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Invites 1. Matt Siber

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When I first started graduate school in Chicago, Matt Siber was one of the people I met who was pleasant enough to not only school me on the inner workings of the MFA program (he was one year ahead of me) but generous enough to lend one of his medium format cameras for several months. This began a friendship that took us photographing on road trips, traveling to lectures and exhibits together and sharing ideas and strategies. This summer I was honored to be in Matt's wedding and returned the favor by some super slick moves on the dance floor.

Matt Siber's photographs subverting advertising and consumer culture have had a profound and liberating impact on the visual world. Matt's early Untitled project separated the visual noise of our modern cities. By digitally removing the text from his landscape photographs of signs, signage and displays and recreating that same text in an diptych image, Matt empowers us to gain a footing in the ad surroundings. His investigating on the hegemonic use of the ad led him to further series Floating Logos (photographs of towering ad pole which seem to defy gravity in an all too familiar foreshadowing) and recently Compare To (product shots which act as advertisements themselves only for the no frills copies of brand name products).

Matt received his MFA from Columbia College in Chicago in 2003. He currently has a solo exhibition at the Billi Rubin Gallery in Berlin. His work is featured in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Photography. He's much more international than any of my other friends and his work is represented by the Galeria Antoni Pinyol in Reus, Spain, Galeria La Fabrica in Madrid, and Galerie f 5.6 in Munich.  He has been published in ArtForum, Flash Art, Aperture and EXIT Magazine and he has received grants from the Aaron Siskind Foundation and the Illinois Arts Council.

Have questions for Matt about his work? Leave them in the comments.

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Invites First Post!

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Some time ago friend and photographer, Bill Sullivan and I were brainstorming about the blog and what it could and could not do. It occurred to us that far too often many were trying to impose older (non internet) forms upon the photography blogs rather than focus on what they are indeed good at. It also became clear that the blog was a wonderful way to get insight into ones artistic character. With this in mind we approached a few museums with the idea of creating a blog residency. Where for one month an artist who normally doesn't do much blogging would be invited to post. None took us up but we held the idea until Taj asked me to contribute to the Daylight blog. We thought not only could it provide accessibility to an artist who normally doesn't have that sort of broadcast., but it could be a further understanding of concepts, influences and working process.

So here's the guidelines/rules on Invites. 

 

    • Artists will post (at least) 5 posts. They can post as many as they like in the one month period.
    • Readers can post questions to artists in the each monthly intro of the artist. It is up to the Invitee as to whether or not they respond to all or any of those questions. There are a few reasons for this, one being that we don't want the content of the Invitee posts to be only dictated by the readers. Another is most are simply so busy (which is why they don't have blogs themselves). 

That's as complicated as it gets now on to our first Invite!

Name index: 
Brian Ulrich

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Of Interest – Luciana Lamothe

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Luciana Lamothe is a criminal. Born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina, she stalks the streets of her home city, making mischief and sowing mayhem at all hours of the day and night: overturned potted plants; the doorbells of whole apartment blocks rung incessantly; padlocks added onto chains, necessitating bolt cutters; chairs deconstructed in swanky lobbies; cans of paint spilled. What (perhaps) makes Lamothe different then your run-of-the-mill petty criminal is that she positions her acts of vandalism as urban interventions, designed to rearrange, reimagine, and generally shake up urban space. Also, she takes pictures.

From the series "Clandestinas"

Formally trained at the Prilidiano Pueyrredon Nacional School in Buenos Aires, Lamothe’s work, which also extends into sculpture, assemblage, and installation, marries the aesthetics of vandalism to the legacy of conceptual artistic practice. Her work interrogates the dialectical relationships between construction and destruction, the social and the anti-social, and--possibly unintentionally--the revolutionary and the merely destructive. Recently, her work was included in the 5th Berlin Biennial, where she created a site-specific work in front of the Palast der Republik, the former seat of the East German parliament that is in the process of being demolished, which explored the social implications of architectural memory and it’s erasure.

Looking at the photographs of her urban interventions, it almost seems as if Lamothe’s pictures could have been made by Gabriel Orozco run amok, as if he got fed up with his delicate brand of incidental poetry and decided to rip apart the system one brick at a time. As an aesthetic strategy, however, Lamothe’s photographs perhaps most closely resemble Guy Debord’s 1959 book Mémoires, which was, famously, bound in sandpaper so that it would damage books that it was placed next to on the shelf. Of course, like Debord’s gesture, Lamothe’s interventions have questionable political efficacy—but they certainly have teeth.

 

 

From the series "Clandestinas"

From the series "Clandestinas"

Name index: 
Chris Wiley

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The document as gesture: ‘Zoned Out’ by Jose Manuel Castrellón

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A hundred years after the invention of the Lippman plate, whose colours and textures are suggested by the work of Jose Manuel Castrellón, it seems like photography has never been as free as it is today. Similar to the process that painting went through about a century ago, photography has been left behind by video and other forms of reality-recording; thus it is dismissed from any obligation to be objective. With this, it has acquired the intentional hue that it rarely possessed before. Now it is much less about the decisive instant (although its shadow shall linger for its entire existence) and much more about the narrative, expressive, exclaiming gesture. About the intention of that gesture, which rises from the need to express oneself.

Along with, and perhaps, in spite of all this, documentary photography is undergoing a new golden era. The paradox is only apparent as the discipline has also experienced profound changes in its intentional genesis – a late coming of age with regards to the (im)possibility of an expected objectivity. One needs only to remember photographers like Bernd and Hilla Becher (whose industrial structures Castrellon seems to evoke) or the American photographer Paul Shambroom to realize that, even when a documentary intention prevails, the discourse makes itself evident through a particular aesthetic formalization. Maybe our way of reading photography has also changed, but then again, in a world that produces millions of images on a daily basis, this was something inevitable and leads, invariably, to the spontaneous assignation of surreptitious meanings.

‘Zoned Out’, Panamanian photographer Jose Manuel Castrellón’s latest series, seems to adequately fall within these two lines, foundational pillars in the discourse of contemporary photography today. On one hand because it portrays but also tells, remembers but also inquires, describes but also suggests. There is a clear discursive intentionality related to the photographer’s background, Panama City’s history, the Canal Zone and of the people that used to live there. On the other, because in the portrayal of those lost paradises in the former Canal Zone, there is a way of approaching it that belongs only to the artist and to whoever sees it.

In a moment in which the Bienal de Art de Panamá has made the Canal Zone the subject of its 8thedition, it is encouraging to think that these sorts of proposals are fruitful in generating a dialogue that goes beyond the institution itself. In the same way, it is refreshing that contributions not generated from within that framework assist in the analytical process of a city whose typo- and morphological characteristics are in constant change, whether it is due to the outrageous amount of construction going on or whether it is because entire areas (such as the Zone, precisely) are in a stage in which their own identities are being revised.

With an incisive gaze, Castrellón portrays something that is not (there) anymore. These images draw the visual map of some of his memories making use of that lack of precision of recollections badly kept. Flat colours and able compositions generate an atmosphere of a certain melancholy in which the aforementioned intention is neatly outlined. In this case, that of observing a part of the city that now belongs to him but that has mutated, that is different, that perhaps is just a different city. This is also an exercise of place –and perhaps– memory appropriation in the construction process of his own identity, as a Panamanian, as a photographer.

A well-executed exercise, it is quite evident that Castrellón's insightful eye will continue to capture many other places trying to find, in each one of them, the right image through a gesture that intends to discover and take a stand.

‘Zoned Out’ is on view in DiabloRosso (Calle 48, Bella Vista, Panama City) until November 8th.

 

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Arja Hyytiäinen – NOTES (exhibition in ZPAF i S-ka Gallery, Cracow from October 17th to December 6th 2008)

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Arja's photographs tell emotional stories combining her life with her art. In one example intimate human relations lead us to the floor boards of Swedish country houses and in rough casted private rooms in eastern European apartments, where the emotional world of the protagonist is created by a mattress on the floor and a sheet soaked through with the smell of the previous night.

Arja is constantly travelling. She experiences and depicts encounters with the people in her path with great intensity. Her photography is a sign that our stories will never be told other than through the image of a single moment – the photographs are a love letter to anyone whom she meets on her journey, from a pigeon, to a lunatic, to the smell of the last night.

Arja Hyytiäinen - Notes

The work of the Finnish photographer is actually shown in ZPAF i S-ka Gallery in Cracow. Arja is represented by the VU Agency in Paris. After graduating at FAMU School in Prague she lives and works in Paris and Berlin.  Over the last year Arja has shown her series “Journey” , “Medans” or “Distance now” all over Europa. She is constantly taking pictures and her recent exhibition titled “Notes” is a selection of the actual work.

Check out: www.zpafiska.pl/exhibitions

Name index: 
Inga Schneider

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