—Introduction

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

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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.

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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.

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

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

Dawn Wooley - Wild Oats

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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

Holly Davey

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Nothing Is What It Is Because Everything Is What It Isn’t

National Museum Cardiff

9 March – 1 September

Nothing Is What It Is Because Everything Is What It Isn’t is a site-specific photographic installation exploring the stairwell and landing space in the Museum’s contemporary galleries. Holly Davey has photographed the space to create a digital collage in which the stairwell is reformed, repeated and replayed within the original architecture. This reimagining of the stairwell creates a feeling of disorientation, encouraging the viewer to question their experience and understanding of this functional, transitional space. Nothing Is What It Is… was commissioned by Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales following an open call for artist submissions in 2012.

The commission is supported by the Colwinston Charitable Trust.

 

Image: Nothing is what it is (detail), 2013 © Holly Davey

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Maurizio Anzeri Interview

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Platform 2 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 Laura Sorvala Sketchnotes here to view a full screen PDF of Laura’s sketchnotes.

The second debate took place at Fire Island 15 May entitled “The artist is not responsible to anyone” and was led by Shaun Featherstone.

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

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

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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

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