—Introduction

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

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

+ -

Peter Bobby Interview

The turn of the century brought a renewed interest and confidence in constructing high-rise developments in a large majority of the world’s major cities. It has become the corporate building type for an increasingly global industry and architecture. High-rise examines the sociopolitical, architectural and visual discourse surrounding these constructions using a combination of both interior and exterior still and moving imagery. Through a number of differing strategies, the work critiques these environments, questions their relationship to the city below, addresses ideas of representation and spectatorship, and explores the discourse surrounding notions of power within the contemporary urban landscape.

A Ffotogallery project in partnership with the Architecture Centre, Bristol and the Royal National Theatre, London. Supported by Arts Council England, eCPR (The European Centre for Photographic Research) and the University of Wales, Newport.

The exhibition is showing 1 – 27 May 2013 at Tramshed.

For more video content visit Remote Access.

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.

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

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

650px-Wait-and-See,-2012-©-f&d-cartier1

+ -

Rory Duckhouse on f&d cartiers’ Wait and See

F&d cartier’s work explores the alchemic processes of photography using cameraless techniques. Wait and See investigates the chemical process of photography using two fundamental materials, light and photo-sensitive paper.

Black and white photographic papers are exposed to light to begin the chromatic transformation of the paper. Different papers react differently due to their composition and produce an array of differing colour casts and hues.

Throughout the length of the exhibition, the prints undergo a subtle transformation as the play of light, space and interaction has an effect on the chemical process, and the viewer is asked to be patient and observe the continual process. The result is a documentation of the passing moment, as the colour aberration leaves a trace of this simplistic event.

The work deals with photography’s history, and the fundamental process of distilling a moment. Photography was changed when the modern chemical process was invented, and the ability to permanently fix the image became a possibility. F&d cartier reference this historical event throughout the work. The cameraless technique uses this chemical invention as a gesture to return back to basics and draw attention to the fundamental processes of exposing the paper to light which begins the reaction. The results question everyday life, intimacy and the passing of time.

The experiments began with a collection of the artist’s own expired papers, after which they started collecting through colleagues, friends and the internet to gather over 300 different varieties of fibre based papers, ranging in age from 1890s to 1980s. With advances in technology and the complexity of chemistry, each paper reacts differently and the results in colour vary from paper to paper.

A degree of chance is embraced in Wait and See, whilst installing the exhibition, an overlap between two papers created a silhouetted outline on the piece underneath creating a chance relationship between the two pieces. This chance gesture creates a relationship between the chemical and the traditional photographic process, with this accident acting as a rudimentary photogram. The artists test the papers before each exhibition to gauge what the results may be, but there is an unpredictability to the final results as a degree of variables can ultimately effect the final outcome.

The role of the artist comes into question with Wait and See, with the work dependent on the latent process of the paper stock, one might argue, what role did the artists have in creating the finished work? However the final outcome is completely predicated on the choices of the artists. The artists dictate every step in the process and installation of the work, from the sourcing to rigorous testing of the paper stock, the conceptual layout on the walls which is elaborately installed creating relationships between the paper stocks and their evolving colour casts, to the choice of lighting which effects the speed and outcome of the event. Past the point of installation, the artist is removed and the paper is left to evolve, however that evolution has been entirely crafted by the hands of f&d cartier.

Rory Duckhouse

 

f&d cartier: Wait and See
1 – 31 May
Oriel Canfas

 

This essay is available as a downloadable PDF here.

Photo Copyright: Wait and See, 2012 © f&d cartier

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.

<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

Peter Bobby - High Rise

+ - Peter Bobby:

High-rise

Tramshed

1 May – 27 May

The turn of the century brought a renewed interest and confidence in constructing high-rise developments in a large majority of the world’s major cities. It has become the corporate building type for an increasingly global industry and architecture. High-rise examines the sociopolitical, architectural and visual discourse surrounding these constructions using a combination of both interior and exterior still and moving imagery. Through a number of differing strategies, the work critiques these environments, questions their relationship to the city below, addresses ideas of representation and spectatorship, and explores the discourse surrounding notions of power within the contemporary urban landscape.

A Ffotogallery project in partnership with the Architecture Centre, Bristol and the Royal National Theatre, London. Supported by Arts Council England, eCPR (The European Centre for Photographic Research) and the University of Wales, Newport.

 

Image: High-rise (23rd, Bar), 2007 © Peter Bobby