A Greek Tragedy

Photo: Leonid Padrul

Photo: Leonid Padrul

Artist Efrat Eyal recently exhibited a work called “A Greek Tragedy” – ceramics objects bearing Muybridge images.

A Greek Tragedy

A series from The ArtWife Project

A series of ware rich in form and decoration offers a complex dialogue between cultures and social stances. The ware, similar in shape and color to classical Greek ceramics, is composed of numerous and diverse parts slip cast in molds of everyday items taken from the artist’s domestic space. They represent a kind of private dictionary of form, from which the building blocks are taken to create ware according to traditional schemes.  Eyal shifts between perfection and classical symmetry, and between the personal touch and contemporary statement.

Photo: Leonid Padrul

Photo: Leonid Padrul

The compositions that follow the form of the ware and its flowing patterns are reminiscent of classical decoration. The artist embeds images related to domestic tasks, and alongside them prints based on a photographic sequence of naked women cleaning, ironing and more, which were photographed by Eadweard Muybridge in a study of movement. In this way Eyal incorporates into the ware  –  which reflects beauty and elegance – a critical standpoint that relates to social conventions and also examines the permanent tension between art and the home and family that women-artists experience.

(Text from the catalogue of The Seventh Biennle for Israeli Ceramics
Imprinting on Clay – Cultural Memory in Contemporary Ceramic Art)

Eretz Israel Museum, Tel Aviv)

Photo: Leonid Padrul

Photo: Leonid Padrul

Posted here by Stephen Herbert

 

Wit thanks to Efrat Eyal and Leonid Padrul. Text and Photos Copyright.

The Noble Bronzes at Lucasfilm: Eadweard Muybridge

 

noble3

Sculptor Lawrence Noble explains the various considerations that he had to research and made decisions about, when designing his bronze of Eadweard Muybridge for George Lucas. Well worth taking the time to view this video – Noble is an engaging interviewee.

noble1

More about the project on The Compleat Muybridge website.

Posted here by Stephen Herbert

 

 

Artwork Explosion

This lightbox artwork by Anneke Ingwersen refers to Muybridge’s Animal Locomotion images, ‘The moment of frozen motion, with an illusion of depth”.

More images and details at: http://www.annekeingwersen.com/ccc/lightbox-explosion/

The blue elements remind me of the cyanotype prints from Muybridge’s major work, and the fragmentation of the negative images recalls the fact that all of Muybridge’s original camera negatives from Animal Locomotion are lost.

Posted here by Stephen Herbert

Iconic Kingston mosaic needs help

Linder Rothery and Ania Zawisza. Photo: Surrey Comet

News today from the Surrey Comet

Help needed to restore iconic Kingston mosaic
10:30am Monday 5th December 2011
 by Claire Buchanan

An iconic mosaic inspired by the work of photographic pioneer Eadweard Muybridge is being repaired by volunteers – but they need your help to finish the job. More than 15 volunteers have started work on the Castle Street mosaic, which fell into disrepair when tiles dropped off earlier this year due to the expansion and contraction of the wooden backboard. The helpers at Save the World Club, who designed and produced the piece, are now laying down tiles on mesh to recreate the mosaic by Kingston-born Muybridge, which they hope to make even better. Mosaic artist Kim Porrelli said: “It’s become a heritage thing in the town centre and it’s such a shame and we want to put it back. “We want Kingston to look as fantastic as it can, particularly before the Olympics.”

The mosaic, which consists of seven 8ft by 4ft sections, is expected to take 280 hours of work to complete and a further 10 days to mount it. Secretary of Save the World Club Mary Graham said the work could cost up to £3,000, due to the specialist skills needed for the instillation. She said: “We do not have that amount of money spare in our funds – we need help urgently to raise this money.”
Kingstonfirst has helped install the original mosaic and have donated money towards its repair. Town centre manager Ros Morgan said: “The mosaic reflects a key element of Kingston’s heritage, on a major pedestrian route into the town, and we would urge people to support its restoration so that it can be speedily reinstalled.”

Ania Zawisza, Kim Porrelli, Linder Rothery and Mary Graham. Surrey Comet

St Luke’s School pupil Ellie Felicien, 11, won a competition to make a Muybridge-style design for the mural, which was unveiled in 2004. Muybridge was the pioneer of moving photography, inventing his famous machine called a zoopraxiscope.
The club is looking for donations and for volunteers to help rebuild the artwork.
To donate text MUYM11 £ (amount) to 70070.
To get involved email kim@savetheworldclub.org.

Posted here by Stephen Herbert

Degas and ‘Picturing Movement’ at the Royal Academy

Your tardy blogger has finally been to see Degas and the Ballet. Picturing Movement, at the Royal Academy of Arts, London. A brief visit only, and I shall be returning for a more extensive tour – to learn more about Degas and enjoy his paintings, drawings and sculptures, and not just to admire the exhibits relating to chronophotography – before the show closes on 11 December.

An unrepeatable opportunity to see all of these Degas works, so do try to get to the exhibition if you can. First impressions then.

The catalogue, by Richard Kendall and Jill Devonyar is an attractive and engaging piece of research and presentation and great value (reduced to less than £15 at the time of my visit). Muybridge images used include the usual Zoopraxiscope colour photograph (with the top and chimney that don’t actually belong); the colour disc White and Black Running Race; a nice 1889 letter from Muybridge to Frederick A. Eaton of the RA, concerning Muybridge’s forthcoming lectures there; and a single image from ‘Annie G. in Canter’ (Animal Locomotion plate 621) together with an exact copy in chalk by Degas. Many images relating to Marey’s work are also included. The text concerning the relationships between the work of Marey, Muybridge, and Degas is carefully researched and well written and very interesting to read; and of permanent value.

White and Black Race (Zoopraxiscope disc)

The exhibition is spread through several rooms and wasn’t crowded during my visit. There’s a great deal of material concerning the relationship between Degas and photography in general, as well as chronophotography. Most of the Muybridge material relates to aspects of dance postures. One of Marey’s large chrono plate cameras sits in a rather gloomy cabinet in one corner, failing to look interesting. The Zoopraxiscope is better presented, but in a context that raises some questions. In the same cabinet is one picture disc, the 1893 Athletes Running (White and Black Running Race); two athletes, one white and one black, compete in a track race, with a large audience of matchstick figures in the background. This disc is one of the series of drawings based on Muybridge photo sequences combined with imaginary elements – in this case the people watching the race. On the wall above the machine is a large video projection; an animation of a Muybridge sequence of a male athlete performing a ballet-related movement, taken from an Animal Locomotion reproduction of the actual photographic images. Judging from the overheard discussions of those examining this exhibit, visitors are understandably confused. The animation that they’re watching doesn’t appear to have anything in common with the images on the displayed picture disc.

First Ballet Action (from Animal Locomotion)

Of course it’s tempting to animate the Animal Locomotion sequences as the result is very seductive, but it seems to me that this particular exhibit should have had, instead, an accompanying video of a disc animation – perhaps the popular subject Woman Dancing [Kingston EM0052] which is probably the most relevant to the exhibition’s subject – to bring some point to the display of the Zoopraxiscope. The exhibition curators have missed an important trick here, since the animated disc images would have made apparent to the visitor a lesser-known aspect of Muybridge’s work that relates directly to drawing and painting, surely of interest in an exhibition about Degas and movement. The catalogue touches on the production methods of the actual disc pictures and gets it nearly right, so it’s difficult to understand how this misleading display option was decided upon. And since the name of the artist, Irwin Faber, who interpreted and drew these extrapolations from Muybridge sequences is known, that name should have been there too. It seems that there’s still some way to go before art historians apply their usually very meticulous discipline in presenting accounts of technical processes and artist attribution, to peripheral subjects such as Zoopraxography. But there was a certain satisfaction in seeing the Zoopraxiscope back at the RA, after almost 130 years.

More on the exhibition, with less harping on about my own view of its very few shortcomings, soon.

Posted here by Stephen Herbert

(White and Black Race Running Race photo courtesy Kingston Museum)

Weird Adventures airs on BBC tv

Andy Serkis. Photo (c) BBC

Apart from re-enactments in a 1960s US programme introduced by Ronald Reagan, Eadweard Muybridge as a character of considerable importance in the story of the creation and recording of the modern world has been absent from television. The Weird Adventures of Eadweard Muybridge is the first programme to attempt to tell the full story. It does touch on most aspects, leaving out the bits with very little visual material – the five years spent as a bookseller in New York, totally avoided in the commentary – and his various activities during the five ‘lost years’ back in Europe in the 60s. But for a one-hour programme, it packs a lot in.

Philip Brookman talks with Alan Yentob. Photo (c) BBC

The talking heads include Philip Brookman, whose exhibition in Washington did so much to introduce Muybridge to a wider public; author Rebecca Solnit, in splendid hat, musing on Muybridge in San Francisco as she wanders through the harbour; print collector Michael Wilson marvelling at the artistry of the travel photographs; Jonathan Miller not getting it at all, and insisting that Muybridge was simply an entertainer; recent biographer and long-time chronophotography specialist Marta Braun talking about the Animal Locomotion sequences; art curator Ann Dumas of the Royal Academy of Arts explaining the connection with the ballet dancers of Degas; and Kingston Museum curator Peta Cook introducing the sacred scrapbook, and zoopraxiscope discs.

A nice touch was Stanford Red Barn (Palo Alto) horse trainer Rachel Williamson confirming that the 1870s horse photos are still used today in the equestrian world.

Rachel Williamson. Photo (c) BBC

I got my fair share of the running time, mostly talking about the complexities of the image projections at a Muybridge lecture, and I also managed to get the last word in. [voice from across the room – “you always do…”]

‘Andy Serkis as Muybridge’ said the blurb, and he appeared reading Muybridge’s own words, wearing just a hint of period costume, but no stick-on beard. Serkis was also one of the expert talking heads, since he’s very familiar with the subject, having been developing a Muybridge feature film project for some years. And of course, he’s best known for being Gollum in the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy – his physical image altered by CG techniques, in a modern development of the motion capture and image manipulation used by Muybridge for converting his photo sequences to painted animations.

No recent news on the feature movie, but perhaps it will happen someday.

Posted here by Stephen Herbert