Saturday, 26 February 2011

Ray Kaczynski & Ove Volquartz - Xposed Club, 4th March

Poster by Mark Unsworth.
Ray Kaczynski ('electronic sculpture') & Ove Volquartz (contra bass clarinet) will headline the Xposed Club event on 4th March. The session will also feature Cheltenham based ''xbox xistentialists', Brown Torpedo and The Pete Crooks Trio with special guests Clive Skinner (trumpet) and Nicole Warfield.  
Ray Kaczynski & Ove Volquartz
This will be the last Xposed Club event to be held at Pittville Studios - event organizer Stuart Wilding says: “After four years of innovative, world-class musical concerts, this will be our last gig at Pittville before we look for a new home. So please get yourself and many friends along to make it a very special night to remember.” 
Xposed Club: in the atrium, Pittville Studios, Cheltenham on Friday 4th March. £5.00 (£3.00 concs.) on the door, starts 8.00pm.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

16mm film (Tacita Dean)

Tacita Dean, still from Kodak, 16mm colour film, 44mins, 2006 (Tate Collection)
I welcomed the announcement that Tacita Dean had been awarded the commission for the next Turbine Hall installation at Tate Modern (see below) – and wondered what she might do. An article by her, Save Celluloid, for Art's Sake, in the Guardian reveals that it will involve 16mm film. However, the point of the article is to lament the news that the last professional lab in the UK to print 16mm film has ceased to do so. Dean’s interesting article eloquently describes the skills and resources that will be lost as a consequence.

The news renders even more poignant, the current exhibition The Days of Darkrooms and Reel to Reel: ANALOG showing at Riflemaker until 5th March (see below).

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

World Press Photo Awards 2011

Jodi Bieber's photograph of Bibi Aisha (below), an Afghan woman disfigured as punishment for fleeing her husband's house, has been selected as World Press Photo of the Year, 2010. View a brief interview with Bieber, about making the photograph, here, and read David Campbell's blog comments and comparison with Steve McCurry's famous 1985 portrait of Sharbat Gula (better known as 'Afghan Girl'); see also Jim Johnson's blog comments: Category Mistake at World Press Photo Awards ~ Top Prize Given Not for Photojournalism But for Propaganda.

Category awards are made for  Spot News, General News, People in the News, Sports, Contemporary Issues, Daily Life, Portraits, Arts & Entertainment, and Nature and include some astonishing and horrifying pictures. See the World Press Photo: Winners Gallery.

I was particularly interested in the Contemporary Issues, 'Honourable Mention' to Michael Wolf for: A Series of Unfortunate Events: Google Street View.
 Wolf has produced a substantial body of work derived from the vast image bank produced by the Google Street View project. In an interview in the British Journal of Photography, Wolf explains his method: 
I use a tripod and mount the camera, photographing a virtual reality that I see on the screen. It's a real file that I have, I'm not taking a screenshot. I move the camera forward and backward in order to make an exact crop, and that's what makes it my picture. It doesn't belong to Google, because I'm interpreting Google; I'm appropriating Google. If you look at the history of art, there's a long history of appropriation. He speculates: I think a large part of our future will be the curating of all these images. Can you imagine the number of images stored in our world today? It's unlimited. In 100 years, there will be professions such as 'hard-drive miners', whose mission will be finding hard-drives in electronic junkyards and developing software to sort these images. And then there will be art projects and sociological projects created using images mined from electronic storages. The whole idea of curating this incredible mass of images that has been created has tremendous potential, and I've just scratch[ed] the surface with my Google Street View project.
Needless, to say there is some scepticism about the validity of his work as 'photojournalism' or even 'art' - see comments posted at the end of the BJP interview. Listen to Wolf talking about his response to the 'controversy' and his work.
Michael Wolf, selected images from A Series of Unfortunate Events: Google Street View

Thursday, 10 February 2011

The Open West - Summerfield Gallery, Pittville Studios

The 2011 Open West exhibition will be in the Summerfield Gallery, Pittville Studios, University of Gloucestershire from 9th February to 5th March. 45 artists have been selected by Richard Billingham, Matthew Raw, Lyn Cluer Coleman and Sarah Goodwin.
11 of the selected artists will give talks about their work at Pittville Studios, on Saturday 12th February: Fergus Jordan, David Kiely, Matthews & Struthers, Richard Ansett, Alicja Rogalska, and Bobby Nixon in the morning, from 10.00am; Ellen Nolan, Howard Silverman, Jon Mayers, Helen Murgatroyd and Laura Clarke in the afternoon, from 1.30pm.

 Open West, installation views.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

David Behar Perahia - Gloucester Cathedral

David Behar-Perahia, artist in residence at Gloucester Cathedral, will present an exhibition of his work in the cathedral from 12th to 28th February. The exhibition, Invisible Structura I: Body, Sound, Space and Harmony will be launched by a performance at 6.30 on Saturday 12th February: this will feature a procession in collaboration with composer Edwin Hillier, dancers Katherine Glicks and Ruth Cross, Gloucester Cathedral Stone Masons, members of the Cathedral choir and the artist.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Chris Cundy & Dominic Lash + BC - Xposed Club at the Chapel: 11th February

Poster by Mark Unsworth
Chris Cundy (bass clarinet) and Dominic Lash (double bass) - billed as 'Two Plump Daughters',  + BC: Belinda Belle, Stuart Chalmers, Mark Anthony Whiteford (playing a mixture of found objects and electronics) will perform the first Xposed Club gig of 2011.
Xposed Club at the Chapel: FCH Chapel, Cheltenham on Friday 11th February. £5.00 (£3.00 concs.) on the door, starts 8.00pm. 

Friday, 4 February 2011

Exhibition Roundup - February 2011

 An occasional, and highly selective, pick of current and forthcoming exhibitions.
John Stezaker, Pair IV, 2007
John Stezaker has been a quiet presence on the British art scene since the 1970s - he was included in the "New Art" exhibition at the Hayward in 1972, alongside Richard Long, Gilbert & George et al, as part of the generation of conceptually-oriented artists who embraced lens-based and other media. His precise, witty and disturbing images, spliced together from old film stills and postcards, are presented in a career retrospective at the Whitechapel Gallery until 18th March. Read Brian Dillon’s profile and Laura Cumming’s review; see a 2006 video interview with the artist on the Tate website.

John Hilliard, Camera Recording its Own Condition (7 Apertures, 10 Speeds, 2 Mirrors) 1971
Stezaker also features in Anti-Photography at the Focal Point Gallery in Southend. In 1976, Nancy Foote published "The Anti-Photographer"*, an article which examined the uses of photography in conceptual art. Foote noted that, Despite its dependence on photography... conceptual art exhibits little photographic self-consciousness, setting itself apart from so-called serious photography by a snapshot-like amateurism and nonchalance that would raise the hackles of any earnest professional. Foote made specific reference to the work of Eleanor Antin, Robert Smithson, Ed Ruscha, Richard Long and others.
Now, in what is described as a 'reworking' of Foote's thesis, the Focal Point Gallery exhibition "brings together a selection of historic and contemporary works exploring and challenging our understanding of the medium of photography". Artists include: Ceal Floyer, John Hilliard, Sherrie Levine,  Ed Ruscha,  John Stezaker, Wolfgang Tillmans, James Welling and others.
* Foote, Nancy (1976) “The Anti-Photographers” Artforum, September, pp46-54; reprinted in in Fogle, Douglas (2003) The Last Picture Show: Artists Using Photography, 1960-1982, Minneapolis: Walker Art Center, pp24-31
Susan Hiller, Genuine Essence: Homage to Joseph Beuys, 1969 - 2009
Like Stezaker, Susan Hiller is an artist whose reputation has generally exceeded her visibility. She has been exhibiting multi-media installations exploring psychic phenomena and other mysteries for the past 30 years and is now the subject of a major survey at Tate Britain until 15th May.
Read interview with Rachel Cooke, and reviews by Adrian Searle and Laura Cumming.
Andy Warhol, Screen Test: Lou Reed, 1966
Moving Portraits at the De La Warr Pavillion in Bexhill presents 60 years of portraits made in moving images. Artists include Richard Billingham (lecturer at the University of Gloucestershire), Tracey Emin, Gilbert & George, Robert Mapplethorpe, Julian Opie, Andy Warhol and many more. The exhibition continues until 27th March.
Martin Creed, Work No. 1127, 2011
Martin Creed: 'Mothers' is at Hauser & Wirth until March 11th. The prolific Creed, who won the Turner Prize in 2001 for Work no. 227: ‘The lights going on and off’ is showing more than 50 works in the show, including a monumental, rotating sculpture in white neon and steel: Work no.1092, MOTHERS, 2011.
See short video of Martin Creed talking to Paul Morley at the exhibition, and a video of Creed introducing and performing his single, Thinking/Not Thinking.
Sheela Gowda, of all people, installation view at Rivington Place, Iniva, 2011
Sheela Gowda: Therein and Besides at Iniva is the first UK solo show for the Indian artist. The Guardian described her installation in the Serpentine's 2008/9 survey of contemporary Indian art, Indian Highway, as the standout work. The Serpentine described her work as follows: Sheela Gowda’s process-based practice, which includes paintings, drawings, sculptures and installations, blurs the boundary between fine art and craft. Her materials are chosen for their symbolism. Substances such as cow dung, incense, threads, fibres and ceremonial dyes are used as subversive political statements, which straddle their everyday presence both in urban and rural India. This history of manufactured found objects, such as tar drums and plastic sheeting, recycled by India’s migrant workers, is further extended towards a nuanced reading.
Haroon Mirza, Un_Infinato (detail), 2009
Haroon Mirza, winner of the 2010 Northern Art Prize, will be showing  sound and assemblage installations at the Lisson Gallery, 15th February - 19th March. As described on the Northern Art Prize website: Haroon Mirza creates sculptural assemblages and installations that are often heard before they are seen. He uses household objects such as found furniture, outmoded musical equipment, lamps and television sets to generate a seemingly infinite field of sound.

Other shows worthy of note:
Robert Mapplethorpe, George Bradshaw, 1980  
Robert Mapplethorpe: Night Work curated by Scissor Sister at Alison Jacques, until 19th March;
Georgi Petrusov, Portrait of Aleksandr Rodchenko, 1933
Rodchenko and his Circle at Art: Sensus, until19th March;
Richard Phillips, Most  Wanted, 2009
Richard Phillips: Most Wanted at White Cube, Hoxton Square, until 5th March.
Many of the exhibitions listed in the January Roundup will run through February - see below, for details.