a 4 day photobook workshop in Amsterdam and the UNSEEN PHOTO FAIR


The 5th edition of BOOK CASE STUDY kicks off in Amsterdam on Monday September 14. Running for 4 days, BCS is a workshop dedicated to giving hands-on experience in photobook publishing. Participants will work together with top course leaders from the international community of photobook makers. The program includes working on dissecting and re-writing an existing photobook, talks, including one from Cristina de Middel, and the making of a working dummy focusing on participants own work.
And, included in the cost, on on Friday September 18, workshop attendees can go along to Amsterdam's Unseen Photo Fair. The full package price which includes lunch is only €295. Sounds great to me!

You can find out more by going to the BOOK CASE STUDY site HERE.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Joachim Schmid ROCKS - Ikea SUCKS

Joachim Schmid at Paris Photo 2014

Schmid's latest bookwork takes a jab at Swedish furniture retailer Ikea with a work simply called Ikea Sucks. JS says this: In my opinion they owe me money. They don’t agree. In order to recuperate the disputed amount I made this book. The prices of all items bought at Ikea are listed in the book. The revenue from sales of the complete edition equals the total of my purchase. All materials used for the production of the book were involuntarily supplied by Ikea. The book’s pages are Ikea note sheets, the cover is made of Ikea wrapping paper and cardboard, the typographic elements and photos are taken from the Ikea catalog. The twenty-five copies of the book are numbered and signed using an Ikea pencil which is attached to each copy. Everything is kept neat and flat and in place by a belly band made of an Ikea measuring tape.

Conceptual artist Joachim Schmid  is a master of the banal, the overlooked and the found. And is a typological magician. His practice revolves around the artist book of which he has produced many, rivaling Moriyama, Araki and Parr in the volume of his output. 

Many of Schmid's bookworks are printed on demand often by Blurb or Lulu. They are concise, focused and generally inexpensive. You can buy Ikea Sucks direct from Joachim Schmid's website HERE along with the rest of his huge output. And more often than not you will find him at one or other of the many artists' book-fairs. I'm sure you'll find him at Printed Matter's NY Art book Fair, 18 - 20 September of this year. Finally, more about JS at Wikipedia HERE.

Friday, August 14, 2015

The Walther Collection - The Lay of the Land, new visions from Africa

Mame-Diarra Niang, Satellite I, from Metropolis, 2015.

The Walther Collection has announced the inauguration of a new multi-year exhibition series on contemporary photography and video art from Africa, to be presented in thematic exhibitions in New York from 2015 to 2017. Expanding the collection's longstanding focus on African photography, this program features a diverse range of emerging artists who are exploring new visions of social identity in Africa and the African Diaspora.

The first exhibition, The Lay of the Land, which opens Thursday September 10, brings together three young artists who are examining the effects of the built environment on African landscapes from Dakar to Johannesburg. Born a generation after the liberation movements that swept Africa in the 1960s, Edson Chagas (Angola), François-Xavier Gbré (Côte d'Ivoire), and Mame-Diarra Niang (Senegal/France) investigate the promises and failures of the postcolonial city. Uniting their works is a vivid attention to color and form. The artists systematically portray monumental civic buildings or banal apartment complexes, imposing avenues or lonely corners, profiling spaces discovered on travels within the African continent and abroad. Their images of physical structures and public spaces -- whether functional or incomplete -- are encoded with the values, dreams, contradictions, and politics of urban life. In The Lay of the Land, rather than providing purely documentary statements, Chagas, Gbré, and Niang pose open-ended questions about the changing visual narratives of the landscape.

You can go to The Walther Collection website HERE.

The Walther Collection Project Space, 526 West 26th Street, Suite 718 New York, NY 10001

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Goran Bertok - REQUIEM

Goran Bertok is a Slovenian photographer who states that he was dismissed from the services of the Yugoslav National Army after a diagnosis of having a psychopatic personality. Bertok writes: There are more important things than photography. More important to me. I reached them also through photography, but have nevertheless no particular wish to enter into its world (or the world of art) more than necessary. Perhaps this is the cause of effort with photography, these objections. There is a misunderstanding of sorts going on. Sometimes I feel like I could give up photography without any remorse. Actually photography does not interest me. I am interested in several motifs, which I have been trying to get to over the years. Several more motifs alongside which I do not feel any effort and resistance towards photography. OMG I like this person.

In my mail this morning was Goran Bertok's latest bookwork, REQUIEM, published by the angry bat (thank you Matej). The book, in fact there are two, reminded me why I like bookworks. The work is a tactile object. It has a presence of its own, it begs to be opened.
And more, the work is direct and uncompromising. Death. We don't think about it, talk about it, and we are afraid of it. Goran Bertok deals with it.

Old age, disease, death and facing death bodies are somehow placed on the edge of the contemporary society, which rather uses various channels to emphasize the imperative of health, youth and strength. Bertok approaches death from the perspective of life: he is intrigued by its mythology reflecting through history the notion of the so-called dignified death, he is fascinated by the psychological effects of the omnipresent fear of death and by the organic remnants of the once alive bodily system. He never idealizes death, as it always stands for fear, pain, agony and pain, he rather sees it as a consequence of life. text by Miha Colner.

Published in an edition of 300 copies, you can order the book direct from the angry bat HERE. Dimensions, 16 x 21 cm / 46 pages / paper, cordenons natural evolution white 140g /
selfbound japanese binding / high quality offset print. And you can check out Goran Bertok's website HERE.