Archive for December, 2018

Photography | Think Luigi Ghirri

Friday, December 28th, 2018

Rimini, 1977



Luigi Ghirri
The Map and the Territory
Jeu de Paume
Paris | France
12 February > 2 June 2019



Modena, 1971
Courtesy Matthew
Marks Gallery



Ironically, since he was obsessed by maps, it seems particularly odd that until now Luigi Ghirri, a photographer whose importance was recognised internationally during his lifetime, never had a retrospective exhibition outside of his home country. This forthcoming show, in France, focuses on the astonishing body of work he produced over the course of a single decade at the start of his career.

Padova, 1973
Università di Parma



Bastia, 1976



Salzburg, 1977
Private collection.
Courtesy Matthew
Marks Gallery



Born in the northern area of Reggio Emilia, and based in Modena, Italy, Ghirri (1943 > 1992) was a trained surveyor when he began taking photographs in his spare time in the early 1970s. Revealingly, he once said that he was interested in, amongst other things: objects charged with desires, dreams, collective memories, windows, mirrors and human beings seen through images, because that is exactly what you get. Direct and infused with subtle wit, his photographs and photomontages from this period, which channel diverse influences from surrealism to pop art, stop you in your tracks, play games with your perception and, most especially, make you think. Ghirri’s mature work, though equally as thought-provoking, was often more gentle in its irony.

Brest, 1972
CSAC, Università
di Parma



The recent revival of interest in Ghirri’s oeuvre was sparked by The Aperture Foundation’s first book in English on the photographer, published in 2008. In 2011, Thomas Demand organised the show La Carte d’Après Nature around Ghirri’s photographs, at Matthew Marks Gallery in New York, which has been followed by a host of other exhibitions in Italy and elsewhere around the world.

Previously shown in 2018 at Folkwang Museum, Essen, Germany and at Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid, Luigi Ghirri: The Map and the Territory is at Jeu de Paume in Paris.

All images photographed by Luigi Ghirri, courtesy Jeu de Paume, © Estate Luigi Ghirri


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Music | Doing it in the Dark

Friday, December 14th, 2018

Pitch Dark:
Giny Vos, Katharina Gross,
Arnold Marinissen

Stedelijk Museum
Amsterdam | Netherlands
21 + 22 December 2018



As I child I was frightened by the dark. Afraid to get up, I often wet the bed. Nowadays, I wake up in the middle of the night, pressing thoughts on my mind and, conscious that my wife is easily disturbed, write urgent, blind notes to myself before taking the opportunity to pee. In the light of morning, needless to say, what seemed so important is much diminished, which is just as well, because my scribblings are often indecipherable.

I’ve never eaten in one of those tomb-like restaurants that started to appear in the 1990s, where light of any kind, from cigarette-lighters or cellphone displays, for example, is totally banned and in which diners are forbidden to leave their seats by themselves. ‘By voluntarily abandoning your visual impulses you will be able to experience what wonderful work your other senses are capable of,’ Berlin’s Unsicht-Bar’s website advises the would-be diner, while London’s Dans le Noir restaurant explains, ‘Dining in pitch darkness, hosted and served by visually impaired people, will focus and sharpen your senses.’ But when you want to pee, how does that work? Are you led out by the hand?

Picture 2


Impressions and sensations caused by a total absence of light form the basis for the forthcoming performance Pitch Dark in which, ’An interplay of light, drama and music aims to transport the visitor to another state of consciousness.’ The intention is that the interaction between acoustic, optical and spatial stimuli, based on the neurophysiological effects that occur when you close your eyes: the images, after-images and motions perceived on the inside of your eye-lids, will play with your individual perception.

Picture 3


Tempted by the subject matter of this post, I tried to write it with my eyes closed, which was fun but didn’t work; a one finger typist, I’m just not expert enough at navigating a keyboard without looking at it. Seriously though, it got me wondering how musicians, Giny Vos, Katharina Gross and Arnold Marinissen are going to cope with playing their instruments in Pitch Dark, an interplay with cello, electronic music, percussion and field recordings, at the Stedelijk Museum, and how, if I attend the event, I’ll be able to find the loos.

Pitch dark images created by Pedro Silmon


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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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Ceramics | Made by Hand: Modernist by Nature

Friday, December 7th, 2018

Bernard Leach,
Charger with banded
decoration, St Ives,
England, c 1960s
Estimate $500 > 700



Design
Freeman’s
Philadelphia |
PA | USA
Exhibition > 10 December 2018
Sale 10 December 2018



Lucie Rie,
Handled dish,
London, late 1950s
Estimate $1,000 > 1,500



The British studio pottery illustrated alongside this piece and shortly to be sold at auction, dates from between the late 1950s and the early 1970s, when Brutalist architecture – much of which has since been demolished – flourished, however, each item was lovingly produced by hand and with the greatest sensitivity to materials.

During this period, even the elderly Bernard Leach (1887 > 1979), often referred to as the father of British studio pottery, who co-founded The Leach Pottery in remote Cornwall in 1920 and had been extremely influential, who adopted the folk-tradition approach espoused in the 19th century by William Morris, was producing pieces, such as his Charger with banded decoration, top, that would have looked very much at home against raw concrete, brutalist interiors.

Hans Coper
Composite form with
v
ertical impression,
Frome, 1970
Estimate $6,000 > 8,000



At a time when many of his peers were abandoning city life and heading for the country, it was significant that Ian Godfrey (1942 > 1992), like his mentor, Lucie Rie, chose to set up his pottery in urban central London in the 1960s. Godfrey made highly individual mythological and fantasy-based, decorative pieces, inspired by predynastic Mediterranean and Chinese bronze forms. His King & Queen in Court and Bowl with wheel design, are both included, alongside other examples of his work in this sale. Born in Austria, Rie (1902-1995) had established herself as a ceramicist in Vienna, where she came under the influence of the Secessionist, Josef Hoffman. She is, however, better known for the work she produced after fleeing the Nazis and relocating to London in 1938. Developing a style stimulated by contemporary architecture and design, which flew in the face of Leach’s philosophy, Rie, who is represented by a single, modest item in this auction, see above, was responsible for raising British studio pottery to the level of an art form that would stand alongside any other and for giving it a Modernist edge. She taught at the Camberwell School of Art from 1960 to 1971, where Godfrey was her star student, and received an honorary doctorate from the Royal College of Art in 1969.



Ian Godfrey,
King & Queen in Court,
London, c 1965
Estimate $800 > 1,200



Ian Godfrey,
Bowl with wheel design,
London, c 1965
Estimate $200 > 300



Rie’s fellow emigré, the German, Hans Coper (1920-1981) had turned up, penniless, at her workshop in 1946 looking for work but with no previous experience in a pottery studio. With her encouragement, he went on to become one of Britain’s most celebrated craftsmen. Coper also taught at Camberwell – where he also taught Ian Godfrey – and at the Royal College of Art. His pieces, such as Composite form with vertical impression, above, were often made up of individual, separately thrown shapes that he manipulated and joined to create abstract sculptural forms.

Joanna Constantinidis,
Untitled envelope form,
Essex, England 1970
Estimate $400 > 600



The early work of Joanna Constantinidis (1927 > 2000), born in York, who trained at Sheffield before moving to Essex, owed much to Leach. Singularly independent, however, having seen work by Rie and Coper, by the 1960s she had adjusted her approach and developed spare Modernist forms, like the one above, that drew inspiration from ancient Greece, medieval pottery, Staffordshire slipware and salt glaze.

Although they might well have been, the items shown were not excavated from a site where a British brutalist building once stood but have been languishing, far away from their place of origin, in important US collections in Washington DC, San Francisco, New York and Pennsylvania. Along with further items of British studio pottery items that extend the genre’s story into the 21st century, the forthcoming Design sale at Freeman’s includes some 130 lots and offers a varied selection of master American studio artisans.

All images courtesy Freeman’s


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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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