Tag contemporary art

Readers’ favourite:: DJ Food – From ten to tomorrow

Art quote:: Gilda Williams on the beauty of artistic collaboration

“The reason the Gothic cathedral is so wonderful, is not the stained glass. It’s because it is a wonderful model of a community of artists. Everybody is working on their glass, their carvings, and their floors and it is what you see embodied in this building. He is not even interested in the Christianity and so forth; he is interested in this place for being a place where artisans can come and join and work. There are different varying levels; there is this good carving and the not so good; it doesn’t matter. If you’re an artist you can find a place there. Beautiful! Beautiful idea around the Gothic, which is of course the one that has sort of been shed today. And of course this is the symbol, the idea of Gothic, which made it beautiful to the Bauhaus, which is, I repeat, is lost.”

Excerpt from recorded talk Gilda Williams @ ICA ::::Gothic Art: Beyond Motif

Gilda Williams @ ICA ::::Gothic Art: Beyond Motif

Sunday , 12/6/11 , 5:00PM

This is a recording of part 1 of 3  in the panel discussion.

Quotes from introduction

“I am also interested in the art historical origins. Not so much really looking in dept in presenting here those theories, but I am interested in the idea that is gained from the art historical origins which the renaissance talked about; medieval architecture as Gothic, as being a cultural force that is out of one’s control. It is a cultural force that is forced upon you, that is inherited from the past and that you need to somehow cope with. “

“Just because no one is expecting it I think I’ll just take a few ideas around the Gothic. The Gothic is a really interesting word because it not only gains new meanings, but it loses others over history and there are some wonderful meanings that it has had in the past that are kind of fantastic. Of course the Gothic was really important for Bauhaus for example. Not the Gothic, the literary Gothic, the way we think of it now, but the idea of a Gothic cathedral is taken as a symbol for this new community of artisans for Ruskin, who is to this day, I think, one of the most interesting theorists surrounding the Gothic.

He said that what is interesting about the Gothic; the reason the Gothic cathedral is so wonderful, is not the stained glass. It’s because it is a wonderful model of a community of artists. Everybody is working on their glass, their carvings, and their floors and it is what you see embodied in this building. He is not even interested in the Christianity and so forth; he is interested in this place for being a place where artisans can come and join and work. There are different varying levels; there is this good carving and the not so good; it doesn’t matter. If you’re an artist you can find a place there. Beautiful! Beautiful idea around the Gothic, which is of course the one that has sort of been shed today. And of course this is the symbol, the idea of Gothic, which made it beautiful to the Bauhaus, which is, I repeat, is lost.”

 

Art quote:: Christian Moeller on making the invisible visible

“I create a picturesque room, by making the invisible visible. My works that appear very dramatic are always also directed to the shady sides and the mental abyss of the human existence, with all their facets: What lies in the secrecy poses questions to me. They address subjects like destruction, pain, violence, horror and chaos. My worldly wisdom is the agitated one in which you cannot breathe.”

CT took a closer look at some of Christian Moeller’s ball pen drawings:

See full feature: Powerful drawings of worldly wisdom

 

Art quote:: Neal Fox (from Le Gun) on why he celebrates Burroughs, Bacon & Co.

How would you describe the impact these strong personalities have had on your life; did you ever inject bug powder or “sit in your house for days on end staring at the roses in the closet”?

No, not yet. I’ve never stared at the roses in my closet, but maybe I should! I have mainly been inspired by the strong integrity and self-belief in these iconoclasts; they did it their own way, completely untouched by present ideas, restrictions and beliefs. They broke new ground and although there is a small portion of irony in my exhibition of Stained Glass Windows, (a hint towards today’s celebrity culture) I feel that these are the people that deserve praise and honor for the impact they have had on writers, musicians and artists.

From Interview with Iconoclastic Artist Neal Fox

Art quote:: DJ Food on the power of Telepathic Fish

Can you give us a detailed description of how the Telepathic Fish parties started?

There is a funny story about Telepathic Fish which is recounted in a couple of books; David Toop’s Ocean of Sound and Simon Reynolds’ Energy Flash. I was 22 and it was a weird point in my life. Having ended a long and very serious relationship I felt completely fresh, new and free, ready to experience everything. I just went along with whatever happened and this was one of those things weird situations that take you down roads.

It started one day at a car boot sale, where I found a keyboard with no power supply or instruction book. I said to the guy ‘Look, I obviously really need that to plug it in and to figure out how it works’. He told me to go to his mate’s house and gave me the number. I really needed the keyboard, so I went to the home of this rasta character with massive dread locks, apparently a dealer, who built his own speakers big as wardrobes. I sat down and took it easy while he was getting along with his routine and then he started talking about how fish was really important in life as a part of Christianity. I was a little white kid who’d only been in London for a couple of years and the situation confused me completely. He started talking about ‘Taking the fish’, meaning that if everyone ‘Took the fish’ it would provide us with a telepathic link which would enable us to understand each other in a profound way. He said ‘Wherever you look, the fish is there. If you look along the lampposts lining the Thames River, there are fish carved into the lampposts. I give the postman a fish.’ When I asked him what he meant, he brought out a bowl of little goldfish and said ‘Stick your tongue out!’ He literally slapped this fish on my tongue and said ‘Just swallow it, don’t chew it. Just swallow it’

So this was the whole thing; if you eat a live fish you have a special connection to everybody. I completely didn’t know what’s going on, but I thought ‘Ok’ and eventually my flat mates wanted to ‘take the fish’ too, so we went back there. The rasta dealer had some good weed and all the rest – it was a cool thing to do back then, when we were all raving and chilling and chilling and raving and raving and chilling and it was just more chilling than raving. We were looking for a good name for a party and decided to call it Telepathic Fish. It didn’t mean anything and it meant everything as well, although I never formed some telepathic link or went on to preach the ‘fish gospel’.

Read full interview DJ Food – From ten to tomorrow

 

Art quote:: DJ Food on the meaning of music

What is the experience that you want to give to your listeners? Do you have a general idea of where you want to send your listeners off to?

I definitely want to send people somewhere and I am always looking for that magical combination of sounds and rhythms that produces something indescribable. That moment, that rush, that magical something in a song where there is a brief pause and then everything goes BAM, or there is a build or a drop or a chord change that just really excites you. I was very into hip hop for many years, but it eventually got very dull  because it was constantly about reality, about ‘Keeping it real’, and ‘It’s all about the game, we’re trying to survive’. It was just too much of it. I know that reality is grim, but let’s not bang on about it. Let’s keep it unreal like Mr. Scruff; that is what this is all about, pure fantasy and pure escapism! The Search Engine exists to take you somewhere outside of your every day and when you put that album on you can escape, even if only for an hour. I love doing quite long tracks sometimes, because they really string out the experience and allow you to immerse yourself in them. It is amazing with groups like Future Sound of London and the Orb who make long proggy sort of albums which allow the listeners to just drift off and dream.

Read full interview DJ Food – From ten to tomorrow

©All rights reserved by Strictly Kev

Art quote:: Noam Edry on what art is capable of communicating

What do you think art is capable of communicating?

Do you know why it is an unfashionable life? Because it is so lo-tech. In Israel we don’t have fashion as readily available as you do here; it is so hard to get your hands on anything like that for many reasons. It’s not such a wealthy place to come from; it’s surrounded by enemy states; so it’s unfashionable. Here it is the opposite; Israel is very fashionable in the UK. It seems to be as big as China, because everyone has something to say about Israel. It is a way of not talking about the poverty in Britain, the homeless people here. It is a way of not talking about many internal problems, like the Irish situation. It is easier to make someone else the front line. So, when I called it unfashionable it was also controversial or with a pinch of salt. Everything in the show could be interpreted in many ways. Everyone thought it was a man that had made the show, with all the phallic symbols; the penises.

So in this way art is able to both reveal the viewer’s prejudices and suggest alternative perspectives and ideas.

Painting ‘The Pussycats’

Women got enraged when they saw The Pussycats (painting), thinking that a man had made it. When they met me it all changed, because it was suddenly a feminist statement on the machoism of society, the machoism of the media world and the art world; it is a man’s world. You have to be a woman with balls to  make it.

Then there was the question ‘Are you Palestinian?’ and the funny thing was that the Palestine Solidarity Campaign at Goldsmiths came on the private view and got really annoyed. I asked them ‘What is annoying you? What are you enraged about? Is it the work?’ They couldn’t understand, they couldn’t say what, because the work showed nothing that was ‘anti’ in the way they had expected it to. They were upset that I was feeling demonized as an Israeli. ‘How dare you feel demonized as an Israeli?’ ‘I do. You are the people who demonize me in your campaigns.’ So again, after that they just didn’t come. They came with the intention to crash the show or to make a protest, but they came and saw they had nothing to crash.

Read full interview Noam Edry – “I Am the Terrorist”

Detail: Painting ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Oil Stain’

Art quote:: Jeffrey Silverthorne on teaching photography

You have been teaching at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island since 2002, becoming a full Professor in 2011. What methods are you teaching your students to guide them toward, I quote, “to convey the contradictory natures of making things”? (Quote from University website)

It is an interesting place to teach, but teaching photography is both simple and impossible. In the eighties I was teaching at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design. At that time I was in frequent contact with the photographer Robert Frank and in one of our phone conversations I told him about one of my students. This young man’s work was sort of mediocre, but he told me about his father who was making weird and kinky films in his garden. I said to him: ‘That sounds great! Why don’t you bring them in and we will show them in class?’ I was discussing with Frank about how the kid brought in this borrowed courage into his own work. I think that people who are starting often need to borrow courage from some place, to be able to understand that they can do that and to start experimenting on their own. What is so great with photography is that on a 35mm roll of film you have 36 opportunities to fail; 36 opportunities to try something that you think you can’t do.

Read full interview – Jeffrey Silverthorne Interview Series Pt 2 – Desire, Struggle and Confusion

©Jeffrey Silverthorne Susan with a light bulb, 2006

Jeffrey Silverthorne Live in London – part 2 – Desire, Struggle and Confusion

6th September 2011

Live interview with Jeffrey Silverthorne at Daniel Blau London
During exhibition Haunting the Chapel – Photography and Dissolution

© Jeffrey Silverthorne, From Boystown, The Perfume of Desire

 

“The land along the Texas-Mexico border, a borderland, is a place for a psychological or physical passage/transgression.

A Boystown is a group of bars or clubs that gringos and some Mexicans go to for entertainment, and or to have sex with a prostitute, usually a woman, sometimes a female impersonator. I did not see an openly gay or lesbian club, though I saw gays and lesbians. Boystowns are located on the Mexican side of the border, and traditionally are physically and medically much safer than having sex with a prostitute working on the US side.

To understand a Boystown it is necessary to appreciate that in the borderland there are a number of divides; geographic, economic, religious and cultural. In a maquilladoro, a factory on the Mexican side of the border often owned by an international business, a woman might earn eight dollars a day. Working as a prostitute she will earn $40 to $120 for thirty to forty five minutes. The client usually pays $10 to $20 to the club for the rental of the room. Two clients a night seems to be average. For the prostitute there is a performance in doing her job well and conforming to the expectations of the customer. In some clubs if the client does not have an orgasm he can demand his money back for services not successfully rendered. His payment will be refunded.

I began my Boystown work in Nuevo Laredo, and it was there, in various clubs, and in Ciudad Acuna that I made most of these pictures. My motivations for photographing are both specific and vague, honorable and defenseless. On a simplistic and juvenile level, a Boystown is a celebration of life, a candy store of flesh, with any psychological or medical consequences deferred. On an adult level, Boystown is a direct observation of a spiritual poverty and economic failure that both countries and cultures share.

Jeffrey Silverthorne”

(http://agencevu.eu/stories/index.php?id=787&p=213)

_______________________________________________________

Jeffrey Silverthorne Interview Series

Part 2 – Desire, Struggle and Confusion
6th September 2011

Live interview with Jeffrey Silverthorne at Daniel Blau London
During exhibition Haunting the Chapel – Photography and Dissolution

© Jeffrey Silverthorne, From Boystown, The Perfume of Desire

What was your initial attraction towards the Texas-Mexico border?

I started going there with an older student and I didn’t even know that Boystowns existed; it was suggested to us by a taxi-driver. We were new to the territory and started walking around photographing. Later on the government gave me a grant to photograph prostitution in Mexico. Rather than commenting on the degree of humiliation, I was curious about the energy and the social friction. I was also spending time with the border patrol, who were tracking people and hunting for illegals. The Boystown series consists of many photos from the border control, more than the monograph is suggesting. I remember one of the agents saying: ‘These people leave their homes, travel for long distances with no money, risk their life crossing the river, because they can’t swim, to take jobs in places where people in the USA will not work and they send most of the money back home; and we call them lazy?’

The portrait German Man, 1994, is one of my personal favorites; it is a sort of anti-portrait, in the sense that it is portraying the photographer more so than the German Man himself.  This is where you are so unique; a, because you chose to go ahead and take that picture with his piercing eyes looking back at you, where most of us would’ve decided that it was ‘wrong’ to do so and b, because something about you seems to encourage people to be themselves; to not shy away from what they are feeling, despite the intrusive lens of your camera. Did you have many negatives of the German Man?

The photographer Peter Hujar, who made lots of wonderful pictures, used to work as a commercial photographer for the business magazine Fords. One time, I assume that this was in the early eighties, he went out take the portraits of John Cage and Merce Cunningham, and during the break Cage sat down on a chair and fell asleep. I said to Peter ‘Did you photograph him?’ Peter looked at me as if I had said ‘You have just grown three extra penises.’ He said: ‘No, I couldn’t do that. I didn’t know him.’ It is interesting how different photographers respond to a situation. With the German Man I think I shot a roll of 35 and some of his wife. The two of them were standing there as if thinking ‘What am I doing here?’ and he was very keen on presenting himself. It was sort of a question of me being still and waiting to let them settle in to their presentation.

©Jeffrey Silverthorne German Man,1994

To me, with my vivid imagination, it looks like you were passing by and he happened to sit there so you asked him ‘May I take your picture?’ He looks at you as if wondering why on earth you would want to do that and the question resides within the image.

Mmm, but that is not what happened at all. I took the chair out of the kitchen to the backyard and said: ‘Sit here, let’s see how that works.’ But imagination is a wonderful thing. It is like photography, it tells the truth and it doesn’t, because of the information added by the viewer.

The photograph Coney Island, July 4, shot in 1990, is included in your book Directions for Leaving. It was taken on Independence Day and it is striking how unreal this ordinary photograph of an ordinary woman seems in comparison to the rest of the book.

It is accurate what you say. In the book it is one of its kind, but I have made many pictures with a similar flavor. Years ago, when I was an undergraduate somewhere around 1967, I was trying out street photography.  I really enjoyed photographing relaxed people on holiday and Independence Day gives people an extra excuse to go to Coney Island just to enjoy themselves. I realized at an early stage that street photography simply wasn’t one of my strengths. However, Susanna and the Elders expresses a similar kind of stillness.

You have been teaching at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island since 2002, becoming a full Professor in 2011. What methods are you teaching your students to guide them toward, I quote, “to convey the contradictory natures of making things”? (Quote from University website)

It is an interesting place to teach, but teaching photography is both simple and impossible. In the eighties I was teaching at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design. At that time I was in frequent contact with the photographer Robert Frank and in one of our phone conversations I told him about one of my students. This young man’s work was sort of mediocre, but he told me about his father who was making weird and kinky films in his garden. I said to him: ‘That sounds great! Why don’t you bring them in and we will show them in class?’ I was discussing with Frank about how the kid brought in this borrowed courage into his own work. I think that people who are starting often need to borrow courage from some place, to be able to understand that they can do that and to start experimenting on their own. What is so great with photography is that on a 35mm roll of film you have 36 opportunities to fail; 36 opportunities to try something that you think you can’t do.

©Jeffrey Silverthorne Susanna and The Elders, 2004

The two Elders, from the Hebrew Bible ‘Book of Daniel’, tried to force young beautiful Susanna into sexual intercourse. In your take on ‘Susanna and the Elders’ in 2004, we see a color photography with you laying down in a sort of tub dressed in drapery and a young woman pouring water over you from a watering can. It would be interesting to know why you have given Susanna the dominating position, since she is originally the one who is struggling against the dominating elders.

Mythology and religion are very potent influences on the culture that I live in. I was interested in getting the literal content matter dealing with the subject matter. I am wondering where some of the behaviors and body language come from and how images are constructed. That is some of the reasons to why I enjoy looking at Giotto and artists both before and after. I don’t think I would begin with Jeff Wall, and neither does Jeff Wall, there is a long range of references. To tap into what some of the positions meant socially, I wanted to take that and use it in these culture stories. I have been interested in working with these motivations or this impetus and putting it into some kind of frame work that momentarily makes sense to me.

In Susanna and the Elders there is a motivation from the Bible story, but I don’t feel that I have to follow it. I use the parts that I am interested in and make up other pieces. With the shutter in my hand, I am giving her permission to do my will. Water is both cleansing, used to ‘get the Devil out of people’, and used as a form of torture and killing. She is pouring it out of a watering-can; I get to be her garden. On a pedestal you have a piece of wood, which has been neatly cut; I am sure it is not a phallic symbol. It is some of this play that I was curious about.

One year later, you created the work ‘Betrayal, Susanna and the Elders’ where we see the betrayed middle-age woman curled up in bed staring into a void, with the man standing by the side of the bed fully dressed and we can only see the male figure from the shoulders down to the knees. With your attraction towards the mundane and how one persons’ Mon-Fri appears extravagant to others; is this your way of suggesting a new sort of every-day mythology with a narrative closer to contemporary household-complications?

©Jeffrey Silverthorne Betrayal, Susanna and The Elders, 2005

There is the idea of the bathing with stones and a sponge, as opposed to water. I responded to Rembrandt’s paintings Bathsheba and Susanna and the Elders much more strongly than others from the same time period. What the Biblical story offered the painters of that time was a justifiable way to paint naked women. What that offered the client was a justifiable way to have a picture of a naked woman in their house. We look at the figures of Rembrandt’s Bathsheba and Susanna today and their physical features correspond to the ideals of that time. So, it’s not just a rendering of a Biblical story, it also ties to the culture of beauty of that time. Susanna and The Elders was motivated as much by Harold Pinter. In one his writings he is talking about the making of a theater play which begins with one character on stage. As the second actor/actress enters the stage, the totality of the energy is shifted and the viewer is no longer feeding off the energy of that one person. There is also this impenetrable distance between the two of them that I was interested in and a lot of my work since the morgue work deals with not getting what you think you want.

In 2006, in the photograph ‘Staircase’ we see you naked touching a naked young woman with curling pins in a staircase. The same year you also shot an image of young ‘Lauren’ in the bathroom fiddling with her curl pins dressed in panties. These photographs are serene, yet problematic. In what way are these images communicating age and desire?

It is like a defeat of sexuality. It comments on what Kafka said, that many of those things you think you were going to do, many of those things you want to do; they are not going to happen. I was interested in that struggle.

Are we likely to find more mythological references in your work in the future?

I am sure there will be, but I am not working on anything directly.

Since you have begun to take part in front of the camera, it has sometimes been with the help of altered mythological stories, scenographic design, facial paint etc. Has it been necessary for you to do this in order to create a distance from yourself or is it unrelated to your participation?

It is to step into the world of an actor and author, and not to disguise who I am. Although it is difficult to interfere, I am willing to do it. I could probably find some old person to photograph, but I don’t think they would have the mental concentration that I am looking for. Certainly the self-portrait of the artist at work is not a new theme. Judith Leyster painted a wonderful portrait in 1609, where she is looking out at the viewer, whilst painting a fiddler. Max Beckmann did a wonderful self-portrait of himself in a tuxedo (Self-Portrait in Tuxedo, 1927), presenting himself as an author and a participant of a community. I find that positioning interesting and sometimes confusing.

©Jeffrey Silverthorne Susan with a light bulb, 2006

Did you ever have an idea that was too controversial to execute?

Honestly, no. I was in Seville last year and I met some wonderful people who took me to a bullfight. I have seen bullfights before, but this time I was there photographing. I made some pictures which I think verge on a kind of ideal, which is the tourist post card and something that goes further into both the visual history and the culture specific to Seville, in my understanding. I am not Spanish, I am not trying to experience the world through Spanish eyes and I don’t understand their need to kill bulls, but they do have that need. In some versions of Peruvian bullfighting, they take an Andean Condor and they cut the back of the bull and they sew the condor into bull, so the bull comes out into the bullring with a bird on it and the bird pecks out the bull’s eyes while the matador fights it. I don’t know what to say other than that it is fucked. At the bullfight I came to think about blood, bodies, Diego Velàzquez, sacrifice, rituals, transgression, transformation and torture, while watching the banderilla men doing their dance. And then, linking all this back to modern life, I was thinking of women’s menstrual cycle and some of the taboos and sacrifices and of the idea of blood as transformation and I thought ‘Gee, wouldn’t it be neat to photograph menstrual cycles?’, but I haven’t gotten too far on that project yet.

Is it actually too controversial?

No, it is just bothersome. There is a crudity, I think, when you go out to make pictures. You take advantage of people. You don’t need to be mean about it, but you definitely impose yourself. None of my models would lie back like that, people don’t do that.

Thank you, Jeffrey. It has been a great pleasure and been an honour meeting you. 

 

 

Jeffrey Silverthorne is currently exhibiting at Daniel Blau in London (www.danielblau.com) and Galerie VU in Paris (www.galerievu.com)

 

Originally posted on www.contemporarytalks.com

 

Click to read Part 1 – “I am speaking through hundreds of tongues”