Tag Archives: Erik Kessels

Thinking about presentation – Anne Collier and Erik Kessels

My tutor suggested I look at the work of Anne Collier, from a presentational point of view, and following my research on Evan Roth I also want to revisit Erik Kessels’ presentation, which I think has much in common with Roth’s.

Collier, another American, is known for rephotographing old artefacts to reframe their meaning in the light of current thinking about feminism, the male gaze, and the effects of time on objects among other themes. While the subject of the work is very interesting and worthy of further research (Mousse Magazine, 2019), for the purposes of my own studies I currently want to look at in in terms of how she sets out her photographs and then presents them for viewing. I will use two separate images for consideration.

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Fig. 1 Clouds. (2012)

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Fig. 2 Open Book (Waves) 2, (2016)

As Katy Diamond Hamer explains, in a review of Collier’s 2012 exhibition at the Anton Kern Gallery,

Each photograph is a frame within a frame. The actual frame contains an image surrounded by white space and then the content, central, is appropriated from various sources. (Hamer, 2012).

Many of the objects in the images are appropriated, but the act of rephotographing them as framed studies in their own right, and as objects that show signs of use, give them a new authority, and specifically a space to be seen as individual pieces. So ften we see an album cover, for instance (one of her themes) en masse and we don’t take the time to appreciate the work that has gone into each individual one. By photographing them in a minimalist way, Collier gives the objects space to breathe.

At the other end of the scale, for Erik Kessels, more is better, and much more is even better. Kessels also uses appropriated images, but puts them in collections. Again I am interested in his work here in terms of presentation. Kessels is prolific and I could have chosen any number of works for consideration. He is interested in the sheer quantity of images being produced at present, their banality, and whether we look at them with any particular sense of engagement. In the two images below, My Feet and 24 Hours, we see both the size of the issue, and the lack of that individuality which would be present in a single analogue photograph. Our use of the internet has made photo editors of all of us, but the output is generally of much lower quality overall than what was produced when we were limited to a 36 frame film, and single images are generally very bland.

Kessels my feet

Fig. 3 My feet. (2014)

 

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Fig. 4 24 Hours of Photos. (2011)

Kessels work is not dissimilar to that of Evan Roth in terms of the presentation – both use images in huge numbers to make their point, but the point itself is different. Kessels is exploring our relationship to photographic images, while it could be argued that Roth is exploring the image’s relationshiop to the internet, although both obviously have other themes overlaying this fundamental approach, as well.

In terms of my own work, and this project in particular, I need to decide whether to go minimalist or maximalist, so the next step will be to try out each presentation to see which I prefer. I am not in the habit of mixing multiple images together within a single frame, so this should be interesting.

Finally, I am reminded of a piece I read a couple of months ago, on the biennial Lenscratch Photographs in Conversation exhibition, where two or more images were abutted in order to set up a dialogue which would not be there for each single image alone. Details can be found here (Smithson, 2019) and it is an idea I would like to explore.

Images

Fig. 1 Collier, A. (2012) Clouds. [Photograph] At: https://www.moma.org/interactives/exhibitions/2012/newphotography/anne-collier/clouds_8x10-2/index.html (Accessed 29/02/2020).

Fig. 2 Collier, A. (2016) Open Book (Waves) 2.[Photograph] https://www.antonkerngallery.com/artists/anne_collier (Accessed 29/02/2020).

Fig. 3 Kessels, E. (2014) My feet. [Photograph] At: https://www.damnmagazine.net/2016/02/03/my-feet-by-erik-kessels/ (Accessed 29/02/2020).

Fig. 4 Kessels, E. (2011) 24 Hours of Photos. [Photograph] At: https://uk.phaidon.com/agenda/photography/articles/2016/may/04/photos-that-changed-the-world-24-hrs-in-photos/ (Accessed 29/02/2020).

Bibliography

Hamer, K. D. (2012) ‘Anne Collier @Antonkerngallery, NY.’ In: eyes-towards-the-dove.com. At: https://eyes-towards-the-dove.com/2012/04/a-n-n-e-collier-antonkerngallery-ny/ (Accessed 05/11/2019).

Mousse Magazine (2019) ‘Anne Collier “Photographic” at Fotomuseum Winterthur’ In: moussemagazine.it  At: http://moussemagazine.it/anne-collier-photographic-fotomuseum-winterthur-winterthur-2019/ (Accessed 05/11/2019).

Smithson, A. (2019) ‘The 2019 Photographs in Conversation Exhibition In Lenscratch.com  At: http://lenscratch.com/2019/05/the-2019-diptych-exhibition/ (Accessed 05/11/2019).

 

Assignment 4 – tutor feedback

My feedback can be viewed below, so this post is to pick out from it what I need to do next towards A5, which I am hoping to complete by early December. My tutor’s comments are shown in italics, with my own thoughts below.

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You do mention feeling that you have been a little scatter gun in your approach and find yourself needing now to focus in more tightly on one particular theme, idea or technique with a view to presenting a coherent series of images for your assignment submissions.

As you note, this particular assignment (4) is meant to allow you to experiment with a view to refining your ideas in assignment 5.

Wendy has clearly picked up my confusion abut this assignment and my great difficulty in pinning down the subject matter concisely.

It seems to me from reading through your submission, the idea that has gained the most traction began with your taking apart of your own hard drive and then a re-photographing of the constituent parts – paired with images rescued from it. I think this is definitely worthy of future development.

Fair enough. It gives me something concrete to move forward with. I have plenty of scope still to add new images to the series, both from my archive and new ones using parts of the hard drive.

As discussed at our 1-2-1 it’s both useful and helpful to set some rules or parameters down for yourself before tackling a distinctive series of work. Usually this means deciding on:
1_the format of the work (usually this means a series of images that are all produced to the same format in the case of a distinctive series)
2_the formal attributes of the work (composition, technique, palette)
3_the concept of the work (can you describe your idea clearly and concisely, explaining what specifically you are exploring throughout your series, etc).

This is what I need to do next. I have already narrowed things down to a particular palette of pale colours, and am very keen to continue working with the transparent overlays, but Wendy suggested that pairings of straight images onto large areas of white paper, in the style of Ann Collier might work better.

If you haven’t done so already (and in direct relation to the potential development of your won potential project using your dis-assembled hard drive), I’d like you to look closely at the work of Evan Roth, whose project ‘Since You Were Born’ similarly explores memory and the online environment. Think about the way that he, for example, uses multiples – large banks of images often – to express his idea. You can hear him talk about this project ‘In Since You Were Born, Evan Roth presents an introspective view of his own internet browsing data to create a dynamic site-specific installation of saturated images that are both personal and universal. Filling the Atrium Gallery entirely, Roth’s internet cache captures four months of search history from the day his second daughter was born on June 29, 2016. Faces of “friends” from social media exist alongside corporate logos, fragments of Google maps, family photographs, and banner advertisements – lost narratives left behind in Roth’s interactions online’ here: https://vimeo.com/335477356

I have had a quick look at the Evan Roth video and see what my tutor means about it being relevant, and will write a case study about it, as suggested. I am also put in mind of some of Erik Kessels’ work, especially the sheer scale of the number of images. Wendy also suggested again (not for the first time) that I consider scaling up the work, so I will also be looking at ways of printing on a larger scale and layouts for that.

So, tasks for the next assignment are:

  •  research Evan Roth, Ann Collier and Erik Kessels
  •  investigate large scale printing options
  • refine down the subject and format through format, attributes and concepts to improve clarity. In particular, I want to decide whether to go for a few carefully chosen pairings, or a complex tapestry of them.