Photography Reviews

Constanza Valderrama

Recent graduate, Constanza Valderrama is a Chilean artist based in London. Her artistic practice involves exploring photography medium as an object, experimenting and using a multiplicity of materials and techniques to create and print her images.

Her graduation pieces include a series called Horizon Tautology, which is a collection of eight photographic pieces of the same image done with a multiplicity of materials and techniques. The image is a landscape that represents the place where her parents grew up and where they still live. This landscape has also been the background for lots of her memories.

Whereas the repetition of the same image speaks of the recurring act of remembering this place, the different plastic solutions translate autobiographic situations, emotions and sensations that have shaped this memory over time.

This collection is visually linked by the horizon line, articulating a final organic composition containing a multiplicity of shapes, textures, colours and thickness. Altogether, these ten pieces suggest that particular ways of remembering form the general puzzle of memory.

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© Constanza Valderrama, from the series ‘Horizon Tautology’; Source @ RCA

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Photography Reviews

Finger Play – Jinhee Kim

Awarded excellent for The Reference Asia photo prize, Korean artist Jinhee Kim‘s Finger Play series explores her own relationships with others and society using her distinctive technique of finely embroidering photographs.

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© Jinhee Kim, from the series ‘Finger Play’; Source @ The Reference Asia

In the interview by The Reference Asia, the project birthed as a result of her body reaction to embroidering. She discovered she developed pompholyx, which caused blisters on her hands and feet. The blisters that she repeatedly got made her quite embarrassed and began thinking about contexts of the hand, which is one of the body parts most exposed to others, in a personal level and a social level.

“I started wondering why my rough hands embarrassed me. That made me start collecting images of hands generally considered ideal, which I saw on media…

…media instill stereotypes in people. Advertisements and magazines put emphasis on creating an image that resonates with a large audience. Especially, advertising images are both what a common recognition within a group creates, and what the recognition is created based on…

…while these images are unnaturally exaggerated, no one would think they are further from everyday life. They imprint the impression that these are the feminine, clean, beautiful hands in the audience’s mind.”

Other than adopting the traditional form of embroidery photographs by using found images of “ideal” female hands from media and advertisement, she developed the work further by photographing female hands sticking out of holes on printed materials and playing with the threads.

One of the jurors Gwen Lee commented, “Jinhee’s works Finger Play conjured up images of Dutch painter Juan Sanchez Cotan’s still life paintings. Instead of cabbage and apples, we see anonymous hands entering into panel of images (realities), connected by threads into subliminal realities. The illusion created through the layer of printed images (cut out images of hands from the magazine), embroidery, and hands hold an aura that is both eternal or disturbing.”

 

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Artist Inspirations

Inspirations from Tom Sachs

When you are looking for what you want to do for your career, the key success is to do what you love to do. The most important things in life are free. You know you are on the right track when you feel it. it’s important to do what’s really fun for you. Just get so good at it that people pay you for it.

The other thing is really important, whatever you do, even if something that doesn’t seem like a life passion, is to do it 100%.

 

How to define your own internal standards:

  1. authenticity – that is by building an extreme degree of detail and depth, the experience becomes real. This also demands endurance – 2 years is only an interest, 5 years is a hobby, and 20 years you start to begin a sense of mastery.
  2. intuition – the secret is to understand and accept yourself so you can have the courage to make just the right / wrong decision. Don’t take no for an answer, say yes and show them how. Art is a discipline for showing restraints and dedication to the work. Do the work in front of you then improvise. Creativity is not a leading strategy.
  3. transparency – be honest and transparent with your methods and intentions. Understand and exploit your own superpowers.

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Artist Inspirations

Song Dong

In some way, he’s the Chinese version of Joseph Cornell. Using found objects as inspirations and materials for his art, he says that life is his main job, art is just a hobby. The philosophy behind his arts stamps from his upbringing, the way his mother has taught him about not wasting anything. Every object has its own value and life. Can we nurture their lives as beautiful as they can be?

His work really touches me, because I can feel so much love in there. It’s his way of responding to what’s happening in his life with virtues, culture and philosophy of the Chinese.

References:

http://www.artzip.org/song-dong-waste-not

https://www.cobosocial.com/dossiers/song-dong-borderless-wall/

https://www.cobosocial.com/dossiers/song-dong-a-world-in-a-well/

https://www.artnetnews.cn/art-world/songdongchichengshiyongyuwangcuihuita-75869

http://review.artintern.net/html.php?id=76542

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Photography Reviews

The Bare Life – Philippe Grandrieux

Empty Gallery – one of my go-to galleries in Hong Kong which displays edgy contemporary artworks that are not exclusive to visual arts but other forms of medium or even crossing boundaries to other forms and media.

Philippe Grandrieux “The Bare Life” is currently exhibited from end of Sept til end of November. The text from the gallery describes the work really well.

“The performance in The Scream resemble an uncanny mixture of religious rituals, and choreographic workshop.  The affective intensity of these performances has only been heightened by Grandrieux’s decision to both to completely surround the spectator with images, and to introduce a slight delay of video, producing an effect no unlike the temporal blurring of which accompanies accumulated sensation. A sequence of 11 staggered projections surround the viewer within a purpose-built chamber, confronting them with a quivering multitude of naked bodies….

Bodies convulse and flail in an object choreography which oscillates between moments of surprising tenderness – the nearly automatic self-soothing activity of a body humming, rocking and whispering to itself – and moments of brutality – manifested not only by the titular scream, but also clawing, twitching, groveling of a body in distress.”

“The 3 single-channel work deals with the theme of anxiety – also explore the enigma of the human body and our relationship to our own materiality. Installed as life-size projections within the architecture of the gallery, each work present a human figure(s) enveloped by cover of darkness, moving according to an obscure logic beyond our comprehension.”

The works definitely confronts the viewers of their relationship with their sensations by being enfolded within the performer’s act. That confrontation sort of led us to awake our bodies as well and become extremely aware of how they respond to different stimuli. Visually striking and enigmatic, somehow disturbing too with the performer’s body almost felt as if she was not present, only with bones and skins moving according to the choreography. There were moments of her body postures which felt as if she was an alien, especially when the light source is not a warm but a fluorescent tone.  All in all, a mind-bending piece of work.

 

 

Snapshots of the single 3-channel projections @ Empty Gallery

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