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ISSN 2009-2288

ISSUE 5/2010


SuperMassiveBlackHole

is

dedicated

to

the

photographic

Theme: intimacy

imagery resulting from the time-based processes found in many interdisciplinary

Suzanne van der Lingen - Portrait (Mother)

art practices today. The magazine seeks to engage and represent respective

Paris Visone - Selected works

projects and ideas which utilise Photography (digital or analogue), New Media (high or low tech), Performance and Sculpture (through documentation). Fine

Émilie Delugeau - Intimacy

Artists are encouraged to engage with the magazine as a way of

Tim Wilkins - Selected works

exhibiting,

E. Andrew Lindsay - Broken Stories

testing,

developing

and

experimenting

with

new

(or

old)

ideas whether it is through a single image or a structured project.

Darek Fortas - Golden Cobra

Time, Space, Light and Gravity are what drive SuperMassiveBlackHole

Stephen Gunning - Folsom St. Fair, San Francisco Diarmait Grogan - How Will I Know When I’m Awake? Joseph Gasior - Insomniac Habitats Virginie Rebetez - Selected Works

Submit SuperMassiveBlackHole

is

a

free

online

magazine,

and

is

Kimberley Bartlett - Eine Kleine Erinnerung

published three times annually. SuperMassiveBlackHole accepts almost

Focus:

anything involved with the photographic process, from straight

Ben Alper - The Family Dig

photography to video, performance documentation or written treatments. All submissions should be sent via Email. Please check the submission

Talk:

guidelines at:

Review - Eugene Von Bruenchenhein

www.supermassiveblackholemag.com

Review - Christoph Rütimann - Venedig im Boot-Berlin

smbhmag@gmail.com Cover: Intimacy III, 2010 by Émilie Delugeau

Report - SuperMassiveBlackHole & the New Living Art exhibition 2010

Project: Ordinary-Light - Inside


Intimacy

is not limited to love or sexual relations, and nor is it something one can fake. A theme such as this may cause many to expect an issue packed with a particularly romantic vision, and admittedly while there are some images of lovers there are also the other sides to intimacy. We have put together a group of works that deal with intimacy in all its joy, cruelty and mystery; from dealing with illness to the passing of a loved one, the deep and personal moments of ones life to the contorted and absurd. Whether boxers or lovers, family or friends, intimate moments can say so much without a word being said. Like the lyrics of a bad pop song, it can leave itself open to clichÊ and seem unnatural and forced, but as we’ll see in the following photographs when genuine intimacy is encountered, it appeals to the heart, it speaks to us in a way nothing else can.


Suzanne van der Lingen (Netherlands/Ireland)

Portrait (Mother) Photograph 2010

In January 2010, my mother was diagnosed with cancer. We both wanted to capture the physical changes that she’d be undergoing in a thoughtful way. With this portrait, I took inspiration from Vermeer to show my mother as a classical ďŹ gure without obvious allusions to her illness. To me, it captures her courage, poise and strength that have become even more apparent during this time.

www.suzannevanderlingen.com


Paris Visone (United States)

Selected Works Photographs Ongoing

In this series of photographs, my intention is two-fold. First, is to explore the gender dynamics and sexuality of my subjects. Secondly, I am trying to capture how these dynamics are transformed into ‘appearances’ which my subjects feel they must uphold. These dynamics are preserved as they are passed down from one generation to the next. ‘You have to look good’ ‘You have to be a man’ ‘You have to look young if you are old, and old if you are young’ ‘The more muscles you have, the better you are.’ These social pressures are a focus in many people’s daily lives. For most people, young and old, maintaining and upholding an ‘image’ has become an obsession. This obsession extends not only to appearance, but also to the gender roles one is imprinted with at a very young age. Throughout the course of their life, the majority of people are trapped in the confines of these roles, most oblivious to the existence of any confines at all. One can not escape that which one does not see. There are layers of image-consciousness at work. I am emphasizing the way the subjects want to be perceived, the way the photographer is capturing them, and the way the viewer perceives the image as a whole.

www.parisvisone.com


Paris Visone

(Before) Extension, 2010; (Here) Wheeler, 2010; Madison and Cole, Peabody, MA, 2007


Émilie Delugeau (France/Germany)

Intimacy Photographs 2010

Inside the conďŹ ned atmosphere of a room, a woman and a man: the intimacy of their couple.

edelugeau@yahoo.fr


Émilie Delugeau

(Before) Intimacy I (Here) Intimacy II; Intimacy III


Tim Wilkins (United Kingdom)

Selected Works Photographs Ongoing

timwilkins125@btinternet.com


Tim Wilkins

(Before) Untitled; (Here) Untitled; Untitled


E. Andrew Lindsey (United Kingdom)

Broken Stories

Photographs (6x7 film masked, scanned and cropped) 2009-2010 These works are focused on the momentary evolution of emotional or otherwise difficult encounters ‒ turning points in the lives of the protagonists. The kind of small moments of fragility, when things change seemingly beyond our control, revealing our vulnerability. The protagonists find themselves forced by circumstance, to move things to the next stage ‒ to finally tell the truth. Formally the work is informed by cinematography, storytelling as craft, and purposely distinct from the static single narrative image. Working with actors on location, I select two images which between them, form what I call the ‘fiat’ (coming into being) of story; fragments of these fragile or difficult emotional events. The fiat is in a sense held in the physical and psychological gap between the images, and by resistance to a third image ‒ start, middle, end; action, reaction, outcome etc. a simplistic conclusion of the narrative is prevented. Shooting in this directorial way, with scenes staged solely for me and my camera, I am able to invade the personal space of the subjects with consent, getting much closer than would normally be possible with un-staged, real events ‒ both the process and the content being explorations of the intimate.

www.ealindsay.co.uk


E. Andrew Lindsay

(Before) World of Lies, 2010; (Here) White Elephants, 2009; San Juan de Dios, 2009


Darek Fortas (Poland/Ireland)

Golden Cobra Photographs Ongoing

A portrait! What could be more simple and more complex, more obvious and more profound? Charles Beaudelaire, 1859 Golden Cobra is one of Dublin’s amateur boxing clubs that has its training grounds at Thomas Senior School in Jobstown. It was established in the early 1990s, and since then it is considered the toughest amateur boxing club in Ireland. Every few years there is somebody from Golden Cobra that makes his career into professional boxing. Facing off is an act performed at the beginning of the fight in order to show confidence to one’s opponent; it is extremely important for the boxer because it might give him physical edge over the rival. Portraits in Golden Cobra are challenging; there is an emphasis on the confrontation in the first part of the diptych, surprisingly the second part with the sitter having his eyes closed is much more subtle in nature, to some extent it can be even said that closed eyes take away from facing off, make the entire expression much more fragile, merciful, even meditative. Each diptych in this body of work speaks not only about a particular time at the end of the training session, but also signifies personal strength of each participant, carrying promise of strong will and intention to overcome obstacles in order to fulfill a dream of triumph in the boxing ring, whether it’s applied literally or metaphorically. The photographic series Golden Cobra also provides a platform to discuss the problematic history of this very distinctive part of Dublin, aspirations it has furnished, but foremost challenges that are still omnipresent here.

www.darekfortas.com


Darek Fortas

(Before) Eric; (Here) Sung; Jack


Stephen Gunning (Ireland)

Folsom Street Fair, San Francisco Photographs 2010

I try to make work according to the driving theme of the modern city and its potential as a site of anthropological enquiry and the extended meaning of social events, gatherings, and informal but often socially compelled movements, such as parades, protests, festivals or public celebrations. By exploring what these events signify in terms of our codes of behavioral conduct, our understanding of the meaning of individual identity, contrasted against the need/desire for identiďŹ cation and the drive to behave socially in both its positive and negative forms.

s_gunning@hotmail.com


Stephen Gunning

(Before) Untitled; (Here) Untitled; Untitled


Diarmait Grogan (b. 1983, Ireland)

How Will I Know When I’m Awake? Photographs Ongoing

Perhaps what is feared most in intimacy is far less what is strange than what is somehow familiar yet still not entirely known in ourselves. Susan Griffin

How Will I Know When I’m Awake? is an excerpt from an ongoing body of work that explores the shadowy realm that lies between reality and fiction. Incorporating autobiographical elements into a larger narrative on vulnerability, loss, intimacy and longing, the result is a highly personal reflection on life.

www.groganphotography.com


Diarmait Grogan

(Before) Untitled; (Here) Untitled; Untitled


Joseph Gasior (United Kingdom)

Insomniac Habitats Photographs Ongoing

These images are part of an ongoing project, named Insomniac Habitats. It is intended to give insight into the lives and minds of insomniacs. As an insomniac myself, I feel an afďŹ nity with the place I spend the long nights associated with this condition. This intimate space is undoubtedly varied and incredibly personal to each participant. The photographs go some way to expressing, or implying each participant’s personality and state of mind.

www.joegasior.com


Joseph Gasior

(Before) Untitled; (Here) Untitled; Untitled


Virginie Rebetez

(b. 1979, Switzerland. Lives The Netherlands)

Selected Works Photographs 2008-2009

The Fair C-prints / series of 12 images / 2009 The Fair shows the personal belongings (especially the watches) from the persons who died socially isolated. These belongings will be sold at auction. The money will pay for their funerals. Flirting with Charon Inkjet print / Set of 6 books / 2008 Flirting with Charon was made inside houses whose owners recently died. DWI (in Amsterdam) organizes the funerals of people who died socially isolated. Through them I was able to visit these places. Being interested in the holy aspect of these interiors and their memories, I played with our projection on them and touched their invisible borders. I used myself as a bridge to create a continuation of these dying memories. The set contains 6 books for the 6 different houses I visited. Infangstrasse 12 Inkjet print / Book 450pp / 2008 Infangstrasse 12 was made in 2008 in the apartment of Dignitas, the assisted suicide organization located in Zürich (Switzerland). Dignitas is totally independent and is not linked to any healthcare institution. This small organization rents an apartment in the middle of the city, especially made to welcome people from all over the world who have the desire to die. The fact that this apartment has only this specific function interested me, and I became obsessed by the idea that all die in the same bed, surrounded by the same set. That’s why I imagined a variation of different settings. The book contains 65 pictures and 450 pages ‒ one page for each person who died there.

www.virginierebetez.com


Virginie Rebetez

(Before) The Fair; (Here) Flirting with Charon; Infangstrasse 12


Kimberley Bartlett (b. 1987, United Kingdom)

Eine Kleine Erinnerung (Small memory/Small memento) Documented installation 2010

My interest lies within the invisible essences that surround objects and our fascination to engage and capture these subconscious ‘spaces’. These essences can be interpreted as a kind of aura, one that develops through the need to attach intangible memories onto something ďŹ xed and concrete. They act like souvenirs, magically returning us to the sensations we experienced from the moments they represent. Through touch and the associations that we subject onto objects, one fosters an intimate relationship and indulges into times of the past. My work seeks to examine the imperative need to memorialise and whether investing our own individual histories into something concrete, achieves the reassurance offered by the idea of an immortal memory.

www.theunconsciousobject.tumblr.com


Ben Alper

received his BFA in photography from the Massachusetts College of Art & Design. His work has been featured in Humble Arts Foundation’s Group Show, the Photographic Resource Center’s Northeast Exposure Online, Wassenaar Magazine, Ahorn Magazine, 52 Editions, Graphic Intersections and Manual Transmission. In 2005, he co-founded The Exposure Project, a photography collective designed to facilitate collaboration across the medium. He lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.


Ben Alper

(B. 1982, United States)

The Family Dig Photographs 2007

In the winter of 2007, my grandfather died of terminal cancer. We gathered around the bedside in his final moments. An entire family, spanning three generations, assembled to aid my grandfather, the patriarch, come to terms with his own mortality. His passing evoked the profound realization that my familial heritage was something integral to my identity, but was also something that extended far beyond me. That moment of physical passage sparked an avid curiosity in me to explore aspects of my lineage that existed outside my consciousness. I turned toward the physical artifacts my grandfather had left behind. With Archeology as a reference, I began to consider these objects as fragments of a larger domestic archive. Each material artifact excavated from the home provided a splintered piece of my familial history. The first, and perhaps, most affecting possession I unearthed was my grandfather’s briefcase. It contained cryptic and seemingly fractured objects̶a hand-carved wooden pipe, a badge with my grandfather’s name on it, marked documents and brochures. I began to see this briefcase as a microcosm of my familial history. Like a detective, I toiled to interpret the clues I found within. This process of discovery elicited a multitude of emotions. My grandparents bankrupted stock spoke to the regret of an American Dream unrealized; a sheet of studio portraits of my grandfather with a few images removed accented


his recent passing; other family photographs distilled moments of happiness and hope. Certain brochures and trade journals addressed the importance of a professional identity, while other artifacts underscored a more private, domestic experience. Other things simply remained mysterious and unknowable. Documents inscribed with enigmatic notes emphasized the fact that history is often fractured and idiosyncratic. I have come to learn that for as many questions as this project has answered, it has raised just as many. By integrating these objects into environments that are incompatible with their original purpose, I am attempting to collapse time and consolidate my family history into a contemporary framework. This is aided by the inclusion of contemporary family portraits. It is my hope that contrasting these relics with images of my family as they are today, will speak to heritage as a tradition that is uid and ongoing, as a history that not only exists in the past, but also prevails in present. Ultimately, these images speak to the joy, melancholy and impermanence that encompass and deďŹ ne most familial heritages. My efforts to preserve my own family’s history can be seen as an attempt to immortalize this ancestry before it slips away like a faded memory.

www.benalper.com www.theexposureproject.com


Ben Alper


Ben Alper


Ben Alper


Ben Alper


Ben Alper


Ben Alper


Ben Alper


Reviews Eugene Von Bruenchenhein Christoph R端timann - Venedig im Boot-Berlin Report SuperMassiveBlackHole & the New Living Art exhibition 2010


Christoph Rütimann - Venedig im Boot-Berlin Eugene Von Bruenchenhein Gallery 2, The Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin, Ireland 16 July - 15 September 2010 401 Contemporary

Published S. Marks 2007 by Chris Boot and The Photographers’ Gallery ISBN 978-1-905712-05-2 (151pp - £25/$45) S.M.

The best thing about Keith Arnatt’s photography is the authenticity that shines through each series; there is humour and curiosity, experimentation and clarity. Not content to remain an original thinker, Arnatt was an original artist ‒ a real photographer. The book I’m a Real Photographer published by the Photographers’ Gallery in London mirrors Arnatt’s subject matter somewhat ironically. The book is simply designed, the photographs are beautifully reproduced on quality paper. While it looks inconspicuous with its square format and its white hardback cover, it is the cover image that lays it all out flat on the table ‒ YOU BASTARD! YOU ATE THE LAST OF MY CRACKERS. The cover photo is one of a later series; Notes from Jo (1991-1994) of photos Arnatt took of his late wife’s notes which she would leave strategically placed around their home. They are simple, humorous and brutally honest instructions for someone who is obviously preoccupied with something beyond the reach of hum-drum domestic life. Arnatt had saved Jo’s messages and shot them straight-forwardly, on blank

Eugene Von Bruenchenheim seems to be as well known for backgrounds. This shows a huge leapfound from his days ascluttered a the hand-incised metal plaque inearly his small, photographer, when he gave up a very successful career as a Conceptual suburban home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which declares him: artist in the 1970s (he had shown extensively in international shows Freelance Artist; Poet and Sculptor; Inovator; Arrow maker including MoMA New York, XI Bienal de Sao Paolo,Photographer Tate and Hayward and Plant man;in Bone artifacts constructor; and Galleries in London) before switching to photography in earnest. Architect; Philosopher. Photography had always been meansproclaimed to an end forhim the as young Arnatt; it While this broad range of atitles Renaissance was a tool to document his happenings and gestures on beaches and in man, to the outside world Von Bruenchenheim was simply the valleys employee. of the BritishThe countryside. But he easily found these documents a bakery plaque could be read as the held a power of their own, and eventually he realised the photograph could assertions of a reclusive eccentric desperate to validate his remain a document, but also artwork its own right. compulsive activities, or an indeed heincould very well have been a free wheeling visionary, willing to utilize any medium that Arnatt’s firsthis series in I’m a Real Photographer is The Visitors best suited intellectual pursuits. Of two things we (1974can be 1976) and displays little of the eventual inventiveness which so coloured certain; that Von Bruenchenheim was not your average artist, his later work. These early black & white photos of day visitors to Tintern and definitely not your average bakery employee. Abbey close to his home are charming in a Last of the Summer Wine kind Von Bruenchenheim was not knownthe as Dog an artist till after of way, as are the dog walkers in Walking (1976-1979) again portraits in monochrome. When he made A.O.N.B (Area of Outstanding his death, so it would seem his rich and inventive life was Natural Beauty) (1982-1984) else was to He show confined to his home andsomething its vast array ofbeginning contents. used through the work: these monochrome everyday scenes, captured in everything at his disposal to make his paintings and eventhe Wyesculptures, Valley with a such 4x5 view camera, depict more than a sense of place, his as TV dinner chicken bones. He made there is a real sense of irony and loneliness about them. They feel photographs that are not like his finger-brushed Apocalyptic forgotten look and this is the intention. paintings,toor hisat,bone sculptures, but like those things they

are unique. The quality of the photographs themselves is not The followed throughout 1980s andin90s showed a the projects work ofwhich an amateur ‒ they arethe gorgeous their subtle new, self-assured photographer. Arnatt attached himself to a local landfill gradients and line, their pattern and glisten. Production site and began using his extensive of when Painting to his quality is something one mustknowledge consider, it History is known advantage; taking beautifully coloured close up shots of decaying rubbish Von Bruenchenheim actually used his sink to develop his in the dump, they once seemed enticing repulsive. In Pictures photographs, asatalways taking a veryand humble approach tofrom a Rubbish Tip (1988-1989), decomposing meat on a ripped plastic making his art; this also may help explain why he made bag, such stale birthday cake and egg shells were photographed to not only remind small prints, and I am glad he did. Their size necessitates a us of Nineteenth Century Landscape painting but also to consider the concerted effort by the viewer to actually get up close and landscape in which the real objects were dumped. Arnatt’s mischievous personal with most of the works. You find yourself leaning sense of humour and his serious artistic discourse is glaringly evident in in, like Von Bruenchenheim is pushing the back of your head these later series, as the recovered objects from the local dumps amassed without actually touching you - forcing the viewer to lean in in his studio (a barely converted cow shed next to his house). He found his as if for a kiss or to spy through a keyhole. subject matter staring back at him from the bottom of a bin and made no apologies for it, indeed why should he?


Christoph Rütimann - Venedig im Boot-Berlin The Contemporary photographs on display in The Douglas Hyde’s Gallery 2 401 are beautifully produced black and white images of his muse Published 2007 by Chris Boot and The Photographers’ Gallery Marie, or Eveline Kalke, who he married in 1943, and who ISBN 978-1-905712-05-2 (151pp - £25/$45) poses in semi-naked abandon. Not wearing anything above her S.M. waist but a smile and a tin crown or a pearl necklace, Marie is the carnival queen, she is the glamour model goddess who sits and lounges and entices. Her long thick, blond hair and her naked breasts, her lipstick and jewelry should be the things of tack, of cheap 1950s eroticism, but they don’t come across that way at all. If anything they add a sense of playfulness, of good humor and of innocence. Innocence in the sense that there is nothing untoward happening here, nothing political or exploitative, like what you get in the outside world. This is in Von Bruenchenheim’s world, in which Marie is the High Queen and these photographs serve to show his utter subservience to her.

The patterned background in each image is a cheap cloth The about Keith Arnatt’s photography is the authenticity and best wasthing commonly available, and you can be sure Von that shines through each series; there is humour and curiosity, Bruenchenheim made most of the accessories himself. His experimentation and clarity. Notevery content to remain original to thinker, hands were involved with thought hean seemed have, Arnatt was an original artist ‒ a real photographer. being as uncontrollable as his mind. If these photographs prove one thing it is that what he couldn’t hold in his hands, The booktime, I’m ahe Real Photographer published by image the Photographers’ all the would certainly have an of it instead, Gallery in London mirrors Arnatt’s subject matter somewhat ironically. so that he could. These photographs are about possession, The book is simply designed, the photographs are beautifully reproduced his longing to possess not only Marie as a physical woman, as on quality paper. While it looks inconspicuous with its square format and the idealized Venus, but he wants to possess her very spirit, its white hardback cover, it is the cover image that lays it all out flat on the idea of Marie. And Marie, for her part seems to want to the table ‒ YOU BASTARD! YOU ATE THE LAST OF MY CRACKERS. be possessed, maybe by giving herself up entirely she too will possess something, his heart and mind. The images are an act The cover photo is one of a later series; Notes from Jo (1991-1994) of of intimacy not only for their physical size, or the fact it’s photos Arnatt took of his late wife’s notes which she would leave a man photographing a semi-naked woman, but because it is strategically placed around their home. They are simple, humorous and man and wife, partners, engaged in a sensual act of union and brutally honest instructions for someone who is obviously preoccupied celebration. with something beyond the reach of hum-drum domestic life. Arnatt had saved Jo’s messages and shot them straight-forwardly, on blank

backgrounds. This shows a huge leap from his early days as a photographer, when he gave up a very successful career as a Conceptual artist in the 1970s (he had shown extensively in international shows including MoMA in New York, XI Bienal de Sao Paolo, Tate and Hayward Galleries in London) before switching to photography in earnest.

it is man and wife, partners, engaged in a sensual act of union and Photography had always been a means to an end for the young Arnatt; it celebration was a tool to document his happenings and gestures on beaches and in

the valleys of the British countryside. But he found these documents held a power of their own, and eventually he realised the photograph could remain a document, also an artworkbe in its own Because of their but nature it would easy toright. suggest that

these images are private, and not meant for general viewing. Arnatt’s first series in I’m Real Photographer is The Visitors (1974This of course would be awrong, particularly when dealing with 1976) and displays little of the eventual inventiveness which so coloured a man like Von Bruenchenheim. He didn’t finish High School his work. These early black white photos subjects of day visitors Tintern yetlater he wrote extensively on& his favorite like to biology Abbey close to his home are charming in a Last of the Summer Wine and metaphysics. He wrote reams of poems on generally kind of way, as are the dogand walkers in Walkingendeavors the Dog (1976-1979) again romantic subjects his artistic covered his portraits in monochrome. When he made A.O.N.B (Area of Outstanding house from floor to ceiling (literally). We know he did show Natural Beauty) (1982-1984) something else was beginning to show his work to a handful of people, but there always remains a through the work: these monochrome everyday scenes, captured in the thought in his work that it was fully intended to be seen by Wye Valley with a 4x5 view camera, depict more than a sense of place, more than his and Marie’s eyes. These portraits of Marie in there is a real sense of irony and loneliness about them. They feel varied positions and poses, the attention to detail, pattern, forgotten to look at, and this is the intention. form, the lighting and the framing are the work of someone who understands how to make an image. The considered and The projects which followed throughout the 1980s and 90s showed a formal qualities are evident. The nudes surrounded by pattern new, self-assured photographer. Arnatt attached himself to a local landfill remind me of Matisse in this way, and like all good art, they site and began using his extensive knowledge of Painting History to his are open in their concealment. We look, but we know the advantage; taking beautifully coloured close up shots of decaying rubbish artist is limiting vision to enticing his needs, so we are not true in the dump, they atour once seemed and repulsive. In Pictures from voyeurs, merely lucky to catch a glimpse. a Rubbish Tip (1988-1989), decomposing meat on a ripped plastic bag, stale birthday cake and egg shells were photographed to not only remind Eccentric though he may have been, it seems utter madness us of Nineteenth Century Landscape painting but also to consider the that he would have made this work for no audience. They are landscape in which the real objects were dumped. Arnatt’s mischievous as much about displaying the physical as the metaphysical, sense of humour and his serious artistic discourse is glaringly evident in about lust as they are love and after all what good is one these later series, as the recovered objects from the local dumps amassed without the other in his studio (a barely converted cow shed next to his house). He found his Image: Von Bruenchenhein Untitled c. the 1940s - 50s. of Gelatin subjectEugene matter staring back at him from bottom a binsilver and print, made3.5 no x 2.5 inches. Kinzwhy +Tillou Fine he? Art, New York. www.ktfineart.com apologies forCourtesy it, indeed should

.


Christoph Rütimann imim Boot-Berlin Christoph Rütimann- Venedig - Venedig Boot-Berlin 401 Contemporary, Brunnenstrasse, Berlin, Germany 10 June - 7 August 2010 401 Contemporary

Published S. Marks 2007 by Chris Boot and The Photographers’ Gallery ISBN 978-1-905712-05-2 (151pp - £25/$45)

When I arrived in Berlin I was looking for something altogether different, S.M. something that spoke of intimacy in a more, how can I say, familiar fashion; I was looking for skin, for eyes, for shadows and for mouths. I thought I’d find a nice little independent photography gallery with nice little white walls and some large grainy prints of semi-naked couples in beds, looking longingly at the camera. I did not find such a show, thankfully, but what I did come across was a curious space with even more curious work noisily positioned inside. Christoph Rütimann was born in 1955 and represented his homeland of Switzerland at the Venice Biennale in 1993. He makes sculptures, photographs, drawings and videos predominantly based on his witty and experimental actions, which seem to set in motion a questioning of his immediate space and our perception of that space ‒ or rather how we perceive ourselves in relation to that space. This is an important point, as when I entered the 401 space I thought it just another white cube, granted it had a dirty black boat cut in half, stern pointing accusingly at me, and the cut-away section against a wall upon which was a video monitor. This was Venedig im Boot - Berlin, 2010, and the video which was playing showed the side of a boat (at an angle one might see when vomiting from sea-sickness) that raced along a Venetian canal, leaving The best thingwater abouttrail Keith Arnatt’s is the the displaced in its wake. Itphotography was noisy and theauthenticity strange angle that shines through each series; there is humour and curiosity, added to its charm. My first reaction was to smile at its whimsy, then to point out that the boat couldNot have been positioned to suit the thinker, video much experimentation and clarity. content to remain an original better. But that’s just me. It turns out the riveted steel boat is called Arnatt was an original artist ‒ a real photographer. a Flieger, and was once used to carry materials for the expansion of the city in the 1920s. So something that had a definitive relationship with the very fabricI’m of Berlin in front of published us, something physical and intellectual, The book a Realwas Photographer by the Photographers’ emotional one might say, and something intimate. Gallery in London mirrors Arnatt’s subject matter somewhat ironically. The is simply designed, the photographs beautifully hanging reproduced The book next room, a bigger domain, contained an are extraordinary on quality titled paper.Waagen While itverspannt, looks inconspicuous with its pocket square scales format and sculpture 2010, made of 71 hooked one another to itcreate a web-like fashion; suspended its whitetohardback cover, is thechains cover in image that lays it all out flat on from the chains at the centre was a larger more familiar table-top scale the table ‒ YOU BASTARD! YOU ATE THE LAST OF MY CRACKERS. which displayed not the weight of anything but the tension of the chains. Floor to ceiling, scale to scale, form and space were all pulled together in this almost alchemical that series; not only tickled ones intellect but of The cover photo is one ofact a later Notes from Jo (1991-1994) suggested a physicality one could not ignore for its she stubborn I photos Arnatt took of his late wife’s notes which would cleverness. leave wanted to take it home and fill a room with it just because it demanded I strategically placed around their home. They are simple, humorous and did so. brutally honest instructions for someone who is obviously preoccupied There was a darkbeyond hole inthe thereach corner this room, with a particularly with something of of hum-drum domestic life. Arnatt steep had looking stairs leading downward to what could only be described as a saved Jo’s messages and shot them straight-forwardly, on blank

cleaned up dungeon. Not unlike a Gregor Schneider cellar, it turned out to be the bestThis partshows of thea building and the his exhibition itself. backgrounds. huge leap from early days as The a noise of something metal being rolled across a hard surface began to get louder, photographer, when he gave up a very successful career as a Conceptual and thicker; a video monitor on the floor faced me when I descended, artist in the 1970s in and international shows then another above(he my had headshown behindextensively some pipes, as I moved through a darkened but perfectly of short corridors replete tubing including MoMA in Newkept York,series XI Bienal de Sao Paolo, Tate andwith Hayward and piping more of these infernal video monitors became apparent. This Galleries in London) before switching to photography in earnest. was Handlauf Berlin, 2010; each video showing a similar yet different video to the very first I saw at the boat installation upstairs. I was Photography had main always been a means anonly endnatural for the light young Arnatt; it ushered into the cellar space withto the coming from a pavement window at the back ‒ and wason the noise of rolling was a tool to document his very happenings and there gestures beaches and in wheels on metal ‒ at this point everything. the valleys of thehandrails British countryside. Butoverriding he found these documents held a power of their own, and eventually he realised the photograph could Imagine a video camera on a skateboard, and the skateboard is driving along always forward, The handrails are remaina ahandrail, document, but going also an artworkthen in itslooped. own right. outside shopping malls, inside shopping malls, along canal banks, up a stairs, down a stairs, both long and short. People move out of the way, Arnatt’s in I’m a Realthe Photographer is The both afraidfirst andseries bemused of what artist is doing and Visitors to what(1974end 1976) and displays little of the eventual inventiveness which coloured ‒ some people don’t even notice and as the act is repeated so behind them we see awork. time-lapse publicphotos space. of There three video his later Theseanimation early blackof&awhite day were visitors to Tintern monitors stacked in in a corner, one onSummer a ledge,Wine and one Abbey close to hisupon homeone areanother charming a Last of the kind even in a shallow, square steel rimmed hole in the floor. Some of the of way,twelve as are screens the dog were walkers in Walking Dog (1976-1979) overall obscured and the some were just sittingagain there, portraits in monochrome. When he made A.O.N.B (Area of the Outstanding but on each occasion the direction of the video matched monitors’ placing the space. And the loud, metallic, grinding sound combined Natural in Beauty) (1982-1984) something else was beginning to show with the place itself, suggested Berlin’s industrial past and its current building through the work: these monochrome everyday scenes, captured in the sites. A generic grey metal rail was sitting in the space in front another Wye Valley with a 4x5 view camera, depict more a beside sense of monitor, matching as the boat had done, with thethan video it. place, Looking at thisisrail nowsense I am of reminded that these objects alsoThey usedfeel for crowd there a real irony and loneliness about are them. control at to large particularly poignant side to the forgotten lookevents, at, andwhich this isadds the aintention. work, knowing of the tragic deaths of so many young people at the Love Parade in Duisburg that same week. The projects which followed throughout the 1980s and 90s showed a It worked well as an installation, Arnatt and more importantly the new, self-assured photographer. attached himself to repeated a local landfill actions in the videos worked well as a concept ‒ continually following a site and began using his extensive knowledge of Painting History to his line through a city, always continuing that visual line, which created a advantage; beautifully coloured up shots decaying tension justtaking as I had seen with Waagenclose verspannt , butofhere in thisrubbish space with videos personal. Theand artist was getting intimate in thethese dump, they it atwas oncemore seemed enticing repulsive. In Pictures from with his place, he was feeling its contoursmeat as lovers he was stroking a Rubbish Tip (1988-1989), decomposing on a do, ripped plastic bag, its walls and its rails, and as a viewer we were put in his shoes, doing the stale birthday cake and shells were photographed to illicit not only remind very same. Somehow weegg were complicit in his seemingly affair with us of Nineteenth Century Landscape painting but also to consider the space ‒ we were now getting intimate with Berlin ‒ especially here in a darkened where couldwere see us, or hear us, evenmischievous if we wanted landscape cellar, in which the nobody real objects dumped. Arnatt’s them to sense of humour and his serious artistic discourse is glaringly evident in

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these later series, as the recovered objects from the local dumps amassed in his studio (a barely converted cow shed next to his house). He found his subject matter staring back at him from the bottom of a bin and made no See more at www.401contemporary.com apologies for it, indeed why should he?


SuperMassiveBlackHole & the New Living Art exhibition 2010 Irish Museum of Contemporary Art, Lad Lane (off Baggot St), Dublin, Ireland 2 July - 1 August 2010

In the summer of this year SuperMassiveBlackHole was invited by Irish curator Claire Feeley, to take part in the Irish Museum of Contemporary Art’s inaugural New Living Art exhibition. The New Living Art exhibition is IMOCA’s updated reincarnation of the Irish Exhibition of Living Art, originally set up in 1943 by the likes of Mainie Jellett, Louis le Brocquy and Norah McGuinness at the National College of Art on Kildare Street in Dublin. As IMOCA Director K Bear Koss points out, the annual show rebelled ‘at the closed, conservative, ‘tennis club’ institutions for art.’ The IELA lasted until the 1980s when like so many things in Ireland at that time it became little more than a memory. So here in 2010, IMOCA has set the ball rolling with a new annual exhibition of works by artists, which again fall into this category of the underrepresented and over-looked. The artists that were selected and invited are for the most part emerging artists, young and in some cases experimental. In Ireland, and particularly in Dublin where the majority of galleries and funding can be found, it is difficult to show work to a wide audience, get a meeting or just be taken seriously if you are involved with an art practice that does not tie in with the current trend (or just painting for that matter). The capital is rife with small clubs and larger more established clubs of artists, curators, galleries and studios. If one is independent of these clubs one may find it very hard indeed to show work. A lot of the people pulling the strings in Dublin won’t know nor care about you if you don’t occupy a studio in the city centre and attend the ubiquitous openings that go on through the year. On the other hand, the option to exhibit new work comes with a hefty expense in renting a small gallery space; and if your work is not the most commercial this means you will come out of it with a sizable debt.

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This brings us back to the New Living Art exhibition as a means of overcoming these stifling circumstances, and ties up nicely with the original premise for SuperMassiveBlackHole, being a free and open platform for those whose work needs to be seen that otherwise would not. Despite there being a growing number of Photography graduates each year, and more artists using Photography as a medium, there is still quite a strong opposition to Photography being exhibited in most galleries and museums. Those that do show Photography usually gravitate toward the more historical sort, grainy black & white images or works from the likes of Magnum. Contemporary Photography, the kind you see all over the internet in online magazines such as SuperMassiveBlackHole, Unless You Will or Fstop are rarely spotted on the walls of galleries in Ireland, let alone Dublin. So this is the background to the New Living Art exhibition,and while it sounds depressing now I read it back, there is some hope there: because SuperMassiveBlackHole and IMOCA are trying to constructively deal with all these issues, and this is a good thing for everyone concerned. For SuperMassiveBlackHole’s part in the New Living Art exhibition it was decided, upon consultation with Ms. Feeley, to show the work of five photographers that reflect the magazine’s international outlook. Each invited photographer would select three works, which were then printed and hung in a specially constructed booth at IMOCA. The fifteen colour prints by Sarah Palmer (USA), Eyal Pinkas (Israel/ Netherlands), Rupert White (UK), Charlott Markus (Netherlands) and Barry W Hughes (Ireland) would also become part of IMOCA’s permanent collection. The title of this photographic installation was Time in Hand, which referred to all five photographers’ use of sculptural objects and interventions common to their respective practice, as well as alluding to the camera itself. A special PDF catalogue was then produced to coincide with the exhibition, available for free download from the SuperMassiveBlackHole website (see the Archive tab on the site).

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Apart from standing out at the NLA exhibition as a selfcontained presentation of five contemporary photographers from across the world, the Time in Hand installation was also very much part of the overall show. Its fusion of sculpture and photography, through subject and medium, played off the predominantly sculptural tone of the NLA exhibition itself. The mood for the exhibition was set upon entering the first of three main exhibiting chambers in the IMOCA building; the visitor was first greeted by Bern Roche Farrelly’s James Christian Ballard (Little Deaths) (2010), a large digital black & white print of a young man’s face looking down at us from a darkened space. The print, on thin paper, was glued at the edges directly to the wall which gave the work an almost ad-hoc appearance, but this was balanced nicely by the weight of the mysterious photographic image itself. Next to Farrelly’s piece was a single-channel video by Nicky Larkin, Skateboards and Tanks (2009) which did exactly what it stated in the title. The looped video consisted of a handful of skaters rolling their decks back and forth, jumping the steps that broke the concrete level they were using. One skater sat and applauded his comrades as they flew in from the side of the screen to land in front of him, sometimes successfully, other times not so. All this action takes place beneath the imposing vision of a WWII tank upon its own stone plinth, slightly angled to point at the distant sky (or lands). It appears to be Russian or at least Eastern Bloc, but combined with the skateboarding teenagers it acts as a solid metaphor for the passing of political ideology, the freedoms many sought, fought and died for during the 20th century. A moment of quiet contemplation was introduced with Alice Butler’s Oslo & the Thames (2008), a small quartet of photographic prints, two appearing to be hand-printed black & white, and two lab-printed in colour. The colour pair were the same repeated image of an internal space, just differing in scale, while the monotone pair were external shots of what seems to be the river Thames itself. The images, as noted in the title, suggested both a physical and personal journey, one that implied a sadness of some kind due to the almost Gothic renderings of the river juxtaposed with the crimson airless room. Ultimately we assume the river is of course the


1. SuperMassiveBlackHole / Time in Hand, 2010 2. SuperMassiveBlackHole (Charlott Markus) / Time in Hand detail 3. SuperMassiveBlackHole (Sarah Palmer; Barry W Hughes; Eyal Pinkas) / Time in Hand detail 4. SuperMassiveBlackHole (Rupert White) / Time in Hand detail 5. Bern Roche Farrelly / James Christian Ballard (Little deaths), 2010 6. Nicky Larkin / Skatboards & Tanks, 2009 7. Alice Butler / Oslo & the Thames, 2008 detail 8. Rory Grubb & Niall Fallon / Skahoof, 2010 9. Ben Gaulon / ReFunct Media, 2010 10. Barbara Knezevic / A Testament to Bravery, 2010 11. Lorraine Neeson / Darkside, 2010 12. K Bear Koss / Social & Personal, 2010

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famous Thames in England, and the room being situated in Oslo, but the sheer lack of precise detail pinpointing either simultaneously creates a sense of doubt and curiosity. This sense of curiosity was continued in Rory Grubb & Niall Fallon’s single-channel video, albeit in a much more playful manner. Skahoof (2010) appears to be re-edited cuts from a nature documentary on mountain goats somewhere hot and arid. As the camera flies over a dry and rocky landscape it comes to an equally desolate gorge. A moment later we see some humorous shots of the goats’ faces and posturing and follow them as they leap and climb a dangerous cliff face. They seem happy enough, camouflaged and more than capable of dealing with such an environment. While we are treated to this sharply dissected footage, an upbeat Ska-infused track plays loudly, mixing the funk of the music with the rock of the landscape. The play on words, sounds and images is smart and the format is attractive to say the least, offering the visitor a brief glimpse into another world where nature, for once, doesn’t seem to be under threat ‒ it just is. Nature was nowhere to be seen when it came to Ben Gaulon’s ReFunct Media (2010), taken from his Recyclism project. ReFunct Media can only be appreciated in the flesh, so to speak, as it has to be experienced from different angles, in real time. Consisting of a circuit of broken and halfdeconstructed audio/video equipment, obsolete computer consoles and various other bits, this electronic sculpture actually played images and made sounds. The images were distorted, cracked with static and blinked while the sound hummed and fizzed at low levels. It was cathartic to see these banes of so many peoples lives sitting in such terrible condition, but for this vengeful joy it was equally sad ‒ after all, at one point in time these devices represented the future (as recycling does now), and so there is something stoic in the fact that they can still manage to function at all, no matter how little. As with nature and technology, there are always two sides to every story and the idea of the split, or the separation of a whole, was a common theme with a number of other works in the NLA exhibition.

there is something stoic in the fact that they can still manage to function at all A Testament to Bravery (2010) by Barbara Knezevic is a neat little sculpture that works on your memory both in concept and form. What appears to be a black rock sits on the floor, facing it is its white twin made from microcrystalline wax; or is it? There is no way of knowing which is the actual stone without lifting one or the other. This illusion is made manifest by the insertion of a circular mirror between the two rocks. The use of stones alludes to the megaliths of ancient times, which stand to this day at sacred locations throughout Ireland and indeed Europe, usually marking the site of a momentous battle. Of course in some cases the standing stones were actually part of a fort’s defence, something that echoes through the ages when one encounters the concrete blocks that litter Europe’s coastlines following WWII. These monuments to the fallen not only represent humanity’s need to memorialise the dead, to express an abstract feeling in physical form, but also to help rationalise what is ultimately a savage and animalistic act ‒ the killing of another. So A Testament to Bravery simultaneously points to the dark and the light side of the human condition, the hero and the villain. This very dichotomy was explored in Lorraine Neeson’s installation Darkside (2010), incorporating a reversed neon sign that reads ‘darkside’ next to a back-lit panel of aluminium standing against another wall. The large black rectangle is door sized, suggesting an opening to another world; the celestial world of outer space comes to mind with the bright yellow/orange light that emanates from behind the panel as it creates a sense of solar eclipse, while the word ‘darkside’ itself is commonly associated with the moon. As with Knezevic’s work, Darkside works because the conceptual tension is made visible, and as a visitor one feels this tension.


K Bear Koss installed a rather large work titled Social and Personal (2010) which not only continued this theme of the split or double, but also managed to relate to the sense of curiosity mentioned earlier. A large stack of uneven lengths of wood boards, most probably floor boards, are combined, and at their centre there is a clean cut ‒ slicing the stack in two. Each smooth side of the cut is painted white so it is at once noticeable and apparent. The brown, wood boards could be from anywhere, it is not uncommon to find such material in building renovations for instance, but the title suggests more; could these boards come from a dance hall, a public space of some sort? Are they a reflection of times past, when Irish society was clearly split in two with the men sitting on one side and the women on the other, as was the case in the local parish dance halls? Or, to look at it another way, the floor boards could come from a Catholic church, and the Social and Personal of the title relates to the Catholic Church’s stranglehold on the Irish State and its citizens for so many years, preventing such things as divorce and contraception from being introduced. Koss has produced a work that is poetic and interesting, and due to its grandeur of scale, it filled the space well. Obviously there were a lot more works on display in the New Living Art exhibition at IMOCA, and we have only discussed a handful here. On the whole the exhibition worked as an idea to create a unified show, and as we have seen, the curation was insightful and brave without falling victim to the use of gimmickry. Feeley is to be congratulated on her approach to making quite a lot of works from all manner of styles and techniques come together cohesively and dare I say, entertaining. Shows like this can sometimes feel laboured and one can get the impression we are meant to come away with an earth-shattering revelation, but one came away from this show with something else; it was not so much about breaking ground as it was about gaining ground ‒ about showing the rest of us what is already out there that we don’t always get to see ‒ what we’re missing. This is what the Irish Exhibition of Living Art in the 1940s was all about, and what the New Living Art exhibition should be about, and it has begun on a very positive note

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To find out more about IMOCA you can visit www.imoca.ie

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The New Living Art exhibition was curated by Claire Feeley. See www.serpentinegallery.org for contact details All documentation photographs by B W Hughes, 2010


Ordinary-Light Inside


Ordinary-Light (Est. 2006, United Kingdom)

Inside

Polaroid photographs from prison inmates in USA Various dates These found Polaroids are not here to represent a lifestyle per se. The men involved in this project, so far as I am able to decipher are able participants for the camera. In effect, I gather these images were made with some Sociology student’s P.H.D. wet dream. There are cryptic gang scrawls on the images themselves, which further capitalizes on the intimacy of the Polaroid medium. A not an altogether forgotten format, the Polaroid’s ability is to record a skin of a situation in a very crude, yet uncomfortably real and unstaged way. The ability to look inside a prison system, toilets crammed together, signs thrown in the air, and an outward playfulness to represent the ‘inside’ is what makes these degraded Polaroids so appealing. I hope that in sharing, the lives of those involved is not compramised, but rather enabled through secondary purpose and a secondary audience.

All images are provided by Brad Feuerhelm at Ordinary-Light. You can also read Brad’s interview in Issue#3/2009

www.ordinary-light.com


Ordinary-Light


Ordinary-Light


Ordinary-Light


ISSN 2009-2288/Issue 5/2010

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Disclaimer: SuperMassiveBlackHole is free and makes no profit from the publication of any materials found therein. SuperMassiveBlackHole is a publication for the dissemination of artistic ideas and will not be liable for any offense taken by any individual(s) resulting from any material contained therein. All images in SuperMassiveBlackHole are the sole property of their creators unless otherwise stated. No image in the magazine or the magazine logo may be used in any way without permission of the copyright holder. The SuperMassiveBlackHole magazine title and logos are copyright ©2008 - 2010 Shallow publications. All rights reserved. shallowpublications@gmail.com Shallow publications and SuperMassiveBlackHole are property of Barry W. Hughes. Submissions: All works submitted to SuperMassiveBlackHole must be the sole, original property of the contributor(s), have the appropriate model releases, and cannot interfere with any other publication or company’s publishing rights. SuperMassiveBlackHole is edited by Barry W. Hughes, Dublin, Ireland.


SuperMassiveBlackHole Issue 5