Photo- SculPture PictureS, objectS AND PArADox


Photo- SculPture PictureS, objectS AND PArADox
meant that we’ve tended to look
but it isn’t going anywhere soon.
through or past the surface of
Firmly affixed to the wall,
photographs, straight to their
the palpability of the printed
disembodied depictions.
image showing the amorphous
sky is affirmed by its capacity
But as many artists today are
demonstrating, photographs
to hold up the earth-bound
rectilinear plank.
also have literal concrete
presence and like anything
Nearby, Criena Court
materially manifested they
emphasises the ambiguities
I remember looking through an
are subject to touch, gravity,
of pictorial space by playing
issue of Cosmopolitan magazine,
damage and entropy. Yuki
with reflection and inversion
when I would have been about
Kimura, Walead Beshty, Shirana
in her work proposal 7
twelve. There was a double-page
Shahbazi, Eileen Quinlan,
(film still). A still from an
spread showing a football player,
Alexandra Leykauf, Becky
unnamed film is abstracted
naked, reclining on a grass field,
Beasley, Giuseppe Gabellone,
and materialised elsewhere
holding a football over his cock.
Wolfgang Tillmans and many
in a halftone dot pattern,
I scrutinised the outline of the
others are in very different ways
and then propped up above a
working through previously
reflective surface, onto (into?)
overlooked capacities for
which it casts its appearance.
formalism in photography. No
The image is thereby flipped
longer conceived of solely as
from upside down to right
an externally oriented medium
side up – an operation that is
with the job of ‘capturing’ what
already involved in all optical
passes before the camera’s
perception. The picture in the
lens, photography has with
mirror is the unsubstantial
increasing regularity gone meta
counterpart to the physical print
– referring inwards rather than
above it, but it appears closer
to something ‘out there’.
than it to reality. Between the
football, trying to peek behind it.
I tilted the magazine at various
angles, trying to see the flat
image from the side. As a last
resort, I turned the page over,
in case the back of the printed
matter revealed what was on
the surface fully obscured.
Predictably enough, all were
futile attempts at experiencing
something two-dimensional as
something with depth. Since I
two surfaces there is also the
was dealing with nothing more
intruding presence of a solid
than pigments arranged on a
rock, which casts its own image
plane, the ball was not covering
into the intangible optical space
but replacing. For the sake of the
of the mirror. This disrupts any
image, my football player had
trompe l’oeil potential of the
been castrated.
work, affirming its immediate
tangibility as an object in
the world.
Vilém Flusser wrote that when
it comes to photographs, “the
lack the weight and tangibility
confusing enormity. She is
of the other works in the
barely coping. Half-laughing and
exhibition that experiment with
half-crying, she tries to hold it
printed or otherwise concretely
above her head as water trickles
manifested photographic
out of it, on loop.
pictures. But there is nothing
disembodied about it – the
projector’s obvious presence
is an integral part of the
experience of the work, and
the image arrives on the wall
only via an analogue glass
slide. Michaela has turned to
photography’s most basic media
– time, light and surface – to
create something absolutely
spatial that straddles divisions
of movement, stillness, process
and object – kind of like light
itself, which is still infuriating
information sits loosely on the
physicists by behaving both
surface.”1 The photographic
wave-like and particle-like,
surface is taken here to be
depending on how we look at it.
merely provisional, since
the image’s abstracted
Photo-Sculpture: Pictures,
information can be easily,
Objects and Paradox (MOP
instantaneously re-applied
Projects, September 2012)
elsewhere, any number of
times. But photography theory
has to date over-emphasised
presents recent work by six
Sydney artists interrogating the
materiality of photographs. It
the mechanical/chemical
starts with two arrangements
reproductive capacities of
by Gemma Messih that play
photography. With excessive
As part of her ongoing inquiry
Finally, Sarah Mosca and Kim
into photography and form,
Fasher (working collaboratively
Marian Tubbs has for this
here as SuperKaleidoscope)
exhibition worked between
have set up an intricate play of
various surfaces – skin, silk,
pairings, splittings, doubles
glass and a TV screen. Playfully
and doublings. An unpitched
referencing Duchamp’s magnum
tent, an original signed and
opus The Bride Stripped Bare
slightly intervened copy of
by Her Bachelors, Even (The
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern
Large Glass), she has stripped
Are Dead, a nineteenth-
herself bare, with a semi-nude
century Swedish coin re-cast
self-portrait transferred onto
with ‘heads’ on both sides,
silk and draped over two panes
an image with an incorrect
of glass. In another precarious
caption, beeswax cast in old
arrangement, a large glass (get
photographic-paper boxes,
it?) water bottle is suspended
a photo of the sun looking
on image/object and surface/
The photographic image takes
support relations. In one, I’ve
temporarily and temporally
only just realised how important
embodied form in Michaela
you are (to me), a print of a found
Gleave’s work Orbit, where
image of a snow-capped rocky
projected light casts a rotating
mountain straddles a pile of
circular image of a generic
actual rocks on the floor. In the
oceanic horizon. Horizons
other, 55km/h, a wooden plank
are, as we know, not actually
pure image, and it is by virtue
leans against a wall, seemingly
horizontal – they’re fragments
above a monitor displayed on
more like the moon, and a
of this effect that we commonly
propping up a photograph of
of the orbiting planet’s spherical
its side atop a gallery plinth,
reproduction of Rodin’s Icarus,
ascribe to the photograph the
clouds, their movement arrested
surface, and are therefore lines
showing a video with Marian
post crash. All pieces have
mythic value of transparency.”
by the camera’s lens. This work’s
without any beginning or end.
pointlessly grappling with the
been gleaned in response to the
This mythical transparency has
title purports a precise speed,
This projected image might
physicality of the same bottle’s
Swedish balloonist
focus being given to the
duplicable pictorial content
of photographic images, their
materiality has been considered
inconsequential, and invisible.
In Abigail Solomon-Godeau’s
words, “phenomenologically,
the photograph registers as
to cross the North Pole with
(in order of text)
two companions in a hydrogen
balloon in 1897 – they crashed
after two days and their fates
remained unknown until
their bodies were found in
1930, along with mostly intact
negatives of photographs that
had been taken in the days
that followed the fall, as the
explorers trekked across the
surface of the drifting icescape.
There is perhaps some irony
Gemma Messih
I’ve only just realised how important
you are (to me) (detail)
C-type print, blue metal rail ballast
Dimensions variable
Criena Court
proposal 7 (film still)
plywood, plexiglass, print, andercite
110cm x 110cm x 110cm
Michaela Gleave
in the fact that it’s only after
the “dematerialisation of the
Glass gobo, rotator, zoom spot
art object” (whatever that was)
and digitisation’s so-called
“dematerialised” images, that
the enduring materiality of
photographic images is being
affirmed in this way. Getting
beyond the medium’s “burden
of depiction,” as Jeff Wall has
termed it,3 all the works shown
in Photo-Sculpture embrace the
instabilities of the photographic
image, and face head-on its
internal paradoxes regarding
content and form, creation and
representation, abstraction and
Dimensions variable
Image courtesy the artist and
Anna Pappas Gallery, Melbourne
This project has been assisted by the Australian
Government through the Australia Council, its
arts funding and advisory body.
Marian Tubbs
TBSBbHB,E (TLG)(After M.
Duchamp and F. Woodman) (detail)
digital print on silk,
100cm x 52.2cm
(Kim Fasher and Sarah Mosca)
Photograph by Nils Strindberg.
Image courtesy of the Grenna
Museum - Polarcenter / The
Swedish Society for Anthropology
and Geography
Amelia Groom
Supported by an Artspace Studio Residency
1 Towards a Philosophy of Photography
(London: Reaktion Books, 2000)
2 Photography at the Dock: Essays on
Photographic History (Minneapolis:
University of Minnesota Press, 1991)
3 “Marks of Indifference: Aspects of
Photography in, or as, Conceptual Art, ”
in Reconsidering the Object of Art,
1965–1975, ed. Ann Goldstein and Anne
Rorimer (MIT Press, 1995)
Artists in conversation with writer
Amelia Groom 6pm September 22
Gemma Messih
55km/h (detail)
C-type print, timber
Dimensions variable
ISBN 978-1-921661-29-7
pictures, objects
AND paradox
S. A. Andrée’s ill-fated attempt