Monthly Archives: September 2010

Looking Forward – Yvonne Todd at Ivan Anthony

Chartwell Online

New Zealand’s Chartwell Collection has launched a new-look website featuring easy access to images and information regarding recent acquisitions.  Visit them online here.

Hot Photo Friday – Danny Lyon

Danny Lyon, 'Crossing the Ohio River' from the series 'The Bikeriders', 1966

Smudge

Polly Borland, 'Untitled III', 2010

Photographer Polly Borland made a name for herself  in the ’90s contributing to publications like The New Yorker, Dazed and Confused and The New York Times.   Best-known for her portraits, she has worked with the likes of Kingsley Amis, Nick Cave and the Queen.  However the sitters that appear in Smudge (her recent exhibition at Murray White Room, Melbourne) are virtually anonymous, their features obscured by an array of unusual DIY appendages.

Polly Borland, 'Untitled XV', 2010

The show contains over 30 photographs of modestly posed individuals.  Their humble, sometimes dunce-like posturing makes their get-ups all the more perverse.  Most sitters are stuffed into body stockings – often flesh coloured – that inhibit easy identification of gender.  Borland jams costumes full of balls that strain wart-like against the skin.   She crowns heads with cheap wigs through which sickly protusions (phallic pinocchio noses, tufts of hair, ruddy pink nostrils) emerge.  Contorted faces are disfigured by obscene smears of make-up.  The photographs are delightfully, sickeningly, wrong.

Polly Borland, 'Clown', tapestry, 2010

While the handiwork of the prison inmates who made them is admirable, the 5 tapestries that accompany the photographs don’t pack the same punch.  Leached of the rich colour found in her prints, they fall flat installed next to their glossy counterparts.  Had they been allowed their own space, one might have been more inclined to reflect on their peculiar relationship with the digital image, the ordered repetition of stitches echoing the pixellation of a digital print.

Smudge closed on Saturday, but these works will be included in a publication produced by Actar, Madrid, due for release in late 2010.

More Araki

Gaga tied up and shot

Lady Gaga shot by Nobuyoshi Araki for Vogue Hommes Japan

Famed Japanese photographer Nobuyoshi Arakai recently photographed Lady Gaga for Vogue Hommes Japan.  A multitude of women have passed before the 70-year-old’s lens in various states of undress, bound in complex configurations of rope (known as ‘kinbaku’) and peppered with plastic reptiles symbolic of the artist’s alter-egos.  Araki’s work is undeniably erotic (and sometimes tender) and the power of his photographs lies in the sexually charged  interactions they imply.   But sensuality is sapped from his photographs of Gaga.

Lady Gaga shot by Nobuyoshi Araki for Vogue Hommes Japan

Araki is an auteur, his images are carefully staged and the sitter is presented according to the artist’s particular sensibility.  But Gaga has other ideas.  She’s consumed by her own celebrity and, disappointingly, it’s this sentiment that shines through.   Araki described the shoot as ‘intense’, with the pop star repeatedly asking to be tied up.  Despite this, the photographs are pedestrian.  Time for Gaga to pull out another meat dress

Hot Photo Friday – Ed van der Elsken

Ed van der Elsken, 'Couple making love, Edam', 1970

For those of you that missed it…

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Peter Roche delivered his first performance since 2008 at The Ambassador Theatre in Point Chevalier, Auckland, last month.  The event coincided with the launch of the artist’s new website that features an extensive archive of Roche’s work and 24 hour access (via four different cameras) into the artist’s studio.  Keep an eye out for footage of his surprisingly elegant chainsaw wrangling ritual.  Coming soon…

Sam Mitchell wins 2010 Wallace Art Award

Sam Mitchell, 'Janus', acrylic on perspex, 2010

Sam Mitchell has won the paramount award at this year’s Wallace Art Awards.  Her prize includes a six-month residency at the ISCP, New York, and let’s not forget the trophy (designed by sculptor Terry Stringer no less…).  Glen Hayward, Mark Braunias and Simon Esling also received awards.   The winners were selected by judges Philip Trusttum, Sarah Hughes and Peter Gibson Smith.

The critic speaks…