The Photograph That Doesn’t Exist

23 September 2008

Now that’s a question!
That’s a proposal for a show that I just received from a Slovenian curator, Vasja Nagy.
The show is to be held at the Piran Coastal Galleries in December.

Some issues to consider:

  • The questions that arise in this project are to do with understanding emptiness, gaps, white noise (or whatever we might call it) as a space of creativity.
  • The artist’s statements, descriptions, stories, etc. are understood as photographic matter in the moment of taking on a form, which are however still at the stage of an incomplete metamorphoses in relation to the finished photographic object.
  • The artist’s personal, inner world and outside physical and technological reality intertwine.

Some questions to consider:

  • What form could the exhibition/space/exhibits take?
  • Words, artist’s books, art objects, artefacts, …
  • How to show the gap between the tangible and intangible?
  • Did the photograph ever exist/ Has the photographe ever existed in the past?
  • Is it a draft/blueprint/concept for the photograph’s future existence?
  • What is the relationship between the taker of the photograph and the photograph that doesn’t exist?
  • Is it the void or manifestation between the creator and that which isn’t created?
  • The writer with the book that doesn’t exist, the mechanic with the car that doesn’t exist, the nurse with the patient that doesn’t exist, the mother with the child that doesn’t exist, …
  • How important is the above relationship? Is it key in this concept?
  • What should a photographer produce when he is denied the production of his trade, or when the latter is made non-existant?
  • If a photograph doesn’t exist, what exists before it in terms of process?
  • When the photograph didn’t exist, were photographers painters and printmakers?

The Fur Cup

18 September 2008
Object (Le Déjeuner en fourrure), 1936

Object (Le Déjeuner en fourrure), 1936

Many of her pieces consisted of everyday objects arranged as such that they allude to female sexuality and feminine exploitation by the opposite sex. Oppenheim’s paintings focused on the same themes. Her originality and audacity established her as a leading figure in the surrealist movement.

Oppenheim’s best known piece is Object (Le Dejeuner en fourrure) (1936). The sculpture consists of a teacup, saucer and spoon that the artist covered with fur from a Chinese gazelle.

Intriguing Unexpected Answer

18 September 2008

Undoubtedly, the Belgian artist René Magritte requires little by way of introduction. He is widely known as one of the key figures in surrealism, an artistic movement that impacted on both painting and sculpture and that reached its height between 1925 and 1940. Yet, it could be that the 1933 piece La résponse imprévue (The Unexpected Answer), is somewhat less well-known than Magritte’s artistic reputation itself or than a number of other pieces from his rather large oeuvre. Works like La Trahison des Images (with the famous subtitle Ceci n’est pas une pipe) or Les Amants are more likely to ring a bell than The Unexpected Answer. Nevertheless, the latter is a clear example of Magritte’s inimitable artistic style. The painting depicts a door; the observer cannot make out whether it is made of ordinary wood or, indeed, of gold. What is striking is the large, irregularly shaped hole in the door that is vaguely reminiscent of the human form. Yet, it is not clear whether it is the outline of just one person or whether Magritte, in this painting, sought to depict the cut out silhouette of an embracing couple (Lombaerts himself interprets the silhouette as the depiction of a loving couple). Whichever it is, it is clear that the area cut away reveals a yawning darkness on the other side of the door. Just like the lion’s share of Magritte’s oeuvre, this work belongs, stylistically, to surrealism. Indeed, just as in a considerable number of his paintings, the almost cartoon-like simplicity of this oil on canvas seems at odds with the insightfulness and depth of Magritte’s message, namely, that truly ingenious breakthroughs are seldom, if ever, the result of using the predictable points of entry that passages and doors provide and the expected answers that they contain.

The Unexpected Answer

18 September 2008

The entrance int Magritte’s exhibition Magritte and Contemporary Art: The Treachery of Images in LA and the painting The Unexpected Answer (1933)

Walking on clouds

18 September 2008

John Baldessari’s gallery design features Magritte’s Personal Values next to Vija Celmins’s Untitled (Comb), with Jeff Koons’s stainless steel Rabbit in the right foreground.

The museum space was transformed into a surreal experience to show the artwork it contained.
The floor was a carpeted Magritte-esque sky.
The ceiling was covered with images of freeways.
The guards all wore suits and bowlers, like they’ve stepped out of a Magritte painting.
The entrance to the exhibit was a larger-than-life replica of Magritte’s painting The Unexpected Answer.
When visitors entered the exhibit, it was like walking into Magritte’s world.


18 September 2008

—————— Collections of images—————————–
———————-Interlapping visual groups————————–
———–Emerging body of work—————————————-
————-Visual elements—————————————
———-Incorporating all manner of images——————————–
————-Exoloring the history of images————
———————–Looking at theoretical notions in art—————-
——-Touching upon linguistic implications of images———–
———–Developing a visual language—–
—–Thinking about how to present artwork—————
—Creating a dialogue with art and artists———–

La grande famille

18 September 2008
La grande famille (1963)

La grande famille (1963)

Magritte enjoys the game of juxtaposing and manipulating motifs.

An image could exercise such powers of seduction that the painter felt compelled to reproduce it many times. Rather than falling into repetitive indifference, he excels in revisiting work in this way.