An exhibition proposal by Damon Brandt Introduction written by Kevin Moore in collaboration with Damon Brandt
Abstraction and the Female Nude in Modern Photography and Sculpture Photography and sculpture have had a reciprocal influence over one another for the last 150 years. Early photographers, such as Daguerre and Talbot, photographed sculpture in order to demonstrate the new medium’s potential as both a documentary and artistic tool; sculptors such as Rodin and Brancusi engaged photography as a means to explore new perspectives on their work. Beginning in the 1930s, certain avant-garde photographers began using photography as a method for transforming the living human form into a new kind of sculptural image. Creating distortions of form through various means, photographers such as André Kértèsz, Bill Brandt, Charles Sheeler, and Irving Penn produced what were, in effect, images of sculptures that never existed. This abstracting practice, blending and reshaping the potential of various mediums through the photographic process, occurred in tandem with a similar abstracting tendency in painting and sculpture. Artists such as Joan Miro, Jean Arp, and Henry Moore reduced, distorted, and isolated elements of organic form in order to produce a variety of abstractions; these were intended to express, variously, an interest in revealing essential form and, in some instances, a self-conscious counterpoint to the classical tradition. The work of sculptors in particular was an acknowledged source of inspiration for their photographing contemporaries and the abstractionist impulse for both groups shared a common impetus in the formulation of a new aesthetic language for the modern world. Much like today’s interest in discovering new forms through digital image manipulation, artists of the first half of the twentieth century experimented with the technological capabilities of their various mediums, humanizing the endeavor through the nominal subject of the female nude. Boolean Logic explores three approaches to photographic abstraction and the various meanings attached to the abstracted female form. The photographers brought together in this exhibition, include: André Kértèsz, Bill Brandt, Irving Penn, Edward Weston, and Charles Sheeler. The initial proposal was to have two sculptures by Jean Arp (see following images), one light and one dark “positive and negative” on two separate pedestals. The sculptural aspect of this proposal could be expanded to include Matisse, Hepworth, Moore and hopefully Brancusi. The exhibition is intended to be intimate in scale, with each of the photographic bodies of work installed in specific relationship to each other. The sculpture will float on plinths in the center of the space. A grid of photographs by Brancusi of his studio could be included in the exhibition as a didactic element, emphasizing the constellation of ideas proposed in the exhibition. K. M. (with additions by D.B.)
Copyright 2012, Salt Mine Projects
Boolean Logic Photographers: Bill Brandt Perspective of Nudes, 1961 Andre KertĂŠsz Distortions, 1933 Irving Penn Nude Series, 1949-50 Edward Weston Nudes, 1925 - 1927 Charles Sheeler Nudes, 1918-1919
Abstraction and the Female Nude in Photography and Sculpture, 1935-1955 highlights the existing relationship between binary opposites.