Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Five Photographers from Lincoln

Five Photographers from Lincoln showcases recent work from a diverse group of emerging photographic artists covering subject matter ranging from the explosive destruction of novelty decorative items, exploratory regional documentary, abstract landscape and cityscape and experimental portraiture.

Contributing Artists: Mike Downing, Michelle Walsh, Graham Cooper, Mark Terry and John Hudson.

Located at the Seven Dials club in London’s Covent Garden, for more information on opening hours, location and facilities please check the ‘Venue’ page.

Five Photographers From Lincoln:
5th of December 2011 for one month until the 5th of January 2012, Monday
- Wednesday 12:00 - 22:00 Thursday - Saturday  12:00 - 23:00 Sunday -

Seven Dials Club
Covent Garden Community Centre
42 Earlham St

Seven Dials Club:
Contact:  Seven Dials 020 7681 8217

Friday, 11 November 2011

The Shock of the New 2: The Powers that Be

At the end of the first episode and chapter of Robert Hughes’ Shock of the New, we are told that “The Mechanical Paradise” that modernism promised “would soon be less evident.  After 1914”, Hughes explains “machinery was turned on its inventors and their children. After forty years of continuous peace in Europe, the worst war in history cancelled the faith in good technology, the benevolent machine. The myth of the Future went into shock and European art moved into its years of irony, disgust and protest (Hughes, 1991 p.56).
                The second episode “The powers that be” opens at the site of the Butte de Walencourt above the Somme Valley. In these places, Hughes explains, “our fathers and grandfathers tasted the first terrors of the 20th Century. There that joyful sense of the promise of modernity, the optimism born of the machine and of the millennial turning point of the new century, was cut down by other machines”   (Hughes, 1991 p.57).
                Art and language Hughes argues “could no longer carry its former meanings. World War I changed the life of words and images in art, radically and forever. It brought our culture into the age of mass-produced, industrialized death. This, at first, was indescribable” (p.56).  Total war until this time was basically beyond human experience and the naivety in which Europe entered the conflict was reflected in the propaganda that basically described the experience as somewhere between a joust and a cricket match.  More profound was the gap between experience and official language.  Those who had experienced grew aware that their leaders: the generals and politicians had lied about the war, its causes, its nature and length and the press had described very little of the realities of the conflict. A whole generation would be lost and traumatised. It was up to the artists and poets to challenge this official language and what separated them from official culture, was that that culture belonged to the elders. Some artists rejected authority and nationalism and the patriotism of their fathers. The children would become pacifists and internationalists and would seek a way out of the madness of the Great War and seek out exile.  The main haven for intellectuals in Europe was Zurich in neutral Switzerland.
The café was the natural home of the exiles and a very potent public sphere where many cultural, revolutionary and political ideas formed. In Zurich’s Café Odéon we saw Lenin plan that violent revolution in Russia, it was also the place where Cabaret Voltaire and Dada was born.  From here the revolutionary nature of art is explored from dada in Berlin to the constructivists in St Petersburg and Moscow. Of course both revolutionary art movements are doomed to fail as Stalinism and Nazism took hold and dismissed such things as degenerate or bourgeois and punished those artists who practised it with humiliation, exile, imprisonment or death. The idea of a revolutionary art linked to modernism does not disappear and certainly is not all liberal or left-wing.  Futurism was all patriotism and warmongering before and after World War I and became quite influential on the young Mussolini as he shifted his politics from socialism to something else.  Not long after he came to power Mussolini made futurism fascism’s first official style. Was there a difference, Hughes asks at one point, between Russian Agitprop art and photo-montage, cubo-futurism and futurists use of the same techniques? That other dictator, Hitler generally rejected modernism was favoured classicism and the work of Albert Speer. In the 1930s Mussolini would adopt classicism under Speer’s influence.    
Hughes compares Mussolini’s use of classicism and his architecture of state power with the “Architecture of Democracy”, with the scariest example being Albany Mall, the government building of New York State.  We have no architecture of freewill, Hughes declares!  As for the art of descent, we are left with Picasso’s Guernica and the remnants of the Dadaist strategies in the neo-dada of Jean Tinguely whom Hughes seems to dismiss as rather tame an un-revolutionary: harmless. Art then is out done by mass media and photography in their ability to morally influence the world: “it is hard to think of any work of art of which one can say, This saved the life of one Jew, one Vietnamese, one Cambodian. Specific books perhaps; but as far as one can tell, no paintings or sculptures. The difference between us and the artists of the 1920s is that they thought such a work of art could be made. Perhaps it was a certain naiveté that made them think so. But it is certainly  our loss that we cannot”  (Hughes, 1991 p.111).

Hughes. R, (1991) The Shock of the New London: Thames and Hudson.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Digital Imaging and Photography MA Website

Thank you to Mike, Michelle, Graham, Sam and everyone else involved in the MA show.

 The MA website:

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Graduate Shows

My work and the work  of my fellow MA students feature in
Thank you Michelle!



Ground Floor Gallery, Architecture Building,
University of Lincoln
Brayford Pool


From: 21st September 2011
Until: 25th September 2011
9:00 am - 8:00 pm


Seven Dials Club
42 Earlham Street
Covent Garden


From: 7th December 2011
Until: 5th January 2012
9:00 am - 10:00 pm

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Fernand Léger

Fragmentation of the pictorial surface, distortion of the perspectival space and contrast of dimensions, a preference for peripheral or close-up vision,  f flattening of volumes, disappearance of the background  which gets the whole pictorial content of the picture to unfurl on a single level... The presentation of the object or figure based on several contradictory simultaneous viewpoints produces an impression that the object is revolving on its own axis. 

Contraste de formes 1913

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Moï Ver

Moï Ver  Paris. 80 photographies, 1931

"Photography, which is until recently had a merely illustrative and documentary value, has proceeded to research of a plastic nature, which is extremely interesting. It is indisputably the cinema that blazed the trail for photography; but, by that it 'keeps,'  that it 'fixes' stereotyping, it seems to me somewhat contray to the cinematographic 'fact' which is moveable and successive by definition", wrote Fernand Léger in his preface to Moï Ver's Paris. Through the thickness of the book and in the processing of he pages the photographer rediscovers the relationships of succession perculiar to the cinema.

Fernand Léger and Dudley Murphy: Ballet Mécanique (1924)

In Fenand Léger and Dudley Murphey's Ballet Mécanique (1924) we see  animated cut out of Charlie Chaplin in a sequence called "Charlot cubiste". Esther Leslie in Hollywood Flatlands noted that the film featured close-ups of domestic items. "The simple act of close-up in itself" Leslie observes, "acted as an animation of objects , an endowment with  life and personality" (2002, p.20).

Unfortunately this does not feature the score by George Antheil with was described as a "futuristic score of the mechanical era", a piece of musical engineering. .

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Diego Kuffer

 I have just discovered the work of Brazilian photographer Diego Kuffer

In Transit 12

In Transit 14

 Diego Kuffer Photographic Portfolio:


Film footage from Stephen Earnhart's multimedia stage production based on the international best-selling novel by Haruki Murakami, first presented at The Public Theater's "Under the Radar Festival," New York City. Footage was later used as projection elements during live production.

This seems to recall films like Dark Water, The Grudge and The Ring.


This week Edinburgh hosted the world premiere of a new production based on Haruki Murakami's novel The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. It's the story of an unassuming everyman who is thrown into a state of confusion following the unexplained disappearance of his wife and his cat. As well as being a portrait of a marriage in crisis, and a Chandleresque detective story, the play also explores wider issues, reflecting Japan’s wartime horrors and questioning its place in the world today. The production, by Greg Pierce, and former head of production at Miramax, Stephen Earnhart, is a technically challenging fusion of live action, film, puppetry, dance and projection.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

My Blog through the Shredder: 2011 entries

My blog entries through The Shredder 1.0: some of the results!

My Blog through the Shredder: 2010 entries

My 2010 blog entries after being put through Mark Napier's Shredder 1.0

Mark Napier: Shredder 1.0

Mark Napier created Shredder in 1998. Its aim was not to appropriate from the web, but to emphasise the materiality of the web. Napier cites Pollock and Smithson as inspiration as  both call attention to the materiality of there art. Napier explains his approach: “I wanted to expose the raw material that make up the ‘design’, ‘content’ and ‘information’ of the web and use of information directly. Of course, this material is a construct of software and the graphics display. It is ‘raw’ only by virtue of the context The Shredder creates” (Green, R., 2004 p.100).

“What we see when we browse the web” argues Tribe and Jana, “is a carefully designed veneer, an orderly facade that conceals the jungle of the code” (2007 p.70). Napier’s Shredder 1.0 “lets us peek behind the curtain, revealing a colourful jumble of text and images” (2007 p.70)..

When you visit the site you are encouraged to enter a web address in the location field at the top of Shredder 1.0’s interface and Shredder literally deconstructs the original site. The result of the dicing and slicing of the web pages is an abstract composition.

There is a similarity to here to Photosynthing in that it deals with the DNA of the visual.  It does sometimes disrupt an image.

The results of The Shredder are closer to abstraction and abstract expressionism in particular.  I have seen examples that look like Hoffman.The reference to the materiality of the web seems close to modernisms idea of honesty of materials.

Greene, R., (2004) Internet Art,  London: Thames and Hudson

Tribe, M., (2007) New Media Art Los Angeles: Taschen

Mark Napier: Shredder 1.0

Visit here with a URL to put into The Shredder 1.0

Tuesday, 12 July 2011


I have written a lot about a number of practitioners that can be described as “joiners”. This is a term I discovered in John A. Walker’s invaluable dictionary of art: Glossary of Art, Architecture & Design Since 1945 Third Edition. My copy was withdrawn from Beverly Hills Public Library on North Rexford Drive, Beverley Hills.

Anyway, back to the business of “joiners”. This is a term, Walker says, that was:
invented by the British artist David Hockey to describe those of his works produced in the 1980s which are composed of a series of small photographs joined together. The photographs are taken from different viewpoints and then arranged so they link up or overlap with the result that the finished collage resembles a photographic version of cubism. Due to his fame, Hockney has come to be regarded as the inventor of this form of art but in fact artists such as Jan Dibbets and John Stezaker were making ‘Joiners’ long before Hockney.

I would also add Gordon Matta-Clark to the list. Matta-Clark is refered to in the same breadth as Hockney by Zelnik-Manor and Perona,in 2008 in there discussion of automatic-joiners, produced through software.

Other key figures I think are important to mention are John Harper, Luo Yonglin, Thomas Kellner and Sohei Nishino.

There is also Doug and Mike Starn and image joiners like Christopher Marclay that may tie in here.

Further reading:

Hockney, D., & Joyce, P., Hockney on Photography: conversations with Paul Joyce, London: Jonathan Cape

Zelnik-Manor & Perona (2008) ”Automating Joiners”