Series of Photographic Portraits: A Century of Photographs

August Sander, Jungbauern, Westerwald, 1914

Helmar Lerski, Everyday Heads, 1931

Heinrich Riebesehl, People in an Elevator, 1969

Andy Warhol, Self-Portrait in Drag (Reddish-Brown Wig, Plaid Tie), 1981/82

Michael Schmidt, Aus der 81-Teiligen Serie Frauen, 1997-1999

Judith Joy Ross, Protesting the U. S. War in Iraq, 2007

Series of Photographic Portraits: A Century of Photographs

Series of Portraits: A Century of Photographs is an exhibtion of 20th century portrait photography, which is presently on display at the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg. Portraiture is one of the traditional genres in art and was a driving force behind the invention of photography in the 19th century. Portrait photography continually redefines itself, between dissolution of the traditional concept of the subject in the masses, toward the pursuit of individuality and identity. The image of the human being is subject to constant change, which is also reflected in photography, sometimes with spectacular results.

Photo-Gallery: Series of Portraits/A Century of Photographs

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You Are Here: The Formative Power of Architecture

Candida Höfer, Palais Garnier Paris XXX, 2005

Candida Höfer, Biblioteca Girolamini Napoli III, 2009

Candida Höfer, Biblioteca Nazionale Napoli III, 2009

Candida Höfer, Museum Morsbroich Leverkusen I, 2008

Cyprien Gaillard, View over Sighthill, 2008

Cyprien Gaillard, Chateau d’Oiron, 2008

Cyprien Gaillard, Belief in the Age of Disbelief, 2005, Etching

You Are Here: The Formative Power of Architecture

You Are Here: Architecture and Experience is an exhibition of works by two contemporary artists at the Carnegie Museum of Art that examines the formative power of architecture, or how architectural environments influence our experiences and perceptions of the world. The exhibition brings together the photographs of German artist Candida Höfer and a video, photographs and etchings by French artist Cyprien Gaillard. Both artists express the formative power of architecture in ways that are different, but also complementary.

Candida Höfer’s lush color photographs of ornately palatial historical and contemporary interior spaces are usually devoid of humans, embodying a sense of peaceful quietude. Yet, they also reveal details that draw the viewer into considerations of what each place might mean.  In Höfer’s photographs, the experience of each room becomes completely subjective: Is it stifling in its grandiosity, or perhaps enlightening in its lavish beauty? We see spaces as moments of history and definers of class, the anachronisms, vanities, and beauty of spaces; the humanity, in all its sins and glories, that can inhabit a built environment, without so much as a glimpse of any humans. Each space can help us decide our point of view, but Höfer seems to say that deciphering these spaces is a task ultimately left up to each of us.

Contrasting with Höfer, Cyprien Gaillard’s video Desniansky Raion, his photographs and meticulously detailed etchings all probe the human legacy of Modernist high-rise housing blocks. Constructed after World War II throughout the United States, Europe and the Eastern Bloc to provide decent housing, these buildings too often have become warehouses for the poor and incubators of crime and antisocial behaviors. While Gaillard’s video alternates between order and destructive violence, packing a powerful and direct emotional punch, Höfer’s photographs embody a kind of quietude that encourages slow, sustained exploration of meanings that build through the accumulation of detail. Nevertheless, both works are equally affecting and bring the viewer into the realm of architectural experience with compelling intensity. Höfer and Gaillard capture the constant vacillation between what we make of our architectural environments, and what they make of us.

Cyprien Gaillard: Desniansky Raion (2007)

Koudlam: See You All (Music for Desniansky Raion)

Photo-Gallery: You Are Here/The Formative Power of Architecture

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Loom: A Visual Metaphor for Nature’s Cruel Cycle of Life and Death

Loom: A Visual Metaphor for Nature’s Cruel Cycle of Life and Death

Loom is a brilliant, award-winning five-minute CGI short film, made by students at the German design and storytelling collective Polynoid. Blending a variety of aesthetic and cultural influences, Polynoid’s multifaceted creative vision is nourished by interests in graffiti, nature, graphic novels, science and philosophy. With a rich observational eye for detail, Polynoid has established a strong visual language all of its own. Polynoid’s narrative technique combines new forms of storytelling with a shared interest in progressive sound design to create a minimalist, photo-real and abstract sensory experience.

Loom won The Best In Show at Siggraph, 2010, and just recently won the Best Animated Movie Award at Sehsüchte 2011 in Potsdam, Germany. Loom explores natural causal cycles through the visual metaphor of a moth caught in a spider’s web. The story of the moth’s drowning reveals a larger range of thematic concerns  about life and death from a tale told on a micro scale. The full-version of the film is presented below:

Loom: A Visual Metaphor for Nature’s Cruel Cycle of Life and Death

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First Date: What a Hot and Sexy Surprise!!

First Date: What a Hot and Sexy Surprise!!

1st Date is a wickedly funny, sexy two-minute ink on paper animated short film by animator and comic book artist Nils Knoblich. The film follows a man’s dramatic crisis over his beloved mustache. Arthur has finally managed to land a date with beautiful Liza, but then things suddenly take a totally unexpected turn. While at first everything on his first date seemed to run smoothly, soon his mustache starts to get out of control. However, the end of the date turns out to be a very hot and steamy, sexy surprise!

First Date: What a Hot and Sexy Surprise!!

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Joy of Destruction: The Human Drive to Destroy

Joy of Destruction: The Human Drive to Destroy

Joy of Destruction is an absurdly funny, but at the same time very sad paper-collage stop-motion animated short film created by Xaver Xylophon, in collaboration with Laura Junger. The film highlights mankind’s propensity to destroy everything, ranging from from the humorous blowing up of balloons or bubble wrap, to the hard reality of terrorism, ecological disasters and bloody human massacres. It’s fairly true that no matter what humans happen to encounter, they will always try to kill it. No matter what it is.

Joy of Destruction: The Human Drive to Destroy

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Kurzschluss: A Very Tragic Robot Love Story

Kurzschluss: A Very Tragic Robot Love Story

Kurzschluss (Short Circuit) is a delightful, bittersweet 3D-animated short film by German animators Miriam Frank, Georg Utz, and Xaver Xylophon.  The sad little animated short, which cleverly combines stop-motion and CGI, tells a very tragic robot love story.

Kurzschluss: A Very Tragic Robot Love Story

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Luminous Cities: Creative Explorations of Architectural Structures in Urban Landscapes

Edward Steichen, The Maypole, Empire State Building, New York City, 1932

Andreas Feininger, New York at Night, c. 1940

Eugene Atget (France), Coin de la Rue Valette et Pantheon, 5e Arrondissement, Matinee de Mars, 1925

Stephen Thompson, Grande Canale, Venice, c. 1868

Henry Hart (England), House of Parliament, London, c. 1847-1857

Luminous Cities: Creative Explorations of Architectural Structures in Urban Landscapes

Luminous Cities is a fascinating collection of photographs, which have been selected from a delightful exhibition of photographs of the built environment on display at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia. The world’s great cities have always been vibrant centers of creativity, in which the built environment is often as inspirational as the activities of its citizens, and since the nineteenth century photographers have creatively explored the idea of the city.

The exhibition enables the viewer to examine the various ways photographers have viewed cities as historical sites, bustling modern hubs and architectural utopias in the 19th and 20th centuries. Through the work of a range of photographers, Luminous Cities leads viewers on a fascinating journey around the world, into the streets, buildings and former lives of some of our greatest international cities.  The many fine photographs presented here, and in the remarkable slide show, include works by renowned photographers Eugene Atget, Edward Steichen, Paul Strand, Berenice Abbott, Bill Brandt, Lee Freidlander and Grant Mudford amongst many others.

Photography in the City: Contemporary Urban Atmospheres

Slide Show: Luminous Cities/Architectural Structures in Urban Landscapes

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