Posts Tagged ‘photography’
Walking towards Model Studies the Thomas Demand exhibition at Nottingham Contemporary, and having forgotten whose work was on show, I felt sure that I was walking towards an exhibition of abstract paintings.
In fact, they are large photographs of small architectural models. The scale tends to flatten out the space and to produce large areas of lightly modulated colour, hence the resemblance to American abstract paintings of the 50s and 60s. When you get a bit closer the space in the photos becomes more apparent, it reminds me of the space in a cubist paintings now. I can imagine the artist bending a craning to get into the tiny models attempting to experience it for himself, in a way similar to the cubist modelling of space, as experienced in time.
Demand is known for his photographs of life-size models, made by him, of architectural interiors like the Oval Office, paper models which are destroyed after being photographed. In these new works the models he photographed were made by the architect John Lautner (1911 – 1994), and discovered by Demand in the archives of the Getty Research Institute when he was artist-in residence there.
In this short video clip he talks to Alex Farquharson, the Director of Nottingham Contemporary, about how he found these models and about his interest in the status of the model: far from being a diminution of reality modelling is our way of perceiving the world and communicating our experience of it to others. (In NLP we think of models and modelling in a similar way. We make models of how people do what they do well so that we can teach it to others.) It occurred to me that these photographs, themselves 2 dimensional models, document the process of modelling. They show us something of how in modelling we alter scale, freeze time, distort space in order to ‘understand’.
I read two blogs recently about Picasso exhibitions and the system conditions in which the paintings were being viewed. Forest Knolls, blog is about a show at the de Young Museum in San Francisco. I was interested in the comment about making do with a photo of the exhibition poster because photography inside the gallery was prohibited, hence the picture of the giant poster of the small painting (an image of an image of an image).
My own photo above, a few years old, shows people looking at (and photographing?) a Picasso painting of a girl looking at her own image in a mirror (an image of an image of an image). This was at the Picasso Museum in Paris. I believe that cameras were allowed. (On the subject of photography in gallery spaces there’s a brilliant blog here by Rhetoricalpens)
The other blog, at The Painting Space is about the first time a Picasso has ever been shown in Palestine. Buste de Femme, 1943, is at the International Academy of Art. Two years in the making, this exhibition is an “exciting opportunity to build a new international cultural dialogue in the occupied territory of Ramallah”. The conditions in which the painting will be viewed are very different to the two examples above. As well as the big system condition of occupation, there is also the sub-system that only three people at a time will be able to see the painting, in a purpose-built viewing room, so the picture does not get damaged by the humidity.
The blog includes a short film of Slavoj Zizek in conversation with the organisers. He has some really interesting things to say and he tells some great stories. I am not always sure I can connect them to the subject of the exhibition (one of the many things I love about his work).