August 16, 2013

Friday Round Up - 16 August

This week Friday Round Up comes to you from the Ballarat International Foto Biennale which opens in Ballarat, an hour from Melbourne on Saturday 17 August. This is the fifth Biennale and there are more than 20 photographers exhibiting in the core programme. Showcased this week are two international exhibitions - Erika Diettes, Colombia and Francisco Diaz, Spain - and two from Australia - Vikk Shayen and Tony Hewitt. These exhibitions epitomise the diversity of work on show at the Festival. If you are in Ballarat don’t miss the John Cato Retrospective and book launch on Saturday at 3pm, and the official Festival opening bash Saturday 6pm, both at the Mining Exchange. See you there.

John Cato Between Sunshine and Shadow
A Documentary 
(C) John Cato

I had such a great response to my interview with filmmaker Paul Cox about his longtime friend photographer John Cato, which was published in the Weekend Australian last week (link below). Many readers commented that they wished the article was longer as they wanted to know more about Cato. Andrew Chapman and David Callow have produced a short documentary – John Cato Between Sunshine and Shadow - a beautiful story about a man who loved photography, nature and sharing his passion. You can watch it here and see the Retrospective at the Mining Exchange.

Erika Diettes - Shrouds 
The Mining Exchange

Erika is a visual artist living and working in Bogotá. She uses photography to examine memory, sorrow, absence and death. Her most recent work Sudarios (Shrouds) has been shown with great success around the world and now comes to Ballarat.

Erika says of her work, “Many times, with my camera, I have been a witness of the moment when people have to close their eyes as they recall the event which divided their life into two parts. My decision to create Sudarios (Shrouds) comes from unanswered questions that came out of my previous series Silencios (Silences), which dealt with survivors of the Second World War who live in Colombia…To date, I have received the testimonies of more than 300 victims of the violence in Colombia. They have confided intimacies of this violence to me: not only its harrowing details, but the way they rebuild their lives and keep going despite what they have suffered.

"The women who serve as the models in Sudarios were first-hand witnesses of acts of horror. The intention of the series is to enable the spectator to observe the moment when these women close their eyes, with no other way to communicate the horror that they witnessed and the intensity of the sorrow they were subjected to”. 

(C) Erika Diettes

Tony Hewitt – Three of Sand, One of Cement!
Art Gallery of Ballarat 

Tony Hewitt’s work spans portrait, landscape and fine art photography. In explaining his exhibition “Three of Sand, One of Cement!” he says, “3 : 2 : 1 (is ) a very popular concrete formula - 3 part gravel, 2 part sand, 1 part cement. Amidst the chaos of urban development I am constantly fascinated and drawn to the elegance, purpose and beauty of its underlying structures. They form the physical foundations of not just where we live, but how we live; they are the ‘glue’ that binds us together. These materials and structures also reflect my childhood memories, of building blocks and construction sets, playgrounds and car parks, and the boundaries between where we find ourselves, and what we hope to become. From the enduring ruins of ancient castles, to the playgrounds of our youth, from corporate edifices to domestic dwellings, their symbolism, design, and presence reassures me". 

(C) Tony Hewitt

Francisco Diaz – The Lost Road
St Patrick’s Community Hall 

(C) Francisco Diaz

“The series The Lost Road is a meticulously produced cinematic narrative depicting four people on a mysterious journey in a car as they become lost,” explains Cuban photographer Francisco Diaz. “On this journey, they encounter many circumstances—loss of cell phone use; a hitchhiker; a deer in headlights; stray birds flying overhead and so forth—that allow their creeping sense of alienation to unfold. Will they change direction, thereby solving the mystery at the core of this journey? Each photograph in The Lost Road is a combination of elements taken from many different photographs. After developing the idea for an individual photograph, I shoot an array of pictures. I then cut out those elements I want to use and reassemble them into a completed photograph. The end product is a photograph that looks like it was shot as a single, coherent image”. 

(C) Francisco Diaz

“As I continue to conceptualise the series—the play of light and dark, the spatial formation and pictorial structure, the sense of colour and the cinematic/theatrical quality—I rely on a mix of pulp fiction illustrators like Malvin Singer, Rudolph Belarski and Rafael DeSoto, along with movie directors such as Hitchcock, Peckinpaw, Godard, Coppola, Boyle and Woo to provide inspiration for visual and narrative techniques. One of the reasons I use photography, is that it can give the viewer that “lo real maravilloso” sensibility”.

Vikk Shayen – Performanscape
Mechanics Institute 

(C) Vikk Shayen

Performanscape is the first exhibition at a photography festival for Singaporean-Australian photographer Vikk Shayen. A collaborative photographic project involving performance artists and theatre makers Performanscape “exposes the stunning landscapes found throughout Australia that remain hidden from those living in urban areas. It also draws attention to the diversity, craftsmanship and physical virtuosity of various Australian artists and designers”.

(C) Vikk Shayen

The Ballarat International Foto Biennale Core Programme features exhibitions by the following artists:

Terence Bogue
John Cato
Tony Hewitt
Sonia Macak
Meredith O’Shea
Vikk Shayen
Kara Rasmanis
Mark Ruff
Guy Vinciguerra

Marrigje de Maar, The Netherlands
Francisco Diaz, USA
Erika Diettes, Columbia
Claudia Fahrenkemper, Germany
Ayala Gazit, USA
Russell Joslin, USA
Young Ho Kang, South Korea
Sheena MacRae, UK
Doc Ross, New Zealand
Hester Scheurwater, The Netherlands
Jackie Ranken, New Zealand
Elisabeth Zeilon, Sweden 

Hanging out on the Fringe

(C) Robert Imhoff

With more than 95 non-curated exhibitions forming the Fringe, it is almost overwhelming trying to work out which ones to see in the opening weekend, although if you live locally then cramming in all the exhibitions may just be possible throughout the Festival. A small taste of what’s on show – Melbournian Robert Imhoff’s “Prelude” drawing on an archive that spans more than 50 years (above), and Belgian photographic artist Wim De Schamphelaere’s “Meeting Africa” are two on Photojournalism Now’s “must-see” list. 

(C) Wim De Schamphelaere

This year’s Festival also features a range of projections – indoor, outdoor and window. More than 60 photographers and photographic artists feature in the projections loop that will be shown at various core venues throughout the festival. 

The Ballarat International Foto Biennale runs until 15th September. For more information visit the website here.