Tuesday, September 1, 2009


The catalogue arrived today for the show THE PAINTING OF MODERN LIFE which I saw at The Hayward in London in November 2007. The show is essentially about painters that reference and translate photographic imagery in their work. In an essay by Martin Herbert, Rehearsing Doubt: Recent Developments in Painting-After-Photography the writer has this to say in his opening paragraph.

""The photograph is never anything but an antiphon of "Look", "See", "Here it is", it points a finger at certain vis-à-vis." That is Roland Barthes. "Painting is the making of an analogy for something non-visual and incomprehensible; giving it form and bringing it within reach. And that is why good paintings are incomprehensible." That is Gerhard Richter.
Now, harmonise these two statements - written a year apart, in the early 1980s, and not without currency today - with regard to paintings based on photographs. Something, naturally, has to give. For the painting to succeed, the photograph catapulted into Richter's empire of unmanageability must surrender its claim to simple veracity, to here-it-is-ness."

My thoughts are these...
And what for a photograph to succeed? Do photographers give up on the incomprehensible and stick to making images that say nothing more than "Here it is"? Do we only work within the parameters of "the document"? To me there can be just as much non-visuality and hidden meaning in a photograph. A good photograph. And after all, just how strong is the photographs claim to veracity?

Here are some photographs I made in my backyard today. Not to work with this posting, but simply because I really don't like to make a post without also including some photographs. Go figure..... incomprehensible really....


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