Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Eugène Atget: Old Paris

Left to right: Eugène Atget Marchard d’abat jour, rue Lepic 1899-1900, albumen photograph, George Eastman House, International Museum of Photography and Film, Rochester;Boulevard de Strasbourg 1912, albumen photograph, George Eastman House, International Museum of Photography and Film, Rochester; Rue Hautefeuille, 6th arrondissement 1898, albumen photograph © Musée Carnavalet, Paris/Roger-Viollet/TopFoto
Eugène Atget
Old Paris
Art Gallery of New South Wales: 24 August – 4 November, 2012

Almost everyone carries around with them a picture of Paris. A mental snapshot that you keep locked away that makes you smile or frown,laugh or cry but that is distinct and unique to you. For me that is what Old Paris is, an insight into the life and times of Eugène Atget and the Paris he saw changing at a rapid pace around him. Baron Haussmann’s 19th-century modernisation program had hit Paris and Atget captured the fading lights of a quickly departing old Paris.

Having inspired many artists, Atget captures buildings, gardens and shop fronts - primarily devoid of human interaction - focusing on light and shade. The urban landscape takes on a life of its own as it fills the frame and the nostalgic undertones are palpable. The photographer's attention to detail and ability to transform a street scene has me looking at the world around me differently and with more interest. These images are simply stunning and a credit to the man who many considered the father of documentary photography.     

Eugène Atget, A corner, Rue de Seine, May 1924

Eugène Atget, Avenue de l'Observatoire, 1926
Eugène Atget, Brocanteur 38 rue Descartes (5e arr), 1909
Eugène Atget, Le Pont Neuf

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Wednesday, 19 September 2012

The lost art of humility

I read a really interesting article in the Sunday Magazine from the Sunday Telegraph last weekend. Journalist Angela Mollard explores the lack of humility (Lessons in Humility) in our generation and attributes this, in some respects, to the popularity and saturation of social media. Having worked extensively in social media for the last four years I have to say - I completely agree with her.

Lessons in Humility began with an anecdote about reading to her daughter. When she attempted to explain what being humble meant her daughter responded that she did not know anyone who was humble. When asking my two nieces (16 & 18 respectively) what humility was they looked at me blankly for a moment before shrugging nonchalantly and updating their Facebook status on their iPhones. This is a worrying development. 

"Look, I love social media, but this need to shop-window ourselves is creating a generation that calculates its worth on external adulation, not personal integrity."

And it doesn't stop there. It seems you can't open the paper or turn on the news these days without hearing another story about cyber bullying or people being attacked on Twitter or someone being arrested for abusive behaviour over the social network. When did social media become a weapon? When did it become a headline? Is social media - a means through which we are supposedly staying more connected - in effect, disconnecting us?  

Mollard asks where will the next Mandela, Mahatma Gandi or Aung San Suu Kyi come from? Chances are my nieces wouldn't even know who Mandela was (or care) so is it a lack of awareness that is robbing the younger generation of the opportunity to learn humility, to know what integrity is and to realise that at the end of the day, when you are standing at the end of your life and are looking back, no one will remember you for a witty status update or that ever so clever tweet. It is the way you behaviour, the character of a person, that remains long after tweets have dropped off the feed and Facebook photos have been untagged. 

Having started out her career writing obituaries, Mollard ends with a very telling and potent comment. "One obituary I wish I'd written was Neil Armstrong's. When he died, TV producers scrambled for video footage. Yes, there was the moon walk, but there were no red carpets, no appearances on Letterman, no reunions with retired astronauts. He was the ultimate humble hero - an explorer who sought greatness not for one man, but for mankind."

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Monday, 17 September 2012

GUEST POST: Elizabeth Little explores Melbourne's laneway art

On a recent visit to Melbourne I joined a tour of the laneways led by “We Make Stuff Good Art Tours”. The tour started in the lanes opposite RMIT, and over a couple of hours we walked across Melbourne’s CBD to Union Lane, Little Bourke Street, Paynes Place and Hosier Lane.

We saw lots of examples of the different types of street art including tags, paste-ups, stencils, moss bombs, stickers and even guerrilla knitting and crochet! Our guide pointed out examples by well known street artists including Ha-Ha, Vexta, and Space Invaders. It was interesting to hear that although in some ways encouraged by the City of Melbourne, and the existence of legal graffiti areas, the underground / illegal nature of this type of art lives on. The art on the walls is forever changing and being painted over – sometimes by the Council and at other times by artists making their own mark on Melbourne’s walls. Being caught with spray cans can still get you charged with causing malicious damage, while sticking paste-ups to walls will get you a littering fine. One artist we came across had worked out how to get around all this by ‘painting’ on the footpath with water. His giant fish may only have lasted for less than an hour, but it was beautiful to see. It appears that some businesses have embraced the street art vibe and invited artists to adorn their walls. The QV Centre has several examples of stencil art adorning its walls.

At first glance a lane full of graffiti and street art can look overwhelmingly chaotic, but having taken the time to look a little further I found lots of instances of work that I really enjoyed, and even a nod to the disenfranchised youth of West Side Story through a sticker that simply read JETS.

Elizabeth Little has a B. Art Theory (Hons)and M Art Admin, COFA UNSW. She lives and works in Sydney.

All images supplied by the writer.

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Saturday, 15 September 2012

Now that's a press release...

Received this press release yesterday from He Made She Made & it's one of the best I've seen. Can't wait for the show!

Mulga The Artist is Joel Moore, an emerging Sydney based artist and freelance designer who likes beards. And zombies. And zombies with beards and creatures with eyes and other oddities such as knife fighting bananas.

Join Snake Turban Steve, Rodney RopeBeard and Fish Beard Phil amongst other such Mulga folk for a night of shenanigans and beards (oh...and art and design).

BYO beard essential.
6pm - 9pm 
Running till the 12th of October


Snake Turban Steve & Friends is proudly supported by Art and About and the City of Sydney Council's 'Show and Tell' initiative.

For more info check out http://www.artandabout.com.au/events/show-and-tell-2/ and come compete in our Beard Off Challenge. For real...

Copyright © 2012 He Made She Made, All rights reserved.

He Made She Made Concept Gallery aims to showcase and promote the work of Australian creatives within the realm of art and design.

Our mailing address is:
He Made She Made
70 Oxford Street
Darlinghurst, NSW

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Wednesday, 12 September 2012

18th Biennale of Sydney: AGNSW & MCA


18th Biennale of Sydney
Art Gallery of New South Wales & Museum of Contemporary Art: June 27- September 16, 2012

Last Saturday Adam Fulton wrote for The Sydney Morning Herald that the 18th Biennale of Sydney has reached its "biggest attendance in its 39-year history". Last weekend alone attendance reached 550,000 beating the 2010 record of 517,000. With the exhibition closing on Sunday I struggle to think waht I could possibly say about it that hasn't already been said - at least a hundred times. So I figure I'll just highlight some of my personal favourites from the Art Gallery of New South Wales & the Museum of Contemporary Art. (For my thoughts of Cockatoo Island check out this post.) 

Judy Watson, burnt vessels, 2009

Guido van der Werve, Number Acht, everything is going to be alright, 2007
The video work of Guido van der Werve at the AGNSW is fascinating. In 2007 the Dutch artist, along with a small team, travelled to the gulf of Bothnia to film van der Werve walking across the ice followed closely behind by a 3,500 tonne icebreaker - the Sampo. Given this technological age we live in it would be easy to assume that such trickery as green screens and computer manipulation are used to create this work, but that is simply not the case. There must have been some element of danger involved in creating this work but the artists desire for authenticity would not see the integrity of the work compromised. 

It's simple yet complex and strangely mesmerising. Check out the ABC Arts piece for some great behind the scenes images and video.   
Hassan Sharif, 2006

Nipan Oranniwesna, City of Ghost, 2007-12 (detail)
City of Ghost is one of the most astounding works I've seen in a long time. The artist Nipan Oranniwesna works extensively with intricate maps and City of Ghost is an extension of this. A combination of intricately cut-out street maps of real metropolises including Bangkok, Tokyo, London, New York, Paris, Rome, San Francisco and Singapore, the large scale work is constructed entirely from baby powder. Given this unusual medium, the detail is exceptional. For his work at the Biennale of Sydney he has incorporated a map of Sydney into the mix. This work really needs to be seen to be believed. Photographs simply do not do it justice.    
Yuken Teruya, Notice-Forest: Six Jewels, 2010

Yuken Teruya, Notice-Forest: Six Jewels, 2010
The clever use of light in Yuken Teruya's work is what makes the work so stunning. The delicately crafted trees constructed from paper bags elevates the ordinary to extraordinary. As the light filters through it creates an other-worldly quality and the way in which they are displayed, so that you need to almost peek inside, gives the impression of glimpsing into a hidden world. It's like looking for the fairies hiding under toad stools- this is where the little people live.  
Yuken Teruya

Pinaree Sanpitak, Anything Can Break (detail) 2011

Pinaree Sanpitak, Anything Can Break, 2011

Liu Zhuoquan, Two-Headed Snake, 2011

Liu Zhuoquan, Two-Headed Snake, 2011
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Monday, 3 September 2012

The Hiding Place

atyp Under the Wharf and The Night Whisperer present

The Hiding Place: August 30- September 15, 2012
by Kendall Feaver, directed by Kai Raisbeck

Costume & Set Designer: Gez Xavier Mansfield
Lighting Designer: Sara Swersky
Sound Designer: Nate Edmondson
Assistant Director: Liz Arday
Stage Manager: Jeremy Page
Producer: Mackenzie Steele


Emily | Michele Durman
Patrick | Philippe Klaus
Nana | Abi Rayment
Ross | Paul Hooper

The Hiding Place follows the story of Emily who has lived her entire life from the age of six in a room in her Nana's house. She lives her life through her drawings and the six books she owns, spending her days watching the shifting light and the dust as it floats through the air. This is her world, this is all she knows and although she ages every year she believes she is still a ten year old girl. This belief is created and facilitated through her Nana who, through a misguided attempt to keep her safe, will not allow Emily to venture outside. Later we discover this fear steams from an inability to protect her own daughter, Emily's mother. All appears to be going to plan until the night a young man called Patrick accidentally stumbles through Emily's open window and opens her eyes to a world she had been lead to believe was evil and dirty.  

Over time Emily begins to trust Patrick and he slowly begins to help her understand that she's not a little girl anymore. This comes to a head the night Patrick brings over a mirror and Emily sees herself for the first time in over 10 years. It's a beautiful and heartbreaking scene as Emily initially believes she sees her mother before she realises it is her own reflection. She begins to question what her Nana has told her and desires a life outside of her four walls.

Combined with this is a second story line between Patrick and his father Ross. Their turbulent relationship unfolds and a mutual distrust hampers any chance of understanding. There is a beautiful moment near the end when Ross chooses to believe his son and agrees to help him rescue the girl he can't bring himself to leave. The father- son dynamic is entirely believable- at times quite hilariously so.

The Hiding Place is a beautifully written play with an excellent cast. Emily is innocently endearing and the comic timing between her and Patrick is perfect. You really feel for Nana as she struggles with her own feelings towards loosing her daughter, whom Emily resembles so clearly. In the end Emily makes the decision to run away with Patrick but before she can, she confesses everything to her Nana, finally voicing what she has wanted the whole time- her freedom. In the end she saves herself and we see her caring for her Nana the way that she once cared for her.

With well developed characters and potent lighting and sound, The Hiding Place is a well rounded and brilliantly executed play.   
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