21/12/10

CHARLES THOMPSON

Charles Thompson is an editorial and art photographer whose work has appeared in L’Officiel, Vogue, Esquire, Elle Décor, Town & Country, The New York Times, and elsewhere. He began his career in photography at Colors Magazine, the influential anthropology and photography magazine published by Benetton, where he was executive editor. He lives between New York and Moscow with his wife Olya, a Russian native, and their four children. This is his first exhibit in Russia.




“The first time I read of the mythical half-bird/half-woman creatures, Sirin and Alconost, was in a book about pre-revolutionary Russian traditions and costumes. The author described magical beings with bird bodies and human heads that could metamorphose into human female forms at will. They had been popular motifs in peasant lace and embrodery designs, wood carving and 16th Century Lubok prints. Pagan mythology held that their song was so mezmerizing that men would follow the birds to the end of the earth only to succumb to utter exhaustion. Later, Orthodox tradition had dealt with the popular winged female figures by rebranding them as symbols of the Holy Spirit—the birds were from Paradise where their songs “delight the blest.” Viktor Mikhailovich Vasnetsov painted Sirin and Alconost in his 1896 work, The Song of Joy and Sorrow, adding yet another layer of meaning to the magical beings. As the legend metamorphoses through history at the will of contemporary society, the mystical power to transfigure of the wondrous creatures remains.


To me the myth of Sirin and Alconost encapsulates the yearning to escape our human limitations and enter the realm of pure power, beauty and infinite possibility. While they are obviously also symbols of female power, beauty and intelligence, Sirin and Alconost stand for something more universal. This desire to metamorphosize and transform oneself into something extraordinary is perhaps shared by all humanity, but to me, in Russian culture, and especially in ballet, it is in a particularly raw form. The ballerinas featured in these images are captured at that very moment of transformation, where bird wings have yet to appear, yet the human body has already achieved flight. The images capture that crucial moment in between two worlds, the human and the super human, much like Eadweard Muybridge in 1877 captured the exact moment when a horse at full gallop is actually flying, with no hooves touching the ground. Pinned by the light like butterflies in a collection, the flying female figures twist and turn and burst with pure energy and infinite potential.”

17/12/10

MARINA GADONEIX

Marina Gadonneix, born in Paris in 1977, studied photography at the École Nationale Supérieure de la Photographie in Arles. In 2006 she was awarded with the ‚Prix HSBC pour la Photographie.’ She lives and works in Paris.




The work title, ›Playground Disorder‹, suggests a playful handling of places and describes an order, which, whatever order it may have been, is brought into disarray. And indeed the two work groups, ›The house that burns everyday‹ and ›Crime scenes‹, both shown in extracts, are a continuance of her work that becomes manifested in her worldwide shown series: The documentation of staged reality.



Contrary to familiar artistic practice the work's creation is not in the artist's hand but discovered and documented without any intervention. Each situation is based on an essential simulation. Although a clear, unaltered image is on display, it demands an explanation. Cleverly Gadonneix’s photographs play with the clash of document, simulation and fiction. Deserted places and interiors create a rather disturbing atmosphere in which the line between real objects and fictitious incidents becomes blurred.



Rooms, like a kitchen, living room and a home office blackened by soot appear to be black and white photographs contrasting with a bright red-orange burning bed. Seemingly well-defined pictures, that are neither real nor staged. We see neither living spaces nor furniture – what we see are learnt proportions, attached to hights, depths and design – an illusion of stainless steel and concrete of which grey values are no result of develop processes of photo material but of the prevailing soot. Other realistic arranged spaces guide our gaze from the furniture to yellow eye-catchers that make any functional meaning of the enviroment disappear and direct our concentration onto little details instead.

3/12/10

LAURA SPLAN

(Prozac, Thorazine, Zoloft is a group of large pillows crafted out of hand latch-hooked rugs, which have been sewn together and stuffed. These soft, oversized anti-psychotics and anti-depressants provide a different kind of comfort than their prescription counterparts. The time consuming nature of the latch-hook process provides a sufficiently mind-numbing effect. Latch hooking is a simple but tedious craft that has traditionally been used to depict idealized and romanticized images from domesticity and nature.)

1/12/10

HARLAND MILLER

Harland Miller is both a writer and an artist, practising both roles over a peripatetic career in both Europe and America.




After living and exhibiting in New York, Berlin and New Orleans during the 80s and 90s, Miller achieved critical acclaim with his debut novel, Slow down Arthur, Stick to Thirty, (2000), the story of a kid who travels around northern England with a David Bowie impersonator. In the same year he published a small novella, First I was Afraid, I was Petrified, based on the true story of a female relative with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, discovered when Miller came across a box full of Polaroid images she had taken of the knobs of a cooker. In 2001 Miller produced a series of paintings based of the dust jackets of Penguin books. By combining the motif inherent in the Penguin book, Miller found a way to marry aspects of Pop Art, abstraction and figurative painting at once, with his writer’s love of text. The ensuing images are humorous, sardonic and nostalgic at the same time, while the painting style hints at the dog-eared, scuffed covers of the Penguin classics themselves. Miller continues to create work in this vein, expanding the book covers to include his own phrases, some hilarious and absurd, others with a lush melancholy. Miller was the Writer in Residence at the ICA for 2002 and over the course of his residence he programmed a number of events drawing from his experience in literature and fine art, which included a season devoted to the ongoing influence and legacy of Edgar Allen Poe.