Friday, 23 November 2012

Muntadas - Conceptual and Multimedia Art

Interesting exhibition running called Entre / Between : the work of Antoni Muntadas at the Jeu de Paume in Paris. Link here to the Jeu de Paume website where you can buy tickets if interested to make a visit. Website also contains a short film.

Material in English

Antoni Muntadas, internationally renowned Spanish artist, is one of the earliest practitioners of conceptual art and multimedia art. Muntadas used performance, video, installations, photography, multimedia, books, Internet and public art to address key social and political issues of our time. His incisive works address concepts such as the relationship between public and private, information flows related to the media landscape, the dynamics of official architecture and other social issues. Through them, Muntadas highlights the visible and invisible systems of power in a society dominated by mass media, consumerism and technology.

Since his early works in the 1970s - which involved underlying meaning - until his ongoing series 'On Translation', which raises the question directly of cultural interpretation, through his manifesto of 1981 which he asks the audience to ask the question "What are we watching?" Muntadas has created a vast body of work which develops a discourse on power systems, visible and invisible, in a society dominated by shows the mass media, consumerism and the constant progress of technology.

Thursday, 22 November 2012


Image : Rhossili Bay, Gower, South Wales
I think I'm quite old fashioned when it comes to communication. I prefer to use the phone, send a mail...not sure about social's nice to keep in touch with some people I don't often see but I'm afraid the constant stream of news from 700 people plus adverts just goes over my head a lot of the time.

I once created an art piece where I designed and wrote a series of postcards to the late French philosopher Jacques Derrida. He himself never read any of them but a lot of other people read them when they wee exhibited. There was a certain irony as he himself made a comment about a postcard being addressed to one person but having the possibility to be seen by anyone...the sender has no way of knowing if the addressee has ever seen it is with modern communication unless of course there is a reply. Interesting subject area......

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Letter from Ansel Adams

Image : Glamorgan Heritage Coast
I have an interesting book of letters written by and sent to the American photographer, Ansel Adams. In one of them he mentions that we talk a lot about what we do and who we meet but he says that we very rarely talk about whether we are happy. Here's one of his more famous letters where he considers the meanings of art, friendship and love.

Letter from Ansel Adams to Cedric Wright, June 10, 1937:

"Dear Cedric,

A strange thing happened to me today. I saw a big thundercloud move down over Half Dome, and it was so big and clear and brilliant that it made me see many things that were drifting around inside of me; things that relate to those who are loved and those who are real friends.

For the first time I know what love is; what friends are; and what art should be.

Love is a seeking for a way of life; the way that cannot be followed alone; the resonance of all spiritual and physical things. Children are not only of flesh and blood — children may be ideas, thoughts, emotions. The person of the one who is loved is a form composed of a myriad mirrors reflecting and illuminating the powers and thoughts and the emotions that are within you, and flashing another kind of light from within. No words or deeds may encompass it.

Friendship is another form of love — more passive perhaps, but full of the transmitting and acceptances of things like thunderclouds and grass and the clean granite of reality.

Art is both love and friendship and understanding: the desire to give. It is not charity, which is the giving of things. It is more than kindness, which is the giving of self. It is both the taking and giving of beauty, the turning out to the light of the inner folds of the awareness of the spirit. It is a recreation on another plane of the realities of the world; the tragic and wonderful realities of earth and men, and of all the interrelations of these.


Thursday, 15 November 2012

Sweden 2012

I have recently returned from Sweden. While I was there I went to the fantastic Photographic Museum Fotografiska situated around the waterfront with views over the old city (Gamla Stan) and the famous amusement park Grona Lund - closed at the time of my visit for the winter. One of the Swedish photographers that I really admire is Lennart Nilsson. I have seen his work exhibited in many locations - his exhibition A Child is Born was the first exhibit at the opening of Fotografiska in 2010. Really remarkable images of pre-life. Also remarkable are some of his earlier images at the very moment of birth and the vocal chords of an opera singer.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

2LO Calling

90 years ago today, on 14 November 1922, The first official BBC radio broadcast was the evening news transmitted by London station 2LO from Marconi House studios on the Strand, Central London. The voice was that of the Programme Director Arthur Burrows.  '2LO' was the reference of the radio broadcasting license issued by the Post Office. The 1.5kW medium wave transmitter was built by the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company and situated at the top of Marconi House.

Radio is a very powerful medium associated of course with Dylan Thomas. One thinks of his broadcasts for this medium of his works and his play for voices 'Under Milk Wood' and it is hard to think of a voice more suited to this medium than that of Richard Burton, First Voice in the 1953 BBC radio production.

It was quite fitting to spend this evening at No 5 Cwmdonkin Drive, Dylan's birthplace, listening to local poet and writer, Emily Hinshelwood, read from her new poetry collection 'On Becoming a Fish' published by Seren. The book can be ordered online from Seren on this link. No 5 Cwmdonkin Drive is highly recommended for a visit if you are in Swansea. A number of other poets and artists were also present in Dylan's front room and we had a wide-ranging and interesting discussion about a number of topics which  makes one realise the value of collaboration in art, the power of words and the importance of allowing time for a listener to think and take in the real meaning of words. Hopefully some follow up visits and chats over coffee will happen soon in my studio. I always like to have visitors and an opportunity to make a cuppa! 

Tuesday, 13 November 2012


Monday, 12 November 2012

Early frost

Driving home from Somerset yesterday, where we'd been to visit my mum who is in a Nursing Home near Somerton and Langport, I was conscious that the salt spreaders were out on some of the roads we passed along. A sign of early frost and the crisp mist in the air that often accompanies it on level ground. On the early part of our journey we drove along narrow lanes in East Somerset and then crossed the Somerset Levels. It reminded me of a visit we made to Brecon Beacons a few years ago at New Year where the bushes and undergrowth were frozen almost as if someone had walked past with a giant spray can of frost. It's a different quality to snow completely and the other feature of this type of weather is that the air also has the feeling of frostiness which you don't really get with snowfall. The photo is one I took of a hedgerow on the Beacons near the Visitor Centre which I may say made a very tasty cawl on the day we were there.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Left Bank Leeds ADVENTurous 2012

Long time no post. It's always very exciting to be selected for a Group Show in an open competition. I've got some work in a show organised by Engedi Arts and opening at a venue in Leeds called Left Bank Leeds.The organisers have interviewed me and the contents have gone into their event blog. The show opens on December 2nd - I'm getting work together now. The interview I did with Left Bank can be found here. I don't find it the easiest thing to explain all aspects of my work - sometimes there is no obvious connection between different pieces. I prefer to let the work speak for itself and I enjoy hearing other people's views. A photograph is a piece of our memory and it is always good to have our memories come to life. Memory though does not always equal Reality. For anyone with internet access, I'm also being interwied on the Radio Tircoed Arts Programme with Debbie Evans on Friday November 30th.