Andrew Mansfield, Karl Blossfeldt and Stan Brakhage - An Encounter
22 May – 30 June (Brakhage 3 - 8 June only)
Over ten years ago, Andrew Mansfield made a series of exquisite paintings derived from images in Karl Blossfeldt’s Art Forms in Nature. Blossfeldt’s work, first published in 1928, made a profound impact on the development of the photographic image in the 20 century and the current magnificent exhibition at The Whitechapel Gallery demonstrates the astonishing beauty of these images and their remarkable union of Arts and Crafts ornamentation with a new modernist formalist aesthetic. These works sit as happily with Moholy Nagy as they do with Owen Jones.
In a review of the first publication of Blossfeldt’s images, Walter Benjamin commented that ‘Every calyx, every leaf confronts us with pictorial essentials which range through all stages of creation: metamorphosis in Nature has the final word.’ Mansfield’s paintings take up the challenge implied by this observation, absorbing the image into the paint to the point where the one is the genesis of the other; a blurred precision where the sweep of the brush stroke drags the paint over the plant’s silhouette and surface becomes form. The captured nature idealized in Blossfeldt becomes in Mansfield’s work the blurred evocation of that natural form conjured out of the paint whilst still retaining the photo-mechanical aesthetic of the source. ‘The difference between technology and magic’ (Benjamin). This is the first time this series of paintings has been exhibited.
As a further dimension to our assembly of closely observed flora, for one week only we are screening a classic film by Stanley Brakhage, The Garden of Earthly Delights (1981). As Brakhage said: ‘At the time I made The Garden, I was very annoyed with Hieronymus Bosch’s painting of the same name, which envisions nature as puffy and sweet, while the humans are suffering these torments. After all, nature suffers as well. As a plant winds itself around, in its desperate reach for sunlight, it undergoes its own torments. We are not the only ones in the world.’ Blossfeldt’s plants are specimens under the microscope, laid out for visual dissection (the Surrealists were attracted by the morbid sadism with which Blossfeldt decapitates his flowers). In Brakhage’s collaged film a panic struck hoard of foliage scrambles for life imprisoned in the projector’s beam. The pathological stillness of Blossfeldt is complemented by the agitation of Brakhage. Mansfield’s hand-made paint surface mediates their condition.
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Icelandic nature is prominent in Eliasson's work, and his artistic relationship with it often involves collection or documentation that is scientific in tone. The country becomes a sensory laboratory where ideas can be developed and evolved into art, as evidenced in the multiple photographic series that would seem to witness a near compulsive need for collecting.
TAKA ISHII GALLERY, Tokyo presents NOBUYOSHI ARAKI - EroReal
7 June - 27 July 2013
Magazine pin-ups aren't interesting, are they? Especially now that they're shot digitally, they lack eroticism. They're doing it wrong. That's why I had to come in. It's not about an ambiance or concept; it's about being real. Not realism, but real?ero-real. I have to say it straight. It's not about nudity; clothed subjects can be erotic.
The approach, London presents JACK LAVENDER - Dreams Chunky
6 June - 28 July 2013
Jack Lavender draws from a world of mass-produced objects, transforming their singular banality through their composition within such structures as grids and metal armatures. Sitting between the disciplines of painting, sculpture and collage, Lavender brings different elements together to create a new entity.