BOOKMARKED 4 - 28 March 2015
Deidre Brollo, Danny Digby, Stephen Dupont, Anne Ferran, Chris Fortescue, Nicholas Jones, Sarah McConnell, Trent Parke, Louis Porter, Madeleine Preston, Kurt Schranzer, Teo Treloar & books from Asia-Pacific Photobook Archive
Celebrating artist books in all their forms, from handcrafted one-offs to self-published photobooks, sculptural creations and vintage punk fanzines, Bookmarked is a curated group exhibition that allows visitors to get lost between the pages. Bookmarked will feature a residency by the Asia Pacific Photobook Archive, a not-for-profit open-access archive that promotes the â€˜realâ€™ way to see photobooks - that means hands-on and paper pages. Kick back, relax, and enjoy these rarely seen publications.
CONTENTS Deidre Brollo
Asia-Pacific Photobook Archive
List of works
Deidre Brollo is an artist who works primarily with printmedia, artist books and installation. Her work is an ongoing consideration of memory as it relates to time, place and materiality. She frequently employs historical narratives as found materials in her work, using them to evoke the uncertain nature of recollection. The Untitled artist book (2010) explores notions of habitation and rupture by drawing together seven historical events which each proved catastrophic in varying ways. The work looks to the aftermath of these events, to examine connections between people and place, and the need to mend or recreate a sense of home. More recently, her work has been concerned with the precarious nature of the sea voyage - the perpetual advance and retreat of the ocean, the fate of vessels and passengers upon it, and the ways in which events are explained, remembered, or forgotten. The artist book Fathom uses accounts of maritime disasters obtained from shipping logs, to explore the nature of communication and our capacity to convey meaning, whether over distance or across time. It reflects on the ways in which information is passed backwards and forwards; the consequences of the failure to transmit or convey meaning, and the capacity of language to communicate such things as fear and loss. Soundings I II & III reflect on a past submerged, scattered and hidden by the tide, questioning our ability to grasp and measure the depth of such events.
Endpaper is a photographic series that looks at the history of photography in contemporary art and how technology has changed photography, art and publishing since the turn of the millennium. In the endpapers of publicly circulated photographic library books you can trace the decline of the analogue records, with the last stamp typically from around the end of the year 2000. While analogue film is still readily available, never again will we see photography as we did in the twentieth century. From Man Ray to Henri Cartier-Bresson, Cindy Sherman to Stephen Shore, this work looks back on art history that has incorporated photographic practice. Yet as one era finishes another must begin. The rise of digital technology has changed the way we think and see; allowing new approaches in contemporary art.
Acclaimed photographer Stephen Dupont presents three impressive, obsessive, and thought provoking art books, Piksa Nuigini, Sing Sing and Raskols. Crafted from the portraits of tribal groups and gang members, shot in makeshift studios in Papua New Guinea, Dupont’s candid images offer insight into the cultural struggles caused by Westernization, as well as a celebration of an ancient people. In Sing Sing, for instance, a sense of community and pride in traditional society is reflected in the book’s form, which strings together individual tribal portraits into a single hand-crafted concertina. The intimate scale of the object evokes a sense of trust, while the visible residues of Dupont’s Polaroid processing echoes the individuals’ ritual self-decoration. Raskols, on the other hand, is confronting, and almost aggressive, in scale and subject; presenting portraits of young men involved in the country’s rampant gang warfare, along with texts Dupont has scratched into the photographic surface. While producing a disturbing sense of proximity with the perpetrators of violent crime, this book also captures the humanity and desperation underlying the bravado of these “raskols”—a complexity that speaks to the chronic poverty and mass unemployment that plagues the country’s capital—according to The Economist, “the least livable city on earth”.
Some years ago in a public library I came across photographs of anonymous female patients in a Sydney psychiatric hospital. They were three-quarter portraits, from the hips up. Each showed a woman more or less centred in the image, standing in front of a hospital building. About half included a nurse or nurses, sometimes watching or restraining, sometimes as a steadying hand reaching from outside the frame. Those thirty-eight images, so singular and troubling, were the starting point for this work. Among the things I wanted to engage with were the issues (ethical and legal) of access and visibility. I also wanted to preserve the power and the difficulty of the found images, while showing care and concern for the people in them. Hence the four books, where images of the womenâ€™s faces, hands and bodies are layered between covers of soft felt. Where possible these books are shown in a closed room, with an attendant by the door, which is opened on request. Otherwise they are shown, as here, in a sealed vitrine. This work was supported by a New South Wales Ministry for the Arts Women and Arts Fellowship. The books were bound by Rebecca Beardmore.
OPEN BOOKS Somehow, a book is always already a locked-down item, its beginnings and endings determined before the arrival of a reader. In the Open Books, Iâ€™ve replaced the illusory temporality provided by the passage from one word to the next with a simple binary fluctuation between more or less equal tonal fields; a more or less continuous present in which the only significant action is a simple yes or no, on or off, believe it or not, this or that. Unlike the conversion of trees into paper, the transformation of these books is only partial, they retain something substantial from their previous state. The destruction which attends creation in the human realm is never complete; our creation utilises the cobbled together bits of broken things, and the ghosts of broken things inhabit everything we create; an inescapable legacy code which makes perfection an impossible ideal. I confess to a profound longing for a space in which the strident competitive narratives of the contemporary world are reduced to a whisper like the wind in the trees, and the Open Books are an attempt to generate a kind of stillness in myself, to fleetingly occupy a place similar to the narrow waist of an hour glass where the past becomes the future one grain at a time.
THE BLUE ALBUM “For many years, I have been moved by the blue at the far edge of what can be seen, that colour of horizons, of remote mountain ranges, of anything far away. The colour of that distance is the colour of an emotion, the colour of solitude and of desire, the colour of there seen from here, the colour of where you are not. And the colour of where you can never go.” Rebecca Solnit, A Field Guide to Getting Lost. Perhaps 20th Century monochrome snapshots most poignantly reveal the inherent nostalgia involved in the making of photographs. They record, in a medium now defunct, the attempt by people long dead to grasp a fleeting moment. But because the camera stands as a rationalising technology between the maker of the image and the object of her desire, the act of image making itself produces alienation. As Walter Benjamin observed, “the sight of immediate reality has become the Blue Flower in the land of technology”, referring to the Blue Flower of the Romantics; an unmediated reality can only be dreamed of, never experienced, forever out of reach.
MINING THE ARCHIVE by Kent Wilson Nicholas Jones is a surgeon of sorts, slicing open bodies to reveal a topography of language – literal and symbolic. Beautifully crisp works are presented as specimens of art, craft and museological artefact. Jones carves his way into the heart of books through portals spliced into their hard covers. As if with x-ray vision we are guided inside the layers of literary narratives and recorded data sets, incrementally descending inwardly in paginated topographical steppes. The selection of the books – their physicality, the colour and materiality of the covers, their size and their spinal texts – all indicate a clearly articulated intent. There is a precision in the work that pivots on the nature of the process, the incredibly dexterous cutting involved in the act of modifying, and extends outwardly in equal consideration to presentation in framing and curatorial design. The titles of the books inform the reading of the sculptures as well. In fact, text leaks its way into interpretation directly as you ascribe meaning to the words on the spine and the words opened to us within the pages of the books; and indirectly as you decipher the fragmented remnants of words revealed by the process of cutting. The fragments along the inner coastal walls of the incised island-forms are especially intriguing. Sentences extracted, phrases edited, words parted. Partially inked graphical inlays become quartz and granite cliff patterns to imaginary land formations. Subtle clues are etched as palm lines and character lines in the faces of ghosts. Nicholas Jones is a conjurer of the hidden world, where absence is form and the plateaus of time are shot through with relation. The books lining my bookshelves have never been the same since discovering his work and more importantly, my understanding of records and archives is forever expanded.
Untitled is the first book in a collection, titled ‘Attempts at Making Work’ and deals with the uncertainty and criticism involved in creating new work. The book focuses on the hands as the only clue to what the mind is working through, and as the pages turn, the hands become that of the viewer, contemplating the blank page, the pen, and the endless possibilities, whilst committing to nothing. Untitled pays respect to the struggle of the creative process and recognises that the countless hours spent sitting and thinking, negating and rejecting, being still and waiting are often where a lot of the work lies. As the hands finally decide on something, the pen meets the paper and withdraws again, possibly as a hesitation but most probably as a concluding statement. All that remains on the final page is the smallest of gestures – a single point or a full-stop, a summary of whole process. Book of Smiles comprises of 53 photographs of the artist’s smile held over a period of 30 minutes. The smile arises from a command - not out of happiness but as a necessity – an exercise in being ok regardless of one’s internal state. The variation between images is subtle but noticeable. The smile becomes less and less sincere, more and more forced, to the point of ridiculousness and unease. As the face tires it tries harder, yet the result is less convincing. As a collection, this documentation is both amusing and painful. These smiles are not contagious; they hold a sadness, hinting at an underlying truth. Everyone smiles for the camera.
Tr e n t P a r k e
Australia floats like a good looking stain in the middle of an ocean of blue. For the most part we who live here have chosen to live around its shores, close to water. We seem more comfortable there, closer to life and itâ€™s beginnings. The rest of us live further in. The population dwindling as the roads that take us to the centre, grow long and monotonous. Black fingers that stretch and quiver, reaching off in to the distance. We know the stories. Everyone who has travelled in the outback has a story or has heard a story. Fantastic and bizarre, I am sure these tales are exaggerated or embellished as time goes on, but many are exquisitely true. It is the very mystery of these unbelievable tales that drag us in and almost always they involve something horribly frightening.... And the reality is, life can be terrifying out here. The animals are dangerous, the climate murderous and the people, well they are just a bit different and worryingly capable. A brutal honesty exists out here in this vast and unforgiving, landscape. It seems anything is possible and almost anything could be got away with. Australia has a dark history of death and misadventure waiting around every corner. Alone on a dark night in a secluded, campsite, a long way from anywhere, it is inevitable these stories wander in to haunt you. These photographs have been collected over years and years of travel across the country, along dusty roads to nowhere in particular but on roads that always lead back to the sea. Excerpt from Trent Parke and Narelle Autioâ€™s artistsâ€™ statement, To the Sea, 2003-2013
The Digital Wunderkammer is an assemblage of photographic series, software experiments and found images - that attempts to represent the social and cultural repercussions of a world caught in the embrace of an ever-expanding digital cosmos. Almost every aspect of our existence now finds itself reflected, in one way or another, in a vast digital mirror. Social media, e-commerce, Geographic Information Systems, digital picture libraries, email services, online encyclopedias and Internet search engines gobble up the world indiscriminately, forming a binary replica of our reality in which any one thing can be connected and compared to any another. This strange similitude finds a correlate in the world of the preEnlightenment cabinets of curiosity or Wunderkammern, esoteric collections formed by scholars and royalty alike, which presented models of the world in miniature. Natural specimens were combined with ingenious works of engineering, anthropomorphic stones, ethnographic oddities, exquisite works of art, beautiful gemstones and anything unusual or curious that took the collector’s fancy. Unlike the modern museum, the Wunderkammer’s purpose extended beyond the taxonomic and the educational. Embodied in its selection and arrangement was the blueprint for a philosophical enquiry that sought to understand the universe through a “doctrine of correspondence”. Wunderkammern were simultaneously laboratories and playrooms, scholarly retreats and sites of social exchange, where the art of humans and nature commingled as part of a cosmic equilibrium, where nailing a starfish to the ceiling was proof that in the sublunar world of the ocean lay a reflection of the starry sky above. Taking inspiration from the Museo Cartaceo or paper museum - a collecting technique established in the seventeenth century by the Italian collector Cassiano dal Pozzo - The Digital Wunderkammer sets out to create a contemporary cabinet of curiosity using the digital cosmos as its prima materia. Images of the world’s most boring place, photographs of tender moments with dolphins, a scale map of the Solar System constructed from Swiss Balls, Las Vegas gambling tokens and Google’s mission statement translated from English and back via every language (except Danish) and a variety of other curious items are included for the readers pleasure.
The photos were left to me when my best friend Maggie killed herself. The water police had found her body floating in the harbour. She was found near the notorious suicide spot The Gap. I had been there with her a few years earlier and she had shown me where you could climb down through the sad little safety fence, crawl through a hole and appear to anyone behind the fence as if you were floating. I took a photo of her waving goodbye from just behind the hole. People always say photos are a way of remembering. Photos are also a way of forgetting. They can replace the moment and fill it with what is in the frame. Now when I think of Maggie and that day at The Gap the humour is tempered by what came next. Maggie loved photography. She loved it much more than me. I hate having my photo taken and donâ€™t photograph well. Maggie always said you donâ€™t know how important these photos will be. She meant that it is important to know who you once were. Darlinghurst Eats Its Young was shown in a barbershop window. The work was an analogue version of a Facebook wall. When the show came down I put the images up on Facebook. The response was immediate, and overwhelming.
People tagged and commented on the photos for weeks. I became the inadvertent authority on all the people and places in the photos. The second show about the photos – Darlinghurst Eats Its Young – Redux was held at Sawtooth ARI in Launceston and included posters of the photos and comments from Facebook. The ongoing interest in the photos prompted the third show The Future is Known, held at Firstdraft DEPOT. The title came from a Russian expression – The future is known, it’s the past that’s always changing. The expression is particularly resonant for post communist countries but equally applicable to any attempt to address the past. Photos and objects take on the attributes people want to give them at a particular point in time. The photos are now on display again, this time at Stills Gallery as part of Bookmarked. Seeing the photos for the first time is an experience I can no longer have. I use the photos, or try to, as Maggie intended, as a means of (remaining)’…on nodding terms with the person I used to be, whether (I)… find them attractive or not’(1) 1 Didion.J, 2008, Slouching Toward Bethlehem: Essays (Farrar Straus Giroux Classics)
These book-objects formed part of a series titled The Great Library, an exhibition blurring the line between artists’ books, painting, drawing, and sculpture. The series adopted minimal forms, motifs, and schemes. As abstract investigations they aimed to convey sentiments and ‘archetypes’ that could be understood (or were transferable) across various cultural, spiritual, and language paradigms; serving as ’a passport to and report from’ the inner-, inter-dimensional, and metaphysical realms. The Book of Oracles is a book of divine announcement and revelation, but in its unorthodox multi-hinged form—protean, shifting, vibratory— devoid of doctrinal and theological text—it is self- oracular; reflecting a contemporary spirituality of mutable and expanding natures. It is presented in the shape of a star, a reference to an Egyptian text: “I am a child of earth and of starry heaven, but my race is of heaven alone.” The Book of the Dead takes its name from the Egyptian texts, Book of Coming Forth into the Light. It is an artifact, talisman, stela, skull, an evocation of death, transience, spirit, power, and a portal to other worlds. The Book of Prows, and The Book of Hulls evokes death and rebirth. The foremost part of the ship is a double prow, signifying a ‘passage’ both celestial and earthly. The hull has a flatness reminiscent of a barge. It sits immobile, a container waiting for Charon the ferryman to carry the soul of the newly deceased across the Acheron, or a solar barge waiting for its journey across the heavens.
Te o Tr e l o a r
I have worked in this journal since 2001 and started it immediately after the 9/11 World Trade Centre collapse. It is a documentation of process, ideas and an evolving drawing practice. I think of this journal as a continuous evolving drawing and sculpture. I have no intention of ever ceasing its construction.
It’s all about looking back… And when I do look back, the words ‘youthful enthusiasm’ and ‘swimming against the tide’ spring to mind. The smudged, poorly copied words on the pages of Pulp instantly take me back to Melbourne in 1977 – a meeting of minds at badly attended shows, listening to hard-fought-for imports in bedrooms and rehearsals of Stooges songs in garages, watching things grow from bands playing at parties to a handful of like-minded aficionados of Patti, Iggy, Alice, NY Dolls, Velvets, Roxy, Verlaine, Buzzcocks, to the early shows of Boys Next Door and Young Charlatans, and parties after every one of them – an alternative youth club if you like – to something much less niche and larger scale. Pulp was about those earlier days, when it was one of the few local voices and touchpoints. It was a celebration of otherness, sharing news of the latest pic-sleeve 7-inch imports, interviews and reviews – a touch of DayGlo when the background colour of life was sepia. Pulp was about stretching out feelers to communicate shared passions and new discoveries, local and overseas, when ego and ambition were less involved. The wave was building, and the possibilities seemed endless. Bruce Milne and Clinton Walker – I continue to salute you! Janet Austin A contributor to Pulp, who kindly loaned us her copies for Bookmarked.
Asia-Pacific Photobook Archive
The Asia-Pacific Photobook Archive (APPA) is a not-for-profit open-access physical archive of self-published and independent photobooks. The APPA is a response to the boom in photographic self-publishing globally and was established to provide a â€˜realâ€™ way to see photobooks that would otherwise only be viewable online. The focus of the APPA is the AsiaPacific region. The APPA is a response to the European and American focus of most international discourses around photography and photobooks. The APPA is committed to promoting the production and dissemination of photobooks in the region. The APPA is acutely aware of the wealth of photographic talent in the region and hopes to become a vehicle for the promotion and showcase of the material in the archive through dedicated exhibitions, publications, collaborations, symposia, and guest lectures throughout the Asia-Pacific region and internationally.
List of works
front cover: Danny Digby Duane Michals, Now Becoming Then, 2012 inkjet print, 80 x 100cm edition of 5 Deidre Brollo Fathom - Artist Book, 2013 archival pigment prints on cotton rag, papercuts, embossing 42 x 22.5 x 2.7cm, edition of 7 Soundings III, 2014 archival pigment print, chine colle, embossing, 68 x 45cm, edition of 3 Danny Digby Richard Billingham, Rayâ€™s a Laugh, 2012 inkjet print, 80 x 100cm, edition of 5 Michael Snow, Cover to Cover, 2012 inkjet print, 80 x 100cm, edition of 5 Stephen Dupont Raskols, 2004 60 silver gelatin prints in book format, 59 x 49.5 x 4.5cm, edition of 15 Sing Sing, 2006 71 silver gelatin prints in book format, 20 x 16.5 x 6.5cm edition of 15 Anne Ferran Book 1: 1-38, 2003 iIlfochrome print, 93 x 21cm, edition of 7
Book 2: 1-19, 2003 ilfochrome print, 40 x 50cm, edition of 7 INSULA Book 2, 2003 unique artist book 21.4 x 17.3 x 6.5cm Chris Fortescue Open Book, Lord Byron (colour code), 2015 books, rice glue, shellac and enamel model paint, dimensions vary, unique The Blue Album, 2015 21 pigment prints in archival box, 31.5 x 31.5cm, edition of 3 Nicholas Jones The Russian Chronicles, 2013 altered book, 30 x 23 x 5cm, unique Handbook, 2013 altered book in perspex box, 25.4 x 17.9 x 8.3cm, unique Sarah McConnell Untitled, 2011 from attempts at Making Work hand-bound book, digital prints, 13.5 X 19.5cm, edition of 2 Book of Smiles, 2011 hand-bound book, digital prints 18.7 X 13cm, unique Trent Parke To The Sea, 2013 4 artist books, 142 pigment prints 30.5 x 22.7cm each, edition of 3 + 2AP
Louis Porter The Digital Wunderkammer, 2014 60 page artist book, Thermal bound chromogenic prints with inkjet cover 42 x 30cm, edition of 20
Asia-Pacific Photobook Archive install images courtesy of APPA back cover: Teo Treloar Art Journal, 2001/2015
Madeleine Preston Darlinghurst Eats itâ€™s Young photographic prints, 10 x 15cm unique Kurt Schranzer* The Book of the Dead, 2002 acrylic, nickle piano-hinges, wood, book object, 41 x 37.5 x 18cm, unique The Book of the Oracles, 2002 acrylic, nickel piano-hinges, wood, book object 34 x 38 x 12 cm, unique Teo Treloar* Art Journal, 2001/2015 evolving drawing, sculpture, 19 x 15 x 17cm, unique Fanzines Pulp Issue 1 Pulp Issue 2 Pulp Issue 3 + 4 Spurt! no. 4
*Kurt Schraner and Teo Treloar are represented by Flinders Street Gallery
36 Gosbell Street, Paddington NSW 2021 Australia tel 61 2 9331 7775 fax 61 2 9331 1648 email email@example.com web stillsgallery.com.au
Group show online exhibition catalogue