Thursday, June 28, 2012

Three Acts.

Three Acts. By John Divola. Essay by David Campany, interview by Jan Tumlir. Aperture, 2006. 144 pp., illustrated throughout, 11x9,25". Images from here.

Book description:

"In 1973, artist John Divola began the first of three highly ambitious and original bodies of work that together form this publication.

The Vandalism series comprises black-and-white photographs of interiors of abandoned houses. Entering illegally, Divola spray painted expressive markings in the forms of dots, lines, and grids, creating a series of conceptual gestures that referenced 'action painting' as readily as the graffiti that was fast becoming a cultural phenomenon.

The following year, Divola began the Los Angeles International Airport Noise Abatement series, photographing a condemned neighborhood bought out by the airport to serve as a noise buffer for new runways. Unlike the Vandalism series, where the artist's own intervention was at the crux of the project, here he focused his obsessive eye on unsanctioned entries by vandals who had absconded long ago. An extensive catalog of break-ins, the photographs record the evidence of violent entries: shattered windows, doors torn from hinges, a crowbar resting in the jamb of a door pried open.

The final installment in this book, the Zuma series, is the artist's documentation of the destruction of an abandoned beachfront property. While employing similar strategies of painting and intervention, the Zuma images add variation and complexity to Divola's established themes as they incorporate color, elements of nature, and meditation on change. These cyclical images skillfully juxtapose romantic skies and sunsets with a seaside structure that, frame by frame, deteriorates into ruin as it is vandalized by the artist and others who eventually set it on fire.

Divola's art practice shares a tradition with conceptual artists such as Bruce Nauman, whose photographs are considered to be performance or sculpture, and Robert Smithson, who used photography to investigate the built environment.

Divola's stunning body of work uses photography in a way that exceeds the medium's essential capacity to describe. Divola puts this idea succinctly: 'My acts, my painting, my photographing, my considering, are part of, not separate from, this process of evolution and change. My participation was not so much one of intellectual consideration as one of visceral involvement'."

I have previously also featured the wonderful The Green of This Notebook by John Divola.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Supervisions. By Andreas Gefeller. Foreword by Roland Nachtigäller, texts by Stephan Berg. Hatje Cantz, 2005. 144pp., illustrated throughout, 29,7x25,2cm.

Book description:

In 'Supervisions' "Gefeller employs a complicated photographic technique to scan the surfaces of urban spaces.

Composed of hundreds of individual images, these striking works appear as bird's-eye views or shots taken from impossible angles.

Gefeller works in the twilight zone between reality and fiction, bringing to light things that are at first hardly visible at all as he presents them, but without manipulating reality in the process. On the contrary, the surfaces in 'Supervisions' have the look of high-resolution documentary photographs, although they could not have been produced without the aid of digital imaging techniques."

Friday, June 22, 2012

Glad midsommar! (Happy Midsummer!)

Midsummer pole / maypole (source for the original pic).

Glad midsommar! (Happy Midsummer!). Have a wonderful day...

To learn more about the Swedish Midsummer traditions continue reading or go here or here for example.

"In modern Sweden, Midsummer's Eve and Midsummer's Day (Midsommarafton and Midsommardagen) [...] is arguably the most important holiday of the year, and one of the most uniquely Swedish in the way it is celebrated, even if it has been influenced by other countries long ago.

The main celebrations take place on the Friday, and the traditional events include raising and dancing around a huge maypole. One typical dance is the frog dance. Before the maypole is raised, greens and flowers are collected and used to cover the entire pole.

Raising and dancing around a maypole (majstång or midsommarstång) is an activity that attracts families and many others. People dancing around the pole listen to traditional music and many wear traditional folk costumes. The year's first potatoes, pickled herring, sour cream, and possibly the first strawberries of the season are on the menu. Drinking songs are also important at this feast, and many drink heavily.

Because Midsummer was thought to be one of the times of the year when magic was strongest, it was considered a good night to perform rituals to look into the future. Traditionally, young people pick bouquets of seven or nine different flowers and put them under their pillow in the hope of dreaming about their future spouse. In the past it was believed that herbs picked at Midsummer were highly potent, and water from springs could bring good health. Greenery placed over houses and barns were supposed to bring good fortune and health to people and livestock; this old tradition of decorating with greens continues, even though most don't take it seriously."

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Summer Day

Flowers. © Rare Autumn.

Happy solstice, happy birthday, happy Swedish summer day.

"The sea rests morning-still,
never does it seem to have had storms,
like a mighty spirit
sunnily morning-still,
heavy with devotion - light
with clarity's strength.
Sharply and exactly is mirrored
the cliffs' naked precipice.
Transparently simple
lie the wide depths.
light and pure all stands,
drawn surely in airy calm,
washed in the fragrance of salt.
even and pure, with thought alone
the day strides into the sky's light,
fine as a precious stone."

Summer Day by Karin Boye. From 'Karin Boye: Complete Poems'.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

White Noise.

White Noise. By António Júlio Duarte. Pierre von Kleist Editions, 2011. 78 pp., illustrated throughout, 30x30xm. Images from here.

Book description:

"António Júlio Duarte has been photographing Casino’s lobbies in Macau for the last 10 years.

Shot at night, with a medium format camera and a flash, often in jetlagged mode, the lobbies became Duarte’s personal territory.

The absurd luxury of the places combined with the strangeness of the objects, and the absence of human presence, creates a strong dreamlike feeling.

We are led through a labyrinth, as if floating.

The work is, both an important document about the little seen reality of Casino’s in Macau today, and a very personal reflection about East and West, about how to relate to the world through photography."

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Scott Peterman.

Scott Peterman. By Scott Peterman. Foreword by Melissa Kuntz. Channel Photographics, 2006. 112 pp., illustrated throughout, 12x9,5". Images from here.

Book description:

"Over seven years, Scott Peterman has braved the harsh winters of the far Northeast to document the icefishing houses in the lakes region of Maine and New Hampshire.

Made with lightweight, windproof materials, their architecture is simple and unrefined, yet ingenious and graceful. With his typological approach and delicate eye, Peterman translates the shacks into art objects.

Photographed in the rain, fog, and snow, the houses become mysterious and transcendent."

Monday, June 18, 2012

God's Left Eye.

God's Left Eye. By Michel Mazzoni. Texts/quotes from Michel De Certeau, Jean Baudrillard, JG Ballard and Gerges Perec. Editions Enigmatiques, 2012. 96 pp., illustrated throughout, 18,5x19,3cm. Edition of 400 copies.

This artist book by Michel Mazzoni is composed of grey-tone images of cities, deserts, former nuclear test sites and airports taken from a high altitude.

Housed between a mounting board cover, the images (interspersed with quotations from writers and philosophers) shows an abstract world, a map of territories constantly subject to human and natural transformations.

I have previously also featured Michel Mazzoni's book Straight in the Light.

Book description:

"Slipping into the role of a contemporary archaeologist, the artist uses these images to explore the empty and invisible places of this world, trawling deserts and airports and sites that have been exposed to nuclear tests, among others - a sort of cartography of our planet’s territories continuously being transformed by human and natural forces."

Saturday, June 16, 2012


Magazine. Work by Mike Nelson, photographed by Mike Nelson and numerous photographers. Matt's Gallery & Book Works, 2003. 336 pp., illustrated throughout, 17,1x24,2cm. Edition of 2000 copies. Images from here.

Interesting retelling in book form of artist Mike Nelson's installation works.

Book description:

" '... And of course in terms of making spaces that claim to be something they're not, I just like the idea of a book calling itself a magazine.'

'Magazine' by Mike Nelson is an intricate reconfiguration of a number of his acclaimed installations. Nelson has selected, edited and ordered a succession of detailed images encouraging the reader to move through different passages and states whilst negotiating recyclings of six of his previous shows.

The book has no end point, no definitive reading but rather is a visual non-linear narrative which suggests an ‘Interzone’ - demonstrating a parallel experience which questions the purpose of Nelson’s constructed spaces and examines what is really going on behind the scenes.

'Magazine' can be experienced both as a memento and as a reading of Nelson’s constructed spaces and represents a logical progression and use of the book form by the artist.

We are invited to loose ourselves in a multiplicity of meaning as we continue reading - rediscovering, reinventing and redefining."

Friday, June 15, 2012


Havana. By Michael Eastman. Prestel, 2011. 144 pp., illustrated throughout, 9,5x12". Images from here.

It's almost the weekend and I think summer might be back, this book is were my head is at today...

Book description:

"Internationally acclaimed photographer Michael Eastman’s work focuses on the faded grandeur of 1950s Havana, but what is most striking about Eastman’s images is their emptiness.

Painterly in quality, these richly coloured photographs are dramatically lit and exquisitely detailed. Eastman pays particular attention to both built environment and landscape to create a world where colour and architecture complement one another. It is in this quality that the influence of Eugene Atget’s 19th century photography of Parisian store fronts is marked.

In 'Havana', Eastman has created a world where life only exists through suggestion: an empty chair, an abandoned washing line, a decrepit bookshelf, a rusty chandelier.

It is in this perspective that Eastman challenges the conventions of a discourse that holds on to the past as a beacon of a simpler and better time. Despite the formal characteristics of the works, the lead role in Eastman’s Havana is not played by an individual, but a forgotten culture where colonial past and present are as one."

Thursday, June 14, 2012

L’illusion Du Tranquille.

L’illusion Du Tranquille. By François Deladerrière. Poursuite, 2011. 56 pp., illustrated throughout, 16x21cm. Images from here.

Book description:

" 'We have crossed many states of mind when photographs unfold in front of our eyes, revealing, in the appearance of their subject, a familiar strangeness. These states push the familiar into the realm of the uncanny. Under the influence of the shift, the slide, the disorder of the senses, what is known and has been long familiar switches and blurs. Our perception flickers and a gap opens in the real world: The illusion of peace.'

_Jacques Damez."

Monday, June 11, 2012

Calle De Luz. Street of Light.

Calle De Luz. Street of Light. By Duane Monczewski. Essay by Elizabeth Kay, edited by Krista Hanley. Andrew Smith Gallery, 2008. 43pp., illustrated throughout, 22x27cm. Images from here.

Book description:

"Duane Monczewski has spent the last thirty years photographing cities and border towns in Mexico and the United States, including Juárez, Nogales, Taxco, Tijuana, Acapulco, Puerto Vallarta, Tucson, and Santa Fe.

His brilliantly colored photographs of vernacular street architecture capture the whimsical, sensual beauty of quiet neighborhoods, lively storefronts, and quiet side streets.

Inhabitants are nowhere to be seen in these images, but their portals, shops, courtyards, and houses lit by sharp sunlight and intense shadows tell us much about their urban aesthetic.

Monczewski is a photographer of elemental facts: space, color, light, and shadow. Although grounded in the literalism and immediacy of down-to-earth subjects, his photographs are primarily juxtapositions of abstract shapes and geometric patterns infused with a wide spectrum of colors unique to the desert Southwest and Mexico.

Within the solid geometry of cubes, squares, arcs, and rectangles, Monczewski reveals a heterogeneous world of colorful patterns and deteriorating surfaces that give each photograph a satisfying blend of elegant order and open-ended possibilities.

Monczewski’s tightly composed images are comprised of fragments of information isolated from larger experiences. Jumbled together are rickety gates, electric meters, barred windows, word-embellished storefronts, and advertising billboards.

These carefully selected subjects have become slightly disassociated from their surroundings that would otherwise provide more understanding of an actual place. As visual fragments they must stand on their own merit as works of art, while at the same time referring to things that are simultaneously familiar and unfamiliar. They come close to being pure acts of seeing.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Amc2 journal Issue 1.

Amc2 journal Issue 1. Archive of Modern Conflict, 2011. 152 pp., illustrated throughout, 21x29,5cm. Images from here.

Journal description:

"The Archive of Modern Conflict collects material dating from prehistory to the present day. As the subject areas expand, they intertwine to reveal unexpected stories about the nature of our world.

The inaugural issue of Amc2 journal brings together different groups of work that illuminate lost corners of our cultural life. Photography is, as ever, the keystone of the collection."

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

From Back Home.

From Back Home. By Anders Petersen & JH Engström. Edited and designed by Greger Ulf Nilson, translation by Katarina Trodden. Max Ström, 2009. 320 pp., illustrated throughout, 7,75x10,25". Images from here.

Today is the National Day of Sweden, so I thought I'd show a book concerning itself with a photographic examination of Sweden and the Swedish identity far away from the city, as seen by two Swedish photographers of different generations.

JH Engstöm's description below is beautiful and poetic, and in many ways encapsulates many of my own ponderings.

Book description:

"Maybe you can’t really go back home.
But this is where I’m from.
These images pay homage,
to the people and landscapes that are my origins.
I’ve returned to something my body and emotions recognize.

The images are photographed in Värmland between 2001 and 2008.

JH Engström, 2009."

Monday, June 04, 2012

The Light In The Dark, With The Neon Arms.

The Light In The Dark, With The Neon Arms. By Soner Ön. Soner Ön, 2011. 16pp., illustrated throughout, 7x10,25". Edition of 200 copies, signed and numbered.

Book description:

"Inspired by a Kate Bush song 'Symphony in Blue' (EMI 1979) this project is a search for the universal.

All images in the book are from a curated selection of Google image search results for ‘God’.

Most areas of poverty have heavy traditions towards religion, I would get church pamphlets everyday in Flatbush, some with the most beautiful imagery of light breaking through clouds. I wanted just those types of images to be my 'church pamphlet'."