Sustainable Prospects – Unseen, Amsterdam – Different Mediums
Unseen was the perfect place to view and appreciate the diversity in mediums used to produce and display photographs.
Stanislaw Lewkowicz’s ‘Greetings from Calcutta’ consisted of 27 pieces. The work is presented on silk pieces which have been lithographically and digitally printed on before being embroidered. The work was pinned to the display wall.
The display was visually stunning and as the pieces were the only pinned at the top, as viewers walked past the work it moved like flags in the wind.
I discussed the work with the gallery representative and was able to find out more about the work. Lewkowicz is a traveler. The work was produced in West Bengal, with the help of women in the rural areas. The women interpreted his images and text and then embroidered the images in the Kantha style of embroidery which is typical of the region.
I was informed that the work is an exploration of telling a story based on intimate subjects that Lewkowicz encountered when he was traveling. The work is presented as a diary of how he was feeling during his travels. It is deeply personal, yet reflects the universal feelings surrounding both sociability and loneliness.
I am particularly drawn to the tactile nature of the work. The unique hybrid pieces are packed with emotion and narrative. In moving my practice further, this is a medium that I would like to explore.
Other works were presented on fabric. In particular, the cyanotype below was produced on linen and is a fine example of the use of fabric. My only criticism is that the image has been framed and so we lose some of the effect of the fabric moving as viewers walk past it.
The use of tracing paper to cover Lara Gasparotto’s work can be considered as an attempt to maintain the privacy of her images. These private flashes of her life and subjects make the viewer feel like an intruder or voyeur. I do like how she has used the tracing paper to overlay her images. The label and commentary can be read before you pull the tracing paper back to reveal the images. This experience encourages you to touch the work (something that is often frowned upon in gallery displays).
I was drawn to this work as I have been considering how I could use tracing paper to conceal part of the images, so that I can keep elements of the image hidden.
I was interested in the use of cut aluminum frames used by Dutch photographer Bert Teunissen. He has used vintage photographic paper acquired on his travels to print the images. The prints are then mounted in the aluminum frames. This makes for a visually pleasing and striking display.
Throughout the exhibition, there were many examples of physically manipulated images. A visual record of some of the work is presented below for future reference.
I have included embroidery on some of my images in the past (previous blog post). I was interested to view the different ways in which contemporary artists are combning embroidery onto photograph prints.