The Photographer’s Gallery features a section where the viewer is invited to view a piece of work on a wall more closely, write down what they see and then place it inside a box. During my visit, the changing display project by Touchstone titled ‘What Do You See?‘ featured work by drawing artist and photographer Thomas Zummer. For the work titled ‘Study for a Portrait of Simon Ironing‘ (2005), I wrote down my thoughts on how the drawing may refer to futuristic possibilities.
I found the experience very thought provoking and I find this type of installation an effective way of interacting with the audience directly. The installation makes the viewer think deeper into what something could mean generally or to them personally.
Visit to Tate modern: ‘Performing for the Camera’ (PFTC)
‘Performing for the camera’, a show currently running at the Tate Modern gallery presents a wide range collection of photography with over 500 photos from a variety of well known artists and photographers. The show explores the art of performance and photography in which image content includes portraiture, fine art and still life.
American artist Jimmy Desanna features a series of images which depict ambiguous portraits capturing the human body and objects. Desanna was a leading artist in the 1980’s and 1990’s and is known for his experimental ‘anti art’ style where he poses individuals in awkward positions. Desanna has featured in many galleries including the Pat Hearn gallery and the Wilkinson gallery.
The series uses a variety of subjects in which Desanna uses objects to deform or place the human subject in bizarre situations. For example, the image ‘Marker Cones‘ sees a man on all fours with his hands and feet balanced inside 4 individual cones upon a green backdrop. Desanna creates a circus like atmosphere and keeps his subjects anonymous.
I find Desanna’s works a unique contribution to the show and I admire how Desanna has re-interpreted the human body as a functional asset for objects.
British photographer Martin Parr features a vast selection of images in which all of them feature …well.. himself. Parr is a leading documentary photographer who captures subjects of life referring to propaganda and international reality in which he allows us to be entertained by quirky re-interpretations of popular visual subject matter such as famous monuments. Parr creates humour by placing subject matter in places where they shouldn’t be, evoking a new perspective of life where one might look twice.
The series ‘Auto-Portraits‘ is an on going series that began in 1996 that captures the photographer using play role and green screen technology to make himself appear in various places as various people. Parr uses this as a way of providing fake evidence to the audience that he has visited ‘this place’ and is ‘this person’. Despite the fact that we know this is not to be true, Parr brings a comedic relationship between objects and space by using it to his initiative as a method of creating a life story display.
I find Parr brings charisma and is open minded about the subjects he chooses and I admire this in how he is creating a profile that is not real and yet he keeps the viewer interested through the use of referencing real iconic subject matter in world culture.
Hicham Benohaud began his career as a teacher in art education as well as taking his own educational occupations in Strasberg. Benohaud works in a variety of other media as well as photography and exhibits internationally in which he has featured in many shows including the Aperture Foundation in New York.
The series featured in ‘Performing for the Camera’ which is titled ‘The Classroom‘ (1968) Benohaud asked his students to spontaneously stop their work in class to pose for a photo where they were given the activity to use materials around them. This six piece series brings an evocative concept that breaks the rules by capturing a subject in a controlled environment; Benohaud does this during a school session where other children are to continue with their school work.
I find this series is cleverly executed in how Benohaud takes advantage of space and materials in an environment where there is a specified routine and Benohaud puts this routine on pause using one individual at a time.
Erwin Wurm is an Austrian artist who uses a range of media to provoke queer and humorous engagement between people and objects. Featuring two instalments in the ‘PFTC’ show, Erwin explores the everyday, although placing his subjects in unordinary situations. The ‘Claudia Schiffer‘ series (Untitled) depicts portraits of a young woman setting various poses where she uses her body to balance objects in odd places. For example, one image of Schiffer balancing a plate on her head as she leans on the table may put one on edge. What if the food got in her hair? Wurm puts the audience on the edge of their seat as he gives the impression that the pose will fall apart any second. The second series titled ‘One Minute Sculptures‘ presents a similar occupation where Wurm depicts his subjects against a white background, bringing pure focus to the subject matter through the execution of close up portraits. These portraits bring more contrast between space and subject matter. As well as photographic display, Wurm invites the audience to try experimenting with objects themselves in a similar fashion seen in the work.
I find Wurm brings a fun element to this piece where the individual is placed under pressure to maintain the given poses. I find this is influential towards my ideas of how objects can also be interactively challenging as well as visually thought provoking.
Japanese artist Keiji Uematsu conceptually explores objects and space in which he provokes barriers that could either bring elements together harmoniously or destroy them completely. Following his studies in Japan at the Kobe University, Uematsu travelled to Germany as a member of the formed artists group Moha-ha where he gradually developed his own platform for performance photography. Uematsu has featured at various festivals including the Performance Art festival in Brussels.
Uematsu’s work often consists of a mixture of black and white and colour photography creating illusion and unexplainable subject matter by using active techniques performed by the individual. The show features his work’s ‘Wave Motion IV‘ (1973) and ‘Stone/Rope/Man II‘ (1974). Within these monochrome images, Uematsu establishes wonder in how he brings the illusion that the man is holding onto an attached stone floating in the air.
Uematsu brings a sense of trickery into environments that appear quite ordinary and uses subject matter to the point where in the image, anything is possible. I find this series brings the viewer to want to know more about how Uematsu created the performance as the images leave us questioning the reason behind the pose.
Visiting the show ‘Performing For the Camera’ was beneficial towards my ideas of photographic installation when considering how I would bring across my narrative further to my target audience in a public space. I find the most valuable lesson I learned from this show was the variety of ways in which photographs could be installed on a wall when presented in a non interactive setting. For example, Martin Parr’s ‘Auto-Portraits‘ present a loose style of hanging pictures in which the images consist of different sizes, shapes and frames while other artists have featured their work as a long trail sequence to follow or by covering the wall completely.
This show has also inspired me to consider more ideas of how I could approach performance elements in my own work where I could create a complete twist on the subject matter by making the individual more active toward objects to capture unexpected moments.
ARR Touchstone at the Photographers Gallery (2016) ‘Exhibitions-Touchstone’ [Online] Available from: http://www.thephotographersgallery.org.uk (Accessed 21/04/2016)
ARR Galerie D’art L’ Atelier (2016)’Hicham Benohaud’ [Online] Available from: http://www.atelier21.ma (Accessed 29/04/2016)
ARR Artnet Worldwide Corporation (2016) ‘Erwin Wurm’ [Online] Available from: http://www.artnet.com (Accessed 29/04/2016)
Seymour. T (2016) ‘Keiji Uematsu’s Invisible Force’ [Online] available from: http://www.bjp-online.com (06/04/2016)
ARR Martin Parr (2016) ‘Introduction-Recent’ [Online] Available from: http://www.martinparr.com (Accessed 27/04/2016)
ARR Salon 94 (2016) ‘Estate of Jimmy Desanna’ [Online] Available from: http://www.salon94.com (Accessed 29/04/2016)