—Introduction

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

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.

Emma Bennett- Thief of Tie

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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

Wait-and-See,-2012-©-f&d-cartier2

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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

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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

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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

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Platform 1 Visual Notes

We have commissioned artist Laura Sorvala to create visual documentation of our platform debates, which are a series of free evening events, each dedicated to one of the Platform themes and led by prominent artists and thinkers. Click here to view a full screen PDF of Laura’s sketchnotes.

The first debate took place at Fire Island 8 May entitled “Everyone is a Photographer Now” and was led by Associated Press Photographer Matt Dunham.

Visit Platform to find out about our upcoming events and to vote and comment on the provocations.

Publishing-Fair

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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.

Edgar Martins - The Time Machine

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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

The Valleys Re-Presented

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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

Gideon Koppel-BORTH

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B O R T H

single screen version

Chapter (Stiwdio)

1 May – 31 May

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 – this work travels along the blurred borders between documentary and fiction, to create a powerful dream-like and sensory world.

Exhibition presented by Ffotogallery in partnership with Aberystwyth Arts Centre. Project funded by Arts Council of Wales. Exhibition supported by Chapter.

 

Image: B O R T H, 2012 © Gideon Koppel