September 20, 2013

Friday Round Up - 20 September

This week Friday Round Up features exhibitions in Berlin, Eugene Smith’s assistant Takeshi Ishikawa releases his book Minamata Note, Sydney’s Art and About launches, and Bill Henson’s show closes at the Art Gallery of NSW.  Next week my report from the Noorderlicht Festival in beautiful Groningen, The Netherlands. Have a great weekend wherever you are.

Berlin and Photography
Last week I was in Berlin to check out a few galleries. In particular the Neue Schule fur Fotographie (New School for Photography) has an exciting exhibition programme along with workshops. A privately run college with an amazing exhibition space, the Neue Schule’s latest show features work from Ulrike Brase, Thommy Gebhardt, Dirk Hoffmann, Anni Jeroch, Yasmin Opielok, Jennie Schwartz and Jinhwan Seol. 

Celebrating the launch of this exhibition Neue Schule has produced a fantastic boxed set of catalogues on the works of each artist. You can purchase a single catalogue or the full set. The black embossed booklets are beautifully crafted and a clever idea as they will quickly become collectors items.

Two artists’ work stood out for me – Jennie Schwartz’ “Mommy, what shall I dream about tonight?” and Jinhwan Seol’s “Industrial”. Schwartz explores themes of childhood nightmares and fear of the dark through ambiguous imagery, blurred figures and abstract shapes. Her play with light and perspective creates intriguing images that reveal more the longer you look. Schwartz’s work is easy to relate to, evoking memories of imagination taking flight when the lights go out. 

(C) Jennie Schwartz
Seol’s portrayal of the Yeosa National Industrial Complex in South Korea, the largest petrochemical complex in the country, is like a storyboard for a futuristic movie. Operating around the clock, Yeosa’s machinery is constantly in motion, its buildings continuously lit creating an unnatural glow on the horizon that Seol uses to great effect in these black and white photographs. 

(C) Jinhwan Seol

Until 20 October
Neue Schule fur Fotographie
Brunnenstr 188-190/10119 Berlin

At Camera Work Gallery is Stockholm photographer Blaise Reutersward’s exhibition “Aktstudien und Deutsche Landschaften” a breathtaking collection where large scale German landscapes are juxtaposed against Reutersward’s nude studies, for which he is perhaps better known. With both Reutersward’s aim “is to capture a sense of mystery that simmers underneath the illusion of perfect form and beauty”. The space too in which the gallery is housed is in itself worth a visit. 

Until 12 October
Camera Work
Kantstrasse 149
10623 Berlin–Charlottenburg

Takeshi Ishikawa – Minamata Note 

Eugene Smith at work in Minamata (C) Takeshi Ishikawa

When he was in his early twenties Takeshi had a chance meeting with Eugene Smith on the streets of Tokyo, an encounter that would change the young photographer’s life. At that time Smith was about to embark on his now famous Minamata project, which exposed the horrific effects on that city’s population from the severe mercury contamination of shellfish and fish caused by the release of tainted industrial waste water. Takeshi joined him on this journey, working often for nothing but bed and board, assisting Smith and also taking his own photos. Now 40 years later in "Minamata Note" Takeshi shares the images he shot during this time, many of which are intimate portraits of Smith that have never been published.

40 years later - Takeshi back row last on right with some of the people he met when he first went to Minamata

C) Takeshi Ishikawa

Art and About – Sydney

With this year’s theme "Private Lives…Public Spaces" Art and About Sydney launches an extensive programme including a fantastic opportunity to have your portrait taken by one of Sydney’s best documentary photographers Louise Whelan.

Louise Whelan – Cultural Connections 
(C) Louise Whelan from New Settlers published by T&G Publishing

Sydney-based photo documentarian Louise Whelan will set up a portrait studio in public spaces around Sydney and take “stylised portraits of members of the community”. Whelan’s recently published book "New Settlers," which I wrote about in the Australian Weekend Magazine (to read click here) encapsulates the diversity of multicultural Australia. The portraits taken during Art and About will add to this body of work exploring concepts of cultural identity and representation. To find out more click here.

Louise Hawson - 52 Suburbs 
(C) Louise Hawson

Also part of Art and About is the exhibition 52 Suburbs. Hawson spent a year traversing the globe with her eight year old daughter visiting 10 countries, 14 cities, and 52 suburbs. This exhibition captures ordinary moments in suburbs that most travellers wouldn’t visit. It’s an interesting collection that reveals a commonality that defies cultural boundaries.

Museum of Sydney
Cnr. Bridge and Philip Sts, Sydney 

Sydney Life
"Sydney Life" at Hyde Park features the finalists in this year’s competition. You can also take a guided tour of the exhibition with one of the judges, Sandy Edwards 2pm Saturday 12 October, details here. Pictured are three finalists.

(C) Cam Cope

(C) Stephen Weissner

(C) Jgor Cavallina

Art and About 20 September to 20 October
Various Venues

Bill Henson – Cloud Landscapes

If you haven’t seen this exhibition by one of the world’s best photographic artists you’ve got two days - it closes on Sunday at the Art Gallery of NSW. 

Have a great weekend.

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