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Rosalind Fox Solomon (1930)

 

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Sometimes you can not place it immediately, but because i value some publishers more than others, my eye was caught by a book titled Chapalingas by Steidl publishers. Because i know they have an excellent portfolio of publications and produce the best possible (quality) books i started to leaf through it. The photographer was Rosalind Solomon. Years ago i  had read that she photographed the youth in Belfast and at a time went back to one of the concentration camps, but i had forgotten her name….until yesterday i encountered the Steidl publication “Chapalingas” by her and was blown away by her photographs.

here follows a short biography on Solomon.

Rosalind Fox Solomon (b. 1930), an American artist based in New York City, is celebrated for her portraits and for her connection to human suffering, ritual, survival, and struggle.  Fox Solomon’s work flows back and forth between the personal and the universal.  Her talent lies in her capacity to interpret and photograph both the social elements of the places she travels to, and the obsessions and anxieties that travel with her.  Her primary medium has been photography.  In the 1980s, she also produced the installations, Adios and Catacombs.  Since the 1990s, she has continued making images.  Additionally, she has performed her own texts and poetry on video.  Bruce Silverstein exhibited her audiovisual installation, Scintillation, in her 2016 solo show Got to Go, which also featured 30 prints of varied sizes, hung in erratic salon style.  For the past 45 years, Fox Solomon has created challenging bodies of work, shown in nearly 30 solo exhibitions and 100 group exhibitions, and in the collections of over 50 museums worldwide.

Born in Highland Park, Illinois, Fox Solomon graduated from Goucher College.  She married, moved to Chattanooga, Tennessee, and raised two children.  She began photographing in 1968, continuing to live and work in the South until she moved in 1977 to Washington, D.C.  Solomon studied privately with Lisette Model during visits to New York City.

In the 1970’s, Fox Solomon began her work with dolls and manikins, portraits and ritual.  She made her first portraits of the ill during a yearlong project in a Chattanooga hospital.  In Guatemala, she photographed shamans as well as secular and religious ritual.  She also worked on a series of southern portraits, which include President Jimmy Carter and William Eggleston.  From 1977–79, Fox Solomon continued photographing artists and politicians, among them Louise Nevelson, Eva Le Gallienne, William Christenberry, and Tony Smith.  Her project, Outside the White House, was completed during two years in Washington, D. C., when her husband was Administrator of the General Services Administration.

John Szarkowski included her work in the 1978 exhibition Mirrors and Windows at the Museum of Modern Art, and exhibited examples from her Dolls and Manikins series in the show Photography for Collectors. Szarkowski also selected 50 of Fox Solomon’s prints for MoMA’s permanent collection.  Her pictures have appeared over the years in group exhibitions at MoMA: American Children, American Politicians, Pictures by Women: A History of Modern Photography and The Original Copy: Sculpture in Photography 1839 to Today.  In 1986, MoMA mounted a solo exhibition of Fox Solomon’s work, Rosalind Solomon, Ritual.  Most recently, MoMA included her work in the anthology Photography at MoMA: 1960—Now, and curator Peter Eleey devoted a room to a selection of her work at MoMA PS1 in the Greater New York 2015 exhibition.

In the 1980’s, she photographed in Ancash, a region in the Peruvian Andes.  The remnants of a catastrophic earthquake became a metaphor for the upheaval she was experiencing in her own life.  A Guggenheim Fellowship supported this work, which was recognized as an historic document of a forgotten area when it was exhibited at el Museo de Arte de Lima in 1996.  She continued her work in the area, over the next 20 years.  During the 1980’s, Solomon also spent six months in India, as a Fellow of the American Institute of Indian Studies.  In Kolkata, she photographed sculptures of mother goddess figures that radiate female power.  She also photographed Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, the Dalai Lama, Ganesh Pyne, and Satyajit Ray.

Along the Road, made in 1985, is one of several single-edition handmade books by Fox Solomon.  It includes photographs, drawings, texts and a Tibetan Buddhist woman’s apron.

In 1987, hundreds of young men and women dying with AIDS were demonized by society; often ostracized even by their own families.  Fox Solomon felt affinity with them.  Her own son was living with a progressive kidney disease.  She began making portraits of individuals with AIDS, hoping that her pictures might help to remove the stigma attached to those with HIV who were sick and dying.

Tom Sokolowski, director of New York University’s Grey Gallery of Art, heard about her project.  He had seen her pictures at MoMA, and asked her whether she could complete the work and make prints for an exhibition to open in May 1988.  Ten months later, sixty-five of the resulting pictures were mounted for the exhibit, Portraits in the Time of AIDS at the Grey Gallery.  Twenty-six of the original large-scale prints were shown again in 2013 at Bruce Silverstein gallery in New York City, and again in the Salon d’Honneur of the Grand Palais at Paris Photo in 2015.

As ethnic violence increased throughout the world, Fox Solomon went to Poland to revisit the Holocaust and photograph the people she encountered.  She photographed Belfast children of The Troubles; the wounded of Belgrade, Hanoi and Phnom Penh; and the oppressed and the privileged of South Africa.  For respite and contrast, she photographed New Orleans Mardi Gras.  In 2006, Steidl published her book, Polish Shadow.

The book CHAPALINGAS  is now available at www.ftn-books.com

rosalind solomon

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Kyungwoo Chun (1969)

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I had never hear before of this Korean born artist, but since we have a Korean painting by Jungwook Kim in our collection i have become interested in Korean Modern Art. Last week i encountered this publication on our local bookmarket and immediately my interest was raised . Intriguing portraits of blurred persons create a fairy tale like atmosphere. I find this photographs of high quality and if i triggered your interest pleasde visit his site at: www.kyungwoochun.de

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Born in Korea, now based in Germany, Kyungwoo Chun is known for his softly controlled treatment of his subjects. Much of Chun’s photographic work is deeply figural and plays with the standards of traditional portraiture. Since his first solo show in 1994, Chun has exhibited heavily in his home country, as well as across Europe and beyond. Chun also works in performance and video. Much of his highly interactive performance work engages directly with public space and site-specificity, and uses the viewers as crucial elements in the work, whether they are writing text, folding paper airplanes, or simply touching it. In Versus (2011), Chun installed a curving, minimalist bench in the heart of Times Square, then filled the structure with two facing rows of people. For the run of the piece, opposing participants gently leaned on one another, in a partial-hug of an embrace. Video functions in several ways for Chun. At times, the moving camera does the same as stills, blurring figural forms into abstracted color and shapes. At others, the videos serve as essential documentation of performances that are only activated by an audience of participants who drive the work. Chun’s work has been exhibited at institutions such as the Museum of Photography in Seoul, the Center for Contemporary Art in Aarhus, the Kunstverein Ruhr in Essen, and the Museum of Fine Art Houston.

www.ftn-books.com has one book on this artist available

chun

 

 

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Margriet Smulders (1955) … intrigues

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I know the work of Margriet Smulders from the time she had her first exhibition at gallery Nouvelles Images in Den Haag and from this very start it intrigued me . I was not the kind of admirer of her work who wanted to buy a work for my collection, but still i admired her craftsmanship and excellent feel for composition. She mainly depicts and arranges flowers , which gives a very classic feel almost like you are looking at a 17th century painting, however these are not paintings but highly detailed photographs using glass and mirror surfaces to arrange the flowers which gives the perfect reflection.

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She has developed this technique into perfection and now has made herself a name outside the Netherlands too. Her compositions are printed on extremely large sizes. Making them at first glans from a distance completely abstract, but study them in detail and they reveal the objects that form together the composition. They still intrigue every time i encounter them. Galleries, Art fairs …no exception, they are recognizable and executed with great knowledge of material and composition, but for me they are too artificial and that is why i’m holding back and will not one to my colection. But this is personal and i can really understand why others want these colorful works by Margriet Smulders. For more information visit her website at www.margrietsmulders.nl and www.ftn-books.com for some publications on her works.

smulders

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Aart Klein (1909-2001) …typically dutch?

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No definitely not!….Klein is of the most important dutch photographers from the last century and recorded daily life in the Netherlands , but that does not mean that his photographs are typically dutch. Their subject is in many cases dutch, but their appeal is more international than one would imagine. I have sold Klein publications all over the world , including some to Japan. Aart Klein is for me one of the greats from the last century . His black and white photography has a graphic quality, which is rarely seen among his contemporaries.

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The Stedelijk Museum devoted a special exhibition to his photographs, but beside this special show he contributed to many other exhibitions with his quality photographs. Aart Klein publications are available at www.ftn-books.com

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Norman Parkinson (1913-1990)

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Another photographer . Yesterday William Klein and today Norman Parkinson. Two different approached to photography. For me Parkinson stands for typical sixties photography. Fashion and Royalty were his expertise and because of that expertise he stayed practically his entire life the preferred photographer choice of the British Royals. These photographs were typically staged photographs, they showed nothing spontanious and every pose, setting and prop was well thought over an staged. ( Yes, Audrey Hepburn is some kind of cinematic Royalty too)

His fashion photographs were much more loose and therefore i prefer these above the Royal photographs.

It is noot a very common book to find. A monography with photographs by Norman Parkinson is a rarity , but still www.ftn-books.com has one in its inventory.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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Gábor Ősz (1962)

At the time Osz had his exhibition at the Gemeentemuseum, we met and i told him i was very much impressed with his photographs. Large scaled sea views and architectural photos, unsharp and blown up to gigantic proportions they make you almost feel little. If i must compare his art i almost would say that his photography has a MINIMAL art concept and is mostly related to others from the Minimal art scene. His photo subjects are almost non existent and you really have to study them to see what is meant by them. Study them closely and you see that it is a sea with a horizon and of course the title helps ( THE LIQUID HORIZON no. 13 ) but just glance at it shortly and you are in doubt what the subject is.

Because of the unsharpness the photo feels abstract. It is hard to describe what the quality of his photography is. I think it is best to experience them. Stand in front of one of them and feel the strength of the composition. These photo’s are not the easiest ones on this planet, but certainly they are fascinating. www.ftn-books.com has a very nice signed and dated publication by Gábor Ősz available. This comes from avery small edition of only 400 copies and Gábor Ősz presented me with 2 of these copies of which one is now for sale.

osz

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Gerard Petrus Fieret / 2 drawings

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It was years ago that i bought a poetry book by Gerard Pedtrus Fieret and found 2 drawings from 1982 by him within. The drawings are rapid sketches as he now and then made for friends. These 2 sketches were done for Jopie. I do not know who Jopie is , but in both is a woman depicted so i think Jopie was a female friend of Fieret. Both these drawings are now for sale at ftn art. In the near future i will publish some  “Bierviltjes”and letters i have in my collection. These drawings and letters were written to a friend of mine and are an important piece of Fieret history. But now the 2 drawings by Fieret.

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Vojta Dukat ( 1947)

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Living in Den Haag and winner of the prestigious Ouborg price in 2001, i always have admired Vojta Dukat, original in his approach to his subject and for me one of the very best black and white photographers of his generation. Intimate portraits of people, perfect use of the light.

He makes photographs as if they were paintings. Classical, recognizable  situations are transformed into brilliant photographs. Because of his connection with Den Haag, the Gemeentemuseum was fortunate to have the show on the occasion of the Ouborgprijs and this is where i first encountered his photographs. Since i have been following his career. The book published on the occasion of the Ouborgprijs is a true classic and www.ftn-books.com is fortunate to have this for sale. I found a small youtube item on the book which gives a great impression of it.

dukat

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László Moholy-Nagy ( 1895-1946)

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László Moholy-Nagy  born László Weisz; July 20, 1895 – November 24, 1946) was a Hungarian painter and photographer as well as a professor in the Bauhaus school. He was highly influenced by constructivism and a strong advocate of the integration of technology and industry into the arts.

This is how the Wikipedia article on László Moholy-Nagy begins. I know the art by him as complicated constructions of threads and pieces of metal, but it was not until some 15 years ago that i discovered a book on his “photograms” and it immediately fascinated me. It was the link between painting and photography, showing details of hands and objects turning them into abstract works of art.

With his photograms, such as Photogram with Eiffel Tower (1925-1929), Moholy-Nagy experimented with the abstract potential of a traditionally documentary medium. The artist’s photography was also distinguished by its abstract qualities achieved through his bold experimentation with perspective. Among Moholy-Nagy’s three-dimensional works, the best known is Light Prop for an Electric Stage (1930), a mechanical sculpture that used light as a material and cast shifting shadows on the walls around it.

Www.ftn-books.com has some very nice László Moholy-Nagy publications available

 

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Nobuyoshi Araki (1940)

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Araki has published over 400 books. He is known primarily for his photography that blends eroticism and bondage in a fine art context. But where he first was a rather obscure photographer who dared to photograph his subjects in “forbidden” poses and where his publications were originally sold under the counter. His photography has become mainstream, partly due to his dutch representatives of Reflex gallery and certainly by Benedikt TAschen who published several titles on Araki , including to super large sized ARAKI special publication in 2002.

Nobuyoshi Araki is known best for his intimate, snapshot- style images sensual flowers and of women often tied up with ropes (a kinky japanese art called Kinbaku). ( some of them availabel at Reflex galery / Amsterdam).The magnitude of  Araki’s work is difficult to wrap your head around. Araki is an artist who reacts strongly to his emotions and uses photography to experience them more intensely. His work is at once shocking and mysteriously tender with a burst of power. But one thing strikes me about most of his photographs (besides the obvious nudity) is the relationship between him and the one he captures, the intimacy, the trust and the surrender. Araki is Helmut Newton on drugs but more amplified. He is not afraid of his emotions nor of showing them to the world. He is truly an exceptionally deep and emotional artist. In 1970 he created his famous Xeroxed Photo Albums, which he produced in limited editions and sent to friends, art critics and even people he selected randomly from his local telephone book.  Araki has published over 400 books of his work. Including ARAKI, a super large publication, $4000.00 book of beauty.

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About this publication said “this book reveals everything about me. it’s been a 60-year contract. Photography is love and death- that’ll be my epitaph” – Araki

But you do not have to spent as much as 4k USD. There are excellent Araki publications for far less money available at www.ftn-books.com