Photo of the week 134

                                                             Greg Neville, redhead at the NGV, 2017

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Ali Harper wins at the AIPP

Allison Harper is a former student of mine and she has just been declared the AIPP Emerging Photographer of the Year for 2017 – I’m not suggesting there’s any connection! The annual AIPP awards cover a range of categories of commercial/professional photography and recognition such as this can have a real benefit to a photographer. The AIPP, The Australian Institute of Professional Photographers, is a guild that looks after the interests of commercial photographers nationwide.

Ali was an excellent student who always brought creative surprises to class. The portfolio presented in the competition’s website show architectural subjects, but she nails every kind of subject matter, including bizarre portraits of twins that she submitted in her Melbourne Polytechnic folio last year.

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I’m at the Justin Art House Museum

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The Justin Art House Museum is opening tonight with this exhibition, Digital: the World of Alternative Realities. I’m one of the artists in this exhibition of contemporary digital art from the collection of Leah and Charles Justin. The galleries where the collection is on display share space in their extraordinary Prahran home. The museum is open to the public on Sundays and Wednesdays, click here for details.

“The works are predominantly non-figurative and abstract. The collection includes a diverse spectrum of art practice including painting, sculpture, works on and from paper, and photography.”

“This exhibition will explore the virtual worlds constructed by the artists, examining the notions of alternate universes, dystopian visions, through to providing social commentary on our existing world.”

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The work I have in the show is from my Gooog series of a couple of years ago: 

“The online software programme Google Earth is a vast mapping and surveillance project. Combined with Google Street View, it is the most ambitious photographic project in history. Through a simple mirroring process, the endless twisting and looping highways that criss-cross the planet become beautiful decorative designs, like tapestries or Persian carpets.”

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That description leaves out a dystopian element to the work, because I wanted to create a beautiful representation of pointlessness. The images in Gooog are screen-captures of looping highways from Google Earth. The patterend effect was intended to create an image of futile, circling journeys like the pattern of ant paths seen from above.

The Gooog image sits well in the company on the gallery walls, as other works in the show share the same unsettling vision of the planet. Yang Yongliang, Gregory Bennett, Stephen Haley and others envision the world in vast repeating patterns of human settlement and behaviour. But not all of it is threatening. In his opening address, Charles Justin talked about the dilemma of taking a pessimistic or optimistic view of the earth’s future, joking that “a pessimist is an optimist who is a realist!”

In his opening speech, the acclaimed scientist professor Tim Flannery, linked the digital art processes in the show to the body’s own digitally encoded DNA, which produces the body’s protein. He made poetic observations about DNA, a digital system, producing the analogue protein and fat of the human brain, which in turn devises its own digital calculations for producing art.

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Festival of Photography at the NGV

pieter-hugo-ngv                         Pieter Hugo, Green Point Common, Cape Town 2013

This is a big deal: the National Gallery of Victoria will be presenting a series contemporary photography exhibitions for its Festival of Photography from March to August. It will take over a number of galleries across the NGV, presenting new acquisitions of Australian and international works acquired over recent years.

Four Australian photo-artists are featured, with solo shows by Bill Henson, Patrick Pound, Zoë Croggon and Ross Coulter. In addition there will be a major exhibition of William Eggleston’s portraits, recently shown London’s National Portrait Gallery.

Other displays will include work by Sophie Calle, Pieter Hugo, Polly Borland, Adam Fuss, Thomas Demand and many others.

“The NGV Festival of Photography provides an opportunity to be immersed in exciting new works of photography, digitally produced prints as well as film based projects by both established and emerging artists.”

The Festival of Photography is a very impressive event on the calendar and will run between March and August. Check the NGV website for details of individual shows and events.

Angelmaier’s Text

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Claudia Angelmaier is a conceptual artist working in photo media who makes visual speculations about photography and art: I investigate the photographic production, photographic reproduction and the circulation … of images as well as their influence on our cultural memory.”

Text is a series of photographic prints made in the typical size of paintings in a gallery, their content is press releases for art exhibitions. Press releases are blurbs written in newsy, enthusiastic prose, although for art exhibitions they sometimes stray into heavy, self-important verbiage.

Angelmaier has mocked these purple passages by blacking out everything except parts of sentences, leaving only strange and comical phrases.

“Not only between the touched and the touching, but also between the tangible and the visible which is embedded within the tangible.” (Text 02)

“still consistent as a definition although it does not say anything precisely, but rather annotates and implicates.” (Text 03)

“which makes the question ‘how’ even more pressing”  (Text 04)

It is an open system, every part, every move, every scene, every colour, every gesture, every word consistent” (Text 05)

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Absent works of visual art are translated to a text; the text is rendered incomprehensible, then translated back into visual art.

“What remains is only one sentence or just a blackened page, which says nothing about the artist or the artwork and leaves the interpretation to the imagination of the spectator. The artist and his work remain a fictional construction.”