Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Wolfgang Tillmans in New York...

In the September 10th issue New Yorker Magazine Emily Witt profiles Wolfgang Tillmans’s life and art, highlighting his ability to question existing values and hierarchies with his work for over three decades. 

In a corner of Panorama Bar, the upstairs venue of the Berlin night club Berghain, there is a large, unlit photograph of the back of a throat—one of three photos by the German artist Wolfgang Tillmans that hang on the walls. Berghain is a techno club known as much for its code of etiquette as for its sound system. Photography is forbidden. Cell-phone-camera lenses are covered with stickers when patrons enter. Doormen are strict about whom they let in, with apparent biases against conspicuous displays of wealth. The party starts at 11:59 on Saturday night and continues until Monday morning; it’s common to stay for twelve hours, or twenty. There is no V.I.P. area. The bathrooms are ungendered, the atmosphere is sexually open, and the ethos is queer. Ravers make pilgrimages to Berghain from all over the world. Some call it “church.”
When the club’s owners approached Tillmans to acquire one of his pictures, in 2004, its patrons were mostly gay men, and he chose “Nackt” (“Nude”), a photo of a woman exposing her vulva. In 2009, as Berghain’s reputation grew and its clientele became more heterosexual, he replaced the photo with “Philip, Close Up III,” which shows a man exposing his anus. Six years later, he hung the throat instead, describing it as “kind of like where all the joy comes in, in different ways and forms.”

You can read the full New Yorker piece HERE.

Opening next Thursday, September 13th from 6 to 8 PM at The David Zwirner West 19th Street gallery NYC, Wolfgang Tillmans: How likely is it that only I am right in this matter? The show presents new and recent work, marking the artist’s third solo show with David Zwirner.

You can catch Tillmans in conversation with Paul Holdengräber, kicking off the 2018 season of LIVE from the NYPL, tomorrow, September 5 at 7 PM. The talk will be live streamed on the library’s website HERE

"I love that art is ‘useless’ and that it has no ‘purpose’. That makes art so incredibly powerful. And so, I don’t think one should turn to artists instantly and ask, “What are they saying?” I think, really, every private person should take part in democracy, because if you don’t, others choose for you."
Wolfgang Tillmans, New York Times

Pictured: Wolfgang Tillmans. Photography by Collier Schorr for The New Yorker. 

Schorr shoots Tillmans

Monday, September 3, 2018

SELF PUBLISH BE HAPPY presents Photobook: RESET. 3 days in Berlin to reinvent the photobook

Curated by Bruno Ceschel and hosted by C/O Berlin from 28-30 September 2018, the first Photobook: RESET event will be an immersive programme of workshops imagined and organized to re-imagine the future of publishing.
Thirty photography and publishing industry professionals, artists and writers, as well as thirty members of the public will participate in rotating research workshops led by six international experts. These will bring together insights from different fields of research, in order to open up inspiring perspectives and unexpected connections.
Over the past 10 years, the self-publishing revolution’s DIY ethos has re-energized a conservative and backward-thinking publishing industry. The creative input of a new generation of authors and makers has democratized the world of the photobook, proving both the medium’s strength its capacity for experimentation and artistic expression. Today, our resilient community is faced with new challenges, and after the excitement of the photobook boom, we need to rethink where we are to better understand our own limitations, blind spots and scarce resources. Challenged with unsustainable business models, threatened by the competitive digital distribution of digital content – not to mentionand a general homogenization and banalization of content - the photobook world is in crisis, both economically and existentially. In our current social, political and technological landscape, the medium’s very raison d’etre is under threat. 
So what it is next for photobooks? What new forms should the photobook take? How can we harness the power of technology to assist artists and thinkers in making provocative and necessary experiments in publishing? What role should the book have in promoting social and political change in the era of Trump and populism? Is our close-knit community of like-minded people it’s own limit? Who is the photobook for? Is the photobook as we know it even an effective form of communication? Photobook: RESET aims to inspire radical thinking around the form and content of the photobook. As the name suggests, the project wants to prompt a reset and provide an environment in which to consider new possibilities, ideas and opportunities outside of the usual parameters. 

You can read more on the Photobook: RESET website HERE.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Photobook Workshop in Aarhus Denmark, during Photobook Week 4 - 7 October

Photobook Week Aarhus celebrates its 5th edition from 4-7 October 2018.

Since 2014, the Photobook Week Aarhus has been engaged with the photobook in all its facets and has presented a festival programme of international standing. For its 5th anniversary, Photobook Week Aarhus is showing works by renowned artists and promotes established and emerging talents, publishers, curators, printers and booksellers.

During the festival I will be presenting a 2 day workshop, focussed on the photobook, it's conception, structure, editing, sequencing, production and distribution.

The Festival says this:

New Zealander Harvey Benge works from Auckland and Paris. He has been a full-time camera artist since 1993, when his first photobook Four Parts Religion, Six Parts Sin was published. Benge is well known for his many photo books which have been published in Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Japan. His principal publisher is UK’s Dewi Lewis, who has worked with Benge for 20 years. Harvey Benge’s bookworks are conceptual in nature and deal with the complexities of life and the nature of seeing and understanding. His photographs are mostly urban and generally strange. His work is mysterious; nothing is solid. The pictures capture contrasts and conflicts which leave you wondering what has just happened and what might happen next. Benge’s bookworks have been exhibited a Kunsthalle Düsseldorf; Antwerp Foto Museum, Belgium; Foam Fotografiemuseum, Amsterdam; Photographers Gallery, London; and Palais de Tokyo, Paris. His books have twice been finalists in the Prix du Livre at the Rencontres d’Arles, France. Harvey Benge is also known for the workshops he has conducted, working with photographers such as Lewis Baltz, Antoine d’Agata, Paul Graham, Rineke Dijkstra, John Gossage, Alec Soth, Roger Ballen.

The workshop “The objective of my workshops is to unpack strategies for the development of a complete and balanced lens-based art practice. In effect an investigation into the process that I employ and has lead me to the production of sixty or more photo books over the last thirty years. Benge will show participants how he has conceptualised, structured and produced several of his key bookworks. Further, participants will be asked to participate in a “live” editing and sequencing session of a new bookwork of his scheduled for publication in 2020. Participants will need to bring to the workshop work-prints of current photographs which can then be reviewed and evaluated within the group. This will involve discussion as to the rigour and relevance of the works’ conceptual underpinning followed by a hard look at possible edits and sequencing leading to photobook production”.

Harvey Benge’s workshops are interactive, inspiring and good fun. Harvey will cover a spectrum of issues that affect all photographers – finding one’s own voice, idea generation, self evaluation of work, what makes a good picture, development of picture series. Emphasis will be on the photobook where strategies for editing and sequencing will be discussed with practical examples. Participants’ own work will be reviewed both in terms of how the pictures work and the ways the photographs can be carried forward to a finished photobook. 

You can read more about Photobook Week Aarhus HERE together with a link to book your place at my workshop. Hope to see you in Aarhus!