Their Mortal Remains

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This exhibition about Pink Floyd was held at the V&A Museum in Kensington during the summer of 2017 which was extended into mid-October. I needed to book a couple of weeks in advance to get a ticket! I only took a couple of photographs. Here are some impressions.

An old red telephone kiosk contains a number of contemporary artifacts such as books by Laurie Lee, John Betjemen, Aldous Huxley, R.D.Laing, Rupert Bear … there are a few of these kiosks in the exhibition for different periods.

A photograph of the band’s Bedford van from the early 60’s; it was black but customised by a white stripe

John Peel suggests they could have sat in an audience at one of their own concerts and gone unrecognised; “quite an achievement…”

Some of their initial spacey music a little eerie; rock riffs quite straightforward! Psychedelic projections …

Pushy people in the exhibition … am not really so interested in the narrative rather the artwork both visible and audible!

Audrey Beardsley, 19’th century author and illustrator, an influence. Had a major show at the V&A in 1966 that was much visited by the Underground scene.

LSD was legal in the 1960’s

Howling Wolf an influence among other blues musicians of that ilk …

Recording first album in studio next door to studio where the Beatles were working on Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band. More underground with “interstellar overdrive”. The Piper at the Gates of Dawn.

Light shows important

Obvious influence of Surrealism! There is a black and white movie of the band on a beach in West Sussex with a mannequin playing around with the song Arnold Layne as the soundtrack as well as Magritte references.

The demise of Syd Barrett, regarded as the creative genius behind the birth of Pink Floyd.

A Saucerful of Secrets and Set the Controls for the heart of the Sun. Ummagumma; the first album I remember! Grantchester Meadows an acoustic guitar duo; also Astronomy Domine. The album cover photograph is a clever composition worth an extended gaze!

Pink Floyd embraced many aspects of culture

Meddle; echoes!

Live at Pompeii, a film and performance without audience; Floyd were reticent.

Another telephone kiosk of context; Transcedental Meditation, Dad’s Army,?Enoch Powell … Man on the Moon.

Black and white high contrast photographs of the band.

Dark Side of the Moon a unique album; humanitarian empathy. Still sells thousands every week!

Constructed video of prism and ray of coloured light to watch as the album plays.

A room full of instruments and equipment also images with videos and accompanying music along with a chance to alter the sound effects.

Hokusai’s wave on the drum kit

Videos of individual musicians with their instruments such as the latest synthesis er

Animations and much more post-modernist artwork such as flying sheep and inflatable pigs!

Rock and Roll theatre – the Animals tour

After awhile I stop taking notes as three hours is not going to be long enough but I still see most of the artwork and photography on show as well as the videos.

There is a bittersweet quality that leaves me contemplating the vacuous nature of fame and fortune yet in many ways the exhibition is itself a performance, another way the band are able to communicate with an audience. The last room is a concert space in which video recordings of them play on the walls and people sit or stand around apparently entranced.

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The final part of the exhibition was a simulated concert space

In the shop, I buy a CD of The Wall and a book about the Wall by Gerald Scarfe who devised the animation sequences and much of the artwork. Dark Side of the Moon may have been their best album, dealing as it does with questions about modern day living. Wish you were here is another great album while Grantchester Meadows seen her with a video must be one of their best songs.

As is the way with Pink Floyd, the exhibition was innovative in the use of WiFi headsets that played the sounds from the screen one was closest too. A remarkable exhibition in many ways quite unlike the ones I usually visit where images hang silently from walls.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Levitt France (Arles-2017)

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This exhibition is about a housing project designed by an American that took root in France during the 1960’s offering “ready to move in homes” for single families. A number of these towns were developed over the following years. However, the original company filed for  bankruptcy in 1981.

Bill Levitt started the company in New York State after the war; the idea was prebuilt houses which were easily assembled and affordable. Measures were taken to make the houses look different; shops and recreational areas were included. A house could be constructed in a day! A short documentary film from 1947 is shown.

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There is a song by John Hallyday shown on a video screen; it features a modern housing estate as does the film that follows called A Million Voices (2012)

Five photographers take up this project;

  1. Jean Noviel: concerned with rules required for such a project and sustainability of the architecture and landscape.
  2. Julie Balague: concerned with will to preserve a heritage.
  3. Bruno Fontana: looks at types of houses and their relationship to well being.
  4. Camille Richer: focuses on specifics and borders
  5. Vincent Frillon: examines porousness between public and private spaces.

This work considers the success of such housing estates in regard to self-segregation, Americanism, the past and French modernity.

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Noviel concerned with records about use and memory of place; the norms and regulations. Little has changed during the 40 years of these housing constructions though verandas, skylights and air conditioning have been introduced into “this rigorous management of individual property.”

The colour photographs are printed in large colour at about size A1. Typed captions run along the bottom of the photographs. Most of these demonstrate the restrictions such as “Damaging the lawn, picking the flowers, cutting down trees or carving into tree bark” all being prohibited for residents.

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Balague has been nominated an Arles award for her work; prix de la photo Madame. “Pursuit of Happiness” Series looks at different aspects of the estate focusing on people (none of whom look at the camera) and various scenes such as the reflection of a shed in water. These give some idea of what life on the estate must be like.

Vincent Fillon shows a series of black and white photographs, carefully exposed and printed, that give an impression of the place. In the centre of these six black and whites that feature different kinds of house are colour close ups of artefacts from indoors made in flat lighting which include a door handle, a light fixture etc There is audio of Fillon talking but it is in French and I understand only little.

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Balague has been nominated an Arles award for her work; prix de la photo Madame. “Pursuit of Happiness” Series looks at different aspects of the estate focusing on people (none of whom look at the camera) and various scenes such as the reflection of a shed in water. These give some idea of what life on the estate must be like.

Vincent Fillon shows a series of black and white photographs, carefully exposed and printed, that give an impression of the place. In the centre of these six black and whites that feature different kinds of house are colour close ups of artefacts from indoors made in flat lighting which include a door handle, a light fixture etc There is audio of Fillon talking but it is in French and I understand only little.

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Richer lived in this Mennecy housing project for 15 years. With a degree in photography, she focuses not on the Mennecy estate but the countryside around it; this suggests a desire to be beyond or outside the place!

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The Cardon family share a series of negatives from the late 1970’s that show the building of a house of the “Barbizon” model. 69 negatives show the process from placement of the first block to window installation; these are carefully composed well executed images.

There is a video tribute to Levitt by Noviel; clips from 3 films that show Levitt Mennecy as a background to the action. One suggests a Mrs.Robinson scenario of love between a teenager and a wife!

Another video screen shows a couple of advertisements that use Mennecy as a background; one is for Mac Donald’s the other for Mercedes in which a group of children flock to see a man putting his car in the garage using a remote control.

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There is also an old advertisement poster for buying houses in Levitt a Mennecy with copies of the necessary documentation required to do so and vintage postcards collected by Noviel of Levitt Mennecy.

Another piece of memorabilia is a photograph of a boy who used to play for the Levitt Mennecy football team; although he left, he later returned when he had a family to live there.

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I have spent a lot of time in this exhibition because it relates to a project I have started in relation to a new housing estate being built near to where I live. The photographs here give an idea of what the place is like; the exhibition as a whole presents an in depth view of the place from it’s inception and there seems to be little political narrative trying to prove it beneficial or destructive of individuality. The viewer is free to make up their own mind.

For instance, Fontana in his series of typologies has shown uniformity while Noviel shows a body of work that emphasises the differences.

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Yet this exhibition is confined to a visual examination! What of the lives of those who grew up here or spent their adult lives in the houses. Their voices go unheard except for a boy who was part of the Mennecy football team who chose to return and bring his children up in Levitt Mennecy.

On a more sombre note, the film maker Fischli writes, “mediocrity defines our urbanised landscape much more than the few so-called great achievements of contemporary architecture.”

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Drowning World by Gideon Mendel (Arles-2017)

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Drowning World explores the human dimension of climate change by focusing on floods across geographical and cultural boundaries. Rather than the literal depiction of disaster zones, Gideon Mendel focuses on the personal impact of flooding to evoke our shared vulnerability to global warming. Since 2007, Mendel has documented floods in 13 countries. The Submerged Portraits series are intimate portraits of flood victims. Their poses may seem conventional but their context is catastrophe, and their unsettling gazes challenge us deeply. The marks left by floodwater, especially in domestic spaces, are the focus of the Floodlines series, which presents the paradox of order and calm within chaos. The Watermarks series consists of enlargements of flood-damaged personal snapshots, sometimes anonymous flotsam fished from the water or mud, sometimes given by homeowners.

This series of portraits of people in flooded domestic situations is not situated in any one place but across continents; this gives the work extra value. While this exhibition attracts me because of the subject, I found that when I was covering the flooding near my home in Somerset, I was responding to the brief which was the sublime and beautiful in the landscape rather than people personally effected.

 

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United States, India, Brazil, Haiti, United Kingdom, Nigeria, Thailand, Bangladesh, Pakistan … individuals from these countries are all featured in this first row of photographs; location portraits that show people with respect in the horror of their situations.

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There is also a collection of photographs found at different locations. These are illustrated in eight large frames while others have been blown up to a much larger size and printed. By focusing on the landscape, I was aware of not infringing on people undergoing hardship yet Mendel has entered the privacy of other people’s lives to show the turmoil and tragedy they are experiencing which is appropriate since the world needs to know of the plight of people who suffer in natural disasters. Said to be the result of climate change, they are going to effect more and more of us and we need to better understand their impact.

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 Mendel has also photographed ruined interiors, another reminder of the personal effect such disasters wreak.

 

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There are more portraits of different people looking stoical as they pose in the floodwaters of their homes; there are also blow ups of the details of buildings such as windows reflected in the water.

There is a room showing video chapters, nine in all. One is struck by the silence and the people none of whom smile in any way as is often the case when being photographed. I wonder if there is a deliberate attempt on behalf of the photographer to emphasise the seriousness of the situations these people find themselves in. Might some have had a more optimistic acceptance of what had happened? The fact that there are no smiles at all in the video clips makes me question the photographer’s intent if not influence. Asian people are more accepting of disaster and I think of the Steve Mac Curry smiling tailor photograph showing the man with his sewing machine on his shoulder neck deep in water yet still smiling.

Perhaps humanity is a little more stoical than Mendel wants us to think!?

In regard to my own work, I see how I might have made more twilight images, focused more on details and used some video. I chose to exclude people because of the brief and not wanting to impose myself as a voyeur. Some of the photographs included are of the area I covered in Somerset and tend to be interiors which is interesting; mini-landscapes of domestic interiors meeting the dirty water.

 

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Joel Meyerowitz (Arles-2017)

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The American colour photography master Joel Meyerowitz began his career in New York in the 60s. As a street photographer, always out and about in the heart of his city, Meyerowitz slips and dodges through the urban fray, his eyes ever on the alert. His complex compositions toy with the notions of imbalance and deframing, and seem suspended as if by a thread. For the first time in France, the Rencontres d’Arles will exhibit forty original prints by Joel Meyerowitz, with a selection of his first photographs in black and white and in colour.

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The first photograph is a black and white of a young couple in Paris from 1967; they are conscious of being photographed. Next is a young guard from Florida, the night before the moon launch of 1969. The two images complement each other as both show young people, none of whom appear to welcome the photographer’s presence.

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More black and white photographs follow … from New York and one from Paris. What is this group of images saying? There is no obvious meaning neither is there any great technical virtuosity evident but these scenes are encounters between people.

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Next is a family scene from Atlanta in 1971; 5 people in front of a window.

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Atlanta is the scene for a couple of other images from 1971. People and place finely observed.

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A group of four images and it seems clear that Meyerowitz is playing with composition here; subject is perhaps secondary though these are documentary records of America in the 1960’s.

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There is a photograph from Spain (1967) of Circus girls on a tightrope before a car photograph made the following year in America; the possibility of accident and the scene of an accident both images mirror suspense.

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As Meyerowitz moves to colour, one of the first professional art photographers to do so, there is an immediate change in the dynamic. Meyerowitz in the mid-1970’s also seems to be changing his subject matter with more spontaneous wider view compositions that capture action. At least, a photograph titled Broadway and 46’th Street, New York City, 1976 answers to this description. There is parallax and detail lost in shadow but this seems to be part of the picture’s overall appeal.

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Back to earlier black and white work; more drama in public places. A couple involving dogs, a couple women. What is going on in these scenes? People interact haphazardly as in much of Meyerowitz’s work; we can not draw conclusions without making assumptions.

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Another colour photograph, this time two camel-colour coated couples in New York from 1975; they are approaching a mysterious cloud of steam that drifts across the street.

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Back to 1960’s black and white work mixed up with colour . The subject is still the street and what is going on in it with a couple centring on the automobile. In one photograph, top left, one of the three colour photographs and made in Paris, someone has lost their hat to the wind and the hat hovers precariously at the top of the elevator while another woman holds tightly on to hers and another woman laughs. People look on. Meyerowitz seldom reveals such obvious meanings in his images!

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Back to colour and the late 1970’s with a young dancer standing alone on a street corner with the Empire States Building towering in the background; the light is a soft golden warmth. The figure looks as though she has been posed.

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One wall of the gallery shows a giant blow up of a Meyerowitz photograph that shows a couple standing on the edge of a cliff by which a large sign warns them that doing so is “very dangerous”. Is suspense a Meyerowitz theme? There are also six photographs hung over the huge one, small framed images that show residences, secure places in contrast to the danger implicit in the larger photograph, places where people can sleep.

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Continuing a beach theme, the next group of photographs are of scantily clad people, colour portraits from the 1970’s. These are tender particularly if they are of strangers which would appear to be the case; people posing for a photographer on the beach. The place is given sometimes the name of the person pictured. “Land, Provincetown, 1976” is a colour photograph of a wayside restaurant with cars and an ornate tower in the background.

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The final display of photographs is 12 colour as well as black and white images, from different times ranging from the late 60’s to the early 80’s. They are singular images and do not appear to conform to a whole. They perhaps are personal choices made by Sam Stourdze, the curator of this exhibition and organiser of the festival as a whole.

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The final photograph of the exhibition is a small sized image of the one blown up to fill a wall; two women standing with their backs to the photographer and beside a sign that warns them that the cliffs are dangerous.

One aspect of Meyerowitz’s work I like is that it is complex but straightforward, his street scenes are spontaneously caught and his portraits are carefully arranged, he is not hoodwinking us! I also like this body of work because Meyerowitz is a consummate professional, he knows what he is doing. There may not be much rapport with his subjects but he understands them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Masahisa Fukase (Arles-2017)

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“Fukase: The Incurable Egoist is the first retrospective of Masahisa Fukase to take place in Europe, allowing much previously unseen material to leave Japan for the first time. Fukase is widely regarded as one of the most radical and influential photographers of his generation. This presentation considers all aspects of Fukase’s practice from the 1960s onwards, drawing on vintage prints, graphic work, as well as archival magazines and publications, to show the extent of the artist’s working life. Dealing with issues of family, love, friendship, loneliness, mortality and death, activated photographically through performance, self-portraiture, play and comedy, the exhibition establishes Fukase as one of the most innovative and original Japanese artists of the post-war period.”

This is one exhibition I very much want to see at Arles this year. Japanese photography is very different to most of what we see in the West. This exhibition of Fukase’s work is called The Incurable Egoist and is apparently his first European retrospective. Sadly, following an accident, he lived the final part of his life in a vegetative state. The exhibition is curated by Simon Baker of Tate Modern, London.

Just before going in, I chat with an English artist who has seen it but could not make much sense of it. I am aware the work can be challenging and am prepared to take time to understand it. Commentaries are on the walls in some places but I am not sure I agree with them … for instance, spirals are surely uplifting symbols rather than merely endless; one finds them on ancient stones.

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The first photograph that grabs my attention on entry is a head and shoulders black and white of Fukase over which he has drawn circles and other jagged lines embuing his image with a sense of presence. His face is partially obscured yet one senses a human presence.

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To the right of this are a couple of large Polaroids which combine different images; while one is a self-portrait with coloured pins stuck into his face, the other is of his cat!

I have seen and written about Fukase’s Ravens elsewhere but shall devote more time to this body of work; I recently bought the photobook which has been republished and so available for a reasonable price unlike the original 1986 version. The raven is a symbol that conjures up a mythology which can vary from place to place.

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There are 30 prints here and a group of smaller ones placed inside larger frames; these have been drawn over by Fukase and are selected from over 1,000 prints numbering 120. Most are close ups of Ravens, Fukase used a 1,000 mm lens, but some are of other objects such as balloons, helicopters even a turtle dove. The drawings seem to echo the dynamics of the flying objects.

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Often referred to as the Solitude of Ravens, this work was made in the aftermath of divorce from his wife, Yoko. The Ravens are not always solitary however and we sometimes see them in large groups. The photographs are not of high technical quality but it is lack of focus or flare and other imperfections that make them appealing. Silhouettes work effectively in conveying a somber mood as does bokeh. Some images are lithographic in quality.

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Ravens has been released as a series a number of times. Later editions employed colour and used layered negatives. Ravens: Noctambulant Flight makes use of montage techniques and there are inherent references to Yatagarasu, the three-legged raven of Japanese mythology. Fukase however referred to the “dangerous unrestrainable nature of montages” and decided not to continue working with them. Some of these images are striking such as the kneeling naked woman in the raven’s wing or the raven and the sea. Some of this work appeared in books and magazines, a few of which are visible here.

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Cats were another subject Fukase liked to photograph as do millions of people, cat photographs being very popular on the internet. The star was his cat Sasuke; one series focused on his open jaws but he was particularly fond of catching his own reflection in the cat’s eyes. Fukase an incurable egoist or simply narcissist!?

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A video screen plays showing a sequence of photographs. His wife featuring naked in a family photograph where other family members are attired is an interesting juxtaposition; other images show a range of subjects.

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Homo Ludens focuses on the body particularly that of his first wife pregnant. These are playful images involving distortion and intimacy. Play is in fact the title given to this room of Fukase’s work. Reference is made to the book Homo Ludens (1981).

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Fukase also photographed family. One body of work is called Memories of Father who was also a photographer and ran a studio in which his wife worked. Another body of work is called Family; some of these images are original in approach such as the inclusion of a naked woman in an otherwise formal family photograph.

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Private Scenes is among the last body of work Fukase produced. These images are stretching the limits in their use of the medium with the use of painted colour on black and white prints.  Many include his self portrait but are not merely self portraits since they include scenes in which he plays a role even if only of witness.

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Hibi means cracks or fissures which is what one series deals with. These are intriguing designs yet with a darker meaning attached. They have been made into a book which is available in the foyer of the exhibition; Ravens is elsewhere.

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Bukubuku is an alliteration in Japanese for bubbling. In this series Fukase uses an underwater camera to photograph himself in his bath. The work is introspective and humorous, well conceived and photographed; narcissistic perhaps yet unique in self portraiture.

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Berobero is about the custom of touching tongues. Fukase photographs himself doing so with a number of people some well known photographers like Daido Moriyama and Nobuyoshi Araki. With colour brushed over they look a little strange but remain momentos that savour intimate moments. A sign on the gallery wall suggests that if one is inspired by this series one might like to post onto Instagram #berobero And #rencontresarles

On the way out I see a few Polaroids I had missed on the way in; lurid colours suggestive of self-harm like a pin in a tongue. This is unpleasant to look at while most of the work in this exhibition although not necessarily attractive (the family portraits are an exception) does not induce such feelings of discomfort.

Is Fukase really an incurable egoist as the exhibition suggests!? Perhaps Fukase thought the same! I see him as someone exploring himself, trying to understand who he is which in a society like Japan might be considered an honourable trajectory or way to live one’s life while in the west a form of self-indulgence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Michael Wolf (Arles-2017)

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“For the first time ever, working in close collaboration with the Hague Museum of Photography, the Rencontres d’Arles is presenting a selective overview of the autonomous works created by Wolf. Wolf’s key 21st-century theme is “life in cities”, as he observes it in vast metropolises like Tokyo, Hong Kong and Chicago. The striking feature of these impressive series is the changing points of view adopted by the artist in order to show the complexity of modern city life. The magnum opus of the exhibition is The Real Toy Story installation (2004), featuring over 20,000 plastic “Made in China” toys found by him in junk markets and second-hand shops in the United States. Amid this overwhelming array of mass-produced stuff for kids, Michael Wolf shows sympathetic portraits of individual Chinese assembly-belt workers producing toys to satisfy the manic worldwide demand for cheap consumer goods. “

Wim Van Sinderen

 

I know little of this photographer other than the name. His show is regarded as one of the important ones at this year’s Arles festival and is held in a former church as some other exhibitions are. Wolf is a German born the same year as myself.  He is a fine example of a photojournalist who has become a visual artist! The exhibition is a retrospective and focuses on “Life in Cities”.

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It starts with early work from 1976. Black and white work from the Ruhr region made for his thesis demonstrates “His ability to uncover the symbolic value in seemingly insignificant details reveal how urbanisation affects the reality of people’s daily lives.” The prints seem dark and brooding yet expressive; the lack of captions is not important as the meaning of the images is apparent.

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In the middle of the church are a series of large photographic prints which are close ups of high rise buildings. I need to inspect them from close quarters to make sure they are not models. The 3D effect is remarkable! In themselves these photographs are like designs and I wonder whether some of them have not been digitally altered to make them look bigger than they actually are yet this seems to be unlikely. The series is titled Architecture of Density and is more recent work having been made between 2003-2014 in Hong Kong.

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Another series focuses on rooftops of Paris. Here space is collapsed so that vistas appear flat and more like designs though their function can be discerned.

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Corner houses in Hong Kong is another fascinating series both visually and historically.

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Wolf has also made a series of Parisian Google Street View blow ups.

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Another series is in a room constructed to occupy a space 10′ by 10′ which is the size of the many rooms Wolf has photographed in an older tower block in Hong Kong. Each photograph features a portrait of it’s inhabitant sometimes inhabitants and the surrounding they have created for themselves. Again Wolf manages a powerful lifelike 3D effect in his imagery.

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A series about Chicago shows both the faceless repetitive architecture of Chicago and simultaneously people working away inside the buildings. A twilight effect and an interesting viewpoint with people largely unaware they are being photographed.

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In Tokyo Compression, Wolf shows people who have been pushed up against the windows of commuter trains. Many clearly do not wish to be photographed but cannot stop the photographer who is outside looking in. Some of the expressions are agonised as both their external and internal space is being invaded. Cleverly made yet questionable, a reminder of photography’s dark side and sometimes controversial means.

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The Real Toy Story consists of a mass of plastic toys attached to a wall in which there are compassionate images of workers who make such toys. The effect is remarkably realistic.

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Apart from collecting a huge amount of toys, he has also collected small chairs in a variety of manifestations.

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There is a wall of video installations showing very short often 30 second movies of ingenious applications Wolf has encountered in Hong Kong.

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Another wall shows a collection of items Wolf has made as a result of photographic work which includes objects like coat hangers and umbrellas.

While I like the psychology behind what Wolf is doing, as a photographer I am also impressed by his ability to render such, at times, life like imagery.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Kogi Indians (Arles-2017)

“Who are the Kogi people? Where and how do they live? What type of dialogue can we have with them? To what end, regarding the pressing questions of our age? 40 photographic works by Éric Julien show a profoundly human society in which everything is “sign”. A society whose last heirs, refugees in the upper valleys of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, look with sadness upon their little brothers, “the civilised, as they call themselves,” destroying the web of life.”

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This exhibition is not easy to find and I have to make my way through a labyrinth of rooms in a bookshop eventually finding my way, thanks to arrows on the floor. The exhibition is downstairs in a cellar.

This body of work is an in depth investigation of a tribe largely untouched by modern civilisation; it questions whether or not they enjoy a happier life. Are not these people enslaved by fear? Although free of many of the trappings of modern life such as money, these people are not free of the human condition. They are surrounded by wild animals too!

Such people as the Kogi do live in harmony with their surroundings.

The film which shows alongside the exhibition gets a little tiresome after awhile; it is narrated by a French speaking man who is at times seen talking to camera. The tribe themselves are seen in the background going about their way of life as if they are secondary yet my inability to understand what is being said in French is a reason for not liking it!

Will seeing the film from the beginning improve my impression!? The film starts with Gentility Cruz, a man related to the tribe talking; it appears he has Kogi origins. Certainly he knows about the Kogi who live in a very organised society.

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The insight into the society although mediated by this one person is nevertheless a valid one; the narcotics they use are for religious use for example. While such insight is helpful it is still this one individual talking. The ability of the tribe to construct elaborate sturdy bridges is another aspect of their lives. These people also know about the movements of the sun and moon. The film does show a little of them going about their daily life without commentary yet mostly it is concerned with interaction with the filmmaker.

The modern tent looks a little out of place with the traditional mud huts the indigenous people have made. Dialogue with these people is not easy. At one point a tribal wants to talk about light but the interviewer is clearly not interested.

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Even when the tribal people start dancing, their music is allowed not more than a minute before the guide starts talking again.

There is touching footage showing intimate scenes yet the voice continues without interruption. The message seems to be that these are not savages but people with their own developed civilisation. People who are at peace with nature and themselves. They believe in themselves. They are not lazy though some may consider them so! Can they be free of greed?

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The still photographs allow the viewer more freedom; no view is being imposed although there are placards informing one about the people. The way they relate to ancient stones is interesting though we are not told much.

The exhibition includes an installation of a traditional Kogi house, a kind of wigwam.

The support for the Kogi people is to help them get back lands that have been taken from them! There are said to be about 25,000 Kogi (kagaba) people with a civilisation stretching back 4,000 years. The Tchendukua organisation represents their interests.

www.tchendukua.com

There does not seem to be a photobook for this exhibition so one is left with an impression generated by the film which gives me an insight but not one I can trust perhaps. The notion of territory is a strong one and probably promotes self righteousness yet for me the Kogi appear to have some kind of spiritual understanding.