Tag Archives: photography


Twenty years ago I got to know Anders Edström when he started taking pictures for a magazine I worked for, and still do, called Purple. He’d been taking pictures for Martin Margiela, Purple’s fashion hero. His pictures made me think he had a preternatural sense for photography, for which light is its primary medium. And while his subjects were the phenomenal world, his photographs were never flashy, graphic, geometric, sexy, or shocking. Yet he was always able to capture the essence or singularity of things in themselves.

Immanuel Kant called everything in the visible world phenomena. He called the invisible matter that holds the world together the noumenon. He had no idea what that was. Scientists in the coming century would revive the Greek thinker Democritus’s term atom to describe the building blocks of phenomena. Later they speculated on the existence of Dark Matter, which is as mysterious as Kant’s noumenon and supposedly occupies the majority of the universe.

Looking at Anders’ pictures all these years I’ve often felt he focused as much on the atmosphere of light as the phenomena caught in his lens. The best photographers do that. But most of life is a quest for some kind of foreground position, which is most often what is photographed. Ander’s always seemed to look a bit further or maybe a bit behind, letting the backgrounds come to the fore as he searched for the quiddity, the very thingness of the material world, which, as Einstein said, is composed of light and energy.

Two days before I wrote this Anders told me he set these pictures up in a spiral pattern, based on how and when the pictures were taken, often in many exposures. I thought of Heraclitus saying, everything remains in flux, you can’t step into the same river twice, accept the logos because its immanent in the world and transcends the mind. It’s how one might think about these pictures.

Jeff Rian
Paris, 2019

Anders Edström: Spreads
Exhibition running from February 16–March 31, 2019 at Fullersta Gård, Huddinge.




Brian Weil, 1979-1995: Being in the World is on view at the Santa Monica Museum of Art until next Saturday, April 18. The exhibition features sixty works by Weil, from his late ’70s “Sex” series, which featured masked men and women in acts of bondage and bestiality (hired from personals ads in the Village Voice), to his worldwide AIDS activism in the late ’80s and ’90s. Weil became involved with ACT UP in New York, starting the first clean needle exchange program, and traveled to Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Thailand documenting the effects of the deadly virus and its social complexities in daily life. He also produced arresting portraits of such disparate subjects as Hasidic Jews in the New York Catskills and New Jersey female bodybuilders.



Weil’s oeuvre is intimate, personal, and powerful on emotional and political levels. The rough patina produced by his photographic technique reflected his stance towards the politics of representation and subjective agency.

From the exhibition statement:

Weil made conscious formal decisions to convey the texture of each community’s experience while also respecting their dignity and insularity. His process involved re-photographing images from Super 8 film strips, then scratching and overexposing the negatives. The resulting images are both revealing and obscured, an aesthetics of withholding that enabled Weil to carve out an ethical position within the confines of still photography. Compared to the work of other participant-observer photographers of his time, Weil’s oeuvre is unique in its physical manipulation of the medium and distinct terms of exchange between photographer and subject. Brian Weil, 1979-95: Being in the World brings forward the work of this powerful artist whose practice resonates in contemporary debates about the politics of sexuality, activist aesthetics, and photographic representation.



This afternoon I found myself wandering through the Bonaventure Hotel, an iconic mess of a building in downtown Los Angeles. Its four towers of rooms cluster around a soaring atrium ringed with bridges, ramps, and staircases, punctured by floating elevators and mezzanine levels. The result is unnavigable, and while lost searching for an exit, I discovered a small sign next to a seemingly abandoned flower shop for David Hartt’s Interval, presented by LAXART.



Two giant flatscreen monitors mounted on columns played side-by-side black and white videos of mundane natural and urban spaces. Most often the camera would rest on a particular place–a parking lot, a construction site, a forest trail–for just a moment. At other meditative moments it would drift slowly away from an object of focus. All the while a jazz score played in the small tiled space. Viewing benches were placed next to a wall of mirrors and an empty, florescent-lit freezer where flowers were once stored in cold plastic buckets.



Over time it became clear that one video was filmed in the Pacific Northwest, the other in rural Russia. David Hartt made the videos in Yukon and Siberia. Nevertheless, the juxtaposed interstitial spaces seem so similar that they start to blend into one another. Hartt’s internationalism emphasizes sameness, leaving room for subjectivity to grow. Difference loses its hypervalorized exchange value.

An erudite accompanying text on newsprint by curator Matthew Schum quotes Frederic Jameson’s description of the Bonaventure as a postmodern gesamtkunstwerk. Jean Baudrillard called it “nothing but an immense toy.” Hartt openly opposes this iconicity by highlighting the changeability of spaces in the contemporary postfordist landscape. Writes Schum: “Whether sites of neglect or regeneration, [Siberia and Yukon] are places chased by capitalism’s familiar codes. They are ruins not only of things but of the ideas and institutions that were creative for more obscure purposes of yesterday and today’s seemingly more sensible ones. As a composite of Los Angeles, Sakhalin and Whitehorse, Interval shows the alien nature of society, its commodities and its social objects.”


The installation space certainly felt alien, but the very possibility of its reuse seemed to reinvigorate a postmodern death trap, a towering labyrinth of béton brut. As I continued my search for the exit, the Bonaventure felt distinctly like a fortress of ideology, the neglected bastion of a familiar code that still reigns outside its walls.


Marten Elder’s new photographs on view at Tif Sigfrids in Hollywood are curious and lustrous images. Elder photographs mundane spatial configurations–driveways, lawns, planters–and through deft digital manipulation amplifies the ambient colors of each plane, creating surreal and iridescent chromatic combinations. The edits flatten the image, so cacti and dark garden shadows look like puddles of soap or oil slick. As Jeff Wall has said of Elder’s work, “[They] show us an existing factual world, the way photography has. But that world seen again, afresh, by new eyes, by new people wrapped up in their relation with new machines.”

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Marten Elder: New Color Photographs is on view at Tif Sigfrids until April 25.

Tif Sigfrids
1507 Wilcox Ave.
Los Angeles, 90028


Jean-Luc Moulène is a French artist that I really like.
Transpalette is an art center based in a small town, Bourges. Their programing is really interesting, and they have been very active since 1998.
At the moment, they present “Disjonctions”, a series of 42 photographs that Jean-Luc Moulène took between 1984 and 1995. It is the first time they are all presented together.
You should have a look!

Until July 12th!