October 2005 Archives
October 25, 2005
Spanish photographer Isabel Munoz has won two World Press Awards for her artful documentary photographs from around the world. She is now presenting a stunning body of intimate portraits of people from south Ethiopia, capturing dignity and beauty — in scarified skin, piercings and ornamentation — yet bringing into question the ability to conduct real anthropological work of ancient tribes in the 21st century. Galerie Seine 51 in Paris shows 30 platinum prints and 8 color prints, October 28 through December 3, 2005. The artist will be present at the opening night October 27.
October 24, 2005
It's the flow of images, colored by the artist's hand, superimposed one over the other with intention and chance â€“ combined like partners in sex, or the cycle of life and death. Subtle electro-acoustic musical noise keeps the flow continuous, rising fallingâ€¦
A photo of a naked woman suspended with ropes from a ceiling is superimposed on a photo of a formal gateway with a door buzzer. A middle-aged man, hands clasped, sitting on an outdoor step, staring at a sleeping dog â€“ this is superimposed over a shiny-clean sewer cover in the middle of a city street. Anonymous run-down temporary rooms caught in the loneliness of the camera's flash, coupled with finger-paint vibrant green smeared on a photograph, circling taut nipples.
This is how an artist reveals his vision. The separate parts are mute, it becomes multidimensional, understandable perhaps, and not repetitive, redundant, exploitive or ridiculous. Not pornography, but an honest accessible meditation on sex, life, death, society, public and privateâ€¦
This is what Araki calls Arakinema, his own personal type of cinema. It was presented "live" at Palais de Tokyo in Paris last week. And for me, it works better than his 300-page books which seem ponderous, monotonous, mildly interesting at best.
As a prelude to the cinema part, Araki and one of his favorite models "performed" for the audience: she danced and twirled and stripped seductively as he used an endless stream of Polaroid cameras to capture the moments. It was in some ways like watching a Tango. No words between them, but brief gestures, glances, the sway of body language, at ease in the moment, seemingly unaware of the crowds around them (with lots of flashes and greedy video cameras). His team of helpers gathered the Polaroids in handfuls, then, as soon as they were developed, projected the stills onto a giant screen while the dance continued.
After the performance, a grid of the Polaroids was put on display, a sort of contact sheet of an Araki shoot.
I like these words from a text by Germano Celant, "Araki - Tokyomania," (Edition Mennour, Paris, 2000, pp. 4-5):
"Besides the avalanche of erotic subjects, Araki introduces into his work the entire range of possible communication techniques. He uses indifferently slides, posters, color photocopies, film, Polaroid, color and black-and-white photographs, large and small formats, to construct his erotic mosaics of solitude, which he displays on walls and ceilings or spreads out over the floor in museums and galleries. The idea is to record a world of silent bodies, moving in an icy sensuality where immaculate and obscene pleasures of sex and politics, day to day or novel, create a choreography of the senses in which the viewer is invited to take part as an active or passive."
And this quote from the artist himself:
"Sentiment, sentiment, sentiment, sentiment. Pressing the shutter release is like holding your breath for a second. But not to the point of killing yourself, thank you. It's just a state of suspended emotion. I just stop breathing during that moment. And when I see the images, I come back to life. It's like rising from the dead. But it's also fireworks. Disappearing in a flash, like fireworks. A love of fireworks is equally sentimental."
â€“ Nobuyoshi Araki
October 10, 2005
Nobuyoshi Araki, icon and cult-like figure in Japanese photography, is in Paris for only the second time in 25 years, and his fans are surrounding him in mobs of adoration. He squiggled playful colorful pornographic doodles in every book he signed at the Taschen store, cracked jokes in Japanese, and agreeably posed for snapshots, mostly with his middle finger extended in greeting. In addition to promoting "Tokyo Lucky Hole", recently re-released by Taschen, the big attraction is a cinematic spectacle of images and music at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris from 8 October to 23 October 2005.
Check back in a few days for the full report, with interview quotes and images.
In the meantime, I thought you might enjoy this "over-the-top" excerpt from the press release (somehow very appropriate to the extravagance of Araki):
"ARAKINEMA-Paris is a unique project that has been especially created for the Palais de Tokyo. The piece is a firework of images. Araki makes his own brand of cinema â€“ his Arakinema â€“ by incorporating music and movement into his work in photography. The piece as a whole moves to a rhythm that displays a range of accelerations and culminates in an apotheosis of scathing and sensually raw emotions.
"Projected directly on screen, the images of Arakinema play with a feeling that is both esthetic and dizzying, a sentiment that combines the intimate and the provocative. The colors are bright, the attraction strong, and the feeling of unease appealing: Arakinema sows confusion in the inner reaches of beauty.
"This project runs concurrently with an important show on the artist at the Barbican Arts Centre in London, which is on display from 6 October 2005 to 22 January 2006."
October 6, 2005
We're delighted to launch another all-new edition of Lens Culture.
Discover the new, the already-famous, the rising stars, and those who are pushing the boundaries of the photographic medium:
In-depth audio interviews with U.K. photographers Martin Parr and John Blakemore. Digital photograms and modern-day camera obscura images. Compelling documentary from the dying Aral Sea. A meditative series on the life and death of animals in auto-centric societies. Evocative bordello images from Paris. An essay about what comes after photographic postmodernism. Book reviews. Previews of upcoming international photo exhibitions in Paris and New York. And moreâ€¦