What do we see when we see a photograph?
DATE: Thursday 10th March,
TIME: 6:30 for 7pm start - 8:30pm
SPEAKERS: Kiron Robinson, Sanja Pahoki, Janina Green, Jack Brown, Tamsen Hopkinson
Alan Sekula once said that the only thing in relation to truth that a photograph can offer is “the assertion that somebody or something … was somewhere and took a picture. Everything else, everything beyond the imprinting of the trace is up for grabbing.” This thinking, linking the action of seeing a photograph with the action of the production of the image, has primarily underpinned the understanding of how we see a photograph since its invention.
The rise of screen based technology and the effects that this had on the dissemination and encounter with images has shattered this last vestige of the unique sight associated with the “trace” as the dominant condition of seeing thephotographic. The ubiquitous engagement with the action of viewing and continued circulation granted a form of ownership over the image to the individual free of the idea of the unique vision of the maker and allowed for a re-examination of the condition of the photographic – especially within contemporary art.
So, if the photograph no longer represents the subject / object or the vision of the producer through its mode of production, then what exactly does it represent or do?
Utilizing a range of material strategies including neon, video, photography and installation, Kiron Robinson (b 1975, lives and works in Melbourne, Australia) investigates the idea of doubt, faith and failure as constructive devices. Robinson’s work continually chases ways of articulating, that which by its own definition is beyond articulation. This leads to points of paradox within the work that results in the unraveling of materials even as they construct. Robinson’s work searches for a state of simultaneity where things are both what they are and and what they are not. Materials are chosen and placed with great care.
Engaging with both photography and sculpture, Jack Brown’s work looks at the formal and material translations that occur between these two mediums, alongside his concerns with photographic production such as privilege, obsession and embodiment. Jack Brown is an artist based in Melbourne and recently completed his Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honors) at the Victorian College of the Arts. Recent solo exhibitions include Greif Tourism, Bus Projects, 2014; and Hard Sell, Seventh Gallery, 2014. Recent group exhibitions include Some of them got the first look, Kings ARI, 2015; Archiving and Fragmentation in the Digital Age, Fort Delta, 2015; Newer, Trocadero Art Space, 2015.
Janina was trained in printmaking and began her art career as a teacher. This period included several years as an art critic for a small newspaper. After her daughter was born, in the early 1980s, Janina took up photographic printmaking. Adding to her initial passion for all genres of photography she read widely on photographic theory. Essays by Victor Burgin and Alan Sekola in “Thinking Photography” revealed that making photographs was as demanding as, and even more conceptual and complex than, trying to understand/decipher them. She came to understand that the politics of reproduction meant that photographs are contingent and depend on their context. In her first solo exhibition, in 1986, ‘Rephotography’, inspired by the work of Richard Prince, she made large colour photographs from details of Women’s Weekly magazines. That exhibition explored the notion of “femininity” as portrayed in the media, where that ideology came from, and how it proliferated.
Sanja Pahoki works with photography, video, neon and text to explore observations from everyday life. Existential issues such as the nature of self, identity and the role of anxiety are recurring themes in her work. Sanja Pahoki has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Melbourne majoring in Psychology and Philosophy. In 2000 Sanja graduated with a BFA (Honours) from the Victorian College of the Arts. In 2006, Sanja completed a MFA from the VCA. Her work has been exhibited both nationally (ACCA @ Mirka at Tolarno Hotel, Heidi Museum of Modern Art, Centre for Contemporary Photography, Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces, Perth Institute of Contemporary Art, Plimsoll Gallery in Hobart, Australian Centre for Photography in Sydney, Queensland University of Technology) and internationally (Japan, Shanghai, Vienna, Berlin, Paris and Rotterdam). Sanja was a committee member of Kings Artist Run Initiative and a studio artist at Gertrude Contemporary Artist Space. In 2008 & 2012, Sanja attended a studio residency in Reykjavik, Iceland and a 3-month OZCO residency in Helsinki in 2010. Sanja Pahoki is represented by Sarah Scout, Melbourne.