zondag 2 augustus 2015

Vedettes Raymond Hains Nouveau Réalisme Incredibly Small PhotoBooks Paul Kooiker Erik Kessels Photography


Raymond Hains

Edité par agnès b., 2001
ISBN 10: 2906496375 / ISBN 13: 9782906496378

The French artist Raymond Hains, who has died aged 78, was a founder of the Nouveau Réalisme movement in the early 1960s. Anything but a realist in the conventional sense, he was an affichiste, creating vibrant, provocative collages from layers of torn posters. Although less celebrated than his flamboyant comrade Yves Klein, he anticipated the appropriation of mass media by Pop artists in Britain and America, and exhibited with such international figures as Christo, Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg.

Born in the Breton town of St-Brieuc, Hains joined the art school at nearby Rennes when he was 18. While studying sculpture, he was, in fact, far more interested in his Kodak camera, which he used to record the devastation of Dinard towards the end of the war. Soon afterwards he left for Paris, where, in October 1945, he began his apprenticeship with Emmanuel Sougez, a photographer for the magazine France Illustration.
Much of his early work used procedures adapted from prewar Dada and surrealism: hypnagogic abstract photographs (often made with distorting mirrors) and short movies recording the walks around Paris on which he collected strips of posters for his collages.
As early as 1949, Hains was associated with Jacques de la Villeglé, whom he had met as a student in Rennes. Sometimes the pair gave their works overtly political titles, as in Hains's Peace in Algeria (1956), shown at Colette Allendy's gallery in Paris, in the exhibition Law of 29 July 1881 - a reference to an infamous decree that restricted press freedom uring the French third republic. Often the names were stupefyingly blank: their first collaboration, for example, was simply called M.
The two saw themselves as challenging the subjectivity and self-indulgence of the American action painters Jackson Pollock and Willem De Kooning, as well as their French equivalents in the Art Informel movement. Indeed, Hains once called himself an "inaction painter", resolutely opposed to the "emptiness" of abstract expressionism.
Some of his collages recall the textures and patterns of his supposed artistic foes. In 1957, the critic Edmond Humeau described them as having a "hit and run lyricism", and a few were even entitled Nymphéas (Water Lilies), in ironic homage to Monet's most sensual paintings. Generally, the fragments of posters are extremely impersonal, found on the streets rather than created in the studio - as Hains put it: "My works existed before me, but nobody had seen them, because they were blindingly obvious."
Some commentators have tried to relate Hains's ideas to the concept of the "death of the author" proposed by the post-structuralist thinker Roland Barthes. However, it would be more accurate to link affichisme with the surrealist aim of raising everyday life to a higher reality. According to Villeglé, Hains sought to transform the mundane into art: "The picture should not be considered as a world in itself, but the world itself should be seen as a picture."
In their opposition to abstract painting, Hains and Villeglé were united with contemporaries in France and Italy - especially with the collagist Mimmo Rotella, who also went around ripping billboards - and in October 1960 they participated in the first of several Nouveau Réaliste exhibitions, organised at the Apollinaire gallery, Milan, by the critic Pierre Restany. In 1962, another display of New Realism, at the Sidney Janis Gallery, New York, featured local artists, including Jim Dine, Andy Warhol and Claes Oldenburg.
Just as the Americans' sculptures celebrated the beauty of household tools, cans of soup and the Danish pastry, Hains glorified the matchbox in monumental painted reliefs. These were displayed in 1965 at the Parisian gallery of Iris Clert, partly as a reference to the dealer's nickname, "la brune incendiaire". She added to the joke by employing firemen to guard the exhibition.
Visual and verbal gags remained key components of Hains's works during the 1970s and 80s. Indeed, he relished the fact that the French title for his poster-clad hoardings - la palissade - puns with the word for truism. Similar humour lay behind Well Read, Badly Read or the Code of the Little Butter Biscuit LU, a 1983 painting based on the pattern formed by a computerised bar code: here the brand name is also the past participle of the verb "to read".
In his later years Hains continued to develop the affichiste techniques that had become his trademark. At the 1997 Kassel Documenta exhibition, he even returned his lacerated posters to their original urban setting by festooning them along the Treppenstrasse underpass. Elsewhere he constructed quirky virtual collages out of images from the world wide web. His Macintoshages of 1999 combined prints and paintings of Archduchess Margaret of Austria, 16th-century regent of the Netherlands, with photographs of street signs and a parrot, presented as if displayed on a screen. Although lacking in historical rigour, they vividly capture the banal profusion of the internet.
For all his innovations, Hains was most happy roaming around Paris with a camera. Towards the end of his life, he produced spectacular photographs recording a city transfigured by its ephemera - Michelin men gesturing from scaffolds on the Avenue de l'Opéra, or the courtyard of the Louvre choked with hosepipes. A charismatic, sociable yet highly private man, he divided his last 30 years between Nice and Paris.
· Raymond Hains, artist, born November 9 1926; died October 28 2005
Incredibly Small PhotoBooks Paul Kooiker Erik Kessels
For several years, Paul Kooiker and Erik Kessels have organized evenings for friends in which they share the strangest photo books in their collections. The books shown are rarely available in regular shops, but are picked up in thrift stores and from antiquaries. The group’s fascination for these pictorial non-fiction books comes from the need to find images that exist on the fringe of regular commercial photo books. It’s only in this area that it’s possible to find images with an uncontrived quality. This constant tension makes the books interesting. It’s also worth noting that these tomes all fall within certain categories: the medical, instructional, scientific, sex, humour or propaganda. Paul Kooiker and Erik Kessels have made a selection of their finest books from within this questionable new genre. Incredibly small photobooks is the second volume (after Terribly awesome photobooks) showing this amazing collection.

vrijdag 31 juli 2015

The PopStars of Lex van Rossen Photography

Lex Van Rossen 1950-2007

 It is hard to decide which to admire more, his work or the man himself. His pictures have a grace that comes from a thorough knowledge of the camera combined with a deep empathy with his subjects.

His classic live images of musicians such as Debbie Harry, The Clash, Tom Waits and many others required split timing. He had that. His portraits reflect the trust he inspired in others.

Personally, he was a true gentleman in the old-fashioned sense of the word. Softly spoken, gentle, polite, humorous with a twinkle in his eye, it was a pleasure to be in his company. I shall miss him terribly and extend my deep sympathy to his many friends and family.
Jill Furmanovsky.

Lex van Rossen was een popfotograaf die de dynamiek van een concert in één beeld kon treffen. In „roetige plaatjes”, zei hij zelf. Het Stadsarchief Amsterdam laat een verrassende keuze uit zijn fotografisch archief zien.


Texecala Jones, Zoetermeer, 1986.

Met grote ogen kijkt Tina Weymouth in de lens van de fotograaf. Uitdagend heft de bassiste van Talking Heads haar bas boven een kort rokje. Het is typisch een concertfoto van Lex van Rossen: donker, contrastrijk en uitgebalanceerd van compositie, met de hals van de basgitaar in een rechte hoek met de microfoonstandaard. „Roetige plaatjes”, zoals Lex zijn krantenfoto’s relativerend noemde.

De sterren van Lex, t/m 20/9 in het Stadsarchief Amsterdam (toegang gratis). Inl: stadsarchief.amsterdam.nl

Een kleine tentoonstelling in het Stadsarchief Amsterdam laat zien wat er zo bijzonder was aan Lex van Rossen (1950-2007), popfotograaf voor NRC Handelsblad, De Telegraaf, Muziekkrant OOR en andere media. Lex kon flirten met zijn onderwerp, toen hij Whitney Houston portretteerde bij een vluchtige fotosessie in een hotelkamer. Hij kon de dynamiek van een concert in één beeld treffen, door de wapperende haren van de zanger van Soundgarden. Of hij maakte korte metten met de heroïsche pose van een popster. David Bowie kreeg vampiertandjes, Steven Tyler van Aerosmith werd door de lens van Lex van Rossen een behaagzieke clown.

Lex en ik werkten twintig jaar samen. Op een gedenkwaardige journalistieke missie maakten we tijdens een dag in september 1997 een interview en een indringend fotoportret van de zanger van Spiritualized in Brussel. Daarna reden we door naar Ponypark Slagharen voor het livedebuut van de elfjarige Jantje Smit, die triomfen vierde met zijn nummer-éénhit Ik Zing dit Lied voor Jou Alleen. Lex van Rossen, de frontsoldaat onder de popfotografen, moest dringen tussen de omaatjes en de jonge fans die het kleine zangwonder uit Volendam het zingen bijna onmogelijk maakten. Meer dan 600 kilometer reden we die dag. Lex bracht het allemaal prachtig in beeld.

In het Stadsarchief hangen niet zijn greatest hits, zoals de onsterfelijke foto die Van Rossen maakte van een knielende Bono met cowboyhoed in De Kuip, of de sexy pose waartoe hij Debbie Harry verleidde. De expositie De Sterren van Lex is gewijd aan zijn fotoarchief, dat werd nagelaten aan het Maria Austria Instituut. Daar werd de afgelopen maanden hard gewerkt aan het ordenen van eindeloos veel rolletjes film in archiefmappen. Veel van die negatieven zijn nooit door Van Rossen zelf afgedrukt. De mooiste 35 werden door archivaris Wietze Wedman geselecteerd voor de muzikantenportretten die tot eind september in de catacomben van het Stadsarchief worden getoond.

Op die foto’s zie je de jonge Red Hot Chili Peppers, de beschonken Texacala Jones van Tex and the Horseheads en de breed naar de fotograaf lachende Bobbie Rossini van Claw Boys Claw in hun volle podiumglorie. Maar ook een kleedkamerportret van Lou Reed met zijn interviewer Jip Golsteijn nog zichtbaar in de spiegel. Of hij nu Bobby Womack in alle rust portretteerde of de zinderende beweging van een concert van Michael Jackson in beeld bracht: Lex van Rossen had soul. Een harder rockende fototentoonstelling ga je deze zomer nergens zien. En nog één ding: het is er doodstil.

Een versie van dit artikel verscheen op zaterdag 25 juli 2015 in NRC Handelsblad.
Op dit artikel rust auteursrecht van NRC Media BV, respectievelijk van de oorspronkelijke auteur.

 David Bowie, Paradiso Amsterdam, 1990.

Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tivoli Utrecht, 1988.

dinsdag 28 juli 2015

There is no story It’s just a question of shapes and light Morocco Harry Gruyaert Photography

Harry Gruyaert: Morocco

Schirmer Mosel. Fine in Fine dust jacket. 1990. First EditionFirst Printing. Hard Cover. 3888145791 . 52 full page color plates. With an essay in French by Brice Matthieussent. 0.9 x 12.6 x 11.9 Inches; 112 pages .

Harry Gruyaert’s Moroccan pictures have the tenacious certitude of mystery. Their content is neither sociological nor ethnographical, and even less so exotic or journalistic. All anecdote is banished, and time—the story, what comes before and after the photograph—appears to be suspended. And yet, it is brimming with energy—the energy of its colors and postures captured on the spot. The enigmatic “subject” of these pictures includes such things as the texture of a wall or the material of a fabric, the composition of the air, and the density that is so specific to Moroccan light, at once violent and tender, glaring and maternal, abstract and sensual. The exact opposite of stereotypical exoticism, Harry Gruyaert shows us what has never been seen before of a different reality that is daily but secret.

With the recent release of the first English-language monograph of his work, famed Magnum photographer Harry Gruyaert talks about the banality of colour and the fuzzy line between art and photography

“There is no story. It’s just a question of shapes and light,” Harry Gruyaert says. The storied Magnum photographer is notoriously reluctant to share how he creates his celebrated photography.
As one of the first European photographers to take advantage of the creative potential colour photography held,  Gruyaert rarely follows received wisdom — as seen in the first English-language monograph of Gruyaert’s work, published by Thames & Hudson and offering a comprehensive retrospective of his career.
While American photographers such as William Eggleston and Stephen Shore were eagerly embracing the new possibilities of colour, many photographers in Europe of the same generation preferred to relegate it to use in advertising, press and illustration. Gruyaert feels closer to the American approach.
“In Europe and especially France, there’s a humanistic tradition of people like Cartier-Bresson where the most important thing is the people, not so much the environment,” he says. “I admired it, but I was never linked to it. I was much more interested in all the elements:  the decor and the lighting and all the cars: the details were as important as humans. That’s a different attitude altogether.”
Kerala, India, 1989. © 2015 Harry Gruyaert / Magnum Photos
Kerala, India, 1989. © 2015 Harry Gruyaert / Magnum Photos
This is echoed by artist Richard Nonas, who says “the photographs of Harry Gruyaert have always seemed to me to be images of things, even when they are pictures of people… They are photographs of change, not of movement.”
Gruyaert joined legendary agency Magnum Photos in 1981 and ruffled a few feathers with his more contemporary approach. His influences skewed towards pop culture and away from journalism — not exactly music to the ears of the agency of Robert Capa and René Burri, at the time still largely comprised of black-and-white shooting photojournalists. “Sometimes it was like incredible theatre. it was like a big family where things are sometimes wonderful and sometimes horrible.”
Boom, Belgium, 1988. © 2015 Harry Gruyaert / Magnum Photos.
Boom, Belgium, 1988. © 2015 Harry Gruyaert / Magnum Photos.
“On my first visit to the States in 1968 and discovering pop art was really important for me. It was completely new, and made me look at banality in a different way, not saying ‘this is bad taste’, [but] to do something with that, accept it and look at it with a sense of humour.”
The impact of pop art is clear — the book opens with TV Shots, his 1972 series photographing distorted TV images.
Living in London, Gruyaert created the series by turning the dial on a television set at random and photographing the distorted images he saw there.
Saturated hues and distorted faces create a nightmarish satire of media culture, and when first exhibited in 1974 caused controversy.
The images, his first serious work, are markedly different from the later work he is renowned for but provides clear context for his career. Despite it all, he struggles with the label of ‘artist’, at least publically. “I don’t know… it’s complicated. I’m saying I’m a photographer and if people think certain things are art, then yeah, sure.” 
Paris, France, 1985. © 2015 Harry Gruyaert / Magnum Photos
Paris, France, 1985. © 2015 Harry Gruyaert / Magnum Photos
Gruyaert’s distaste for narrative, coupled with his enduring fascination for the banal, makes him a thoroughly unsentimental photographer. “It’s purely intuition. There’s no concept. things attract me and it works both ways. I’m fascinated by the miracle where things come together in a way where things make sense to me, so there’s very little thinking.”
“When I joined Magnum, I showed [my] pictures of Paris to Raymond Depardon. He said ‘that’s fascinating because you show the banality — the colours of the tables, the plastic of Paris’. It’s an aspect of Paris you don’t see in black-and-white; people are not attracted to that thing, they always want something going on. They want an anecdote.” After such a storied career, perhaps Gruyaert’s refusal to give people what they want is precisely the thing that makes them keep coming back to his work.
‘Harry Gruayaert’ is published by Thames and Hudson now. Details here.
The first solo exhibition of Harry Gruyaert will take place at the Magnum Print Room, 63 Gee Street, London, EC1V 3RS, from 15 September to 31 October 2015