The Photographer Chronicles Two Decades of Travel, From Southern India to Anselm Kiefer’s Secluded Studio
Far-flung locations including Hampi, India, Lake Baikal, Siberia and Stornoway in the Outer Hebrides inspire these intimate and evocative black-and-white images by Renate Graf. A visual diary of her thoughts, travels and creative life shared with her husband, the famed German painter and sculptor Anselm Kiefer, these and other photographic works are gathered in a new hand-bound collection, Journal 1992-2012. Due out this week from Paris’ Les Éditions du Regard, the publication will be followed up with an exhibition at Galleria Lorcan O’Neill next year. Graf's enchanting visual documents are at times scribbled with simple explanations of the locations portrayed, at others peppered with atmospheric references to conceptual and artistic influences including filmmakers Andrei Tarkovsky and Chris Marker. “The text is not an explanation nor is the image an illustration,” the Austrian-born Graf explains of these motifs. “The images are thoughts more than photographs.” Previously Art Director at Galerie Krinzinger in Vienna, her life behind the lens began 20 years ago, when a collector friend gave her the simple automatic Canon that she still uses today. In her travels, Graf seeks to capture “the fugitive and the ephemeral in that fragile moment that has become already a memory.” Meanwhile, closer to her home in Paris, she has also turned her camera towards her husband's studio in Southern France, where Kiefer has transformed an old silk factory into a Gesamtkunstwerk, with tunnels and constructions that inhabit the landscape as though they have always been there, she says, "like remnants of another culture.”
Filmmaker Leigh Johnson Imagines the Inner Workings of the Humble Christmas Decoration
Understandably grouchy after spending 11 months of the year in a darkened closet, a bauble offers his dry, sardonic and dismissive verdict on traditional holiday decor in Leigh Johnson's po-faced short. "My favorite Christmas decorations are the ones my brothers and sisters made when they were young," offers the director, who collaborated with novelist Ned Beauman on the film. "I wish they still existed, but they probably had the same fate as the broken birdie [in the film]." Voiced by actor Roger Lloyd Pack, famous for his portrayal of simpleton Colin “Trigger'” Ball in popular English sitcom Only Fools and Horses, the ornament bemoans grotesque animals, insincere tinsel and unnatural fairy lights, before relating his adventures in the big wide world. "I couldn't immediately think of a model for a talking bauble, so in this case the character emerged bit by bit out of my collaboration with Leigh," says Beauman, whose debut Boxer, Beetle was shortlisted for both the Guardian First Book Award and the Desmond Elliott Prize for new fiction. "It was fun smashing the baubles,” says Johnson mischievously. “Especially after years of being so careful with them."
Graphics Pioneer Herbert Matter's Rarely Seen Film Marks Sculptor Alexander Calder's Birth
Surrounded by the hypnotic rhythm of his own sculptures in motion, legendary artist Alexander Calder is shown working in his studio in this clip from visionary photographer and graphic designer Herbert Matter’s 1950 film Works of Calder, featuring a soundtrack by John Cage. Renowned for his ability to “sculpt with air,” Calder dedicated his seven-decade career to observing the complex nature of movement, pioneering kinetic sculptures, called mobiles, which prefigured the work of a diverse range of contemporary artists such as Richard Serra, James Turrell and Olafur Eliasson. “Time, space and the actuality of the moment are integral components of Calder’s oeuvre,” explains Alexander S. C. Rower, President of The Calder Foundation. “Perhaps Sartre most aptly described the intuitive nature of his pieces when he compared it to ‘a little hot jazz tune, unique and ephemeral, like the sky, like the morning.’” Premiered at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in January 1951 and virtually unseen since, the film came about after a chance encounter between Calder and multi-Emmy-winning actor Burgess Meredith in a cocktail bar three years earlier. The pair enlisted Matter to adapt his photomontage techniques to moving image, and create the surrealist portrait of the artist and his mobiles under the hazy light of Roxbury, Connecticut.
Works of Calder (1950). Directed and cinematography by Herbert Matter; produced and narrated by Burgess Meredith; music by John Cage. Sponsored by New World Films and Motion Picture Stages. Burgess Meredith and Museum of Modern Art, New York. [20 min., 16mm, color, sound (English)]
The Calder Foundation will present the full-length film, as well as several other historic Calder films, on calder.org beginning in Fall 2012.