Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Paris Photo

The Grand Palais seen from the Pont Alexandre II.

Simply put - Paris Photo was amazing!

This year the long running French art fair moved from the basement of The Louvre to the Grand Palais and the event was transformative. 150 dealers from all over the world gathered in the turn of the century building whose original purpose was in fact to house the great artistic events of Paris. The main space - the length of two and a half football fields, was constructed with an iron, steel and glass barrel-vaulted roof (needed for large gatherings of people before the age of electricity).

The light, the scale, the space, and an incredible run of good weather seemed to put everyone in the best possible mood and from both my own personal experience and what I gather from colleagues, business was booming as collectors and curators from Brussels to Beijing made the rounds.

The fair also signaled Paris' increasing dominance in the world of photography. Once New York was where it all happened, and not to be self-promoting here - but other than New York's photography dealers (who still dominate the medium) - the interest, commitment, visibility, enthusiasm, discovery, and love for photography all seem greater in Paris. Correct me if you think I'm wrong.

Anyway, here are some pictures of the event and a few highlights. As a participant rather than an observer, I was busy all the time so there are fewer snaps than I would have liked. Sorry.

The sign says"Your waiting time is about an hour from this point" and people were lined up well past here!

The interior of the Grand Palais.

My booth.

My fantastic assistant Charlotte, and our helper Pascal.

Every year the fair celebrates the photography of one culture and this year it was Africa. Here the late Depara from Kinshasa, Congo - another revelatory discovery in the field of African photography.

James Barnor - who took fashion photographs in London for the African magazine, Drum.

Shomei Tomatsu from “Acqua” an exploration of the theme of water in photographs sponsored by Giorgio Armani - one of several non-selling booths at the fair.

An Andy Warhol "stitched" photograph. Warhol's inventiveness never ceases to amaze.

An extraordinarily vivid new super-sized Massimo Vitale at Brancolini Grimaldi.

The "Acqua" booth from outside.

And inside an interesting dialog between Garry Fabian Miller's seminal 1976 horizon pictures and Hiroshi Sugimoto's 1980s prints (recently printed large).

And to end - a beautiful Paolo Roversi of Natalia Vodianova.

See you next year?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Seen in London

In London on my way to exhibiting at Paris Photo.

I was a little surprised to walk into the underground and see this poster for a painting show at The National Portrait Gallery. It certainly caught my eye, but I wonder what the conservatively inclined would make of it back home. It always perplexes me when the land of liberty is more conservative than the land of the monarchy. And will this be another "offensive and explicit" post that will keep Facebook from allowing people to link to this blog?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Karen Knorr's India Song


You’re all invited. Next up at Danziger Gallery is the opening of the Karen Knorr show “India Song” – this Thursday, 6 to 8 p.m..

Knorr, who is a well known artist in England, has been working on different series since the mid 1970s – initially chronicling London’s punk scene, then moving into a combination of social observation and commentary of England’s upper class, and then being increasingly drawn to creating her own tableaux in the interior spaces of historic homes and museums. Knorr’s artistic and conceptual journey is an exemplary model of how one body of work leads to another to build a career. And to cap it off (not that the end is anywhere near) Knorr was just nominated for the 2012 Deutsche Börse Photography Prize - Europe's most prestigious award "for a living photographer who has made the most significant contribution to the medium of photography over the past year".

Much of this acclaim has centered on Knorr’s latest work – a series of Indian tableaux transposing wild animals into the opulent interiors of some of Northern India’s most beautiful private homes and palaces.

Like the pioneering early photographers who found in India a wealth of exotic subject matter, Knorr celebrates the visual richness found in the myths and stories of northern India using sacred and secular sites to highlight caste, femininity and its relationship with the animal world. She considers men's space (mardana) and women's space (zanana) in Mughal and Rajput architecture - be they in palaces, mansions, or mausoleums. These interiors are meticulously photographed with a large format analogue camera. Knorr's own photographs of live animals are then inserted into the diverse rooms and sites, fusing high resolution digital with analogue photography. The results create original and stunning images that reinvent the Panchatantra (an ancient Indian collection of animal fables) for the 21st century and further blur the boundaries between reality and illusion.

Sometimes a show we do takes on a resonance beyond the norm and Knorr’s photographs have certainly provoked this response. We’ve had inquiries (and purchases) from museums and collectors from the minute we posted the work. Come and see for yourselves.