—Introduction

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

cardiff encounters

+ -

Cardiff Encounters

1 – 31 May / diffusionfestival.org

On your route through the City share your encounters of the Cardiff kind using #cardiffencounters on Instagram. Is it an encounter you have everyday or one you’ve never had before? Is it an encounter with the City’s inhabitants, landmarks, experiences, or something that only you have noticed? If you are new to Instagram, the app can be downloaded free on most mobile phones. If you like, add a caption to your photograph to tell us more about your encounter. Selected images tagged with #cardiffencounters will be posted on the Diffusion website.

The Valleys Re-Presented

+ - Various Artists:

The Valleys Re-Presented

Tramshed

1 May – 31 May

David Bailey, David Barnes, Mike Berry, Maurice Broomfield, Alicia Bruce, Paul Cabuts, Huw Davies, John Davies, Jeremy Deller, Sean Edwards, Peter Fraser, Bruce Gilden, Philip Jones Griffiths, David Hurn, Francesca Odell, Ron McCormick, Paul Reas, Zhao Renhui, Roger Tiley, William Tsui

An exhibition bringing together contemporary, historical and vernacular photography which has the south Wales’ Valleys and its communities as its subject. The Valleys Re-Presented examines different visual narratives and typologies and how the currency of images creates and sustains particular mythologies about people and place.

The exhibition includes new work by Zhao Renhui, Alicia Bruce, Huw Davies and David Barnes, alongside classic 1980s images by David Bailey, John Davies, Peter Fraser, Francesca Odell, Ron McCormick and others.

A Ffotogallery project.

 

Image: Preparing a Warp British Nylon Spinners, Pontypool, 1963 © Maurice Broomfield

Zineathon

+ -

Zine-a-thon

Saturday 25 May / 11am – 1pm or 2 – 4pm / Free (ages 12+)

Chapter, Free

BOOK NOW

Join artist and DIY record label founder Mark Thomas and learn how to make your own photocopied zine. Zines (short for “fanzines” or “magazines”) are self-published paper booklets of words and images. Tracing the history of zines from their roots in the underground music scene to the present day, we will explore how zines can be a fun and creative means of expression. Please bring any photographs or images you would like to include in your zine.

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

+ -

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.

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

Wait-and-See,-2012-©-f&d-cartier2

+ - f&d cartier:

Wait and See

Oriel Canfas

1 May – 31 May

Wait and See places black and white photosensitive paper and light – two fundamentals of photography – at the centre of its process. Early photographic paper is exposed in the exhibition rooms and through a subtle interplay with space and light, the chromatic transformation of the paper begins. According to its composition and the nature of its contact with light, the paper develops random colour patterns over time. To perceive the progressive saturation of the paper, the spectator is asked to be patient and to remain still for a few moments in order to observe a latent process, the meaning of which derives from the very act of being seen.

A Ffotogallery project funded by Pro Helvetia (Swiss Arts Council), Swiss Cultural Fund in Britain and Swisslos Culture Canton de Berne.

 

Image: Wait and See, 2012 © f&d cartier

Helen Sear - Lure

+ - Helen Sear:

Lure

BayArt

25 May – 21 June

Lure is a major exhibition of new work by Helen Sear. One of Wales’ most important and insightful artists, Sear’s practice can be characterised by her exploration of the crossover between photography and fine art, her focus on the natural world and the startling beauty of her work. From seemingly simple subjects – a frozen pond, straw bales in a field, wild flowers – Sear makes artworks of great power that explore ideas of seeing and perception.

 

Image: Pastoral Monument 6, Dacus Carota, 2012 © Helen Sear

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

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

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