ARTWORKROOM SPRING VOLUME 2016
Interviews with Alessio Albi Gina Vasquez Renee Ackerman
ÂŠ Foto by Renee Ackerman
Articles by Rebecca Govlja Anna Helsen
A m a g a z i n e a b o u t a r t a n d ph o t o g r a ph y
After years of existing in the virtual world, we have decided to take ARTWORKROOM one stop closer to the read world - from a Blog to an online magazine, with the potential for a real, hardcopy, perhaps a Zine, that you can hold, feel, smell and study as your heart desires. There is just something about holding a print version of images that, in our opinion, can’t be beat by technology, but for started ARTWORKROMM Magazine will exist as a digital publication. The magazine will feature interviews of numerous artists from different fields of work, be it photographers, painters, musicians, writers or more. For this first issue we have talked to Alessio Albi, Gina Vasquez and Renee Ackermann. They create stunning works of art - definately a must see! Furthermore, insights into Art and Art History will be given, current events in the Art World and other bits and pieces. For this first issue, Rebecca Govlja has given us a great insight to the mexican artist Pedro Reyes’ work. We hope you will thoroughly enjoy reading through those first pages of ARTWORKROOM Magazine!
Lots of Love,
Editor in Chief
All right reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission from the publisher, the photographers or authors. The views expressed in ARTWORKROOM Magazine are those of the respective contributors and do not necessarily shared by the magazine or its staff.
© Copyright 2015 Karlsruhe, Germany
By Konstantin Voit
ÂŠ Konstantin Voit www.malfabrik.de
CONTENTS Editorial 2 Interview with Alessio Albi 5 Interview with Gina Vasquez 9 Rebeccaâ€™s Art Column 13 Interview with Renee Ackerman 15
How old are you and where are you from? I am 29 years old and from Perugia, Italy.
What themes interest you to photograph? Loneliness, as it represented a big part of my life.
What do you do for a living? My main work is not photography, I’m a nu- What’s your favourite music to listen to whilst working, shooting or editing? tritionist. :) I always listen to music whilst editing. Tool, Sigur Rós, Radiohead, *Shels, Archive, Pink Do you work analogue or digital? I only work in digital. That’s because post-pro- Floyd and many others... They all are really duction is important in my workflow, to reach important to achieve the right atmosphere the right mood and atmosphere that I have in that I’m looking for. mind. Do you have any advice for upcoming photogWhat was your most recent project? raphers? I am still working on a project named “A Learn the basic techniques and the classical Thousand Seas”, inspired by the atmosphere canons of photography, and then decide in by my favourite book series ‘The Dark Tower’. total freedom when to use them or when to It’s about parallel dimensions and post-apoca- totally forget them. lyptic atmospheres.
© Alessio Albi
© Alessio Albi
What’s your favourite music to listen to whilst working, shooting or editing? I always listen to music whilst editing. Tool, Sigur Rós, Radiohead, *Shels, Archive, Pink Floyd and many others... They all are really important to achieve the right atmosphere that I’m looking for.
remains- my passion and not my work for now so I can do whatever I want and always have fun with it, without compromises.
How would you recommend doing a photo-trip? For me it is not so complicated, as my equipment is very small, one or two lenses and a tripod sometimes. I just find a place and decide Do you have any advice for upcoming photog- how to get there and where to stay. raphers? Learn the basic techniques and the classical What equipment do you take with you when canons of photography, and then decide in travelling? total freedom when to use them or when to As said before, just my camera, two lenses (always a 50mm f/1.4!) and a tripod. Sometimes totally forget them. I also take a reflective panel. How and when did you start to take an interest in photography? Did you have any plans prior What is your favourite photo-technique? I love postproduction, to achieve the right coto realizing you want to pursue photography? I started getting interest in photography about lour tone that I have in mind. 3 years ago, but my first huge year was 2013, when I started to define my own personal style What’s your favourite (art related) App? (still defining it). Photography is -and I hope Hipstamatic. 6
© Alessio Albi
What type of cameras do you have and use? I have a Nikon D600 and a Canon EOS 450D (my first camera). Now I only use the D600, as it has an amazing dynamic range.
© Alessio Albi
Do you have any particular artists you’d say are an inspiration to you? As for the giants; Annie Leibovitz and Tim Walker. Then other amazing photographers all over the world like Marta Bevacqua, Zhang Jingna, Alex Stoddard and Miss Aniela.
All images on this page ÂŠ Alessio Albi
Gina Vasquez Gina Vasquez is a 21 year old photographer from New York City. She is currently studying at the Fashion Institute of Technology and heads out on self employed photographic missions. Her work can be seen online at ginavasquez. com as well as on Flickr and Facebook. Gina first came across photography back in 2011, when she saw a conceptual image online. After discovering how expressive photography could be, she took off to experiment on her own to test the waters - the results speak for themselves. She prefers to work with digital photography as it meets the needs for her photography in ways that analog photography cannot,
© Gina Vasquez
however still very much enjoys to shoot film an does so when she has time on the side. One of the most interesting photo projects she has worked was a collaboration with the author Chiara Gamberale. The project consisted of concepting and creating a new cover for her book “Per Dieci Minuti”, which is another work that perfectly shows Gina Vasquez’ playful and fantasy-filled style. She creates works which evoke numerous emotions in the viewer, where one gets pulled into the work and carried off into their own fantasy world, filled with wonderous discoveries.
© Gina Vasquez
Gina’s works mostly feature people in the composition who are often a model, friend or self portraits. As to settings, she often makes fantastic use of wide open spaces and claims to have a soft spot for beaches (and who doesn’t!). Before starting her shoots, she plans the composition thouroughly, however also taking large expansions when shooting in case another composition winds up being more suitable for the piece of work which sometimes can only be seen during post-productions. As far as post-productions goes, Gina has listed Adobe Photoshop to be her favourite (Adobe Lightroom is also highly recommended). One of her favourite photo techniques is the Brenzier Method, which has a very shallow depth of field, relatively wide angle and photo-stitching and was made popular by Ryan Benzier. Her beloved hardware is a Nikon D600, which she has upgraded from her previously owned D3000 for her digital works. To sat-
isfy her love of working with film she uses a Canon AE-1 and a Instax Mini 25. These are more oftenly used to document and other type of photography rather than for her conceptual pieces. When travelling, the Nikon Camera is an obvious must, as is a 50mm f/1.8 and 35mm/f2 lense. Gina also makes sure to have her tripod, camera remote, reflector and ladder nearby whenever possible. As many of us would agree with, inspiration comes in many different shapes and forms, and Gina named some of her favourite music for us, which she enjoys to listen to whilst shooting and working on the post-productions, such as Ludovico Einaudi, Iron and Wine, Imagine Dragons, Two Door Cinema Club, and Matt Corby. Other artists are Robert and Shana Parkeharrison, Karrah Kobus, and Katerina Plotnikova. In the end, all that can be said is that her works are breathtaking and we hope to continue to see many more! 10
All images on this page ÂŠ Gina Vasquez
All images on this page ÂŠ Gina Vasquez
Rebecca´S Art Column
TA B E R
This article will present the artwork “Disarm” by the Mexican Artist Pedro Reyes from both a professional and personal view point, of a newcomer in the field of working in the art scene. I have chosen to write about this particular work because its effect on the visitors of our institution in Berlin has stuck with me since I first started working with the artwork. The artist Pedro Reyes was born in Mexico in 1972 where he still works and lives today. He studied architecture at the Ibero-American Univeristy in Mexico City. As an artist he has won international attention for his large-scale projects such as “Palas por Pistolas” and “Disarm” which will be the centre of attention for the following article. His projects take existing social problems and intend to suggest solutions for a happier, more peaceful world. Ryes refers to himself foremost as a sculptor, which involves the sculpting of social realities as much as physical materials. The artist has always been directly engaged in social activism, which first became manifested in “Palas por Pistolas” (Pistols into Spades) in the year 2008. In this project he melted down 1,527 weapons to create the same number of shovels used to plant 1,527 trees with the help of local residents. The weapons used had been voluntarily donated by the civilian population of Culiacan, Mexico. His political stance, the use of found materials and disclaiming the collective mentality sets him in the tradition of Arte Povera, most likely to be seen in his approach towards the Mexican gun culture.
My personal experiences with the artwork “Disarm” started on the 22th of February at the Kunstraum Kreuzberg/ Bethanien (Berlin, Germany) as part of our current exhibition “CTM. Seismographic Sounds. Visions of a new World”, running until 30th of March 2016. I had not heard about the artwork nor the artist before and did not quite know what to expect. The first information handed to me was the financial value of the artwork ranging up to EUR 350.000 total for the installation, borrowed from Lisson Gallery in London, which made me bow down in respect, as I had never worked with an artwork estimated this high in both its idealistic as well as economic value. The work “Disarm” is a second generation of instruments built after “Imagine” (2012). For this installation, Reyes has taken about 6700 guns that were turned in or seized by the army and police in Ciudad Juarez, a city of about 1,3 million people where 10 people were shot a day at the height of violence. Back in the 2010 Ciudad Juarez had a murder rate of 230 killings to every 100,000 inhabitants. “Disarm” was created in cooperation with a team of musicians and Cocolab, a media studio in Mexico City. Reyes has cut down gun barrels to different lengths to sound like marimbas while other pistol parts have been turned into cymbals. Nevertheless one can still recognize the threatening shape of weapons, exorcising the demon of harm which they once used to inhabit. When the instruments play or are played, the music expels the evil for which these weapons used to stand and the melody works as a requiem for the lives lost.
Speaking about his work, such as “Disarm” from 2013, Ryes himself says that the fact of taking metals won out of guns and rearranging the broken parts into new forms in his sculptures is a classical approach that relates to the advent of bricolage in the post-war era. The project “Palas Por Pistolas” as well as “Imagine” and “Disarm” also connect with the ideas of social sculpture, in the physical transformation of the original materials, which aim to trigger psychological and social transformation. Reyes stresses that his artwork is not just to be seen as a protest, but a proposal. For him, music is the opposite of weapons and the exercise of transformation one sees when looking at the guns as part of musical instruments is what he desires to see in society. At the moment the new instruments are played they are meant to become “agents of change”, creating a musical event which people gather in a positive manner. Contrary to post-war artists who worked with anonymous flotsam and jetsam, the material Reyes uses derive from a decommissioning weapons program and therefore already possess a powerful history in the first place. Yet for Reyes it is important that the viewers are not seduced by the weapons themselves although their form is left recognizable in the sculpture. Reyes is convinced that human brains, especially those of men, are predisposed to violence and the drive to kill. This desire to terrorise however, which in Reyes belief is enrooted so deep in human nature is aimed to be totally transformed by a psychological process of sublimation which shall be instigated by the artworks. The artist sees the human fascination with objects and their strong effects on us as a basic trigger to this psychological process. Rather than trying to deny or eliminate the capacity for violence in the nature of human beings Reyes tries to displace it in terms of its object. Whilst writing a checklist for the variety of instruments exhibited in our rooms, my excitement to see the instruments perform rose from day to day until the installation finally arrived. After all I had read and researched so far, which I have put together in the text above, I was eager to experience the sound it
would make and was even more curious to know how the installation actually works. Each of the instruments came with boxes, carefully hiding its technology in form of MAC Computers utilizing programs such as Ableton Live, MIDI and Max MSP to transform guns into self-playing instruments. We had a loop programmed which now makes the instruments play one after another, which at first sounds as if the instruments start playing randomly and without any connection to one another. It is only after hearing the loop repeatedly for weeks that I can finally make a melody out of it. Yet one might not believe how beautiful and melodic the instruments sound when played together, every Sunday. Whilst there is still a moment of threat in the instruments shooting out sound without warning for the unprepared viewer every sense of potential harm is expelled when the instruments interact with each other and play their melody all at once. For me, this fact undermines the peaceful intent of the artwork in an even deeper sense, for if everything works and reacts together what we get is a transformed reality of beautiful music. I will always remember the artwork as one of the first great pieces of art for me to work with. For instance I will probably never forget the opening of the exhibition when the room in which the installation was so crowded that my boss and me where all over the place trying to convince everyone not to touch the artwork, which bares so much seduction to touch it and in fact interact with it. And then there was this guy who just walked into the centre of the room, in between the different instruments and started moving in a really weird manner, which one might refer to as a “dance” and all the viewers around believing he was part of the performance and applauding enthusiastically as he finished. Since then I have seen so many more positive reactions on this work of art, like children bursting into laughter and excitement and young musicians eager to play the instruments that I feel like Ryes intentions are, in reality, not even as utopic as it might seem when reading about them on a piece of paper. Rebecca Govlja 14
Renee Ackerman How old are you and where are you from? What themes interest you most to photograph? Iâ€™m 21 years old, from Willoughby, Ohio, USA My work almost always revolves around the wonders of nature and Earth and the affect it What are you studying right now? has on the human spirit. Nearly all my photos As of now I am working on finishing up an are taken outside. Associate Degree of Science. Eventually I plan to get a Degree in Environmental Science or What or who are your favourite subjects to phoWildlife Management. My dream is to be able tograph? to work for the National Park Service! I love to photograph the Earth in the way that it is supposed to be. Meaning I get great joy out of exploring and visiting places that are Do you work analogue or digital? Analogue all the way. There is something left untouched by mankind. Itâ€™s almost like goabout film that captures every moment exactly ing back in time to a simpler day and age and I how it was; something that digital has never love seeing the effect that it has on people. been able to do for me.
Do you have any advice for upcoming photographers? What’d be a good idea to do, what might one want to stay clear of? My only advice would be to avoid TRYING to get a good photo. Many times when a moment is forced and not genuine, it shows. Sometimes you just have to let go and just let things happen around you.
What would you say is the most interesting place you’ve travelled to, to take photos and why? One of my favourite places that I’ve ever been is the American Pacific Northwest. Something about that place feels so ancient and magic. All the photos I’ve taken in Washington state give me the best feeling ever.
How would you recommend doing a photoWhat do you want to evoke in the viewer? trip? (Organization, bookings, equipment) I want to stir up feelings inside them that have All my trips have been nothing more than four been lost due to modern day desires and life- close friends, a reliable car, a map, a backpack, styles a tent, an old film camera, a bunch of film and a lot of wanderlust.
All images on this page ÂŠ Renee Ackerman
What equipment do you take with you when travelling? My grandpaâ€™s old Pentax K-1000, about 20 rolls of film (usually Fuji-Film) and a disposable camera for night-time shots.
I do is to mess with contrast, hues and highlights. I have very little experience with editing.
What type of cameras do you have? Which do you use the most? What programs do you use for photo editing? Pentax K-1000 is what I use the most; its duWhich one would you recommend aspiring rable and I know it well. I also have a Minolta photographers to get into? X-700 I use every once in a while. I just use windows live photos gallery because it came with the computer. The only editing 18
Junip - Fields (2010)
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