Arte Madrid Fair
Pintura Sobre Una Fotografía De Una Pintura Basada En Una Fotografía
This title describes 128 Fotos von einem Bild, Halifax 1978 IV (1998), by Gerhard Richter, a starting point from which the ideas of this exhibition have been built out of, bringing together works by just a few of the many artists working with both photographic and painting concepts and processes simultaneously.
The dialogue between photography and painting goes way back to the early 11th century, with the invention of the camera obscura, a process using the natural optical phenomenon that occurs when a pinhole opening in a dark space recreates the outside scenery (although upside-down) into the back surface of the inner space. The discovery forever changed painting, not only aiding the faithful recreation of real imagery, but also refocusing the gaze of painters from the real world to a recreation of it as part of their process of rendering it with paint on canvas. Although developments and innovations were made utilizing lenses and mirrors over the coming centuries, it wasn’t until more than 800 years later that the process to affix that image to a surface would be invented. In the 1830’s, Joseph Nicéphore Niépce found that a pewter plate coated with bitumen would be affected by light, and with that invented the process of capturing the photographic image that would lead to what we know as film today.
The technology and innovation related to photography and film quickly developed in the following decades. From daguerreotypes to celluloid film, institutional cameras to the personal instamatic and Polaroid, and relatively recently, the introduction of digital systems that allowed for images to be stored electronically, all quickly reinvented the capturing of images and therefore, “seeing” itself, over the next 200 years to the present. The effects of this evolution on painting have been notable, as image making through the photographic process challenged the necessity of the act of painting itself. But as technology to manipulate photographic images improves, discussions relating to veracity and originality have also come into doubt. As the opportunities of image-making broaden the creative tools that are available to artists, so do the resulting burdens that these questions and tensions bring to the fore, and all become quite tangible in the practices of many artists working today as they push both media to their physical and conceptual limits.
Almost all the works in this exhibition use photographic media as their main support, each either painted over, taken of a painting, and/or about painting. But the exception, Claire Kerr’s Home-made Book Scanner with Catalogue (2012) is an oil painting depicting the photographing of a printed photographic image of a painting; a painter’s contribution to the conversation.
And so, the dialogue continues…