Friday, July 06, 2007

From Notebooks


I'm looking through a book of photographs--a monograph book, all of the same photographer. The pictures are of town scenes (East Europe?) near a slaughterhouse. One, a very arresting image where a woman stands in the middle foreground. In the background are people rolling barrels/drums from the slaughterhouse, the speed of their roll and the force of their impact on the pavement is shown by the sheets of bloodred that fly off the rim of the barrels, caught in the evening light.

This appears to be the motif of the series, as these red midair splashes appear in almost every photograph. Outside the slaughterhouse, blood evidently stood in the potholes: another photograph of a 60s car approaching the camera. From each front fender is a splash that extends; two red blood batwings through which the sunlight comes. Another shot is taken of the driver from the passenger seat. A young woman is at the wheel. Past her shoulder and appearing over the sill of the door, one of those bloodred wings. The whole series a set of casual scenes with these ominous shapes spreading themselves out somewhere in the frame in that captured instant.
In looking around the internet and in various reading, I came across the work of Felix Gonzales-Torres, a New York artist whose installation pieces didn't impress me much, focusing mostly on draped light strings, such as could be found in just about any college off-campus house, and candy spills. I read about some of his later pieces put together when he was sick, composed of piles of light blue candy that the exhibition-goers were invited to eat. "The artist told X that weights and numbers in his pieces was arbitrary, but he also told friends that the weight of the candy pile was the combined weight of his and Ross's bodies, slowly disappearing, being consumed. ...Also, X repeatedly questions [Felix] about the shade of blue that appears in so many of his pieces, the artist evades the question even though he had told close friends that the blue was the blue of Ross's hospital gown."

Top photo can be found at

1 comment:

Kristen said...

Artists can be sneaky like that. One of the contemporary painters I find rather intriguing is Ross Bleckner. He also sneaks up on you like that.