—Introduction

A month long festival of exhibitions, discussions, screenings, performances, events and celebrations in both physical and virtual spaces and places.

Emma Bennett- Thief of Tie

+ - Emma Bennett:

Thief of Time

Chapter

1 May – 30 June

Emma Bennett’s hauntingly beautiful paintings contemplate space, time and the fragility of the human condition.

Appropriating imagery from historical Dutch and Italian painting, Bennett immaculately renders bowls of ripened fruit, bouquets of blooming flowers, dead game and swathes of rich fabric that reflect this long tradition of still life painting – of apparent naturalism underpinned by compositional artifice, and of time suspended. Emerging out of the midnight–black void of her canvas, the subjects allude to the transitory nature of existence; to life, death and the after-life.

In her latest work, Bennett considers the ephemerality of imagery, memory and the desire to make these moments more permanent, and references the investigations of historic and contemporary still-life photographers – from Roger Fenton to Wolfgang Tillmans. Bennett illuminates the tradition’s darker side – through the use of allegory and in reflecting the poignancy of loss, and the futile effort to retrieve and retain, to freeze time and hold on to what passes.

Part of Chapter’s Art in the Bar programme.

 

Image: Hollowed (Unhallowed), 2009. Oil on canvas, 140x110cm © Emma Bennett, courtesy CHARLIE SMITH London

+ -

Edgar Martins Interview

650pxGeoff-Charles,-Ellesmere-Carnival,-4th-September,-1955.-Courtesy-of-National-Library-of-Wales

+ -

Stuart Anderson on Structures of Feeling | The Photographs of Geoff Charles

Between the 1930s and 1980s, Geoff Charles was an established photojournalist who contributed extensively to a variety of Welsh newspapers and magazines. Throughout the North and the Borders he documented the fabric of daily life as well as the traditions and modernisation of Wales. Stuart Anderson reflects on a selection of images from the National Library of Wales’ collection, curated by Peter Finnemore and Russell Roberts.

The photograph, as a medium of representation, is intrinsically linked to time. Not only in the application of exposures, frames per second or the other physical elements of the medium, but as a chronology. It is the most effective tool in our society for providing cultural continuity and historical recording within a visual medium. But the rigid immovability of the photograph as a document of what has been remains a double edge sword. The image is stationary and unchanging, all the while we, as individuals and communities move ever further away from the time in which they were made. Other less important or prominent images are destroyed, lost, or fade away. Gradually the people and places represented in the images become less and less familiar to those viewing them. Eventually, when enough time has past, we see nothing in them. Only anonymous faces and locations, all of which lack the appropriate context in which they were originally viewed. They become artefacts, and like archaeologists, it is our job to rediscover their once treasured importance. A selection of the work of Geoff Charles, re-presented in this new exhibition, highlights the need for us to continually return to images of the past. Not only to preserve them for the history of our society, but also to remind us of the shared experience of what it was to be a person in these fabled places and at these elusive times.

The way in which these ideas have been applied in this exhibition, curated by Peter Finnemore and Russell Roberts, is to remove the photographs from their natural chronological order and to reassemble them into groups. The groupings are made on a typological basis or upon similar events within the image. Each group is then given their own coloured wall to which they can exist separately without influence or reference to each other. By doing this, Finnemore and Roberts have allowed the images to take on a sense of personal experience, allowing them to be examined on a far more emotive level than the clinical nature of the historical archive would normally allow. We are presented with scenes of amateur dramatics and charity functions, cross dressing and druidic rituals, models of future development and museum pieces.

While in their reassessment of the work of Charles, the two curators have managed to pull a particularly interesting trick upon the viewer. We do not necessarily have direct knowledge of the people and places in these photographs, but by presenting them in this evocative and almost nostalgic manner, it has shown a near repetition of history. We see the beginnings of a consumer culture in the 1950’s and 1960’s, a culture in which today we see another, almost inevitable expansion. We see images of people planning new developments in the quest for modernisation, but many of the developments pictured are now ironically in line to be redeveloped and modernised for this century, revealing a pleasing cyclical nature to our culture, or perhaps their initial shortcomings. We are also shown a film regarding the flooding of the Tryweryn valley to provide a reservoir for the city of Liverpool, a symbol for other massive changes inflicted upon Wales by others. Changes that, perhaps in a more subtle way are still occurring.

The one thing that the new exhibition of these images have taught us, is that the recognition of a situation or of an emotional attachment is usually a far more powerful than the simple representation of what was before the camera at that time. We then no longer see anonymous individuals or groups. We see ourselves.

 

Stuart Anderson

 

Structures of Feeling: The Photographs of Geoff Charles
1 – 31 May 2013
Tramshed

 

This essay is available as a downloadable PDF here.

Photo Copyright: Geoff Charles, Ellesmere Carnival, 4th September 1955. Courtesy of National Library of Wales

Platform

+ - “There is nothing left to photograph”:

Platform 4

“There is nothing left to photograph”

Wednesday 29 May, 6.30pm

Fire Island, 25 Westgate Street, Cardiff CF10 1DD

Free

BOOK NOW

A series of free evening events will be held in the city, each dedicated to one of the Platform themes and led by prominent artists and thinkers. There will be space for discussion and reflection in an informal setting.

Blaenavon Male Voice Choir © Alicia Bruce

+ - Alicia Bruce:

Encore

Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama

1 May – 29 May

Encore stages two complementary series of portraits of musicians in Blaenavon, a former mining town in the south Wales Valleys. Inspired by historic portraits in the National Museum Cardiff collection, Alicia Bruce’s photographs highlight the individuality of the sitters while retaining their identity as a collective. Both series were shot on stage in Blaenavon Workman’s Hall during Bruce’s residency as part of Ffotogallery’s recent Valleys commission. They depict distinct groups of performers from different generations who are tied together geographically and share a love of performance. By restaging compositions from celebrated paintings in the National Museum Cardiff, Bruce eloquently reconnects the Blaenavon musicians with a greater Welsh musical heritage.

A Ffotogallery project.

 

Image: Blaenavon Male Voice Choir, 2011 © Alicia Bruce

+ -

Gideon Koppel Interview

B O R T H is a film installation by the artist Gideon Koppel. It was filmed in the wild west Wales town of Borth – a curious and extraordinary place where the infinite horizon of the sea collides with a bricolage of architectures; where epic landscape is playfully juxtaposed with the intimacy of human gesture.

Following on from Koppel’s feature-length film Sleep Furiously – one of the most critically acclaimed British films of 2009 – B O R T H travels along the blurred borders between documentary and fiction, to create a powerful dream-like and sensory world.

The exhibition is showing 1 – 31 May 2013 at Chapter Studio.

For more video content visit Remote Access.

+ -

Kirsty Mackay’s Pop Up Studio Portraits

Sat 4 & Sun 5 May
The Cardiff Story, The Hayes

Sat 11 & Sun 12 May
Milkwood Gallery, Roath

The Pop Up Portrait Studio is a mobile, outdoor photography studio, offering everyone a free portrait session. The studio popped up alongside the Diffusion venues in Cardiff and you can see all 110 portraits that Kirsty has taken above. Participants can also pick up their free print at Cardiff Story where the work is being displayed as a temporary exhibition.

“It is much more than a photo booth. I photograph everyone that comes along. I love being surprised when someone that I might not have thought of photographing, stands in front of my camera, and all of a sudden I see something in them. If I can then capture that – I can make a good portrait.”

kirstymackay.wordpress.com

Dawn Wooley - Wild Oats

+ - Various Artists:

Wild Oats

Milkwood Gallery

4 May – 18 May

Miina Hujala, Noemi McComber, Ellen Sampson, Dawn Woolley

Wild Oats brings together a group of artists who use food and the rituals of eating to comment on contemporary life, gender and commodity culture. Miina Hujala’s film Illallinen (The Dinner) explores the complex identification and idealisation processes that take place during courtship. In Prise d’assault (Under Assault) Noemi McComber addresses issues of overconsumption, and the handling of waste while depicting unrestrained violence in a performance of “soft stoning by way of food.” Dawn Woolley’s still life photographs and sculptures contemplate the gender distinctions upheld through commodity culture and the rituals of food consumption. Ellen Sampson and Dawn Woolley will collaborate to create a variety of small, edible sculptures which will be served to the public during the exhibition opening. Based on ideas of romance and desire the objects will offer a surreal take on everyday entrees.

Exhibition supported by Arts Council of Wales.

 

Image: Celebrate, C-type print, 2012 © Dawn Woolley

Publishing-Fair

+ -

Publishing Fair

Saturday 25 May, 11am – 5pm & Sunday 26 May, 10am – 5pm 

Stiwdio, Chapter / Free Admission

The publishing fair welcomes all to celebrate, explore and engage in a wealth of international contemporary book arts and print practice. On Saturday there will be a series of Q&A sessions with selected contributors and throughout the weekend will be various launches and signings.

<iframe src=”http://player.vimeo.com/video/65521408?title=0&amp;byline=0&amp;portrait=0″ width=”650″ height=”366″ frameborder=”0″ webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen></iframe>

+ -

Maurizio Anzeri Interview