Monday, November 30, 2009

street photographer: ALEX WEBB

"I only know how to approach a place by walking. For what does a street photographer do but walk and watch and wait and talk, and then watch and wait some more, trying to remain confident that the unexpected, the unknown, or the secret heart of the known awaits just around the corner."
"I first took photographs of this border in 1975, and rather rapidly, my work began to expand into the whole feel of the border, what is this strange world that is neither the US nor Mexico? There's a perpetual sense of transience: everyone is always trying to go to the other side, whether it's Mexicans coming north looking for work or to shop, or American tourists going south, and as everyone knows there, drugs go north, guns go south..." -Alex Webb

The United States-Mexico border is neither the United States nor Mexico; it is rather a 'third country,' 10 miles wide and 2,000 miles long, that lies in between. This borderland, split by the Rio Grande and the border fence, is a place of transience and crossings - of people and goods as well as of ideas and beliefs. Noted photojournalist Alex Webb has spent decades covering the border. In a special multimedia video renowned Magnum photographer Alex Webb showcases over 25 years of photography from this fascinating borderland region.

MAKING CONNECTIONS: photographer Nikos Economopoulos

I prefer to spend my time in my corner of the world: south Europe and west Asia, where I understand the codes and can make connections."

Nikos Economopoulos brings his extraordinary vision of the people of the Balkan Peninsula, a fragmented environment shattered by ethnic, religious and territorial warfare. In spite of the hatreds that have endured for centuries, the people share a way of life and a history. Indeed, when Economopoulos first traveled through different Balkan countries, he realized how easily he could piece together a collective Balkan portrait based on such cultural commonalities that supersede historical differences and show how the people of the Balkans carry on with the business of living - with marriages and funerals, farming and street games - sharing an inextinguishable spirit despite the unmistakable air of volatility that surrounds them.
Nikos Economopoulos was born in Greece. After studying law in Parma, Italy, he worked as a journalist in his native country. Meanwhile, he pursued photography, and in 1988 he began a long-term project in Greece and Turkey. He photographed whatever he came across on his daily walks: street scenes, public gatherings, solitary meanderers, or deserted landscapes. In 1990 Economopoulos joined Magnum, and his photographs began to appear in newspapers and magazines worldwide. In the same year he started to take photographs in Albania, Bulgaria, Romania and the former Yugoslavia, investigating the territorial, ethnic and religious tensions of the region, as well as the endurance of traditional social and religious rites. This work earned him the Mother Jones Award in 1992.

BLOOD IN THY HAND: Jordan Eagles

Eagles utilizes overhead classroom projectors to set the entire space aglow in luminous, wall-to-wall projections of "blood light." Life-size color photographs of nude models, onto whom he projected blood patterns, serve as documents of his photographic shoots and introduce new figurative elements that emphasize Eagles' fascination with corporeality, mysticism, and physical and intangible spaces.
Born in 1977, Jordan Eagles received a BA from New York University. His works have been exhibited internationally in venues such as The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Real Art Ways, Center for Visual Arts of New Jersey, The Bronfman Center Gallery at New York University, Paul Robeson Gallery at Rutgers University, Mark Wolfe Contemporary, Krause Gallery, and Jacob | Karpio Galleria; and numerous art fairs: SCOPE, London Art Fair, Los Angeles Art Show, and Aqua Art Miami. Eagles' works are included in The Bohlen Collection and the The Prudential Center. His work has been featured in The New York Times, Village Voice, L'Uomo Vogue, Architectural Digest Italy, New York Magazine, MSNBC, NY Post's Page 6, and FOX News. Recently, the producers of the upcoming Disney film "When in Rome" acquired Eagles' work, and his images are also used in Richard Move's film "Blood Works" on the life of Ana Mendieta, and a reproduction of his work is currently being used as a mass ive 50-foot stage curtain for Alice Cooper's international rock concert.

TEXT ME UP: Lawrence Weiner

Known as one of the pioneers of the so-called Conceptual Art, Lawrence Weiner defines himself as a sculptor who uses language as expressive means. Since late 60's his work has been materialized in books, animations and songs, T-shirts, pins, tattoos, sewer covers, posters… His proposal adapts itself mainly around the linguistic material. Weiner takes language as sculptural matter to create his works, the technique that he uses to compose Under the Sun, a project conceived to the Espai d'art contemporani de Castell√≥.

Weiner considers that the linguistic construction can cause the same reaction in the audience that a conventional object since the importance of the idea is above the materialization of the work. The concept is the piece of art independent of the support that is used.

Though Weiner's work is often disarmingly eloquent, flirting even with poetry, the work of art is not the text, but rather the idea (or content) that he sets out in language: the material, movement, or transition referenced by his words. As long as the content is conveyed, a piece may be re-created in a multitude of ways: spoken, as written language, or as a built manifestation of the object or circumstances the language describes.

Weiner handles language not in an hermeneutic way but in a constructive one; he does not distinguish between nouns or verbs, between objects and actions. As he himself expresses it, in his propositions it is not indicated a determined sense: "The art that for its appreciation imposes conditions to the receiver (…) constitutes in my opinion a fascist aesthetic. My art never gives directions".

In the last two decades Weiner has carried out works and exhibitions with texts directly painted or in vinyl on walls, floors or building facades; in posters and books that he himself designs. This way, Weiner's art does not exist only as language, even it is not limited to be written on a support, but it incorporates the vagueness of meaning that can exist as spoken or in translation. Placing his works in different clearly accessible contexts he voluntarily democratises his proposal.

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