Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Last post for 2013, some pictures from home...


Here are a few images I've made here in Auckland, in the last day or so. Shot five minutes from my home as summer quietly progresses...



A friend of mine sent me this link to a post on HARVARD MAGAZINE dealing with The Power of Patience, a presentation by art historian Jennifer L. Roberts at a The Harvard Initiative for Learning and Teaching (HILT) conference last May. I might add that the link was sent to me because patience is not something that I have a lot of!

In this crazy world of instant everything, where things are speeding up and certainly not slowing down, where we are pushed toward immediacy, rapidity, and spontaneity Jennifer Roberts says this:  The virtue of patience was originally associated with forbearance or sufferance. It was about conforming oneself to the need to wait for things. But now that, generally, one need not wait for things, patience becomes an active and positive cognitive state. Where patience once indicated a lack of control, now it is a form of control over the tempo of contemporary life that otherwise controls us. Patience no longer connotes dis-empowerment—perhaps now patience is power.

What's of particular interest and importance to those of us working in the visual arts is the issue of how there is a tendency to look and not see. Seeing requires time, requires patience, requires perseverance. 

Roberts' complete address is worth a read and there is a YouTube clip as well.

Monday, December 16, 2013


Following my month in Paris this last November I have just completed the sixth bookwork in my PARIS DIARY series. The book is the same format as the previous diaries with an edition limited to 50 copies, each book signed and numbered. There are 28 photographs, over 28 pages, printed on 150gsm art paper, 226 x 160 mm. Below are some of the pages.

Copies can be obtained directly from me at: harvey.benge@xtra.co.nz
Prices are, €24 / £20 / US$32 / NZ$38, which include packing and postage. For payment you can simply log on to my PayPal account using my email address above.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Photographers whose work I like - No23/ Chad Muthard

From the city that brought us Noam Chomsky, Robert Crumb and John Coltrane, Philadelphia based photographer Chad Muthard is an artist who makes work that has an edgy sense of disquiet, gently questioning and giving no hint of any answers. Muthard deals in allusions with his strange open-ended WTF images.  His narratives are not straightforward, ideas play off each other both visually and conceptually with humor, pathos and often a sense of tender sadness.

Muthard's latest bookwork FOLLOW MY LEAD AFTER YOU was released in September. There are pictures in this work I wish I had made.
You can see more by going to Chad Muthard's site HERE where you can buy the book direct.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Paris - the ultimate selfie


One of the things I like to do when I'm in Paris is head to the Palais de Tokyo at 13, avenue du Président Wilson, and make a set of self portraits in the genuine 60's style dunk and dip FOTOAUTOMAT machine. For a mere 2 euro you get 4 small argentique portraits, on photographic paper developed, stopped and fixed in the mini rotating tanks inside the contraption.

Palais de Tokyo have this to say:
It was only a matter of time before someone thought of bringing those columns of 4 small silvery portraits back into fashion. The collective FOTOAUTOMAT, which has existed in Berlin for over ten years and in Paris since 2007, restores and restyles black and white photo booths from another era in order to give them a new, more stunning, more unique, and more creative life.
The good old-fashioned photo booth first reappeared in France in September 2007 and made its home at the Palais de Tokyo, where it was ready to take your picture in black and white in four flashes! Notice to the public – to all actors, bigwigs, artists, lovers, etc. Come give in to your narcissistic urges for just 2 euros.

And a very pleasant gallery assistant opened the machine up to show me the tank that holds the developer, stop, fixer and wash. Here's a picture to prove it.

Dunking and dipping

The result comes out here
 Of course the big bonus is that Palais de tokyo have excellent shows of contemporary art, a great book shop, a good restaurant and cafe and is right next door to the Musée d'Art moderne de la Ville de Paris and until 23 February next, showing a retrospective of the painter Serge Poliakoff.

Right now the Palais de Tokyo has a stunning show, the work of Philippe Parreno who has responded to a carte blanche invitation with an exhibition where the architectural modification of the space becomes a work in itself, “a total work of art”. Well worth seeing.

Monday, December 9, 2013

PHOTOGRAPHY, all art. SMALL is the new big?

Small is the new big at Gemeentemuseum Den Haag.
As I mentioned in my previous post, when I talked to FOTO MUSEUM DEN HAAG curator Wim van Sinderen in Paris, we agreed that photography in particular does not have to be big to work. Small is the new big we concurred. To make the point, Wim told me about an exhibition he has curated in the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag. Effectively 204 galleries with thousands of authentic works housed in a multitude of small white exhibition spaces.
The boxes include works from 800 different artists both established and emerging, names like Daido Moriyama, David Lachapelle, Anton Corbijn and Erwin Olaf have contributed works. Plus Lichtenstein, Picasso, Beuys, Christo, Ed Ruscha, Damien Hirst. Wim describes the venture as a dream come true, not only that, but such a simple and brilliant idea!

You can read more on Wim van Sinderen's blog HERE.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

PARIS PHOTO 2013 and Paris in November

PARIS PHOTO - more photobooks you can ever see in a lifetime
Back in my studio and time to think about my month in Paris and the PARIS PHOTO experience in particular. There is no doubt that PARIS PHOTO is the bench-mark for photography art-fairs anywhere. Not only the place to see photographs but where to go to catch-up with photo friends, make contacts and allow the happenstance of chance and luck to kick in. For example, my last year's encounter with SUPERLABO publisher Yasunori Hoki and the subsequent publication, this year, of the LOST HOME collaborative edition only happened because I was at PARIS PHOTO 2012.

You can compare PARIS PHOTO to the massive container ship in the movie Captain Phillips. The ship powers on full of containers loaded with goods much of which you can never possibly see. All the while the pirates hover wanting a part of the action. This year fotofever opened in the carrousel de louvre, then there is Offprint at beaux-arts de Paris, Le Photobookfest at picturetank in Belleville. And much more, not to mention the very many photography shows in public and dealer galleries.

The bottom line is that if you want total photography immersion, Paris is a must in November. And it must be PARIS PHOTO. Despite its daunting mass it is the place to be. This year the fair presented 136 photography galleries from 24 countries, 28 specialist book publishers and had a tally of 55,239 visitors.

My pick are the galleries showing smaller works, a preference echoed by curator Wim Van Sinderen from the FOTOMUSEUM in the Haag who told me that in his view small is the new big.

Here are four galleries that stood out for me, all showing small works of depth, substance and surprise.
Gallery Luisoti from Santa Monica CA with works by Lewis Baltz, Ron Jude and John Divola. Gallery Priska Pasquer with works by Manfred Willmann, Alexandra Catiere and Shomie Tomatsu. ROBERT MORAT / GALERIE with work by Marten Lange, Bertien van Manen and Bernhard Fuchs. MAGNIN-A with work by Mama Casset, Malick Sidibé and J.D.'Okhai Ojeikere.

Lewis Baltz at Gallery Luisoti

Alexandra Catiere at Gallery Priska Pasquer

Bernhard Fuchs at Robert Morat Galerie