Resistance: Working Against the Camera

March 6, 2012 | Zoltan Arva-Toth | Events | Comment |

The Fine Art Society Contemporary has announced an exhibition entitled Resistance: Working Against the Camera. All of the artists selected for the exhibition resist the normal parameters of the photographic medium, either by inventing their own cameras, destroying them or creating unique camera-less photograms. The list of exhibiting artists include Steven Pippin (UK), Idris Khan (UK), Adam Fuss (US), Rob and Nick Carter (UK), Christopher Bucklow, Janet Laurence (Australia) and Edgar Lissel (Germany). The exhibition opens to the public on 18 April and runs until 5 May 2012. The Fine Art Society is located at 148 New Bond Street, London W1S 2JT.

Fine Art Society Press Release

18 April - 5 May 2012
Private View: Tuesday 17 April 2012, 6.30-8.30pm


The Fine Art Society Contemporary is proud to present a critical consideration of artwork made by circumnavigating the monopoly of traditional camera techniques. All of the artists selected for the exhibition resist the normal parameters of the photographic medium, either by inventing their own cameras, destroying them or creating unique camera-less photograms.

Resistance: Working Against the Camera is set against an economic and social backdrop where photography is growing at an exponential rate and the development of technology is happening at a wildly expeditious pace. We live in a world saturated with images, in an era where more and more cameras are being produced and streamlined into other products. Consequently photographic technology has become readily available to billions of people, slipped discreetly in pockets and continually upgraded without the need for conscious involvement. Not only does this proliferation of cameras and access to them pose important questions about the quality of image making, it also increasingly becomes apparent that our notion of reality is shifting.

In trying to curb the modern addiction to making photographs, the British artist Steven Pippin has created a dramatic body of work that involves physically destroying the camera. He disposes of photography by firing a hand gun at vintage cameras which are set up to create an auto-portrait exactly at the moment of self-destruction and subsequent demise. The sacred and hallowed space of the camera interior, the otherwise dark silent and normally untouched void is violated to the extreme by the insertion of the hand pistol yet still manages to produce an image even though the final negative is damaged and in some sense destroyed.

In his latest series of work commissioned by The New York Times Magazine, the British artist Idris Khan investigates the abundance of imagery that exists of singular touristic destinations. Khan scans this secondary source material and builds up the layers of scans digitally, which allows him to meticulously command tiny variations in contrast, brightness and opacity. The resultant artworks are composed of entirely appropriated, repetitive images but transcend their prosaic origins, metamorphosing into evocative, painterly and deeply textured surfaces.

Adam Fuss directly confronts the domination of the camera by extracting it from his practice. The U.S. based British artist uses daguerreotype and camera-less techniques such as photogram to create carefully balanced images that readdress the central importance of composition. Fuss employs light and chemistry to explore the outer reaches of vision, aiming not to reproduce something before us but to explore the ephemeral, conjuring notions of death and transcendence.

The British artistic duo, Rob and Nick Carter explore the parameters of photography in their multidisciplinary practice, always seeking to distill the primary components of colour light and form. Their innovative photogram work explores the infinite light refractions of 100 diamonds totaling some 40 carats.

By resisting traditional photographic processes the artists are in a better position to allow the brilliance of the light to emerge, demonstrating the full spectrum of colour unleashed by the diamonds. Juxtaposed against these intricate sharp, images is the pared down, vintage inspired photogram of another light source, the lightbulb.

Like Fuss and the Carters, Christopher Bucklow also skirts the boundaries of photography by inventing his own process to capture the human form with striking results. The rich surfaces of his ongoing Guest series begin as a life-sized silhouette drawing from the sitter’s shadow on a sheet of aluminum foil, which is then penetrated with thousands of pinholes that act as the camera’s lenses. Using a homemade camera, the artist exposes the work on photographic paper using direct sunlight, recording many images of the sun and sky simultaneously. The ephemeral results are reminiscent of nineteenth century experiments to give form to the soul as a spectral trace.

The Australian artist Janet Laurence explores human relationships with the natural world and her recent series After Eden Fables reveal secret and precious evidence of animals in the Sumatran Forest in Indonesia The images are a result of an innovative and humane ‘animal trap’ that captures photographic imagery triggered by the presence of an animal in its undisturbed natural environment. The incredibly rare images captured by the unobtrusive camera are printed in negative on to watercolour paper, further heightening their mythical qualities.

The German artist Edgar Lissel creates alternatives to traditional in-camera activity by utilising scientific processes. Bakterium presents bacteria seen through a microscope and projected into Petri dishes filled with bacteria solution. After being exposed with their own image for a few days, the bacterium reproduce their own micro-image as a result of their dependency on light. Lissel also builds his own pinholes cameras, creating similarly gritty yet delicate images.

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