Opening Friday, October 30, 2020, 6.30 p.m. to 9.30 p.m.
“Is there a relationship between medicine and art? Both are willing to measure reality’s anomalies by their own means. Hennric Jokeit is a neuroscientist, and his photographic art comes from both sources. He creates views of urban spaces and cultural landscapes that are as precise as they are mysterious. The negative form that irritates vision has been central to Jokeit’s work since the beginning of his artistic career. The viewer may not immediately recognize that these images are negatives. Nevertheless, the involuntary activation of contrast reversal processes in the visual brain creates a new, more intensive access to this “radiological atlas of unfulfilled promises”, as a critic once called his work. Jokeit’s diagnosis of the self-tired world may have melancholy features, but it is never without hope. A hope that is often located in the gap between reality and wishful thinking. The unique fascination emanating from Jokeit’s worldviews has to do with this philosophically deepened understanding of hope: Recognizing the negative is our only chance to take the finding seriously. Ewa Hess, Zurich / New York, 2020″
Galerie 94 GmbH
Walt Whitman, 1819 – 1892
Centre of equal daughters, equal sons,
All, all alike endear’d, grown, ungrown, young or old,
Strong, ample, fair, enduring, capable, rich,
Perennial with the Earth, with Freedom, Law and Love,
A grand, sane, towering, seated Mother,
Chair’d in the adamant of Time.
American Psyche: The Unlit Cave is a project developed around a selection of photographs taken by George Elsasser from 2005 to 2019, within the United States. The idea arose from the author’s need to reflect and make people reflect on how far the American people have detached themselves from their ideals, the same ones that Whitman interpreted with “extraordinary perfection” in his poem “America.”
The work is divided into 6 sections (accompanied by 4 drawings by the author) where the photographs are visual metaphors that reflect the artist’s reactions to the best American ideals of inclusion and freedom (see the LIBERTY section) but also to the negation of his darker tendencies born from fear (see the PREDICAMENT section), to colonialism and related persecutions of natives and exploitation of African slavery (SCAR TISSUE section), to the reluctance of the population to face the country’s problems such as climate and violence and integration (CURRENTS section), to the need to consider the collective unconscious (INNERSECTIONS section); but also to the discovery of those gifts that “allow people to see beyond or through the surfaces of life” (INTERFACE section).
The shots (Abstract but also Street and Urban) contained in American Psyche: The Unlit Cave work very well in single, but not only. I can mention the abstractions in the form of “entrance,” in which a “lunar” chiaroscuro is combined with a material context; “Puncture & clouds” which combines, in tone and cut, the atmospheric image of the sky with the reflections of an interior; the juxtaposition of the meaning of “settlements” with “collections,” in which the relationship of form of the first image follows the second very well despite being in strong contrast with it; the combination of “attachments” and “flags & guns,” in which a water pistol is followed by the detail of a policeman and the holster of his weapon; or even the eye of a little girl peeking out from the shadows of “hind sight”, in the background the view of a canyon towards which the characters of the shot are turned. However it is clear that, considering the saturation and contrasts of the selection of images, this is a much more complex work.
George Elsasser, started out drawing, and later discovered photography at the age of twenty-one and, freeing it from its traditional uses, found it perfect for his artistic intuitions. And this work testifies to his being a visual artist, before being a photographer. But above all, to have always been interested in the theories of Carl Gustav Jung that fit transversely, together with poetry and philosophy, to the body of the photographic work, letting the real project emerge from the darkness of the “dark cave.”
The theory of synchronicity (of “coincidence” and “deja vù” and “destiny” and “randomness”) and the theory of the collective unconscious and archetypes (which states that the importance of a coincidence lies in the meaning it assumes for who lives the experience; that it is we who establish a non-casual link between our inner world and what happens outside, in objective reality. And that all this is possible because, for Jung, there is a sedimented patrimony of symbols (archetypes) internalized over the centuries and common to the peoples (collective unconscious) to which the individual psyche, therefore each of us, is connected), filtered by the author’s experience, settle in a work on the collective anxiety of the American people and on how these kinds of conditions are warning signs of something that is about to happen. The work brings attention to the existence of a collective unconscious and a commonality of archetypes that Elsasser believes are capable of giving hope to the original ideals of the American people.
And, in my opinion, Elsasser is successful in his aim. With all the complexity of the case.
American Psyche: The Unlit Cave
by George Elsasser
published by Daylight Books
“Armour’s The Art of Viewing…Art explores people’s interaction with art. These images taken at museums and galleries around the country move the viewer from the everyday details of life to a new place—the world of the heart or mind.”
1310-1/2B Chicago Avenue
In this historic time, F-Stop Magazine and dotART decided to co-publish an exhibition of photography based on the theme, Staying Home Together. Our aim is to explore the current shared global experience from photographers portraying their experience: to highlight images from new routines in our lives, environments, and everyday life. The constantly evolving context of ‘everyday life’ is a term-in-flux in July of 2020, yet after recently viewing images from the 1918 influenza pandemic I was struck by how many similarities are echoed over 100 years ago. It is this similar experience that the most successful photographs are ingrained with, and those photographs are the ones which draw me in. It is that journey into a photograph that keeps me looking at photography. The historical documentation and the shared experience, that’s what makes photography such a powerful storytelling medium.
So much of what has happened to all of us in 2020 is shared experience. How can we not have similar thoughts, feelings, fears, about what is taking place or lies ahead? So many things that are similar across cities, states, countries and continents disclose the universal experience the world is sharing at this point in time. Suffering is universal. Joy is universal. Boredom is universal, hope…anxiety…curiosity…reaction to injustice…as well as expressions of support for fairness, justness, wokeness and equality. The exploration and spirit of community and images which express values and ideals of many shared cultures, religions, and humans the world over are shown. Millions of people are staying at home for the health and safety of ourselves, our loved ones and our communities.
The photos here express a breadth of artistic responses to the pandemic. The psychological effect of the pandemic is evident in the captured scenes of people in isolation, even if they are together as a family or a group. Much of the photographic work deals with a theme of identity in liminal spaces. How will we now define normality? What will come after the time we currently inhabit? What does life feel like now? What will it be like tomorrow? When trauma like this strikes a society, especially a global society, it does not just strike a group of individuals who happen to live in the same place. It exposes how connected we are, and want to be. It is compassion and simply looking out for each other that will support all of us, the arts, and our health, in the days to come.
Exhibitions like this have the power to give prominence to the talents of photographers who take the basic premise of where we find ourselves and offer a deeper understanding of a global, human narrative; not solely due to the nature of documenting the evidence of their lives, but because of their individual experience. There are many different ways to show how the condition of now has impacted each person individually, personally and creatively; and I applaud those here who dare to strike out and find new ground.
– Cary Benbow, writer and contributor to F-Stop Magazine
Check out the full issue of F-Stop here.
F-Stop Magazine: How did you first become involved in photography and what led to you working in this medium as an artist?
Simon Móricz-Sabján: After finishing high school I wished to apply to the University of Theatre and Film Arts in Budapest. I wished to become a cinematographer. In the year 1999 that course had not been launched so I started studying photography. I have been very grateful for this to this day as it turned out very fast that for me photography was the perfect tool of expression and it proved to be an impeccable career path. After two different schools and 4 years of education I was most attracted to photojournalism. As a trainee I had the chance to start out at newspapers that had high-standard photo sections, shortly afterwards I became a regular contributor. I had worked as a photojournalist at Népszabadság from 2003 until the newspaper was shut down. It was a very important period of my professional life. I had the chance to work with brilliant colleagues and the newspaper provided firm background for quality work.
The personal projects are the most important thing in photography to me. Besides my work I spend a considerable amount of time on my personal photo essays, mainly concentrating on people and their surroundings, let it be either a problem which concerns the society or everyday stories.
F-Stop: The current issue of F-Stop Magazine is about “Staying Home Together” and includes your project “Self-quarantine Diary.” Can you tell us a bit about this project and how it came to be?
SMS: It has been a very long spring to me and my family since the COVID-pandemic started to turn sharp in Hungary in the middle of March. With our four children and my mother-in-law, my wife and I undertook voluntary quarantine in our Budakeszi home from the 14th of March until the official reopening of kindergartens at the beginning of June. We almost kept complete isolation until the ease of the restrictions in June. However, I started photographing outside our home from the end of April. I also documented our forcibly changed life from the beginning of our quarantine. This had not been simple, as being a documentary photographer I was not used to being at home all the time.
F-Stop: Has your family or your own life been the focus of your photographic work before this?
SMS: My family was never in the focus before because I never felt to show our personal life. But the quarantine has changed this situation we’ve ended up in a situation which has greatly influenced not only our family life but that of many others as well.
F-Stop: Can you discuss your process for making these images and how you chose what moments to capture?
SMS: During the process it was important for me not to capture positioned moments, but rather spontaneous and honest ones. So I was more like an observer of our family life, and my aim was to show our quarantine in an authentic way. Fortunately we did not have to face lots of dramatic situations, but being closed down and the four little kids already inspired me to take photos.
F-Stop: By observing your family in this way did you learn anything new or unexpected about your family or your day to day life?
SMS: We didn’t learn anything new or unexpected about the family and our day to day life. But the past months had been very difficult but we tried to gain as much as possible from the unexpected situation. It made us reevaluate what is important, we got to know ourselves better and redefining value and family became necessary. The extraordinary made us shape our attitude and strenghtened our decisions. Albeit it was exhausting, it had brought our goals and our true selves closer.
F-Stop: Was your approach to this project similar or different to other documentary projects you have done?
SMS: It was similar in the sense that my emotions and long term commitment to take photos are important when I choose a topic. But it was completely different in the sense that taking photos of my own family intensified my personal perspective and of course I could not work with the eye of an independent observer.
F-Stop: Do you have a favorite image in this series? If so, which one and why is it the image that speaks to you most?
SMS: It is not my habit to highlight a single image, but the second photo of the series on which Antonia and David are looking out of our living room window evokes many thoughts of that period. It was only March, and my wife and me were looking just as clueless towards the future as our two bigger kids were looking out the windowsill. We did not know what to expect, and we were just confused watching how fast things are changing around us.
F-Stop: Given there is still limited activity outside our homes, are you working on any other projects currently or have plans for projects to start soon?
SMS: Right now I’m working on a project about social distancing while suspending all my other photo projects. I am interested in how the COVID-19 pandemic affects our everyday lives and our relationships in the short term and also in the coming years.
F-Stop: What keeps you inspired at this moment in time?
SMS: There is no lack of inspiration, because we really all have a lot of questions in our lives. Our health, our jobs, our life as-it-is has many many question marks around, and however disturbing it is for our minds, very inspiring at the same time for creation.
“French cultural influence is rooted in Louisiana and the vast Cajun and Creole population has greatly contributed to its preservation through food, language and music. In celebration of this heritage, the New Orleans Photo Alliance, the French Chamber of Commerce, the Alliance Française, the French Consulate of New Orleans and The Historic New Orleans Collection present the exhibit ‘What Is French in Louisiana?’ The exhibit explores photographers’ different interpretations and responses to the theme.”
New Orleans Photo Alliance
“Linear Constructions” is a series of long-exposure photographic images of sculptural structures built on-site in specific landscapes. Underwood mentions, “I construct these tableaus by immersing myself in a given place, researching and instinctively reading the setting, and then temporarily marking the site using foreign light sources and physical processes. The photographic prints are highly aestheticized poetic gestures, emphasizing the interrelationship between the underlying terrain and human incursions into a given location.”
Sous Les Etoiles Gallery
Fran Forman describes her work as photo paintings, and her method of creating work is much like a traditional collage artist. Forman works with digital photographic images and creates scenes, environments, and one could argue realities, which are not found in real life. In her introduction to the book, noted curator Paula Tognarelli writes: “Through metaphor, references to art and social history, classical mythology, as well as her empathic heart, Fran articulates themes of freedom, migration, and the concept of hope. Her characters are transported from one dimension to another, whether it be in time, place, or circumstance. Some characters are culled from the animal kingdom, the pages of literature, and even the museum wall. The bird cage, for example, shows itself in many of Forman’s images as if she is in conversation with her muse, René Magritte.”
The images featured in The Rest Between Two Notes are presented thematically throughout the book. These themes could be broadly interpreted, but easily could fall into catagories such as allegory, folklore, portraits, portals and passages, architecture, landscapes, internal psychological reflection, or whimsical fantasy. Forman’s scenes are rich in color, dramatized, saturated, theatrical, and struck me as an amalgam of paintings from the Italian renaissance cum Joyce Tennyson cum David Lynch. The physicality of the book is also notable; printed end sheets of a warm toned, golden hued pattern reminiscent of Victorian wallpaper, and when the book is closed, the cranberry colored edges of the pages remind me of a slice of red velvet cake.
If ever there was a time for me to relinquish judgement based on style and embrace images which are largely based on fantasy – it is now. Case in point: an image of a three story giraffe standing in a cavernous interior space, reminiscent of ruin porn photography, lit from various mystery light sources, while a figure plays a trombone on the mezzanine level. That feels right. My reluctance evaporates.
Throughout the book, text accompanies Forman’s images. Some of these ‘conversations’ are short poetic pieces which compliment the work, some are an interpretation and exploration of specific images. These texts are written by over two dozen artists, writer, poets, curators, photographers, and various people connected with visual arts in some form or another. I was struck by a short piece written by Sara Farazan, which accompanies an image titled ‘The Last Rhino.’ Farazan writes a dystopian vignette which involves the inner strength of a young girl, loss of technology, hardship, climate ruin, and quite possibly the last living rhinoceros.
After my initially having a response to Forman’s work that was passive, revisiting the work revealed an appeal which I had not considered. She is a visual chanteuse, and this is where Forman’s strength lies. The additive nature of conjuring a reality from various visual sources, and masterfully blending them into works of art is dreamlike and evocative. Her intuitive visual stories are arresting. The Rest Between Two Notes lends itself well to the lyrical and musical metaphor that there is just as much importance to the silence as there is to the notes played or sung. Or in Forman’s case, the color or hue added to a visual void.
The Rest Between Two Notes: Selected works by Fran Forman
Unicorn Publishing Group
Hardcover: 224 pages, 105 color plates
Product Dimensions: 25.4 x 25.4 cm
About Fran Forman:
Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Forman studied art and sociology as an undergraduate at Brandeis University and then received an MSW, working for several years with heroin addicts. She earned an MFA from Boston University in graphic design, but spent most of her grad school years experimenting in the darkroom. She is represented by Pucker Gallery (Boston), Afterimage Gallery (Dallas), Susan Spiritus Gallery (Newport Beach, CA), and Galeria Photo/Graphica (San Miguel de Allende, Mexico). For more information, go to: www.franforman.com.
“The Space Between brings together photographs from two separate bodies of work: one by Kris Sanford who uses art to explore an imagined queer history, and the other a collaboration of poetry and images that reveals Petal, a persona whom Philip Matthews manifests to write and David Johnson photographs. With time, we have come to see and understand the world through a select set of lenses. How do we begin to shift this view and see in new ways? This exhibition seeks to provide the space to engage in critical conversations about identity, sexuality, and relationships. The juxtaposition of three artists’ work in one place, for the first time, as the inspiration. Timed entry to see the exhibit will be offered on Friday, August 14 between 5 pm and 8:30 pm. Due to COVID-19, visitors are asked to wear masks. The number of visitors in the gallery will be limited. Registration is required and can be found on CPAC’s website. All events are free and open to the public. The show will be on view August 14 – September 23, 2020. ”
Colorado Photographic Arts Center, 1070 Bannock Street, Denver, CO 80204
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our indoor galleries will remain closed: this photo festival will be made up of outdoor banners and projections as well as the virtual component viewable at bronxdoc.org.
Luján Agusti | Eric Allende | COVID LATAM | Luisa Dörr | Adriana Loureiro Fernández
Leo Goldstein | Jorge Pachoaga | Adriana Parrilla | César Rodriguez
The Bronx Documentary Center