The endless wave spectrum

The endless wave spectrum

 

Language is extremely interconnected with politics and the ways of the world, in this respect it is valid to say that it is a living system at the mercy of outer influences. It evolves as civilization does, however can technology be detrimental to communication? James Clar, an American artist using different mediums such as video, light sculpture and installation examines, through his oeuvre, technology’s influence in language and in our lives.

During his sojourn at Dubai, Clar became acquainted with cultural and political systems diametrically opposed. Despite the city’s rapport with muslim customs, Dubai is considered as a child of the global era where the majority of its inhabitants come from foreign countries and where English is the second language spoken. The metropol significantly influenced Clar’s narratives, his piece Global English evidences English’s hegemony, “it’s use as the standard communication language”. The British writer George Orwell recognized too language’s relevance, in his book 1989 he imagined a society ruled by a totalitarian regime in which a new language was implemented – newspeak- to better control the population. Although we haven’t yet attained that point, the loss of dialects and (other) languages symbolizes the United States power over the rest of the world. At the same time English’s implementation narrows the logic spectrum homogenizing concepts, wiping off entire ways of thinking.

Though technology is not demonized by the artist, he’s not eager about it either as he emphasizes the collateral impact of it in our daily basis. After Walter Benjamin’s opposition to the mechanical era, technology has largely surpassed any forecast made by philosophers or thinkers alike. Nevertheless, if someone predicted the ascend of media and its preponderance was the Canadian communicologist Marshall McLuhan. Even before internet’s explosion and the arrival of Facebook or other sharing platforms, he stated that from the moment man put a satellite into orbit, nature ceased to exist. This conception of the world where nature is man made is largely considered by Clar in his work. His installation River of Time reproduces an historical Ford model mimicking a waterfall, mechanical components blend together creating an artificial environment, natural and manufactured meet hence questioning innate rules. But if nature hasn’t ceased to exist, McLuhan’s poignant assertion insinuates in every possible way. As an example to this Clar pointed out artificial light’s effect in our day to day; natural light no longer dictates the dream cycle nor our activities. The information era is defined by a relentless stream of data discharging before our eyes all types of information. As we wrestle to cope with the incessant pile of available information, the latter becomes an aesthetic form. The Fire won’t stop, an artwork composed by a LED screen, a computer and a non conductive liquid streams a video on loop of a man on fire. The never ending action and its disposition makes it conflicted and absurd, we can’t help to question the real impact of technology in our lives.

eXistenZ is paused furthers and interrogates the way our contemporaneous ecosystem is constructed. This particular artwork takes inspiration on the film Existenz by David Cronenberg in which a “virtual reality” game called eXistenZ replaces reality. The sequence chosen by Clar shows the two main characters in between two worlds, the game and reality. After Ted Pikul (the main character) decides to pause Existenz he experiences an odd feeling, reality feels less authentic and thrilling than the game. While the video is on a loop, an EEG sensor analyzes the computer’s own brain waves. Absurdity is prompted by a nihilist mechanism, over analyzation of waves and the infinite loop makes us question on technology’s real role. Machines have become “extensions of our beings and are metaphors – they are literal, not figurative”, nowadays technology isn’t a mere tool but a necessity. In between the fictitious world generated by technology, how can we differentiate reality from fiction? Our cellphones, televisions, ipads and every technologic product aids us in a world where the body isn’t the sole phenomenological indicative, machines are thus sensible extensions of our senses. Nevertheless, are they assisting or originating gaps? The French writer Albert Camus defined absurdity in his essay The Myth of Sisyphus as the “divorce between man and his life, the actor and the setting…”. When a man detaches himself from his habitat and ceases to establish a relation with his surrounding, he’s alienated and loses the purpose of his life. Once again Clar doesn’t preach for a return to a “natural” idealistic Arcadia but highlights the void generated by technology. Nodody’s Home produces an illusion of presence, behind the door we see what seems to be the shadows of people walking, but we soon discover the piece is playing upon our perception.

In Clar’s oeuvre there is not arbitrariness or judgment, in the manner of scientists he restrains himself to study the collected information and present it to his audience. Clar’s design is not political nor moral as his objective is to build an aesthetic based on light systems. If Artists like James Turrell and Dan Flavin have already developed their own study on light what Clar has to offer is a new perspective on the matter. While Turrell’s approach is attached to a cosmogonic vision, Clar tries to give shape to the way computers understand light and life itself. His austere arrangements evoke the binary codes and the simplified language of machines.

Cold and artificial forms populate Clar’s universe but does this means we’re witnessing a sensible revolution? Even though humanness prevails robotic faculties and mechanics are concocting new dialects and communication means. How is this affecting our topography’s memory? How is the human mind and eye transforming? Clar knows how to formulate questions without giving exact answers.

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Where life and dreams are as one

Where life and dreams are as one

 

Nostalgia to some is a feeling leading to sadness, a yearning for the past accompanied with regrets. American writer Michael Chabon defines it rather as a straight connection with the past: “is the emotional experience – always momentary, always fragile of having what you lost or never had. (…) It’s the feeling that overcomes you when some minor vanished beauty of the world is restored.” Evgenia Arbugaeva, a Russian photographer, born in the small town of Tiksi has undertake the task of, if not restoring, at least rendering visible the almost vanished beauty of the world. Her projects, Amani, Tiksi, Weather Man and Mammoth Hunters explore the relation between man and nature accentuating the latter’s force.

 

 

Whether it is an abandoned laboratory in the forest of Amani in Tanzania or the splendorous Russian Arctic, Evgenia’s photographs position isolated or abandoned geographical regions in our radar: “I realize that my work (…) contributes to a certain preservation of, or allows to have some information about the place because most of the places where I go, there is no much information about them.” What we thought lost, what we ignored becomes existent and while she unravels the marvels of magical places frozen in time, the spectator learns that present and future are in reality commingled temporalities. In her most recent series Amani, Arbugaeva portrays an abandoned laboratory in the jungle of Amani, in Tanzania. Although abandoned by the scientific community after the country’s independence during the 60’s, the last keeper of the building, John Mganga preserves it zealously. Isolated by the forest and the neighboring natural reserve, the laboratory is struck in a limbo working as a memento from the golden years.

Chabon’s definition of nostalgia reverberates in the photographer’s images as they don’t relinquish the past but construct bridges interconnecting as well as questioning what we consider to be modernity. Old furniture and the laboratory’s shabby equipment contributes to the picture’s atmosphere soliciting the spectator’s imagination to recreate the rest of the photographic decor: “I ask myself this question, why I keep going to places struck in the limbo, struck between two worlds? I think this space of memory is very interesting for the artist because it’s so open for interpretation, that’s what really excites me”.

Her series Weather Man offers a similar stylistic device, Arbugaeva photographed the character’s measuring apparatuses underlining with this simple gesture the cleavage between today’s technology and that used by Weather Man. Objects metamorphose through the artist’s lens into taciturn accomplices conferring to the vernacular the ability to speak.

Analogous to furniture or gadgets, landscape communicates an unspoken message disclosing yet other components of her character’s personality. Quietness and reverie are conveyed in her series Tiksi, where a young girl from the region joyously plays in the Russian tundra, unfolding before our gaze her inner universe. Moreover, the artist’s approach mimics the methodology adopted by filmmakers associated with the “cinéma vérité” where the camera is acknowledged by the person filmed or photographed. Unlike other documentary sous genres, cinéma vérité envisions and permits the director to participate in the field experience, he is not there to purely contemplate, he’s a catalyst triggering action and emotional responses.

Arbugaeva follows this same precepts for she establishes a relationship with the people she photographs, her lyrical images externalize an internal feeling and are palpable imprints of the connection she shares with her protagonists. Her series Mammoth Hunters is probably the most “objective” one, as it illustrates an article for National Geographic. Yet, even within her journalistic production her aesthetics prevail with dreams and fantasy permeating her images. An example to this is a photograph of a mammoth hunter asleep in his tent, an image of a mammoth decorates the ceiling evoking what might be part of his sleeping universe. In the end “it’s not about photography”, as Arbugaeva stated in a recent conversation we held over the phone, it’s more about life and human relations. Beyond solely documenting what she sees, the photographer’s essence fill her clichés thereby unraveling her own doubts and psyche: “every time I photograph I try to figure out who I am, as many photographers do”. The power of Arbugaeva’s images lies in her ability to express in the blink of an eye what she and her character feel, the intangible and inexplicable become visible as affection materializes in her photographs.  

 

 

But what is real and what belongs to the realm of dreams? The problem of truth is indirectly posed in each photograph taken by the artist; nonetheless her intention isn’t the pursuit of ultimate objectivity rather the opposite: Arbugaeva’s captivating images question the structure of the world. In a society colonized by reason and practical thinking, her images propound an alternative existence in which dreams hold a leading role. Life’s futilities have no room in Arbugaeva’s work, she focuses on philosophical questions urging her spectators to interrogate themselves. In this respect, light can be considered as a metaphor of the mental activity occurring in her protagonists mind, such as in the series Weather Man where we see a portrait of this character looking blissfully into the void. When looking at the subtle lightning in this photographs, it is impossible not to think of Vermeer’s paintings, both artistic practices favouring contrast over harmony.

“What is life? a tale that is told; what is life? a frenzy extreme”, such were the words of the Spanish author Calderon de la Barca to poetically analyze the difference between dreams and life. In the writer’s universe, such as in Evgenia’s, the two are interwoven together and merge as one.

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Tucked in the far right corner of the image, dressed in motley, specked with black dots is the artist duo Anthony Aziz and Samuel Cucher in clowning disguise as the silent observers in the woven chaos of Aporia. This iconography is a recurring motif to Aziz + Cucher’s work ever since its first appearance in their self-reflective work By Aporia, Pure and Simple in 2012 rather as an answer as artists to the question “how proceed?”. A significant culmination of their 26-year career and their aesthetic, Aziz + Cucher fully assumes their role as fools and as the vehicle to the viewer’s understanding of the truth to the realities of living.

Unassuming and ethereal, a peacock is captured in its full virility, in a moment of majestic sexual dominance surrounded at the same time by ritualistic ruins and modern urbanisation. Within a barren field, a bed of dandelions sprouted in the midst of figures screaming in silent, excruciating pain as if writhed by some other-worldly, imposing force. Five sheep look on as people hurry on with their nylon bags in search for a better settlement. The beasts’ docile innocence starkly contrasts with the ignorance of the selfie-takers. This is the aesthetic of violence prevalent in Anthony Aziz’s and Samuel Cucher’s tapestries – hypocrisy in our modern way of living, corruption of our natural habitat.

In Aziz + Cucher (A+C)’s Some People Tapestry Cycle (2014-2016), digital images taken from the duo’s travels to Israel, the Palestinian territories, Lebanon, and countries within the Balkans are electronically woven by their collaborators Magnolia Editions into Jacquard tapestries. The symbolic meanings to be studied in the featured animals, the Renaissance composition, and its employment to depict battlefields remain faithful to the historical functions of tapestry. Yet, in a stroke of genius, A+C’s artistic report on the current belligerent sentiments gives the medium a contemporary revitalisation, moving a topic so blatantly political onto the stage of an Absurdist theatre.

The violence in A+C’s work stems from the uncanny; it is the sight of familiar objects put in extraordinary circumstances. Considering A+C’s audience, they are the people who frequent the contemporary art milieu. Therefore, when we see building cranes in the background and ceremonial carvings on the wall in The Visitor, the peculiar positions that the figures are in with bags on their heads in The Road or limp bodies lying on the ground in Some People, our associative brains recall the horrific imageries perpetuated in the news. The effect of anxiety or even agoraphobia that plagues every single person in our globalised society does not require the artists to be specific like their predecessors, Paolo Uccello’s The Battle of San Romano (1440) comes to mind, but rather this question of land, home and humanity is mythicised and becomes universal in their tapestry.

Retrospectively, the evolution of A+C’s previous photographic and video oeuvre constructs a condition unique to their way of shaping the uncanny. Fairly early on in their first collaboration, Faith, Honor and Beauty (1992) evokes a strong sense of malevolence in how society views the human body. We see the subjects as the canon of beauty, yet there is a chilling impression to the photographs because the figures are without their sexual organs. The confrontation towards censorship in art, which was extremely polemical during the 90s culture wars in the United States, using literal self-censorship in their work was the first step A+C took to question the origins of our fears. From the dissolution of the body to the eeriness of the mechanical flesh in Plasmorphica (1997) and in Chimera (1998), to the architectural abstraction in Interiors (1999-2000), and again to the ecstasy, hallucinatory imagery in Synaptic Bliss (2003-05) and Scenapse (2007-2013), we see a trajectory against figuration or even anthropocentrism.

Aporia

However, a turning point came in 2006 in the form of the Israeli-Hezbollah War. With family ties in both Israel and Lebanon, the sense of ridicule and helplessness in the present complicated political realities gave impetus to A+C’s donning of the garb of jesters. While the duo confesses the self-deprecating image of the costumes, the interpretation runs deeper. The quintessential Shakespearean fool is a device, a motor that goes beyond giving comic relief to tragedies, but instead rendering deeply complex and traumatic scenes more understandable in their metaphorical resemblance to reality. The physical intervention of the A+C clowns, the artists’ departure from abstraction, and their subsequent change in the support of expression to tapestry in 2014 mark the duo’s questioning of the nature of power and the value of humanity sitting on this house of cards.

The unique tactility and the almost relief sensation in A+C’s design metamorphoses the moment captured in their digital images into sequences of movements.

This effective medium defines itself between the closeness and the distance with the viewer. The unique tactility and the almost relief sensation in A+C’s design metamorphoses the moment captured in their digital images into sequences of movements. The solemnity yet mystic fleeting fragility of the textile adds to the fear of contact dictated by the unspoken decorum in exhibitions and the romance of art. It is in itself essentially a symbol of the empty shell of power woven centuries after centuries.

Look closely at the tapestry Aporia, there is a severe expression of anxiety in the work’s narration: jet fighters across the tinged blue sky, scenes of struggle in the foreground, and undescriptive flags and gibberish signs waving in mid air. The centralised triangle with the male figure in a worker’s jumpsuit and a surgical mask as the apex of the tension and in the composition is unceremoniously skewed by the two odd figures on the right. The artists, as clowns, have the function of exposition in this storyline. They are not a physical demonstration of the silliness of the conflict, but rather a statement of truth, of the existence of such a conflict, the essence of which comes from us, the viewers looking at our reality in the third person perspective, from us looking at these figures as aliens and that we are aliens to them as well. While fools are a most unostentatious character in a play with a most pitiful ambition, it is through this pretense that A+C achieve catharsis in their personal tragedies and through which we, the viewers, recognise the cynicism of our phenomenal world.

FHB_Man-Woman

In our post-reality consciousness, all acts are political. Such is a great point of contention in the realm of the arts. In a moment of consideration, contemporary art can oscillate between propaganda and a reflection over calm waters. Ever since their first project together, Aziz + Cucher never cease to position their art in the current cultural and collective psyche, yet the relentless sensation of sterility muffles all conspicuous or personal commentary. Their ongoing tapestry series presents an even more eloquent demonstration of an abject anxiety under our warring times. The tapestry medium, from its historical to contemporary usages and manifestations, transmutes the inherent stirrings of the human soul into lasting forms.

Eamonn Doyle – “I, On , End”

Eamonn Doyle – “I, On , End”

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The Persistance of Memory

The Persistance of Memory

EL BANQUETE.2006.140 X 200 CM

Armando Romero’s career is one to be envied as during his formative years he was taught by tutelar Mexican artists such as Juan Soriano, Francisco Zúñiga, José Luis Cuevas and many others.

Although he was influenced by the muralists and their practices, especially by Siqueiros, he also fought against their academic pedagogy. His artworks often, if not always, confront the spectator with paradoxical “realities” and aesthetics within his canvases. This is not as irrational as it seems, Romero follows the Hegelian triad – thesis, antithesis and synthesis – in order to explore the possibilities that the pictorial space has to offer and to give as much data as possible to his audience. He is inspired by other triadic semantics such as the one conceived by Joseph Kosuth in his conceptual artwork One and three Chairs where 3 realities are confronted – the material object, a photograph of the chair and the definition of the word chair: language, material reality and image, three realities, three experiences to grasp the world.

Romero’s dialectical images can be interpreted in a variety of ways and the spectator chooses and is encouraged to adopt and experience multiple viewpoints. Thus he invites the spectator to question the long-lasting reigning norms of the art world. Even though all the “academic” rules are the legacy of Western academies and movements, they have an impact throughout the world. This could explain why Romero is still regarded as irreverent, as he never adhered to any of the avant-garde movements and always proclaimed his independency. Romero is a Steppenwolf, one of a kind. Not only does he reject outdated quarrels among both noble and popular ways of expression, he also questions our Eurocentric perception of art. For instance, for Romero and other Mexican artists, ugliness and the grotesque are part of the pre-Hispanic aesthetics and thus relative. Pre-Hispanic aesthetics, described as “ugly” and “grotesque” during the XIX century are as worthy as the beauty canons imposed by the European academies. Furthermore, Romero questions the notion of “kitsch”, a term coined by the American art critic Clement Greenberg. In his essay Avant-Garde and Kitsch, Greenberg explains that kitsch is “destined to those who, insensible to the values of genuine culture, are hungry nevertheless for the diversion that only culture of some sort can provide”. Romero, unlike Greenberg, doesn’t condemn the popular culture, his sculpture Payaso (2015) bears witness to this belief: a clown sculpted in what seems to be marble appears vandalised. In it we can read the names of the American artist Donald Judd, the avant-garde movement Fluxus, and even the name of the Greenberg; alongside all these “high” culture references, the portrait of Don Ramon (a popular character from the Mexican TV show El chavo del ocho) appears, breaking the harmony, mingling all the symbols together defying this sclerosed assumption.

ENTRE HEROES Y DIOSES I.2006.200 X 200 CM

Romero is an iconophile: religious and art history iconography along with comic personages are omnipresent in his artworks. From Las Meninas of Velazquez and Bosch magic creatures to The Jetsons, The Pink Panther and Superman, these superheroes and pop culture icons populate his universe and through them he challenges the separation between high and low art. His visual repertoire is composed by infinite images, which, like many artists from his time, he was exposed to throughout his life. This exposure is the product of a cult we profess towards, the cult of images and their omnipresence in our everyday life. In his painting La Mona no está lisa (2015) the eponym woman shares the canvas with the hatter, a fictional character from the film adaptation of the book Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. In this particular painting, Romero also makes reference to the creator of the ready-made, Marcel Duchamp and his work L.H.O.O.Q (1919) where the latter painted a moustache on the Mona Lisa’s face, yet another act of irreverence that demonstrates the painter’s connoisseurship of images.  Rather than “copying”, – Romero follows a long line of creators practicing the art of the pastiche – he beguiles the spectator with his contemporary “trompe l’oeil”, presumable stickers juxtaposed within the painting and painted by the artist. He often creates amusing fictions combining graffiti, photography and painting, reminding us of the assemblages of Robert Rauschenberg.

Laughter is an indispensable element pervading Romero’s paintings and sculptures. According to the French philosopher Henri Bergson, laughter and humour are two assets inherently human. In his book Laughter (1900) Bergson explains that laughter and the comic derive from particular social situations and can lighten relationships between individuals. Armando Romero ludicrously addresses his audience by disassembling the hermetic walls that often surround contemporary art. Historia de Ziggy Stardust y las arañas de Marte (2005) is a canvas referencing not an artist or philosopher but the famous song Ziggy Stardust by the British singer David Bowie; Romero creates a bond with his audience by evoking cultural phenomenon that everybody can relate to.

LA MONA NO ESTÁ LISA. 2015.90 x 60 cm.

Armando Romero doesn’t pertain to a particular “school” of artist, he dodges stigmas by constantly juxtaposing concepts: Walter Benjamin’s “aura” and Marshall McLuhan “copy”, critiquing the “spectacle society” and at the same time praising it. Unconventionally, the artist separates from his predecessors, even with his acolytes, by creating a unique “style” and iconography. Romero is compelled by desires, remembrances and human experiences more than by philosophical currents. Like Proust, he condenses in a canvas multiple temporalities, that all exist at once. What he seeks to develop is a converging and fusing of epochs as well as different “cultural temperatures”. To Armando Romero, what persists is the human experience and our memory not the rules emitted by a detached elite, the ultimate duty of the artist is to convey emotions and to share his humanness with others.

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Chamber of Reflection

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MB-NGC 3372_flat

Night Sky NGS 3372 from the series “Night Skies”, 2013,
cocaine dust on photographer’s velvet, 132 x 306 cm. Courtesy of the artist

 

Photography and image-making by extension, have become part of the everyday rituals of contemporary western societies. The proliferation of images has become a synonym of acknowledgment, a symptom of our obsession for appearances and the praise of individualism. Susan Sontag’s call for an “ecology of the image” has been exceeded by social media and the “cult of personality”. To neutralize this visual superabundance, young photographers must innovate by giving new shapes to the imaged and by stimulating the ocular organ, they have to some extent, be able to alleviate the viewer’s gaze. Matthew Brandt’s strategy is to dig into photography’s past to present old-fashioned techniques of reproduction revitalizing them and offering a renewal in contemporary aesthetics.

At first glance, his are captivating photographs of vast landscapes reminding us of the tradition of the first American photographers who revealed to wider audiences the hidden treasures of the American West; photographers such as Ansel Adams, Edward Weston and Timothy O’Sullivan are among those who inspired Brandt’s body of work. His photographs from the series Water Bodies, especially Two Ships Passing U.S and Pacific Ocean bear witness to his penchant for ancient techniques. In a recent conversation held with the artist, he attributed the implementation of these procedures to what they enable him to do when creating an image: other than the playful asset, uncertainty plays a tremendous role. Brandt finds the mystery lying behind each take fascinating, ostensibly analog images magnify the desire to discover the image.

The brisk cascade of images in social media copes with the tandem of our contemporary world, the artist’s technique requires certain equipment and time of exposure and certain material that corresponds to the methodology used during the 19th century. The resulting images are far from the plethora of data in mass media. His artistic takes possess a particular texture and linear composition bestowing them softness and harmony. While Brandt relinquishes old fashioned techniques, he associates photography with chemistry rather than with a simple reflex. Photos are for him invitations to the past where each take is carefully thought about and constructed.

While Brandt relinquishes old fashioned techniques, he associates photography with chemistry rather than with a simple reflex.

Art and its techniques are an unparalleled footprint of a society’s way of thinking and seeing. Impressionism is an example of the evolution undergone by the human eye, without photography’s arrival, painting might have never been liberated from the mimetic burden. Clippings – a series created during 2014 and 2015 – uses the pointillism technique making a parallelism between photography and painting. These artistic avant-gardes explored human perception terminating with the Western tradition of perfect sight, they focused on blurry configurations. Clippings is an investigation of how an image is made and for the artist the latter relates more to a moveable oscillation of components than to a static structure. His unorthodox methods of representation – among them we can cite the use of kitchen ingredients in his series Taste Test in Color, honeybees, dust and recently cocaine for Night Skies – encourage spectators to be inventive and to understand that there is more to his photos that meets the eye.
MB-Lewis-Lake-WY-3

Lewis Lake WY3 from the series “Lakes & Reservoirs”, 2013,
C-print soaked in Lewis Lake water. Courtesy of the artist

 

One wonders then, what is the requisite to making photography or to creating an image? New technologies have widened its definition, but Brandt does not choose technology. Instead, he introduces elements from what he portrays, conferring to each photograph a special “aura”. This concept was firstly evoked by Walter Benjamin in his essay The Work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction, in it the German philosopher underlined the inherent dangers of “new” techniques. Benjamin feared art’s trivalisation as well as the audience’s loss of interest for the original. Yet, Brandt’s work disputes the philosopher’s claims by creating unique photographic pieces. His series Portraits is made with body fluids provided by the people photographed, to some extent each take contains its special DNA, one that can’t be reproduced infinitely. Lakes and Reservoirs operates with the same logic as he developed the photographs with the water collected from the lakes. The approach is further developed with Bridges over Flint, as it takes a political nuance. In the wake of the American elections, the photographs appear as indicators of the genesis of a critical moment in history.

Boundless connections derive from each of his artistic projects, Wai’anae for instance is an investigation on how Hawaiians relate to their land. Brandt took photos of Wai’anae’s nature, he later developed them, folded them in banana leaves and buried them on the ground. Moisture, rain and the soil transformed the photographs into quasi abstract printings, the experience was correlated to a Hawaiian burial ritual in which the body is folded and becomes part of nature again. Photography’s connectedness to death emerges as we remember Barthes statement “that had been”, image making reveals itself as a morose testament, a modern memento mori. Memory is indeed a fascinating feature in photography making, a part from taking part in modern ritualistic activities, it testifies to our presence in exotic places. In relation to tourism photography, Brandt created a whimsical character, the epitome of bad taste and questionable behaviour representing mass tourism. With a fist in the air, a Hawaiian shirt and a hat, Hands up embodies mass tourism and photography’s role in modern holidays. It was again Sontag in her essay On photography, that described photography’s place during the holiday season and how picture taking eased German and American workers giving them the feeling of doing something with their idle time.

 

MB-Two Ships Passing_Pacific Ocean_U.S_300dpi

Two Ships Passing, US from the series “Water Bodies”, 2011,
salted paper print, 107 x 133 cm. Courtesy of the artist

 

Matthew Brandt’s photographs are historical journeys retracing the steps of photography and its evolution over the years. One of his latest exhibitions showcased at the Museum of Modern art in New York, was a video performance with the musician Julianna Barwick where Brandt was in charge of the video-making. This is a major factor asserting that Brandt doesn’t limit himself to photography’s stillness, movement is gaining in importance in his artistic practice. It is of little importance if Brandt’s interests broaden, what remains in his photographs and videos is his ardent curiosity for image and its by-products, a lucid testimony of what image has become.

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