All posts by pauline971

Petra Kubisova Interview

'Her voice which I know so well', Petra Kubisova, 2013
‘Her voice which I know so well’,
Petra Kubisova,
Installation, archival photograph layered and printed on individual life-size transparent sheets, hanging from the ceiling,
2013

How does photography play a part in your practice?

Through photography I started to question and understand the medium and finding my own truth. A photograph captures too much information but doesn’t capture the sensation of the situation. I scrutinise the relationship between photography and memory and how the process of forgetting/remembering can be captured and translated into visual form.

Where do you source the photographs in your work and who are the subjects?

I use my family archive photographs, which are very little left.

The photographs used in your work are often quite nostalgic, what is your relationship with past and present?

These photographs capture moments I have hardly any recollection of. They provide me with a sense of loss of my young mother who I don’t remember being young. They block my memory.

'Rhodopsin', Petra Kubisova,  2014
‘Rhodopsin’,
Petra Kubisova,
interactive installation including dark space, surround sound, strobe lighting, sensors, coding and two life-size archival photographs,
2014

What is your favourite method of distorting an image?

Technique I enjoyed the most was a projection of a family photograph projected on a regulated smoke. This photograph only exists when the light rays from the projector hit the smoke, it is stretched into the space, its in constant movement and dis/appearance.

Untitled (projection on sand), Petra Kubisova
Untitled (projection on sand),
Petra Kubisova

What piece of art do you admire above all others?

I have many. I get overwhelmed by them, I change, I leave them, find new ones and I come back to them and fall in love with them again in a different manner.

‘Human Mask’ – Pierre Huyghe, ‘Momentum’ – UVA, ‘Blind’ – John Stezaker

Are you currently working on a new project?

Two of my new projects, which come out of my previous project Rhodopsin, incorporate 3D sound, interactive space, vibration, interior and light.

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Abigail Reynolds Interview

'Greenwich 1971/1950', Abigail Reynolds, 41.5 x 26.5 cm, 2010
‘Greenwich 1971/1950’,
Abigail Reynolds,
41.5 x 26.5 cm,
2010

How does photography play a part in your practice?

It’s a material; it’s a document of a set of attitudes and of time. I never take my own photographs; I work rather as a content manager. I think through the obvious aspects of photography; time, the lens, the sense of a document or witness and how we treat these ideas now. I don’t only work directly with photographs, but my wider practice is driven by aspects of the photographic. So in making a dance work with the Rambert company last December I began to work with panels stripped out of Rambert’s old dance studio which I thought of as a 30 year exposure – there was no image of course, but 30 years of stains made by continuous rehearsal in a confined windowless space.

'National Gallery 1985/1988', Abigail Reynolds, 21 x 24 cm, 2010
‘National Gallery 1985/1988’,
Abigail Reynolds,
21 x 24 cm,
2010

Has the attitude towards photography changed since you first started making work? 

Images images move around faster and more widely than they used to, which makes my work easier… though the Guardian images I have worked with recently are not digitised yet, and maybe never will be as they have small commercial value, so I had to do it myself, informally. This fluidity of movement makes images more fluid themselves; more detached from their referents, which sometimes works against my interests, as the attitude of the image that interests me, which includes its context/origin.

How do you select the images you use in your work?

Reportage photographs especially interest me something in them transcends their purpose is to objectively report and becomes mythic.

'Post Office Tower 1989|1999', Abigail Reynolds, 27 x 25 cm, 2009
‘Post Office Tower 1989|1999’,
Abigail Reynolds,
27 x 25 cm,
2009

What significance do geometric shapes and patterns have in your work?

They allow the simultaneous presence of two entire images, if they are folds. They allow an intense compression of subject. The precise geometries of tiling the plane have become less important to me over time.

'Admiralty Arch 1977/1950', Abigail Reynolds
‘Admiralty Arch 1977/1950’,
Abigail Reynolds

What piece of art do you admire above all others?

I have a huge mental list of works I admire and have admired. But, for the purposes of this questions let’s say ‘The show is over’ by Christopher Wool.

At what moment did you decide to pursue art as a profession?

When my mother died in 1997. The same year as D-I-A-L History by Grimonprez.

 

What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

I am especially averse to advice. So I generally do something sideways with advice that’s pressed on me. Feeling free to make your own rules is essential (which is of course a piece of advice).

Are you currently working on a new project?

http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/guardian/results.html?st=advanced&QryTxt=protest&type=historic&sortby=REVERSE_CHRON&datetype=0&frommonth=01&fromday=01&fromyear=1791&tomonth=12&today=31&toyear=2003&By=&Title=greenham&publications=ALL

Sara Naim Interview

Dialects of the Body, Sara Naim, 2014
Dialects of the Body Installation,
Sara Naim,
2014

How does photography play a part in your practice?

I think photography is the closest medium to how we perceive reality. Some would say film, but when we observe, we frame things through narrowed vision, we focus on what we want to see, and we give time to sights that we want to examine. I’ve always been most drawn to photography, and even when I draw, I source photographs that I’ve taken. I love the process of photography, even the editing, and now more than ever, I make things with what I most enjoy using. Sounds basic but it took my entire MA to realise that.

What influenced you to use the human body as your subject?

We are our body- it’s intrinsic to how we experience or perceive anything, and yet, quite crazily, we will never see our interior body. We carry it with us for our entire existence, becoming an inherently unfamiliar space. I love that dichotomy.

You combine science and art throughout your work, and it often depicts an unrecognizable image. What about the unfamiliar inspires you?

I use scientific apparatus, often microscopes, as a means to create ambiguous forms. When met with my work, a lot of the imagery is quite foreign, but becomes recognisable as somehow located within or from the body. That realisation, I hope, sparks a discontinuity with ones own body and that destabilisation of what we think we know and what we don’t ordinarily see.

'Fabric of the Human Body', Sara Naim, 2014
‘Fabric of the Human Body’,
Dialects of the Body Installation,
Sara Naim,
2014

Who is most commonly the subject of your work and why?

Myself, because I find it more problematic to use someone else. It’s also a way to experience what you want to viewer to experience, and it feeds your practice with further understandings which you don’t get from being a slightly more disconnected director.

Dialects of the Body Installation, Sara Naim, 2014
Dialects of the Body Installation,
Sara Naim,
2014

On a very different note, I have photographed the interior anatomy of the deceased. Through doing so I experienced the complexity of the human body and it allowed me to use my own imagery which, until that point, I had used medical textbooks.

What piece of art do you admire above all others?

I think one of my favourite works was John Cage’s 4’33’’ performance. It showed how ‘nothing’ doesn’t exist. Empty sound is still full, and you really experience that through the meditative ‘composition’. But in the end, it’s still structured and that heightened consciences which you feel as your sense of sound expands, is framed with logic and science through its time restraint.

At what moment did you decide to pursue art as a profession?

I think it started before thinking of what I wanted to do professionally, but what I was eager to study. I was interested in art from high school, which snowballed to Foundation at Chelsea, to studying Photography at LCC and then my MA at Slade. It was never a black and white decision for me, just an ongoing love affair that, gratefully, turned into what I do professionally.

'Interrupted Blood Cells', Sara Naim, 2014
‘Interrupted Blood Cells’,
Sara Naim,
2014

What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

I met Marina Abramovic during her recent Serpentine show and she sat me down and said, ‘find your purpose’. And that’s something that I’m trying to do within my art practice. As a Syrian, there is a lot I want to say but it has been difficult to translate that into my work authentically and not over politicised. It’s been an on-going negotiation but her words are always in the back of my mind.

Has any art movement, in particular, inspired your style?

Dadaism, as a movement and the people in it- especially Jean Arp. He wanted to free art from its limitations of realism and found art to be an authentic language that arises from a spiritual force. Like Kandinsky, he wanted his work to be “heard with the eyes and seen with the ears”. I’ve tried to adopt this in my work through the ambiguity that I strive to create.

Are you currently working on a new project?

Yes, I’m making detailed graphite drawings of metamorphic rocks, which sit alongside slightly corrupt image files of dead skin cells. I’m trying to play with abstract landscape photographs as well.

Dialects of the Body Installation, Sara Naim, 2014
Dialects of the Body Installation,
Sara Naim,
2014

Holly Graham Interview

'Cane', Holly Graham, 2014
‘Cane’,
Holly Graham,
2014

How does photography play a part in your practice?

I am interested in different forms of recording; methods of fixing fragments of the present; external ways of remembering. Photography is one of these forms, attempting to capture from an angle an instance in place and time. I have a particular interest in family photo albums; snapshots of day-to-day comings and goings, interactions, and offhand portraits.

I have often used images from my own family photo archive as starting points, cutting out figures, obscuring details, cropping and covering to create new narratives. The photograph is a document. It asserts itself as truth. I enjoy manipulating images to question their veracity.

I used to construct these collages as a starting point for paintings, but I soon found myself drawn to the immediacy of the photographic image itself. More recently my practice has become concerned with not only the still, but also the moving image, as well as with sound. The editing process is another form of collage; another way of cutting into and deconstructing recorded shrapnel.

What led you to reproducing/photocopying images as part of your work?

My initial use of photography was initiated by a need for a cheap and immediate copy with which I could experiment and try out initial ideas. I was making lots of collages at the time, using imagery from found singular found photographs, and the idea of cutting directly into a a singular photographic print seemed too abrupt and violent. Photocopies allowed me to take my time over multiple compositions.

In time, however, I also found I enjoyed the process and textural quality of the photocopy itself. Photocopying began to excite me. It still does. I almost feel that if a photocopier were my only piece of equipment for making work, I would be content.

'Untitled (Couple Lenticular)', Holly Graham, 25.7 x 29 x 2 cm, 2014
‘Untitled (Couple Lenticular)’,
Holly Graham,
25.7 x 29 x 2 cm,
2014

For my masters I specialised in Printmaking. The photocopy seems to me to embody the qualities of print that I find most stimulating; the idea of a copy or repetition that is never truly the same, that morphs and changes, much like our own memories.

Lay an image or text face down on a photocopier and press ‘copy’.

Then take up this new copy, lay it down in place of the old image, and repeat the action.

Then take up this new copy, lay it down in place of the old image, and repeat the action.

Then take up this new copy, lay it down in place of the old image, and repeat the action.

Then do it again.

And again.

Pushed to its limits the surface disappears entirely; text eaten up by the gradual fattening and merging of its own serifs, the ink creeping in on itself to progressively darken and flatten images. In this compression there are also new additions, new layers, textural contrasts between where the lip of paper, misplaced, meets and exposes the machine’s lid.

(extract from my contribution to Thinking Through Print – Perspectives From the Studio, pg 46.)

Who are the people depicted in your photographs?

The people in the puzzle boxes are individuals from photographs found mainly within my own family photo collection, few of which I have taken myself. Some of the individuals are relations or family friends, while others are unknown to me. This closeness to subject matter is something that I have struggled with. I find I tend to distance myself looking less at the person depicted as the individual themselves, and more as a character or actor within my compositions.

In more recent works, however, I have begun to address the individual more directly, building up portraits which are character specific; where the sitters, although perhaps still actors, play themselves.

'Dice Box', Holly Graham, 18.5 x 2.8 x 17.7 cm March 2011
‘Dice Box’,
Holly Graham,
18.5 x 2.8 x 17.7 cm
March 2011

What role does the viewer have in your art?

I want to present to the viewer a surface they can project their own readings onto. I want to highlight breaks and slippages within documents, be it photo, text, sound or moving image, and to create a space of playfulness where the viewer can reconstruct alternative narratives. I want to give them a space to make up their own story. For me the viewer is very important. In offering their readings of what is in front of them, they complete the work.

How are traditional games integral to your work?

I like to play. Games have multiple outcomes, often produced by multiple players. Puzzles in particular seem a direct way of addressing ideas of fragmentation and reformulation. My puzzles invite the viewer to engage playfully, reading multiple varying narratives into imagery.

What piece of art do you admire above all others?

A tricky one… I’m not sure of one piece, there’s a lot of art work that I really like. One of the artists I love is Joseph Cornell. His beautiful boxes have definitely fed into my own work. He thought about the box as a metaphor for the mind. He initially started making them as toys for his brother who was unwell. They were things of entertainment; playful but beautiful objects. He was incredibly prolific and all of those works were so varied. They create a seductive, contemplative spaces, and draw you into miniature worlds.

'Chatty Women Puzzle Box', Holly Graham, Box: 19.5 x 6 x 14.5, January 2011
‘Chatty Women Puzzle Box’,
Holly Graham,
Box: 19.5 x 6 x 14.5 cm,
January 2011

At what moment did you decide to pursue art as a profession?

I was and is an ongoing decision. I enjoyed it at school. I went on to do a foundation course, and then did my BA in Fine Art, which I really enjoyed. I suppose it was some point towards the end of that time that I decided to really give it a go as a profession. Art is not the most stable career path to follow, but I made a decision to make a real go of it, to pursue it in order to make making artwork work for me. So I did my masters and I’m continuing to try to find my feet in it as a professional career.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

One of my tutors from BA really encouraged to apply for a masters course directly after university. Although I think it can be good to take some time out in between studying at undergraduate and postgraduate level, I feel the momentum of continuing was really great for me and has ensured that I have continued to make work.

'Shudder' Holly Graham, 2014
‘Shudder’
Holly Graham,
2014

Has any art movement, in particular, inspired your style?

I am sure that anyone looking at my work can relate it to a number of other works, and other times: visually my play instructions recall Carl Andre’s photocopy poems; the games ascribe to dada-esque lack of rules, theres no correct way to play, no beginning or end; the puzzles discuss postmodern concerns of deconstructing a pre-written narratives. But all of these things and more are, I think, absorbed into my work without necessarily an actively conscious desire to do so. They are inevitably there, but I find it difficult to pin-point any one given influence.

Are you currently working on a new project?

I am working on a few different bits at the moment. One of my main focuses has been around gif images, which are popular within online social media spaces. I am interested in both the idea of hijacking and capturing content, of copying and re-editing; and also in the technical aspects of gif-making. I have been looking at photographs taken in quick succession and reanimating them into short, shuddering looped moving image pieces. The photograph is no more that a still that, if placed next to another photograph, can begin to move.

I feel that manipulating these images heightens the awareness of the fact that we are looking at stills that have been constructed to move; that even video, which often emulates time so seamlessly, is constructed from fragments. It encourages us to confront the visual journeys we are led on when watching moving image. At the moment I am considering what direction I would like this body of work to move in. I think I would like to make some more extended film works from these small gif pieces.

'A Joke' Holly Graham, 2014
‘A Joke’
Holly Graham,
2014

Photomatter: Disrupting the Photographic Image

“Whenever we want to force this ‘photomatter’ to yield new forms, we must be prepared for a journey of discovery, we must start without any preconceptions.

Hannah Höch, ‘On Today’s Photomontages’, 1934

Photomatter presents artworks that expand, dissect and disrupt the photographic image. Taking its title from a term coined by Hannah Höch in relation to photomontage, the exhibition explores the photograph as object, using the photographic image as a sculptural material. The exhibition brings together recent work by Holly Graham, Petra Kubisova, Sara Naim and Abigail Reynolds, artists who mine the limitations of photographic representation across a diverse range of media.

Holly Graham’s photographic puzzle boxes offer up flexible narrative structures, to explore the malleability of memory and the subjective nature of collective experience. Family photographs are translated into potentially interactive objects, that provide the promise of re-animation, releasing the photograph from its previous associations. Repositioning, dissecting and deleting photographic content allows Graham to abstract, juxtapose and ultimately alter images. This method imbues her works with a cross-fire of connections, mimicking the complex processes of recollection and unsettling the photographs’ relationship to time and memory.

In her series Interrupted Blood Cells, Sara Naim takes as her starting point microscopic images of her blood cells that have become digitally corrupted files. Although warped, these images each retain their differences, in a fusing of digital and biological information. Printed in black-and-white and resembling television static, the works are manipulated to emphasise the three-dimensionality of their paper support. Naim uses the distortion in the imagery to replicate the disconnection we feel to our internal bodies, which we can primarily only visualise through imagination.

Across her practice Petra Kubisova also scrutinises the relationship between photography and memory, investigating how remembering and forgetting can be captured and rendered into visual form. As we dream and recall events in fragments – never in full images – so fragmentation has become key to her investigation. Seeking to question and destabilise photographic representation, Kubisova explores the objecthood, surface and physical materiality of the photographic image. Her work tests the legibility of the image and pushes our perceptual capacities to their limits, as she stretches the flat form of the image into space.

Overlaying and interweaving two separate images, Abigail Reynolds’ works rupture the paper they are printed on, uniting the two sources. Carefully selecting her images from books, postcards and photographic archives, her process of folding them into each other, breaks the picture plane in order to build it again. Each photograph represents a point in time – Reynolds unpicks these moments, highlighting the fragmentary and partial nature of historic record.

Whether corrupting photographic content, juxtaposing disparate elements, or breaking down the picture plane, the works in Photomatter complicate and open up our engagement with the image. Interfering with the medium in diverse ways, the artists mobilise photography to lay bare the fallibility of perception and recollection. Together, these works testify to the limitations of the photographic image as a record of a moment in time and a fixed depiction of a subject. In subverting these concerns, these works allow photography to take on a new set of relations, resonances and possibilities.

Holly Graham, b. 1990, lives and works in London. Recent exhibitions include A Picture of Summer, Portobello Photography Gallery, London (2014), Wild at Heart and Weird on Top, Cafe Gallery, London (2014), and Pushing Print, The Margate Gallery and The Pie Factory, Margate (2013). Petra Kubisova, b. 1981, lives and works in London. Recent exhibitions include SHOW RCA, Royal College of Art, Battersea, London (2014), and Venez Fruits Presses, La Manutention, Paris (2014). Sara Naim, b. 1987, lives and works in London. Recent exhibitions include Summer Show 2014, The Third Line Gallery, Dubai (2014), Need you 100%, Display Gallery, London (2014), Peckham Sprints, Sassoon Gallery, London (2014) and Hindsight, V1 Gallery, Copenhagen (2014). Abigail Reynolds, b. 1975, lives and works between London and St Just, Cornwall. Recent exhibitions include The White Hotel, Gimpel Fils, London (2014), Box A: Accidents, Kestle Barton, Manaccan, Cornwall (2014) and Double Fold, Rambert, South Bank London (performance, 2013).

Curated by Antonia Shaw and Jessica Cerasi, in collaboration with Diversity Art Forum.