Guy Tillim - Avenue Patrice Lumumba

"These photographs are not collapsed histories of post-colonial African states or a meditation on aspects of late-modernist colonial structures, but a walk through avenues of dreams. Patrice Lumumba's dream, his nationalism, is discernible in the structures, if one reads certain clues, as is the death of his dream, in these de facto monuments. How strange that modernism, which eschewed monument and past for nature and future, should carry such memory so well."
Guy Tillim

Avenue Patrice Lumumba previously shown in Foam in Amsterdam, Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson in Paris, The Photographers' Gallery in London and Serralves Museum in Porto. Now exhibited in Extra City Kunsthal Antwerpen examines modern history of Africa in the context of colonial and post-colonial architectural heritage.
In this project, the South African photographer Guy Tillim apparently tries to move away from the late-modernist architectural structures. Artist focuses on the transitional and hybrid sceneries that are to speak of the aspirations for liberation and progress in the post-colonial Africa. Looking at the photographs, we can’t help thinking of failure and horrific remains of the contested ideologies.
Lumumba was one of the first elected African leaders of modern times, assassinated only weeks after his victory by Belgian agents in a complot of the CIA and the Belgian secret service.
I saw these photographs only on the internet and at first found them disappointing, especially knowing some of Tillim’s previous work. Getting to know his intent to show Africans’ almost impossible aim, the way they try to rebuild and transform their countries, using the poor, available facilities, made me look with humility for peoples’ helplessness and not only dramatic forms of abandoned modernist architecture.
Still my favorite of Tillim’s work is Petros Village, Malawi, 2006 project. You can see the photographs and read more about it here.


Birthday Post

I’ve been meaning to write something about Saul Leiter since I discovered him during my last visit in London but somehow I never did.
It’s my birthday today and I opened a present I got from Catherine on Friday. It was a lovely, little book with Leither’s photographs so I thought, right, this time I need to put some of his amazing photographs on my blog!
I must say, it’s been a while since I was moved so much with distinctness of photographer’s view.
It was a discovery to see his unusual and abstracted compositions, all with painterly quality that came from his background, as Leither started as painter. Apparently the artist combined those two techniques in the most literal way in his painted photographs of nudes on which he has actually applied layers of gouache and watercolor.
Martin Harrison, editor and author of "Saul Leiter Early Color”, (which I highly recommend) writes, “Leiter’s sensibility…placed him outside the visceral confrontations with urban anxiety associated with photographers such as Robert Frank or William Klein. Instead, for him the camera provided an alternate way of seeing, of framing events and interpreting reality. He sought out moments of quiet humanity in the Manhattan maelstrom, forging a unique urban pastoral from the most unlikely of circumstances.”
It’s that sensitivity and ability to find that melancholic beauty of human’s presence in the most unpleasant even environments that always amazes me and sharpens my senses.
I hope you’ll enjoy his photographs and find them inspiring as I did.
I decided to take only colour films to NY as we’re going there for two weeks soon.
I hope I will be able to post some interesting photographs, this time showing more mature and perceptive view on the City.

As for my birthday, thank you to all my friends and family for beautiful and some unexpected wishes coming from all around the world :)
If I could wish something for myself... it would be most of all more moments like the one on this picture below. This time in more sunny and exotic place :)


Olga Mink

Olga Mink is a Dutch artist that works in fields of new media, live performance, video and interactive art.
With her work she crosses boundaries between music, photography, architecture, poetry and nature, creating immersive and physical representations in digital media.
Here are two videos I liked most, one is Sans Soleil which is a collaboration with British artist Robin Rimbaud and fragments from Atlantida for The 2nd Biennial of the Canary Islands (also collaboration with Scanner).
You can watch more here.


Cambridge, In Search of Presence

Last weekend I visited my sister in Cambridge who’s working ther over the summer.
As she is staying in one of the vacant Fitzwilliam College dormitories I had a chance to see and experience living in some of the well known buildings there.
First of all, from my bedroom window I had a view at the Hall designed by Sir Denys Lasdun, mostly known for his Royal National Theatre on London's South Bank. The Hall was surrounded with student accommodation buildings by himself, Van Heyningen and Haward and the most recent ones by Allies and Morrison, everything surrounding the original, XIXth century Grove designed by William Custance.
There was something very special about this place, probably its history, reputation and heritage. I felt somehow privileged being there but also inspired while working on one of my texts I’m writing at the moment.
This atmosphere was enhanced by the fact that the whole place felt really empty. The buildings seamed to long for students’ racket and presence, submerged in nostalgia, almost looking for a reason.
Here are few photographs I took while being there, I hope they will help you imagine the atmosphere.


Anne Schwalbe

Beautiful photographs by Anne Schwalbe that hide more than they reveal.
More here.


"How it would be, if a house was dreaming"

555 KUBIK "How it would be, if a house was dreaming" is a new media installation created by group called URBANSCREEN and Daniel Rossa for Galerie der Gegenwart in Hamburg, showed there in 2008.
Large-scale projection on urban surfaces is what Urbanscreen does best, using buildings’ surfaces for their incredible animations.
Here I was amazed not only by the quality of the animation and it’s coherence with sophisticated sound effects but also by artists’ understanding of the building. The idea behind this installation goes beyond large scale, spectacular projection onto a surface of any architectural form. Here the famous building, designed by O.M. Ungers, not only becomes canvas for the work of art. It’s visual pattern and theoretic concept behind it become the driving force for the narration.
Thanks to the specifics of this installation the character and the way we perceive scale of the context changes, generating very interesting social interactions within the public space.
I recommend getting more familiar with Urbanscreen’s work, you can also read about this piece of work on Daniel Rossa’s web site.