—Introduction

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

650px-Portrait-Purple,-2012.-Embroidery-on-photo,-23.5-x-18cm.-©-Maurizio-Anzeri

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Alexander Norton on Maurizio Anzeri’s But it’s not late it’s only dark

Consumed within thread

Thread is integral to the work on show in Chapter. I remember a talk by Maurizio Anzeri 4 years ago when photographs and stitch were first combined, and there appears to have been advancements on this idea. Using found imagery, facial features are smothered by the craft of thread, physically marked in a gentle action provoking life back into the photograph. These become sculpted into physical objects, creating a form of life lifted from the frame, looking at peoples’ heads, their human qualities through the photographic process, but consumed with markings on a more physical level. Continuously trapped, with no invitation to escape. This experience does not feel negative; it feels like a creative progression on the already sleeping people that have become objects through their life living in a photograph. The static quality of the archived photograph becomes transformed into an empty sheet of paper to create history once again, starting from an elevated position.

It is not just people, but objects and spaces that form a detailed reflection on living. Spaces transformed into contraptions of a repetitive nature, relentless in their consistency. As a yearn for escape to nature through the imagery of the sea, blocked by the constructions we live under, the four walls we rely on to survive.

Everything is there to see, but we cannot see it. It is hovering between craft and the finding of images, as open ended as the sea’s limits. As scale becomes taller, the thread consumes everything, reflected creating an incomprehensible task to escape from the physicality of things.

Although, the subjects depicted are not trapped, but merely entwined within the complexities of living, dying and existing, always, within a frame.

 

Alexander Norton

 

Maurizio Anzeri: But it’s not late, it’s only dark
1 May – 30 June 2013
Chapter

 

This essay is available as a downloadable PDF here

Photo Copyright: Portrait Purple, 2012, Embroidery on photo, Maurizio-Anzeri

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Edgar Martins Interview

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

Combustible,-2012-©-Timothy-Nordhoff

+ - Various Artists:

From common differences

St Davids Hall

1 May – 31 May

Eva Bartussek, Holly Davey, Paul Duerinckx, John Paul Evans, Peter Finnemore, Muriel Gallan, Hamish Gane, Humberto GaticaAnna Kurpaska, Ryan Moule, Timothy Nordhoff, Richard Page, Lāsma Poiša, Inger Birgitte Richenberg

Exploring themes of locality, community and Otherness, From common differences asks oblique questions of the place of ‘the local’ within a broad network of contemporary cultural relationships. Bringing together established artists and emerging talents in the field, this exhibition presents new photographic work produced within Wales and further afield, to create a multi-perspective dialogue that challenges the capacity of journalistic and art practices to photograph and represent crucial issues of the 21st century. The project uses as its departure point, a recognition of issues regarding Swansea and Cardiff as neighbouring cities. The exhibition will examine important cultural regional questions of identity, locality and distinctiveness.

A partnership project between Swansea Metropolitan University and St David’s Hall.

 

Image: Combustible, 2012 © Timothy Nordhoff

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.

ffotohive

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ffotohive Exhibition Launch

Wednesday 29 May, 5pm

Tramshed

Throughout May we have asked Cardiff residents and visitors to contribute to a series of unique online collages for ffotohive. Photographs have been taken at six designated sites known as ‘hives’ around the city, which were then tweeted and uploaded to become part of this ever-changing digital artwork capturing the city. The artwork is on show at the Tramshed for the last three days of the festival, and visitors will have an opportunity to take part in the project in the newly unveiled Tramshed hive.

The exhibition opening will feature a live soundtrack by musician Tom Raybould (Arc Vertiac).

Urban Quilombo

+ - Sebastian Liste:

Urban Quilombo

Third Floor Gallery

4 May – 23 June

Urban Quilombo is a testimony of a place that no longer exists. Between 2009 and 2011, Sebastian Liste documented the community of Barreto, an abandoned chocolate factory in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil. From 2003, dozens of families occupied the factory and transformed it into a home. Until then, these families lived in the dangerous streets of the city. Tired of the violence and despair, they came together to seize the deserted factory. They created a microcosm in which the problems of drugs, prostitution and violence could be tackled with the support of the community. In March 2011, the government evicted the families from the factory, in one of many attempts to clean up the visible poverty in the centre of Brazil’s cities.

 

Image: From Urban Quilombo, 2009 – 11 © Sebastian Liste

Edgar Martins - The Time Machine

+ - Edgar Martins:

The Time Machine

Ffotogallery

1 May – 7 June

In 2010 and 2011, Martins gained exclusive access to 20 power plants located across Portugal. Many were built between the 1950s and 1970s, a time of hopeful prospects for rapid economic growth and social change. The Time Machine records objects and spaces whose grand and progressive designs testify to the scope and ambition of the vision they were built to serve.

Martins’ photographs recall science-fiction and in an unavoidable field of nostalgia, characterise a suspended time; that of the modern. In recovering a past of exciting technological innovation and optimistic belief in the future, The Time Machine speaks not just about the generation of power but also of dreams and technological utopias.

This exhibition was funded by Fundação EDP and the international tour is supported by The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (UK branch) & Instituto Camões (Portugal).

 

 

Image: Fratel power station: machine hall, 2012 © Edgar Martins

650px-Tim-Davies-Drift-2011-C-the-artist

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Debbie Savage on Tim Davies’ Drift

You don’t have to have visited Venice to construct an image of the city. Its architecture, canals and history have been well documented by artists and tourists alike, giving its unique topography a presumed familiarity and romantic quality that reaches far beyond the city limits. With this in mind, it seems fair to ask, is there anything new or unseen for an artist to bring to a city that has inspired countless reproductions and an impressive canon of works?

It is, perhaps, in response to the ubiquity of these mediated images that Tim Davies produced the three films in this exhibition; Drift, Farari and Capricci. Two of the pieces, Drift and Frari, were developed in Venice over a six-month period for the 54th Biennale in 2011, with the third being filmed for this exhibition in 2012. Rather than trying to further ‘represent’ the city, Davies carefully abstracts moments and spaces to create an intimate portrait of his experience of place. Identifiable landmarks are replaced by atmospheric and closely focused images that could relate to any city, yet are unmistakably routed in this city.

Drift shows a gentle and slow journey along the Venetian canals. As the artist’s hand gently skims the water, buildings are subtly reflected in its rippling surface. Capricci creates movement by blending a series of still images to add an enduring quality to the lapping of waves against a man-made shore, accompanied by the distant mechanical sounds of a working city. Whilst creating quite different impressions and experiences, both films produce a sense of time passing beyond the immediate moment, of the artist as an ultimate flaneur, literally drifting across the city and temporarily intersecting with parts of its narrative.

Frari, is shown in opposition to these works and creates a darker, claustrophobic and frantic vision of the city. Using images taken whilst running up the steps of a gothic church (the Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari), the work lurches from light to dark as the sounds of the city, tourists and church bells becomes almost unbearable until we are finally forced out into a blinding white light. Here the immediacy of experience and narrative is more distinct, yet something about the flashes of light and the snatched glimpses of the building’s interior convey something of Venice’s history.

Indeed, the three pieces in this exhibition seem to quietly reference the long history of artists who have taken Venice as their inspiration. The flashes of light in Frari in part mirror the golden light in Monet’s San Girgio Maggiore by Twilight, the abstracted buildings in the rippled water are reminiscent of other works in the National Museum’s collection like Sickert’s The Rialto Bridge, Venice. This gives a sense of consistency to Davies’ work, linking it to Venice’s rich history of artistic practices, but delivering a particular kind of immediacy that can only be delivered through video works.

Through these subtle references to Venice’s artistic traditions, Davies’ work is firmly routed in the city, but its closely focused attention provokes a sense that he is skimming the surface of Venice and presenting a distinctive, personal experience unencumbered by the dominance of past images. Rather than documenting the city, Davies uses his position as an artist to gently disrupt assumed ideas and reflect on our relationship to place; our unique but impermanent experience of a city against the relative permanence of its light, its architecture, and the waters flowing through its canals.

Debbie Savage

 

Tim Davies: Drift

9 March – 26 May 2013

National Museum Cardiff

 

This essay is available as a downloadable PDF here.

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

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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