History of Our World

Piedmont | Josef Koudelka

Posted in Art, Photography by A on June 3, 2010

Settimo Torinese, Bridge & Rivoli, Castello di Rivoli, Museum of Contempory Art, work by Maurizio Cattelan.

Carema, Via Francigena & Val Varaita.

Turin, lake in front of the Palazzo del Lavoro.

Lake Maggiore; Turin, Lingotto, former Fiat factory, test track; Isola Bella, gardens of the Palazzo Borrome & Robilante, cement works.

Settimo Torinese, construction site for high-speed rail link & Pragelato, livestock market.

The earth in Piedmont is a kaleidoscope of colours. In some areas, it is as red as the soil of India. In others it is almost black. In the interior, it comes in every shade of yellow and brown. Generations of peasants broke their backs in the fields in the hope of being rewarded with a plentiful harvest in the summer months.

The majority of them were so poor that the only food they could afford to eat was polenta, for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Big families would crowd around the table en masse to tuck into this peasant fare, perhaps flavored with a few dried anchovies if they were lucky (these would typically have been conveyed on the back of a mule from the neighbouring region of Liguria, to be hung right above the dining table). For many the only way to keep warm was to sleep next to the animals.

Shortly after Bonaparte’s exile in St Helena, the idea of a unified Italy, which had evaporated centuries before with the fall of the Holy Roman Empire, was reborn in Piedmont. Or, at least, an idea of a unified Italy, which many believe has yet to be realized fully. In fact, some maintain that all you would need to do is get behind the wheel of a car and drive from Turin to Trapani in Sicily, via Bolzano near the Austrian border, watching the way the landscape changes beyond the safety barriers, and stopping off at roadside service stations along the way.

– Giuseppe Culicchia

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Koudelka Piedmont

Josef Koudelka : Xavier Barral : Giuseppe Culicchia : Luisa Nitrato Izzo

Thames & Hudson

2009

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Josef Koudelka

Piedmont

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Celestial Realm | Wang Wusheng

Posted in Art, Photography, Print by R on April 16, 2010

Pines and stones in mist, taken at Heavenly Sea New Path, June 2004, 11 AM

Pine forest below Cool Refreshing Terrace, taken at Lion Peak, December 1984, 3 PM

Peaks and cloud in valley, taken at the Heavenly Sea New Path, June 2004, 5 PM

18 Disciples of Buddha down mountain ridges, taken at Dawn Pavillion, May 1984, 3 PM

Rare rock in mist, taken at Heavenly Sea New Path, June 2004, 1 PM

Natural rock and pines at the foot of Lion Peak, taken at Lion Peak, November 1984, 10 AM

North Sea Guest House, taken at Lion Peak, November 1984, 4 PM (detail)

Now-I-Believe-It Peak, taken at Dawn Pavillion May 1984, 1 PM

Clouds, taken at White Goose Peak, November 1991, 8 AM (detail)

Pine forest in mist, taken at Stone Bamboo Shot Bridge, June 2004, 4 PM


Dogen, one of Japan’s foremost medieval Zen priests, wrote in the Sansui-kyo chapter of the Shobogenzo that “to view sansui is to meet yourself before you were born.” The self before birth is a self beyond time and space. Dogen, wrote that this self is a ‘formless self’ no one has ever seen. This yet unformed self is the essence of sansui. A depiction of something beyond time and space whose appearance is yet unformed. As I stood before Wang’s photographic sansui, I could feel this acutely.

Wang’s stoicism shows itself in the strategic placement of of dark forms, at times centering the frame on forms whose blurring and gradation are overpowered by blackness.
Not mere shadows, the depth of his blacks represent …void and the silence of time.

A dark mass of mountains is not dead space but the very soul of the living mountains. The white sky in his photographs is not an empty sky  but a sky shown after the passing of a raging storm, now bathed in sunlight.

– Seigo Matsuoka (excerpt from Photographic Sansui)

Born in the province of Anhui, Wang Wunsheng (1945-) has been photographing the Yellow Mountains since 1974.

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Celestial Realm | The Yellow Mountains of China

Wang Wusheng : Wu Hung : Damian Harper : Seigo Matsuoka

Abbeville Press

2005

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Wang Wusheng

Barry Friedman Ltd.

Abbeville Press

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What Remains | Sally Mann

Posted in Art, Photography, Print by R on April 14, 2010

Untitled (Matter Lent)

All things summon us to death;
Nature, almost envious of the good she has given us,
Tell us often and gives us notice that she cannot
For long allow us that scrap of matter she has lent…
She has need of it for other forms,
She claims it back for other works.

Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet (1627-1704), “On Death, a Sermon”

Untitled (Matter Lent)

Untitled (Matter Lent)

Untitled (Matter Lent)

Untitled (Matter Lent)

Untitled (Matter Lent)

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…He must have ditched the shotgun because by the time he approached the house he only had the pistols. Ducking behind a tree, he put one of them to his head. His shot was tinnily distinguishable from the rifle shots of the police who had appeared at the last moment. He fell among the stumps and bracken, just a kid after all, my son’s age, bled out in the milky winter light.

Untitled (December 8, 2000)

Untitled (December 8, 2000)

Untitled (December 8, 2000)

Untitled (December 8, 2000)

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Pensive on her dead gazing I heard the Mother of All,
Desperate on the torn bodies, on the forms covering the battlefields gazing,
(As the last gun ceased, but the scent of the powder-smoke linger’d,)
As she call’d to her earth with mournful voice while she stalk’d,
Absorb the well O my earth, she cried, I charge you lose not my sons,
lose not an atom

And you streams absorb them well, taking their dear blood,
And you local spots, and you airs that swim above lightly impalpable,
And all you essences of soil and growth, and you my rivers’ depths,
And you mountain sides, and the woods where my dear children’s blood
trickling redden’d

Untitled (Antietam)

And you trees down in your roots to bequeath to all future trees,
My dead absorb or South or North – my young men’s bodies absorb,
and their precious blood,
Which holding in trust for me faithfully back again give me many a year hence,
In unseen essence and odor of surface and grass, centuries hence,
In blowing airs from the fields back again give me my darlings,
give my immortal heroes,
Exhale me them centuries hence, breathe me their breath, let not an atom be lost,
O years and graves! O air and soil! O my dead, an aroma sweet!
Exhale them perennial sweet death, years, centuries hence.

Walt Whitman, from Leaves of Grass

Untitled (Antietam)

Untitled (Antietam)

Untitled (Antietam)

Untitled (Antietam)

Untitled (Antietam)

When the land subsumes the dead, they become the rich body of the earth, the dark matter of creation. As I walk the fields of this farm, beneath my feet shift the bones of incalculable bodies; death is the sculptor of the ravishing landscape, the terrible mother, the damp creator of life, by whom we are one day devoured.

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What Remains

Sally Mann

Bulfinch Press

2003

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Sally Mann

Robert Koch

Bulfinch Press

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Bunker Archeology | Paul Virilio

Posted in Architecture, Photography, Print by R on February 15, 2010

Observation post on a channel island (detail)

‘Barbara’ firing control tower on the Landes

Observation post on a channel island

Observation post on a channel island

Observation post on the English Channel

The Watten bunker – V2 launching site: the first of huge works designed to harbor stratospheric arms

The ‘Todt front’: The overhung solid mass complements the vertical gradings of the embrasure

Observation post with flattened angles

Observation tower camouflaged as church belfry

Tilting

Sinking

Close to death, one no longer sees it,
and you gaze steadily ahead,
perhaps with an animal’s gaze.

– R. Rilke


The discovery of the of the sea is a precious experience that bears thought. Seeing the oceanic horizon is indeed anything but a secondary experience; it is in fact an event in consciousness of underestimated consequences.

I have forgotten none of the sequences of this finding in the course of a summer when recovering peace and access to the beach were one and the same event. With the barriers removed, you were henceforth free to explore the liquid continent; the occupants had returned to their native hinterland, leaving behind, along with the work site, their tools and arms. The waterfront villas were empty, everything within the casemates’ firing range had been blown up, the beaches were mined, and the artificers were busy here and there rendering access to the sea.

The clearest feeling was still one of absence; the immense beach of La Baule was deserted, there were less than a dozen of us on the loop of blond sand, not a vehicle was to be seen on the streets; this had been a frontier that an army had just abandoned, and the meaning of this oceanic immensity was intertwined with this aspect of the deserted battlefield.

But let us get back to the sequences of my vision. The rail car I was on, and in which I had been imagining the sea, was moving slowly through the Brière plains. The weather was superb and the sky over the low ground was starting, minute by minute, to shine. This well-known brilliance of the atmosphere approaching the great reflector was totally new; the transparency I was so sensitive to was greater as the ocean got closer, up to that precise moment when a line as even as a brushstroke crossed the horizon : an almost glaucous gray-green line, but one that was extending out to the limits of the horizon. It’s color was disappointing, compared to the sky’s luminescence, but the expanse of the oceanic horizon was truly surprising: could such a vast space be void of the slightest clutter? Here was the real surprise: in length, breadth, and depth the oceanic landscape had been wiped clean. Even the sky was as divided up by clouds, but the sea seemed empty in contrast. From such a distance there was no way of determining anything like foam movement. My loss of bearings was proof that I had entered a new element; the sea had become a desert, and the August heat made that all the more evident – this was a white-hot space in which sun and ocean had become a magnifying glass scorching away every relief and contrast. Trees, pines, etched-out dark spots; the square in front of the station was at once white and void – that particular emptiness you feel in recently abandoned places. It was high noon, and the luminous verticality and liquid horizontality composed a surprising climate. Advancing in the midst of houses with gaping windows, I was anxious to set foot on my first beach. As I approached Ocean Boulevard, the water level began to rise between the pines and the villas; the ocean was getting larger, taking up more and more space in my angle of vision. Finally, while crossing the avenue parallel to the shore, the earth line seemed to have plunged into the undertow, leaving everything smooth, no waves and little noise. Yet another element was here before me: the hydrosphere.

When calling to mind the reasons that made the bunkers so appealing to me almost twenty years ago, I see it clearly now as a case of intuition and also as a convergence between the reality of the structure  and the fact of its implantation alongside the ocean: a convergence between my awareness of spatial phenomena – the strong pull of the shores – and their being the locus of the works of the “Atlantic Wall” (Atlantikwall) facing the open sea, facing out into the void.

Organized by the Center for Industrial Creation and presented at the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris from December 1975 through February 1976.
The pictures were taken by Paul Virilio from 1958 to 1965.

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Bunker Archeology

Paul Virilio

Princeton Architectural Press

1994

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Paul Virilio

Princeton Architectural Press

Les Arts Décoratifs

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Thoughts of a Night Sea | Garry Fabian Miller

Posted in Art, Photography, Print by A on February 2, 2010

Lux 2, 2001.

Lux 11, 2001.

Lucent 12, 2000.

July 6, 2000.

Lux 10, 2001.

July 18, 2000.

Born in 1957, Garry Fabian Miller has made exclusively ‘camera-less’ photographs since the mid 1980s. He works in the darkroom, shining light through coloured glass vessels and over cut-paper shapes to create forms that record directly onto photographic paper. These rudimentary methods recall the earliest days of photography, when the effects of light on sensitised paper seemed magical.

‘Thoughts on a Night Sea’ is perhaps Miller’s most personal and reflective works to date, in that it echoes one of his first breakthrough pieces: ‘The Sea Horizon’ (1976 – 1977). Deeply formal, yet profoundly spiritual, Fabian Miller’s imagery straddles the Modernism of international figures such as Donald Judd, Elsworth Kelly and James Turrell with a sense of essential Englishness, and an appreciation of the sublime.

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Thoughts of a Night Sea, Photographs by Garry Fabian Miller

Garry Fabian Miller : Lavinia Greenlaw

Merrell Publishers

2003

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James Hyman Gallery

Merrell Publishers

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The Image as Rememberance | Giovanni Chiaramonte & Andrei Tarkovsky

Posted in Art, Film, Photography, Print by R on January 31, 2010

Civitavecchia, March 19, 1982

Civitavecchia, March 19, 1982

Bagno Vignoni, 1979-1982

Bagno Vignoni, 1979-1982

Bagno Vignoni, 1979-1982

Just outside Citta Ducale, ‘Church in the Water’, November 1982


An instantaneous mirror of memory, every photograph leaves a motionless trace of what has been, a fixed imprint of something that is no longer what it was before,a silent simulacrum of someone who has disappeared forever from our field of vision. And, as a simple act of remembering, the photograph seems to testify only to the disappearance and death of people and of the feelings that bind us to them, of things and of places where they belong.

Seen in this way, the act of remembrance is the recording of information imposed on the mind by exterior reality, according to the linear logic of necessity, the inexorable law of nature, the Euclidean mechanism of cause and effect that structures and governs human history in the shape of tragedy. The artist Tarkovsky says, must be ‘capable of going beyond the limitations of coherent logic, and conveying the deep complexity and truth of the impalpable connections and hidden phenomena of life’,* the deep complex truth of a life in which he was raised as the heir of one of the greatest poets of the generation of Pasternak, Mandekshtam, Akhmatova and Tsvetaeva.

For the poet Arseny Tarkovsky, Andrei’s father, ‘death does not exist/ we are all immortal/ and everything is immortal. At Seventeen/ one should not fear death, nor at seventy./ Being and light alone have reality, darkness and death have no existence,/ We are all already on the shore of the sea/ and are among those who drag the nets/ while immortality gleams beside them./ Live in the house and it will not fall down./ I shall call forth any century at all,/ to enter into it and build my house./ This is how your children and wives/ will sit with me at the table,/ One sole table for ancestor and descendant./ The future is happening now.’*

Within this genealogy, Andrei Tarkovsky… believes that ‘an artistic image is one that ensures its own development. This image is a grain, a self-evolving retroactive organism. It is a symbol of actual life, as opposed to life itself. Life contains death. An image of life, by contrast, excludes it, or else sees in it a unique potential of the affirmation of life. Whatever it expresses – even destruction and ruin – the artistic image is by definition an embodiment of hope, it is inspired by faith. Artistic creation is by definition a denial of death. Therefore it is optimistic, even if in an ultimate sense the artist is tragic.’*

* Andrei Tarkovsky, Sculpting in Time, translated by Kitty Hunter-Blair, London, 1986

* Arseny Tarkovsky, ‘Life Life’, in La steppa [The Steppe], Pistoia, 1998

* Andrei Tarkovsky, Time Within Time: The Diaries 1970-1986, translated by Kitty Hunter-Blair, London, 1994

2/3

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Instant Light: Tarkovsky Polaroids

Edited by Giovanni Chiaramonte & Andrei Tarkovsky

Introduction by Tonino Guerra

Thames & Hudson

2004

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Giovanni Chiaramonte

Andrei Tarkovsky

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Eleonora | 2001

Posted in Fashion, Photography, Print by R on January 19, 2010

Hair by Guido
Photography by Uli Holz

Make-up by Diane Kendall
Photographic assistance by Lissa Hahn
Printing by Pierre Dal Corso
Model: Eleonora at IMG

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‘Heroes’ : The Inspiration Issue

Guest edited by Raf Simons

i-D #206

February, 2001

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Guido Palau

Uli Holz

Raf Simons

i-D

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Forever I Am A Part Of You And Me | 2001

Posted in Fashion, Photography, Print by R on January 18, 2010

Robbie wears jacket, waistcoat, shirt, tie and denim trousers all by Raf Simons Archive; vintage combat boots from Naughty I, Antwerp.

Chloe wears vintage waistcoat by Martin Margiela; jacket and trousers by Balenciaga; T-shirt by Raf Simons Archive.

Robbie wears jacket by Comme des Garçons Homme Plus; waistcoat by Martin Margiela; shirt and tie by Raf Simons Archive; trousers by Louis Vuitton.

Chloe wears sleeveless jacket by Raf Simons Archive; vintage dress by Helmut Lang; vintage leggings by Stephen Sprouse.

Robbie wears jacket, waistcoat, shirt, tie and trousers all by Raf Simons Archive; vintage combat boots, stylist’s own.

Chloe wears jacket, dress and leggings by Veronique Branquinho; T-shirt by Raf Simons Archive; vintage combat boots, stylist’s own.

Chloe wears suit by Comme des Garçons; vintage combat jacket from Waterlooplienmarket, Amsterdam; boot’s stylists own. Robbie wears jacket, shirt and tie all by Raf Simons Archive; vintage combat waistcoat from Waterlooplienmarket, Amsterdam; trousers from Naughty I, Antwerp; boots stylist’s own.

Robbie wears waistcoat by Martin Margiela; jacket by Louis Vuitton, shirt, tie and trousers all by Raf Simons Archive.

Chloe wears vintage waistcoat by Martin Margiela; T-shirt by Raf Simons Archive; skirt by Veronique Branquinho.

Chloe wears jacket by Raf Simons Archive; vintage dress by Stephen Sprouse.

Photography by Willy Vanderperre
Styling by Olivier Rizzo
Hair & Make-up by Peter Philips
Hair Colouring by Tom Malongre
Assisted by Annemie Meyers
Models: Chloe at Vision & Robbie
Special thanks to Stephen Sprouse, Pia Versele, Gerrit Bruloot, Marian Eggers and Raf Simons.

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‘Heroes’ : The Inspiration Issue

Guest edited by Raf Simons

i-D #206

February, 2001

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Willy Vanderperre

Olivier Rizzo

Raf Simons

i-D

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Lux et Nox | Bill Henson

Posted in Art, Photography, Print by R on January 8, 2010

Untitled #31, 1998

Untitled #32, 1998

Untitled #33, 1998

Untitled #59, 1998

Untitled #74, 1998

Untitled #75, 1998

Untitled #10, 1998/1999/2000

Untitled #21, 1998/1999/2000

Untitled #39, 2000/2003

Untitled #46, 2000/2003

Untitled #69, 2000/2003

Untitled #84, 2000/2003

Untitled #95, 2000/2003

Untitled #110, 2000/2003

Untitled #114, 2000/2003

Untitled #115, 2000/2003

Australian artist Bill Henson is a passionate and visionary explorer of twilight zones, of the ambiguous spaces that exist between day and night, nature and civilization, youth and adulthood, male and female. His photographs of landscapes at dusk, of the industrial no-man’s land that lies on the outskirts of our cities, and of androgynous girls and boys adrift in the nocturnal turmoil of adolescence are painterly tableaux that continue the tradition of romantic literature and painting in our post-industrial age. The rich chiaroscuro, the oscillating light, and the masterful composition of his photographs map enigmatic states that escape rationalism’s iron grip, providing a much-needed antidote to a culture that increasingly looses itself in a numbing vortex of blinking screens and glittering surfaces.

Were it not for Henson’s primary, almost devotional need to elicit empathy for his troubled human subjects, there’s a feeling that nothing would prevent the black in his photographs from completely absorbing his attention and extinguishing his work.

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Lux et Nox

Bill Henson : Dennis Cooper

Scalo

2002

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Bill Henson

Roslyn Oxley9 gallery, Sydney

Scalo

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(Apologies for the dirtiness of the scanner.)

Handboek | Ans Westra

Posted in Art, Photography, Print by R on December 19, 2009

James K. Baxter, 1972

Main Street – Wairoa, 1964

Dance – Auckland Maori Community Centre, 1962

Mongrel Mob Convention – Porirua, 1982

Turangawaewae Marae – Ngaruawahia, 1963

Hone Tuwhare at James K. Baxter’s graveside, 1972


Born in Leiden, the Netherlands, Ans Westra came to New Zealand in 1957. In a few short years she was to commence on her life-long photographic journey documenting the lives of New Zealanders during a period of cultural, social and generational change.

The comfortable conformity of the late 40’s and 50’s in New Zealand was about to be disrupted by the increasing post-war arrival of European migrants and, more importantly, the urban shift of Māori, which gained momentum in the 1950’s. As a society New Zealand and it’s citizens were far from prepared to accommodate the difficulties accompanying such a challenge to their homogenous cultural, social and institutional frameworks.

Ans Westra’s arrival in New Zealand coincided with that shift and the resultant changes and tensions which have characterised and continue to characterise New Zealand’s social and cultural evolution.

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Handboek | Ans Westra Photographs

Luit Bieriga : Christina Barton : Gavin Hipkins : Lawrence McDonald : Kyla McFarlane : Cushla Parekowhai : Damian Skinner : John B. Turner

Blair Wakefield Exhibitions (BWX)

2004

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BWX : Ans Westra

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