Xiaoyi Chen’s series ‘Koan’ – using the photogravure process and with Eastern aesthetic to explore beneath the surface of symbolic and following to the Zen and Taoist philosophy opening up the territory of the pre-verba in getting closer to the concept of purity.
Xiaoyi Chen – Koan
“Tao and Zen always advise people to stay absolutely quiet and purify thought processes. In order to achieve this goal, our attention should focus on the most basic form of the universe’s existence. In Zen Buddhism, Koan is a story or riddle used to help in the attainment of a state of spontaneous reaction, free from planning and analytical thought. In contradiction to Western philosophy, Koans emphasize the inadequacy of language and words, and the importance of intuition over reason and logic, to transform the self.
I named the series Koan, and selected abstract landscape photographs to do a photo-etching process; the results of this craft are poetic and full of imaginations. Also only uses black ink and print on different Japanese papers, the color derives from the atmosphere of desolation and melancholy and the expression of minimalism in ancient Chinese poetry and monochromatic ink painting.”
Rare ethereal Polaroids with emotional depth made by the Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky compiled in the book “Instant Light: Tarkovsky Polaroids and Sculpting in Time” published by Thames & Hudson. Landscapes and intimate moments about his home, family, friends and places in Russia and Italy made between 1979 and 1984, capturing with his unique aesthetic visual language the ‘flight’ of time and life as a reflection.
“Never try to convey your idea to the audience. It is a thankless and senseless task. Show them life, and they’ll find within themselves the means to assess and appreciate it.”
“The idea for ‘Pearls, tears of the sea’ came to me on the seashore at Camogli after a night during which the waves roared in and a wild storm raged. Next morning I went for a walk along the churned-up beach and was amazed. So much had been washed up on the beach, wood, seaweed, sea urchins, all kinds of flotsam. I took off the pearl I was wearing round my neck and laid it among all these mysterious treasures that had been revealed by the sea. It seemed as if it had always belonged there. Queen of the spume. The project was born.”
The series is published in a photography book with a CD of classical music performed and recorded in Vienna with her friends Jane Henschel, Christoph Prégardien, Herbert Lippert and others, and her husband, the orchestra director Fabio Luisi, at the piano.
Matthew Brandt’s series ‘Lakes and Reservoirs’ – calendar-like landscape photographs processed by soaking the C-type print over a period of time in water collected from the depicted lakes, in an experimentation of creating a photograph as an image and an art object, and searching for the connection between real and visualized.
Matthew Brandt – Lakes and Reservoirs
“I go get the photographs, get the water, I make the print and then it just sort of sits in water. It feels a little bit like being a farmer, like cultivating crops or something… I’ve always been into the labor-intensive nature of photography … But that’s why I like it. I like the pathos of it.”
Hendrik Kerstens’s life-time project of photographing his daughter ‘Paula’ as a reminiscent of the portraits from the Dutch Golden Age, in a way of expressing his paternal love and in a conceptual and humorous dialog between the daily life in the 17th and in 21st century.
Hendrik Kerstens – Paula
It’s all started in 1995 when Hendrik Kerstens, then at the age of forty, willing to devote himself to a more creative profession, left the business world and took up photography. His wife now had to support the family, whilst Kerstens stay home learning the craft and taking care for their child. For practicing to capture the fleeting moments of childhood, he started with documentary family snapshots, when suddenly he saw his muse from a different perspective.
“One day Paula came back from horseback riding. She took off her cap and I was struck by the image of her hair held together by a hair-net. It reminded me of the portraits by the Dutch masters and I portrayed her in that fashion. After that I started to do more portraits in which I refer to the paintings of that era. The thing that fascinates me in particular is the way a 17th century painting is seen as a surface which can be read as a description of everyday life as opposed to the paintings of the Italian renaissance, which usually tell a story. Northern European painting relies much more on craftsmanship and the perfect rendition of the subject. The use of light is instrumental in this.”
Olaf Otto Becker’s project ‘Reading the Landscape’ – juxtaposing the changes to landscape in the primary forests of Indonesia and Malaysia in three Habitat series – idyllic dreamlike places, ravaged, barren terrains and artificially created greenery. And all as a result of the paradox of the power and interests of the western world to destroy and preserve nature.
Olaf Otto Becker – Reading the Landscape – Habitat I
“Humans destroy primary forests, which have been growing for millions of years, within decades. Within the last thirty years almost ninety percent of the forests in Indonesia have been destroyed and replaced by monoculture. At the same time, humans create a version of nature according to their own imaginations in the megacities of the world, turning nature into a product… My pictures and videos are an attempt to report on what I’ve experienced, on what I’ve seen with my own eyes and what has, for that reason, deeply moved me… While researching the subject, it first seemed to me almost paradoxical that the so-called western world was behind both the destruction of the primary habitats and the attempts to protect them. I saw how both sides in the conflict were using impoverished and poorly-educated local populations for their own interests. For the most part, local people can only powerlessly watch as these dramatic changes take place.”
Olaf Otto Becker – Reading the Landscape – Habitat II
Paul Hart’s series ‘Truncated’ (2005 – 2008) – through individual portraits of trees depicting their characters and personalities, the artist captured the spirituality, the primeval and the mystery of an ageing pine forest plantation in Derbyshire, England, as an unaffected by the modern world place of inner peace and infinity.
Paul Hart – Truncated
“A lot of these pictures were taken towards the end of the day when the light was going. It is quite ethereal then. The twilight in the forest appeared to be glowing on the branches of these trees, but only the branches – everything else was quite dark… The tightly knitted images of trees – themselves almost becoming anthropomorphic forms – show an environment where nature has self-created shelter and protection from its own elemental chaos… When you are photographing you look at it closer than normally would and be aware of the character that was portrayed and with a bit of humour I gave them names.”
The Kyoto terms for ‘geisha’ are ‘geiko’ for the fully trained artists and ‘maiko’ for those still in training. Geisha is the term used in other parts of Japan.
Robert van Koesveld – Geiko and Maiko of Kyoto
“Late one night in an empty cobblestoned street in Kyoto, a woman sheltering beneath a red umbrella glided past me. I saw in an instant something in her face – luminous eyes, an aloof expression – that gave her beauty a sense of timelessness and exquisite grace. What I experienced as presence. This moment took place on my first visit to the city that had been Japan’s capital for over a thousand years. And it was this image of an unknown woman in an empty street that impelled me to begin this book three years ago.”
Irene Kung’s series ‘Trees’ – a poetic invitation to explore the metaphysical side of nature in searching of the essence of being.
Irene Kung – Trees
Part of the project ‘The forest of the soul’, in this series the artist focused on trees enchanted by their symbolic meaning as a circle of life, time and re-birth, and undoubtedly fascinated by their shape and beauty. She leads us into a mysterious, magical and almost unreal forest inhabited by different trees as a silent guardian of all our feelings, emotions and dreams.
“In my way of working I am able to return the tree to what I have felt. This is the way I perceive my work: to strip away what is not essential in order to show a tree as it really is, as I feel it. This is intuition; it is the irrational. What is rational may deceive us. Feelings don’t.”
Jessica Backhaus’s series ‘Once, Still and Forever’ – with form, light and color on an intuitive quest for traces of the phenomenon of time. These vibrant still lifes deal with the artist’s personal past and the present as a new start. They reflect her inner world and different feelings in lifetime experience. It’s not a chronology, nor a documentary project, but a contemplation of emotions and existence.
“A quiet melancholy that tells us that we cannot change the tides. In other words: that we should follow them instead.” Jean-Christophe Ammann
Jessica Backhaus – Once, still and forever
“My photographs are like a mosaic, a puzzle that evokes the beauty of ordinary moments often ignored as well as the residue of loves past and memories forgotten… I believe that everything takes time. That’s the beauty of it … Sometimes you have to go away in order to come back.”