Nau mai, haere mai, welcome to EyeContact. You are invited to respond to reviews and contribute to discussion by registering to participate.

JH

Postcards by ‘Art’ Photographers

AA
View Discussion
Siteseeing at St.Paul St. Gallery. Photo by Vera Mey. Siteseeing at St.Paul St. Gallery. Photo by Vera Mey. Siteseeing at St.Paul St. Gallery. Photo by Vera Mey. Siteseeing at St.Paul St. Gallery. Photo by Vera Mey. Karin Apollonia-Muller, Gap 1, 1998 Grit Schwerdtfeger, Plattform  - from the series Distanz, 2006 Fiona Amundsen, Subritsky Inward Goods and Freight Wharf under Construction, Wynyard Point, Auckland, 09/11/2008,6.27 (Criss-cross). Eva Leitolf, Ladders, Melilla, 2006 Frank Breuer, Untitled, Gestel B 2000.Index No.2/171.

Postcards are a variety of commercial product aimed at tourists who want souvenirs to remind them of some destination they have visited, an image to kickstart their memories of a site. As a reaction, many of these artists instead introduce you to new sites/sights that you probably would never would visit - places tourists are hostile to or oblivious of.

Auckland

 

Postcards by fifteen international photographers
Sightseeing
Curated by Hanna Scott

 

8 April - 29 April 2011

This fascinating touring exhibition (it’s been to the New Dowse and to Plymouth, in the U.K.), put together by Hanna Scott, looks at the phenomenon of the tourist postcard, but using ‘art’ images from fifteen well known photographers from Aotearoa and Germany. Their images are published in ‘tear-off’ serrated concertinas. There are six in each artist’s set.

In St. Paul St Two these concertinas are displayed singly or repeated in groups of five, sometimes butted together, blended as shimmering rectangular grids. So the optical experience of examining them is very different from say, looking at large framed photographic prints, or much smaller single postcards - without glass and battered by the postal process, and certainly extremely different from looking at reproductions on your glowing computer screen.

And beautiful and elegant these are. Not really like proper postcards. These are mostly highly aesthetic images with gorgeous compositions - not the type you would find in a souvenir shop next to the soft toys. They are hard to forget in a hurry. They’re classy.

And that is the point. A high percentage of this show (66%) is not really about postcard production per se but the preoccupations of artists who normally make large photographic prints that let you zero in on detail. Postcards are a variety of commercial product - now usurped by email and photographic attachments - aimed at tourists who want souvenirs (memory aids) to remind them of some destination they have visited, an image to kickstart their memories of a site. As a reaction, many of these artists instead introduce you to new sites/sights that you probably would never would (never could) visit - picked deliberately by them or Scott as ‘anti-travel’ locations, places tourists are hostile to or oblivious of, or (if the same thing) the type of location artists through persistent documentation happen to have built their careers on.

The content is wide ranging. Ann Noble shows the photographic and fresh ice backdrops behind live ‘Antarctica’ penguin displays, Haruhiko Sameshima the architectural and botanical cultural transplants in Hamilton Gardens, Sarah Schönfeld and Shmuel Hoffman the rebuilding of the fences of Auschwitz, Anne Shelton the truck stops near Shady, Florida, where serial killer Aileen Wournos worked as a prostitute, Wayne Barrar underground crib rooms in Mount Isa and Tasmania, Doris Frohnapfel fenced off national borders throughout Europe that are about to disappear, and Jeremy Diggle recreated satellite surveillance photographs of a Harrier aircraft buried in Penfforest, Wales.

And although certain photographers like Elger Esser, John Di Stefano and Eva Leitoff deal very specifically with the history and social use of postcards in their image creation here - their selection making a lot of sense - for my money seeing small cardboard prints of images by Fiona Amundsen, Frank Breuer (who has shown with Paul McNamara), Grit Schwerdtfeger, and Karin Apollonia-Mϋller makes me want to weep. I long for much larger prints - especially by those German artists new to me - more accurate in chroma and tone, with more presence and acuity.

Having said that, this project is beautifully displayed, with a purchasable box set of fifteen concertinas and a booklet that includes two excellent essays from Hanna Scott and Esther Ruelfs with German translations. But it is only a taster. An appetite whetter for more research and looking - further exploration of what else these artists make, or perhaps genuine postcards and the mindset of their consumers. Examining the real thing.  

John Hurrell

Print | Facebook | Twitter | Email

 

This Discussion has 0 comments.

Comment

Participate

Register to Participate.

Sign in

Recent Posts by John Hurrell

JH
Clinton Watkins' installation of lowercase at Starkwhite. Photo: Sam Hartnett

Clinton Watkins in Auckland

STARKWHITE

Auckland

 

Clinton Watkins
lowercase

 

19 April - 14 May 2016

JH
Conor Clarke, Peak I (Berlin), 2014 inkjet billboard print,  commissioned by Te Tuhi, Auckland

Heaps of Dirt

TE TUHI CENTRE FOR THE ARTS

Pakuranga

 

Conor Clarke
Scenic Potential

 

12 March - 29 May 2016

JH
Charlotte Drayton, It must be nice to work outside on a day like today, 2016, pregrown kapuka (griselinia) hedges, crushed shell, trellis, paint (alabastaer White), concret pavers, irrigation system, commissioned by Te Tuhi. Photo: Sam Hartnett

One Mind with Multiple Bodies (2)

TE TUHI CENTRE FOR THE ARTS

Pakuranga

 

Monteith, McQuarrie, Jansen, Hollis, Drayton
The Hive Hums with Many Minds: Part One
Curated by Bruce E. Philips


12 March - 24 May 2016

JH
Monique Jansen, A length without breadth, 2016, pencil on paper, 4040 mm x 2970. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Sam Hartnett

One Mind with Multiple Bodies (1)

TE TUHI CENTRE FOR THE ARTS

Pakuranga


Monteith, McQuarrie, Jansen, Hollis, Drayton
The Hive Hums with Many Minds: Part One

 

12 March - 24 May 2016