Archive for July, 2018

Photography | Ursula Schulz-Dornburg in Transit

Friday, July 27th, 2018

Erevan – Parakar
(from the series:
Transit
Places, Armenia
), 2004

Gelatin silver print.
Städel Museum,
Frankfurt am Main



Ursula Schulz-Dornburg:
The Land In-Between
– Photographs from 1980 to 2012
Städel Museum
Frankfurt am Main | Germany
Until > 9 September 2018



From Medina to
Jordan Border
(from the series: From
Medina to Jordan
Border), 2003
Gelatin silver print.
Archive of the artist



Ursula Schulz-Dornburg just keeps on going. One of Germany’s most well-respected and well-travelled photographers, who was born in Berlin in 1938, has traversed Europe, the Middle East and Asia for more than forty years in pursuit of border landscapes, places of transit and relics of past cultures. Her images are a vigorous demonstration that where you go, what you do there and what you bring back are far more important than where you come from.

Based in Düsseldorf since 1969, Schulz-Dornburg rebuffs the comparisons her work draws with that of the ‘Düsseldorf School’ of photographers that grew up in the city around Bernd and Hilla Becher and includes, among others, their former students Andreas Gursky and Thomas Struth, and with which she is often associated. But the superficial similarities between her work and the Bechers’ (who never taught her) – extended series of analogue, black and white images, shot with the same lens and from the same angle, and often devoid of people are difficult to shrug off. Describing herself as a campaigner and activist, however, Schulz-Dornburg insists that her photography, unlike theirs, has always been political. Her training as a photojournalist in Munich from 1959 to 1960, and having been born into a family of architects, she says, have been the most important and enduring influences on her images.

Valley of the Tombs
(from the series:
Vanished Landscapes,
Palmyra, Syria), 2010
Gelatin silver print.
Städel Museum,
Frankfurt am Main



Vanished Landscapes,
Iraq, Marsh Arabs
(from the series:
Vanished Landscapes,
Iraq, Mesopotamia), 1980
Gelatin silver print.
Private collection, USA



While Schulz-Dornburg is interested in the marks humans have left behind in the landscape in the course of lengthy historical processes, as well as in recent political changes of the kind brought about, for example, by the Gulf Wars (between 1980 and 2003) her work has a parallel with that of the Dutch photographer Marie-José Jongerius, who has explored America’s ruination of its western landscape, via its unquenchable thirst for water. Although the end results look entirely different, Schulz-Dornburg’s approach to her subject matter is also reminiscent of Canadian Edward Burtynsky’s strategy of producing ‘idyllic’ photographs of recycling yards, mines, quarries and refineries that represent his search for a dialogue between attraction and repulsion.

Kronstadt (from the
series: Kronstadt), 2002
Heliography.
Archive of the artist



From Medina to
Jordan Border

(from the series: From
Medina to Jordan
Border), 2003

Gelatin silver print.
Archive of the artist



To date, her travels have taken her to such diverse destinations as the Tigris in ancient Mesopotamia, Iraq (1980), the Sulawesi area of Indonesia and the hermitages along the route to Santiago de Compostella, Spain (1996). Many of her projects have been published as books or catalogues to the swathe of over 50 solo exhibitions, from Italy’s Venice to Santa Monica in California, she has had since 1997. One of the series of Soviet-era bus stops she began photographing that year in Armenia and continued documenting until 2011, was recreated by the architects Herzog & de Meuron for a project in Burgos, Spain in 2007 that ran until 2012.

With some 250 works, Ursula Schulz-Dornburg: The Land In-Between – Photographs from 1980 to 2012 at Städel Museum is the first-ever comprehensive institutional survey of the photographer’s oeuvre.

All photographs by and © Ursula Schulz-Dornburg, courtesy Städel Museum


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Sculpture | Brancusi On and Off the Pedestal

Friday, July 20th, 2018

Endless Column,
version 1, 1918
Oak.
Museum of Modern Art,
New York.
Gift of Mary Sisler.
Photo Thomas Griesel



Constantin Brancusi Sculpture
Museum of Modern Art
New York City | USA
22 July 2018 > 18 February 2019



During the Roman period, when sculpted figures were first elevated on columns, those represented were imbued with ‘untouchable’, divine status, and rendered remote. Albeit his birds are positioned high up, in the early 20th-century, Constantin Brancusi (1876 > 1957) brought sculpture back down to earth; his heads of children and sleeping women are set low down and his portrait pieces are designed for viewing at eye level.

Fish, 1930
Blue-grey marble
on three-part
pedestal of one
marble,
and two
limestone cylinders.
Museum of Modern Art,
New York.
Acquired through
the Lillie P
Bliss Bequest
(by exchange).
Photo Imaging
& Visual
Resources
Department, MoMA



Pedestal design having remained pretty much the same for 2000 years, the arrival of Brancusi’s revolutionary innovations that transformed sculpture’s relationship to the space it inhabits, and how the viewer experiences it, caused a sensation. Serving simultaneously as components of the artwork and as their support, each of his pedestals – made from wood, limestone, or marble – became an integral element of his finished pieces, raising or lowering them to heights that suit their subject matter.

Young Bird, 1928
Bronze on two-part
limestone pedestal.
Museum of Modern Art,
New York.
Gift of Mr and Mrs
William A M Burden



While, Brancusi generally treated the pedestal as a secondary element, in Endless Column, version I, 1918, it became the sculpture itself. It consisted of a single symmetrical element – a pair of truncated pyramids, one upright, the other inverted – repeated to produce a continuous vertical structure that Brancusi called his  ‘column for infinity.’ He would afterwards repeat the concept at larger scales and in different materials, to serve as an architectural element and for free-standing monuments. Endless Column paved the way for future sculptors to relinquish pedestals altogether and facilitated their taking sculpture in a wide variety of different directions.

With his friend Man Ray, who introduced him to the medium, Brancusi made films that stand as a testament to his desire for his work to be experienced in the round, in relation to an environment and to other things. Rarely seen, a number of his films will be shown alongside 11 sculptures by the artist that form part of the Museum’s holdings, displayed together for the first time, in the forthcoming exhibition Constantin Brancusi Sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art.

All works by Constantin Brancusi, © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris. Images courtesy Museum of Modern Art


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Travel | Trompe L’oeil / Costa del Sol

Friday, July 13th, 2018

Trompe L’oeil 1



Trompe L’oeil Plants & Flowers
Photographs by Pedro Silmon
Estepona | Spain



The Blog has been on holiday



Trompe L’oeil 2



Trompe L’oeil 3



Trompe L’oeil 4



Trompe L’oeil 5



Trompe L’oeil 5



All images © Pedro Silmon 2018


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The Blog’s publishers insist that all images supplied for publication in our posts are cleared for that use before being made available to us. Whether pictures are sent to us as email attachments or made available as downloadable files, any responsibility for fees that may, under any circumstances whatsoever, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier

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