May 23, 2015
With this technique one seems to be not able to predict if it’s gonna work or not. Originally I had tossed this one out, now I am completely fascinated with it.
I fact, I can’t choose between the four options, so I realized, there is not reason really to chuck any out, in such a case they can be a set for four:
Josiane Keller “animal bench 1″ (2015)
Josiane Keller “animal bench 2″ (2015)
Josiane Keller “animal bench 3″ (2015)
Josiane Keller “animal bench 4″ (2015)
May 22, 2015
To learn something new I am loaded with books by Benoit Mandelbrot, and study his fractal theory.
Here the wiki site on him: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benoit_Mandelbrot
I am working through my photos, amazed by the new meaning the newly developed images take on.
It seems currently an endless topic, as for some reason (Mandelbrot is right?) it seems to always work, although at the same time it seems impossible to predict what will work.
Look at these samples, birds flying in the sky:
Josiane Keller “sky flag” (2015)
Josiane Keller “dead rat in the lake” (2015)
Josiane Keller “water totem” (2015)
Josiane Keller “Medusa” (2015)
Josiane Keller “dead earth worm” (2015)
tree foliage (one of my favourites):
Josiane Keller “philosopher” (2015)
Josiane Keller “deer tick” (2015)
Josiane Keller “spider web in the woods” (2015)
Josiane Keller “the Garden of the Hesperides” (2015)
Time for a beautiful video, which is not mine, but it fits my mind space right now:
Apparently for once I seem to have hit the Zeitgeist, and very much so, and there pop up plenty of very interesting other samples of photography that has corresponding concepts.
Since it is so fun I want to feature one out of many here: Swiss artist Ursus Wehrli, here is his site/work, dealing with the concept of “cleaning up” in the sense of bringing order into chaos (*yes, you can also buy the prints from his site, and usually I would not feature these kind of shops on my BLOG, but I am making an exception):
Comments (0) | Tags: Benoit Mandelbrot, fractals, Ursus Wehrli, Zeitgeist
May 18, 2015
Still working and reading up on corresponding mathematics, whilst thinking about time and space.
You can watch the progress in the new category “Kaleidoscopes”. So far this image of me with my father, who died shortly after this picture was taken.
Josiane Keller “short time with my father” (2015)
Some more samples, illustrating time and what happened at a certain space:
Josiane Keller “chips and water seller” (2015)
Josiane Keller “funeral home director’s funeral” (2015)
May 12, 2015
No new posts have been popping up because I am overhauling my work. It will take a while, if you like you can follow the changes, so far go to the new “Kaleidoscopes” category. Please also keep checking, as there is a lot of moving and hopefully also improving going on, I hope the outcome will be interesting!
So far these:
Josiane Keller “two possums” (2015)
Josiane Keller “sad girl in a diner” (2015)
Josiane Keller “nail salon” (2015)
May 12, 2015
In brief, since it is very late and I want to sleep, on my Chicago visit I noticed more in the face than ever that there seems to be of each photo about 999 more or less similar, almost identical versions, taken by other photographers. Which matches with my observation that such expectable photographs are very easy to market, it seems people have seen them once and want to to see them again, further: they want to hang them in their apartments so they can look at them every day. It seems quite odd. There are categories. We must feed them.
Nude-abstract-landscape-architecture-nature-street photography then there is exotic travel where quite obviously someone assumingly with a very large backpack went to India to get yet another HOLI photograph showing people covered in various pigments; include dark blue and red, it will win a first prize, so it’s worth the trouble; actually living in India does not count, make sure you stay no longer than 2 weeks in one place, but you can travel around in India, as long as you avoid actually interacting with the country and its people. Just take the photo and mind your own business.
And then, not to forget: classical artistic black/white and relatively new: contemporary steampunk-surreal black/white photography, both very en vogue. Ah, and: abstract conceptual (must be viewed with Pabst Blue Ribbon-can in hand) and will be favoured in hip art shows, maybe because it fits so well with the Pabst beer. Rarely really clever, but boring is the new impressive.
A photograph being no more than a tiny piece of paper, if even that, often even tinier image on a phone, we can only recognize it because we associate it with what we have seen before. In humans this works very well. So I am wondering if that is the reason why there seems to be such an appetite for photographs that we have seen a-thousand-and-one-times before?
And: eager to market my own new photographic work, whilst in the lovely city of Chicago I realized I also have tried to reproduce images that I have seen photographed before, not intentionally as in my constructed photography, but subconsciously in my street photography. And consequently so some pictures I made are hellishly boring. So I overworked the worst of them.
They are probably now no longer marketable, but at least I no longer add to the heap of incredibly boring photographs. You can see some in the Japan /Not Japan category. (Actually I didn’t touch anything “Made in Japan” as I was not a photographer when I took the ones up now, and they are road-marks, but the other ones.)
Judge for yourself, maybe you liked the old stuff better, that’s fine, any of the above applies mainly to work I feel I should be making, not what people should like, although it would be nice it the two go together I can hardly expect that, and best I don’t work with that in mind anyways. Anyways I have to go to bed now.
Josiane Keller “mouches” (2014/15)
May 10, 2015
And once more I am blessed to get to stay some time in lovely Chicago. If you hate Chicago for one reason or another don’t ask me why I like it so much, as I will answer “because it’s stylish” and “because it looks like the American version of Vienna” (which seems to me the perfect combination of ingredients, with all love and admiration for Vienna, if you give it yourself every day you’ll get diabetes. I think so. You may love it…) So, if you have Chicago-issues, don’t ask me, as so far there are three places in US I thoroughly love: SF, Chicago and one I keep secret, as it is very small and if you all go there to check it out it will turn hell.
(There are probably many more lovable places to be found in US, but it depends what you’re after, who you are, who people THINK you are and who you meet. For instance. Of course it depends on many more things. You can be at your world-favourite place, but if they happen to go through a fascist period at the time and/or are being struck by a major earthquake, for instance, it can still be a pretty bad place to be at. And so on.)
So this trip was part business and therefor somewhat stressful, not SUPER stressful, only somewhat, and incredibly insightful. I am not even sure if I can write about the plenty of insights I gained at all, or if I should or what to do with it all. Unfortunately it filled me with many doubts about my chosen path, or rather re-enforced existing doubts, but hey, some doubts once and a while are a good thing, as the worst people are those for whom everything is running smooth at all times and forever, and the art they spit out is crap. Only MY opinion, but here is MY BLOG where I get to write down MY opinion. You don’t have to agree to it.
I also came back with 200 new photographs, which I have to work over before I show some (not all 200) here, or here and there, and I won’t be done with it today. But because people love pictures will still put something up. Which is a picture of these wonderful guys, who I ran into at a rest stop and who looked so incredibly much like “the band” that I had to ask them, “Are you the band?” and of course they were the band, what else, so someone who looks so much like what they actually are deserves a post entry. Ladies and gentlemen: “JOHNS”:
Josiane Keller “this must be the band – JOHNS” (2015)
they also look like this (different angle!):
Josiane Keller “JOHNS at rest stop” (2015)
If someone poses so nicely for me they deserve a link to their site and stuff, which is right here:
Comments (0) | Tags: Chicago, insights, JOHNS
May 8, 2015
“Dolls of photographs”. My author friend cleansed out her childhood home and came across the wildest photographs of her colorful grandmother (in various costumes?), which made me think about photographs of photographs, and the possible meaning of that. The handing on of memories.
Josiane Keller “a stack of photos” (2015)
Comments (0) | Tags: a stack of photos
Fifteen cherubs and black Foujita Madonna ready – or are they? – Marie Sjøvold’s “Midnight Milk” and a contemplation on Motherhood
May 7, 2015
My cherubs and Madonna seem fixed, painted-in and ready…
Josiane Keller “fifteen cherubs” (2015)
Josiane Keller “Foujita black Madonna” (2015)
The vampire-effect is gone, but the dreaded cutsie-effect hit it Big Time. So this is all wrong and illustrating a great painting instead of really doing anything interesting with it and so I have to work it over one more time. Just one moment …. (it might be a couple of hours, but if I admit that to myself I won’t do it. So I prefer to say ‘moment’…)
I thought I might do tons and tons of deity images, but it is really not my thing after all, and I think I will go back to my horses and girls after this…. I will never go to heaven, but I knew that before.
How about this:
Josiane Keller “Foujita black Madonna” (2015)
Hmmm…. yes? No? Yes? No? At least it’s no longer cutsie…
in black/white it looks something like this:
Josiane Keller “Foujita black Madonna bw” (2015)
Then of course she needs her clothes done and all that. Nice, but too much. I mean, strong image, but she looks like “painted on”, even if she actually is, she should not look like that.
Maybe more like this:
Josiane Keller “Foujita black Madonna 2″ (2015)
Looks like a hardworking, troubled lady, makes perfect sense!
Josiane Keller “Foujita black Madonna 2 bw” (2015)
Matching with my slaving over my Madonna the British Journal of Photography is featuring Norwegian photographer Marie Sjøvold’s new series “Midnight Milk”, exhibited at the Nordic Lights Festival in Kristiansund:
interview link here:
“You go from being an individual to being part of a family,” Sjøvold says. “It’s a whole new life. But this conflict comes from your past, your own childhood, from society, from what people expect from themselves. And then, of course, you have to deal with your biology.”
“It’s so much easier to tell if someone’s bullshitting you” – on ‘how to make (animated) eyes’ – “Seven Minutes in the Warsaw Ghetto”, “Higglety Pigglety Pop!”, “Madame Tutli-Putli”, “Cochemare” and Extn.21
May 5, 2015
Whilst I am busy painting my cherubs eyes in and waiting that the repaired head of my Madonna is dry and ready for firing, (which looks like this…) :
Josiane Keller “angel eyes” (2015)
… here two interesting “how to make eyes” videos (or more precisely: by digitally composting them onto puppets, if you wanted that effect). One is Danish self-taught director Johan Oettinger’s “Seven Minutes in the Warsaw Ghetto” (2012):
Johan Oettinger “Seven Minutes in the Warsaw Ghetto” (2012)
and here is his very minimalist homepage:
but there is plenty of other info on him online, if you look, for instance right here:
and one is by Peter Bas, about the making of “Higglety Pigglety Pop!” (their 2010 adaptation of a children’s book by Maurice Sendak, starring the famous voices of Meryl Streep, Forest Whitaker, and Spike Jonze );
Peter Bas is working as Visual Effects and 3D Supervisor for ClydeHenry Productions (Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski):
I couldn’t stop myself and asked ClydeHenry if they’d let me intern with them. I suggested, I could even make sugar trees or sugar eyes for them, with the additional advantage of those being edible, but they very sweetly denied and told me they had no budget, but they suggested I should rather go for a beer with them, next chance in Montreal. Too bad, I don’t like beer, despite my Austrian-Bavarian background… But a glass of wine perhaps, one fine day maybe it will happen, that might be nice.
Josiane Keller “sugar trees and rocks” (2013)
Link to their studio is here: http://www.clydehenry.com/
And link to their famous animation “Madame Tutli-Putli” is here:
Read more about it all in this fun interview by by Ben Mitchell for Skwigly Magazine (2013) ‘Cochemare’ – A Conversation with Chris Lavis & Peter Bas':
Clyde Henry Productions “Breaking down the oft-discussed ‘eyes’ effect (Madame Tutli-Putli, 2007)”
Chris Lavis, Peter Bas and Ben Mitchell discuss, among other things, the usefulness of digitally compositing for their fabulous lively eyes:
Chris Lavis: I think generally our school of thinking for filmmaking from the beginning has always been to direct films knowing some piece of everything – lighting, building props – direct a thing that you at least have dabbled in. For us it just makes it so much easier, and it’s so much easier to tell if someone’s bullshitting you. In this business it’s so easy to tell a director something is impossible or “That’s not how it’s done” and there’s nothing like having done it yourself to say “Actually, it’s perfectly possible, we’ve done it before”. It makes a huge difference.
Which I think, to a degree, there’s still a big chasm between where we are now and getting it exactly right.You mentioned “first and last” as far as the eye effects – I have seen it subsequently in at least one other film, I was curious as to if you were aware that other people are doing that effect?
CL: I think I saw it in a soap commercial!
Peter Bas: Yeah, I saw it recently, I think last year in some kind of a TV ad for something, for more of a comical effect.
CL: To me it also makes sense that, at the time we started making it in the early 2000s, CG eyes were not at its stage yet where they could compete with real eyes…
CL: And that’s your uncanny valley, which I think is why Pixar decide to not try to, they almost go for glass, puppet eyes as a way of solving that problem. So if you have the technology to do the Hulk in The Avengers,there’s no way you’re doing real eyes, it’s pointless. Whereas for us it was a sort of poor man’s way of creating puppet expression because we could never afford CG. We were always frustrated by that limitation of stop-motion, which is the eyes. You always had to do a certain stylised performance because you could never really look into the character’s brain.
read the full interview here: http://www.skwigly.co.uk/cochemare/
and here the link to the film “Cochemare” (2013), produced by Phoebe Greenberg & Penny Mancuso:
Some of my own eye-samples, just painted, (no animation and no compositing so far):
Josiane Keller “eyes” (2012-2015)
Not sure if I want to ever leave the painted eyes, I’m having far too much fun with them, and whilst the digitally composited ones look extra freaky I find the painted ones look more “real” after all, but it’s a matter of taste, I guess. And then I have seen the original “The Stepford Wives” (Bryan Forbes, 1975), and the technique reminds me of that a bit. However, to intern with high-tech people maybe I have to study compositing first, or it’s gonna be only beer invitations for ever.
In case you haven’t seen it, here the famous scene when Joanna finds her replacement doll:
Successfully super creepy. But creepy is the new black, so there.
And then one more filmmaker sample, who does the same thing too, equally creepy and very beautifully, although not necessarily concentrating on eyes: Lizzie Oxby from London:
here is her website: http://lizzieoxby.com/
and if you have not seen the funny, creepy and beautiful Extn.21 (2003), see it now here:
Lizzie Oxby “Extn. 21″ (2003)
Love the animated bottles best, perhaps… Back to painting the rest of my angel-eyes. Next time someone asks me “What exactly is ‘constructed photography’?” I think I will say: “Constructed photography is basically the work of all those people who for this or the other reason didn’t make it into an animation program, but who are stubborn and still want to do the same kind of images. So they just keep doing it, only on the other side of the fence.”
Comments (0) | Tags: angel eyes, animation, beer invitation, Ben Mitchell, Chris Lavis, Clyde Henry Productions, Cochemare, Extn.21, Extn.21 - the making of, Higglety Pigglety Pop!, how to make eyes, Lizzie Oxby, Maciek Szczerbowski, Madame Tutli-Putli, painted eyes, Penny Mancuso, Peter Bas, Phoebe Greenberg, Seven Minutes in the Warsaw Ghetto, Swigly Magazine, The Stepford Wives, The Stepford Wives - Bryan Forbes -1975, what exactly is 'constructed photography'?
May 4, 2015
Matching with the chaos and confusion my Madonna could not deal with it any longer and her head popped after about 20 min already in the bisque firing. It looks like this, before:
Josiane Keller “Madonna in the kiln bisque” (2015)
Josiane Keller “Madonna with exploded head after bisque” (2015)
But the beauty of ceramics is that almost everything can somehow be repaired (very much as opposed to living people), which you can see here:
May 4, 2015
Here is a great idea: let’s make a cartoon contest. Title the “Let’s be as offensive as possible – Cartoon Contest”.
I haven’t figured out details yet, and unfortunately as opposed to Ms. Geller, and the American Freedom Defense Initiative I don’t have millions on the side to sponsor my contest, but perhaps in the up-and-coming art-hype of my current city of residence I might find some community center somewhere in the sticks willing to host, my city is seemingly always keen on airing built up anger over social injustice and plenty of other issues in violence and other asocial behavior at any time.
Possible topics could include (but are not restricted to):
1; Messing in any way with the American flag;
talking about it: yesterday I noticed by coincidence, since next to the garage where I have my kiln studio is a garage with a 4th of July flag: if you cut an American flag in pieces you can recycle it into SEVERAL small scale Austrian flags, in fact: eleven, by simply cutting it up. If you want to go further and be resourceful and stitch left overs together even five or six more, and if you want to go crazy over it then some extra tiny ones as dinner table place makers. (And with the left-over starry-bits we could make something i.e. for Venezuela, if we find some old T-Shirts…)
recycle your flag (2015)
I never thought of it before, and I have no idea if my country has some form of national holiday, and if so when that might possibly be (AND: currently I don’t know my national anthem either, it was very hip in the 30’s and 40’s to know it and sing it lots and lots combined with a certain well-known hand gesture, but luckily those days are gone and now, where I’m from it is totally UN-HIP for that reason.)
But it would do as a a possible topic for a competition, and it can safely be assumed this would be perfectly offensive to many people, who otherwise would probably on that very day simply mind their own business.
I haven’t looked into the legality of cutting up American flags inside of America, but there is somewhat of a realistic chance with the correct in-place promotion of the event, that I could get arrested for it (irrelevant if that turns out to be legal or not) or that some people, whom so far I haven’t met and probably never will, because it is quite likely that we do not hang in the same circles, might be so offended and worked up that they might stop by and shoot me.
Some of them might wear a uniform, other might wave their own flag, whatever that is, some might just pop up for the fun, or rather it would provide them with an opportunity to rustle their feathers (these are the people we want, in fact: need, for effective promotion of events of this sort.)
So that would be one option.
2; anything regarding the sex-life of Jesus Christ;
also here we have various options: for example any evidence that Jesus Christ even had a sex life at all (to some people that is already an outrageous thought), or something a bit more off-today’s-norm, like sleeping with teenagers, or possibly more than one of them, this irrelevant of any possibly every-day-custom regarding this topic at life-time and locality of Jesus Christ and contemporaries.
Or poking around in the idea that Jesus Christ may have been gay and had gay sex with his disciples, that is a great suggestion, as that will cause about double offense.
If we then can combine that with something involving option 1; somehow wrapping an American Flag around it all, hell is loose.
And overnight I will be famous.
I might be dead, and some other people might be dead, too, and then some who had no clue what was going on anyways, but happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time, those might be dead as well.
But by the laws of capitalism none of this would really matter. What would matter would be that my lousy city of current residence would make the news (once more), some people would feel sorry, radical news agencies would make money, and (for me) the only interesting bit: the current value of my photography, in fact ANY of my art work, would skyrocket, as it would be automatically and for no PR cost marketed internationally by FOX NEWS and some other stations, and my complete body of work would be automatically “limited editioned” by my death. Brilliant PR strategy.
There are other ideas, I am open for suggestions as well as funding.
Let’s draw, friends!
Or perhaps we just stop being jerks, that of course would be the other idea. I might get shot for this post. I hope not. But if so, good for my art career.
Oh, by the way: I am not Muslim, and I won’t say what I am as it is only my own business. I am not at all for organized religion, I think religion should be private, and so should be: sexual orientation (I’m not telling that one either) and a number of other stuff. If it was, maybe it could not be exploited as a vehicle for medieval-style territoriality and based on that bullying.
Didn’t we have five minutes ago a big discussion about ‘freedom of religion’?
What does ‘freedoms of religion’ in ‘the country of the free’ actually mean?
It seems only certain selected religions are free, and only certain people are free to do whatever they please. And ‘freedom of speech’ means actually that some selected people are free to knowingly and openly offend the values of other people who do live in the same community and who were accepted to immigrate to the very same place to live there and they have to simply stand by and be grateful or they are being advised to go back where they came from?
Probably a translation mistake, I notice it over and over, one can hardly ever translate directly from one language into the other without distorting or altogether loosing the original meaning.
I have two (separate) female friends in Europe, who work with Muslim immigrant kids, in funded language-support or homework programs. Both have many complaints, the kids being rude and chauvinist. These are hand-on complaints in situations of direct interaction and they have to be addressed. However, being ripped out of your familiar environment as a child because your parents decided it is better that way, who at the same time may also struggle, not fitting in at school and being egged on for being different is probably a common reason for being aggressive.
A cartoon contest mocking the values of immigrants might not be an effective solution.
I am against shooting people in general, that is not restricted to Paris or USA, I am so much against it one could even say I am against shooting anyone for anything, but I am also against making a mess on purpose for no real reason.
The given results being more than to be expected, why would a Garland Community Center stage this event, what exactly is the pressuring underlying issue in Texas’ suburbs, that had to be addressed? As far as I know the Garland Community Center is not since decades running a well established satirical political magazine.
I am an artist and have been drawing since I am able to hold a pen. It never occurred to me to make a drawing of the Prophet Muhammad to begin with, and since the people who follow the religion connected make a point of that is not allowed I see no reason whatsoever to start with it now.
*the above poster is from Lee Hirsch’ film “Bully”, I put it up for visuals, I have no idea what the director of this film thinks about this incident, but since I am a fan of accurate crediting, that is where the images is from and here is the link to his film, possibly there are some parallels after all to be found:
PRIIT PÄRN: if somebody gives you money and asks you to do something according to his rules, you say – Yes, sir, and smile
May 3, 2015
I came across a great interview (it seems like a real one one one of the kind where the author wrote both sides: questions AND answers) though Animafest Zagreb with PRIIT PÄRN by Ivana Laučíková (5/02/14),
“Priit, you teach the students that have never lived in communistic regime, they’re too young. How do you describe this time period for them?
Priit: It was actually quite surrealistic system. All these rules and how it was controlled… Let’s say just one example. When I was doing a film, the script and storyboard were first controlled in Estonia. When they approved it here it went to Moscow. They read it very carefully trying to find some political mistakes. If everything was O.K., I made a film and I had to show it again in our studio, then to authorities in Estonia and finally in Moscow. If they found any mistakes, they said you had to cut out this, this and this, otherwise the film would never be shown, or you’d never make a next film… But nobody else came with scissors and cut it out. You had to do it. My film Triangle was 18 minutes long and in Moscow they said 8 minutes must be cut out. I didn’t do that.
There‘s of course also a piece of irony. In soviet time there was control, mainly political, but you didn’t have problem with money. Today, problem is money. The main difference is that if then somebody told you to cut out something, he didn’t ask you to smile at the same time. Now if somebody gives you money and asks you to do something according to his rules, you say – Yes, sir, and smile.
In one interview you said that author can always do only the things that he is allowed to do.
Priit: It’s from my film Breakfast on the Grass. There is a dedication at the beginning: This film is dedicated to the artists who did everything… It would be normal to continue like what was good to do, or so. But it continues …what was allowed to them. It’s not about artists in general; it’s especially about filmmakers in soviet times. In an authoritarian system I can write book and no-one will publish it, I can make painting and they won’t hang it at the exhibition. But as a filmmaker I can have fantastic ideas and very good script, but if nobody gives me money, I’ll never realize it. So, all films are made just in this level that was allowed to you.
Please read the rest of the interview through the link:
May 2, 2015
Back to the Madonna, which is finally ready to be fired:
Josiane Keller “black Madonna” (2015)
and then I had to fill in all these little guys’ eyes with white clay, hoping, that during the upcoming firing the shrinkage of the red and the white clay will be somewhat matching (technically it is not at all, but I love pushing my luck…), so they don’t fall out.
Just for the heck of it, right now they look pretty spooky:
Josiane Keller “fifteen vampire cherubs” (2015)
April 29, 2015
I think in my old days I will reconsider feminism. In retrospect I realize: everything I think, say, do or write, would be perfectly fine, even encouraged, if I was a fat, bald, elderly guy with a penis attached. This applies especially to stuff I am critical about.
Josiane Keller “I wish I was a guy with a beard – and a cat” (2015)
- in fact: with a cat. For some reasons these types always have a cat. These guys seemingly get to say just about anything and they generally seem to manage to always come up with a huge following that seemingly just loves it, no matter what crap it is.
I suppose I lost out. I don’t even have a cat. My pet mice died of old age and my pet budgies are neurotic.
Actually I was only kidding. I don’t wish I was a guy with a beard.
Josiane Keller “I wish I was a guy with a beard and a cat – no I don’t” (2015)
(A cat would be nice, though….)
April 29, 2015
Whilst I am fiddling with tiny red clay cherubs, and boring, boring marketing-stuff, and even more boring household-stuff (the ugliest word of them all, that is why I shy away from even just mentioning it, but, alas, it is true: I have a household) please enjoy the preview of Compagnie Pseudonymo / Bande Annonce’s new piece “SQUID”:
April 25, 2015
At last, fifteen cherubs are finished, ready to dry (actually most are already dry, but I need all of them dry to fire them).
And perhaps this is a good post to show the image of Grunewald’s Isenheim Altarpiece the resurrecting Christ, being incredible and if you happen to not know about this work you need to see it, it is way ahead of its time:
Matthias Grunewald “Isenheimer Altar – second view – resurrecting Christ” (1512-1516)
read more info here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isenheim_Altarpiece
Anyways, Foujita’s piece is not bad at all either and perhaps also quite interesting for different reasons, and luckily I am done with these cherubs, so at this stage the whole arrangement looks like this:
Josiane Keller “double Madonna thirteen and fifteen cherubs” (2015)
Still several steps to do before this will be completed, but for now the last two cherubs have to dry.
April 24, 2015
Josiane Keller “red onion yantra” (2015)
I am so tempted to put up a picture of the resurrecting Christ by Matthias Grünewald from the Isenheimer Altar up, but if I do that by the juxtaposition it creates the impression I was trying to make a joke and I am actually not, so I have to skip it.
So maybe only look at this as is.
Sometimes the question is how far out one wants to go. I felt I should go a bit further out there.
Comments (0) | Tags: red onion yantra
April 22, 2015
See headline: by now we have ten cherubs! They look currently (pre-bisque, pre-decor) like this:
Josiane Keller “12 cherubs” (2015)
And if you are crap in math, I will tell you the correct answer: I need to make five more of these. (Almost there!)
Wait a minute…..
Josiane Keller “ten cherub meatballs” (2015)
The surreal life…..
Brief Interlude: Karmin dancer with dots, Augustin Rebetez, “The Dance of the Clay Bunny”- dance video and heart-meat-ball-dinner
April 21, 2015
Brief interlude, showing photographs I took now a while ago already. Went to the local museum to see some art, saw some art, in the form of a lady came in in an impressive long skirt with a very determined expression. I asked her if she was going to dance, and she said, actually yes, she was planning to do a dance now.
I asked if it was OK to watch, and that was OK, too, and during the dance I grabbed my camera and gestured if I may take pictures, and that was OK as well.
When she was finished, dancing very beautifully, we talked a bit and then she got up and danced some more. In the end she did three sessions and I had ended up with not just a couple, but many photos of her. Her dance was very expressive, beautiful and a little strange. She told me, she had been raised by both parents being death, and what a strange experience it was, as she was hearing, but not her parents, for whom silence was just normal, but she had access to another world, and how frustrating it was at times not to be stopped i.e. putting music as loud as possible, as her parents would not hear anything.
I used to dance when I was younger and for a while I had a job as stage photographer for a small theatre company, but I had no idea if the pictures would work out at all. Now I rarely take pictures of people indoors and most of my work is constructed with small-scale models, the light is different, the lens creates a different effect, everything different. But at home checking my bounty I was majorly happy with the outcome, in fact, every picture seemed to be successful. And so I got back to her, sent her and e-mail with my work and asked if I could show these. I didn’t get a reply for a while, I asked again, still nothing. I was at a bit of a loss with these pictures.
It taught me about how tricky it can be, if one takes not just a snap shot on the street or in a cafe, but a whole series of a living person, particularly if the person is also a performer, or a model, or someone who in any way does or potentially could make money from being in photographs. I do not run around with model release forms in my bag (should I?), it was a completely unexpected situation. I take pictures professionally, but she might model professionally. I take occasionally commissions of people who want their picture taken for this or that purpose, sometimes I ask friends to model for me for this or that image I need. But we had met by chance, she danced and I clicked away, accidentally ending up with a whole series. Who owes whom in this case?
Finally she replied and said it was fine to show the pictures.
And then I realized that despite the commercial re-sale value of these and the certain attractiveness it was all totally wrong and I have to do these pictures very different.
So, once I realized that, I overworked the beautiful, beautiful pictures into something I find more agreeable, too much visual beauty is not really beautiful at all, so the overworked version would be this:’
Josiane Keller “Karmin dancer with dots” (2015)
I am since a while actually planning another experimental animation, this time combined living dancer and clay figure.
I had the idea, of course, after Eikoh Hosoe’s fantastic “Kamaitachi”, showing the equally fabulous Tatsumi Hijikata dancing in the fields of his childhood homeland.
Some link to this book, description and pictures is here: http://aperture.org/shop/books/kamaitchi
and here some image that I took now quite a long time ago that started the idea:
Josiane Keller “dancer” (2011/14)
And to add to it all, here a video by the BIG TIME up and coming Swiss artist Augustin Rebetez, who is currently probably my favourite young living artist.
Actually here first the link to his website: http://www.augustinrebetez.com/
and here the specific video: https://vimeo.com/109584825
So I like this artist so much, as his stuff sets my heads straight what kind of art I think should be out there, or more of it at least, it does not ALL have to be that way. It goes back to the discussion from earlier: “what should be art and what should be rather a wedding cake?”, sometimes I get confused, and easily intimidated. Especially when money runs short at the end of the month and a lot of month is still left. That is when I want to be a commercial photographer, taking pictures of weddings…. hmmm.
Oh well, that is where artists like Augustin Rebetez are an excellent very good cure. So after thinking about all this, and the girl is truly a very good dancer, so it is definitely not her fault, but my pictures are in hindsight more on the wedding cake side, there would be ways to get rid of that, but I should better go back to my five missing Foujita-cherubs for now.
Meanwhile a link to a clay bunny dance video I did a while ago:
and a picture of my surreal dinner of heart shaped meatballs:
Josiane Keller “double heart meat balls” (2015)
(Admittedly so, the one in the middle is actually a cube, not a heart.)
April 20, 2015
Over the weekend more cherubs popped up, but not miraculously, I made them, im Schweisse meines Angesichts (which is German and means something like ‘I worked bloody hard to get it done, involving a lot of sweat’. Admittedly a gross exaggeration, but it sounds very impressive in my language).
And I will have to make more…. so far there are six now:
Josiane Keller “six cherubs” (2015)
(* the fortune cookie wisdom reads: “never despair, but if you do, work on in despair”. Fortune cookies come from China, but they are being enjoyed everywhere.)
And I convinced the beautiful Kameelah to model for the Foujita Madonna, which went probably very similar like Mr. Foujita went up to a beautiful girl in his neighbourhood in Paris, and told her he was painting this Madonna, and she was just the perfect model for that, so history repeats itself.
Here are four clips from the session, which was very easy, as Kameelah is the type of model where you do not need to even look or give any instruction, any tiny twist of of head is incredibly photogenic, so you can just have a coffee and keep one finger on the camera clicking away, and tell her to do as she feels like. Very easy work, very enjoyable and most inspiring (thanks again, Kameelah!):
Josiane Keller “Kameelah modelling Foujita’s Madonna – quad” (2015)
even her hands are spectacular! To compare with the original here:
Josiane Keller / Leonard Foujita “sketchbook page Leonard Tsugouharu Foujita Madonna” (1962, 2011, 2015)
More cherubs now…..
April 17, 2015
The good, the bad and the ugly, and then the VERY UGLY! When things seem not to go as planned, hoped and wanted (for whatever reason), there is always the option to make it a reason to party, celebrating the ironies of life (don’t even ask, instead raise your glass) :
Josiane Keller “party time” (2015)
That was very good after all, more angels tomorrow.
Comments (0) | Tags: Brief interlude, Party Time
Black Madonna – stage four with -two -make that: three – cherubs and what works real well as a cake may still not work well as art
April 16, 2015
So far the Madonna, very dry, but not bisqued yet:
Josiane Keller “Foujita Madonna-model” (2015)
and so far I have two cherubs, making more (thirteen more to go):
Josiane Keller “two cherubs” (2015)
Luckily these guys are not as hellish to make as I anticipated. Still for now it has more of what I rather would put on a wedding cake than make it semi-permanet from clay. I had a brief job in a bakery as cake dcorator, and the most essential thing I learned there was, there are some things that are made from durable matrial, like bronze, silver or marble, that would have worked so much better as a cake, and some things that were made as a cake could have been also a nice statue. It is a very good way to differentiate between kitsch and art, simply ask yourself if it would have been a great wedding cake or not.
Anyways, this is a work in progress, so let’s wait til it is finished.
Meanwhile one more cherub:
Josiane Keller “three cherubs” (2015)
the top one is the newest. Time for bed now. More cherubs tomorrow….
Engelmachertag, some more language issues and Camille Corot’s “the lake” and “Venus bathing”, use of colour (and composition) from then to now
April 15, 2015
Today, in fact yesterday should have been, and today will be, I hope, cherub-making-day. Fifteen of them. Ironically so, in German language it would translate to “Engelmachertag”, and that would apply to a woman or sometimes it could be men as well, who provide abortions, in times when this practice was neither legal nor openly discussed, yet with some luck you would still be better off than trying to work it out yourself with a coat-hanger or downing yourself in the village creek.
Paula Rego made a fantastic series of etchings to the topic.
Anyways, coat-hanger-days are gone, thank God, at least where I hang out, and so I am not an “Engelmacherin” but instead I am literally shaping these still missing fifteen cherubs for the Foujita-inspired black Madonna.
By chance I came across yet another wild attempt to use German language marketing Fine Art in ways that not only make no sense anymore, that also are grammatically at least very eccentric or let’s be brutal and say it: plain wrong, but that may or should (?) sound to some people educated, because slightly or altogether not any longer understandable.
I don’t know of any more bourgeois way of behavior, and yet it seems so popular. Does it improve marketability of art work? If so, to whom? Dangerous questions, yet again. My specialty.
Marketing language use in Fine Arts, what it does and why it is done, I ill never get over the topic. Actually, it’s cracking me up. Oops. Can I say that, and still sell my work in respectable galleries? I am actually not sure at all. I hope so, but I am not sure.
I am actually beginning to wonder if that is a new trend, since now the main art marketing language is English and many words are somewhat fabricated from what it could sound like (but doesn’t) in English, or if that was always that way? For instance in the past when people would use French as secondary language much more, or even older days Latin, and there were once people trying to sell a sinfully expensive painting, wiggling around in mock-Latin and being incredibly impressive (or maybe not?) Come to think of it, probably it was always that way.
But the good thing in it, irrelevant of all other bits and bobs involved, is that I had a look at a certain painting by Camille Corot (1796 – 1875) who was in this specific article mentioned as someone doing mono-chromatic paintings. This startled me, but I don’t want to claim that I have seen every single painting of Corot, so I checked (and I STILL have not seen every single painting by Corot, don’t misunderstand what I am saying!)
I think, there is a difference between monochromatic and nearly monochromatic. Maybe the difference is not so big regarding colour use, but very big in terms of what it would mean in art history when someone for the first time creates a truly monochromatic painting (outside a drawing or coloured work sketch) and calls it a finished piece without being called clinically insane, colour blind or extremely lazy.
Anyways, maybe let’s leave the pitfalls of language aside for a moment and look at the paintings, you can see many of them on this site, unfortunately they plastered their logo all over it, although the copyright should be with the estate of the painter, one could assume, and someone seemingly thought Corot’s paintings alone are not interesting enough for visitors of this site, so he or she created a slide-show with goofy and highly distracting effects, but anyways you can see many of his paintings here (they claim “his complete works”, who knows). Start at the end, this is where Corot is working with less colour, trying new things:
To discuss the topic mono-chromatic, or almost monochromatic I picked this one, (NOT from this particular site, no worries, and anyways it is Corot’s painting, by all means):
Camille Corot “the lake” (1861)
And to check the situation of colour I made a series you can compare with very enhanced colour-hues (which looks incredibly tacky, but definitely shows that they are actually there, and different ones on top of that) and less of them to none, the top one is the original, give or take some slight alterations based on photographic reproduction of a painting and the settings of the computer you are look at:
Camille Corot “the lake”, hue range (1861/2015)
Pretty interesting, anyways, isn’t it?
If it was mine I would do something like this:
Camaille Corot “the lake” (1861), bw high contrast
in photography, that is, maybe not in painting.
Anyways, colour and online reproduction. I like this one for specific reasons, but I have never seen the real thing and it turns out to be in a private collection (may the owner please confirm which one is the real or more real colour?) Seemingly we have a late summer and we have also a spring version:
Camille Corot “Venus bathing”, version I and II (1873-74)
and then if it was mine I would do something like this:
Josiane Keller/Camille Corot “Venus bathing IIII” (1873, 2015)
But, see discussion above, if Corot had done that, people possibly including himself would have thought he was drunk, crazy or this is only a sketch for a nice colour oil painting he is gonna make later on from it.
Anyways, now it is time to make some cherubs for the Foujita Madonna.
Comments (0) | Tags: Camille Corot, Engelmachertag, the lake, Venus bathing
April 12, 2015
Added more base and made the eyes. Still not sure about these cherubs…
Josiane Keller “black Madonna – stage three” (2015)
Doesn’t look like much yet. Has something of the famous Butter Jesus… The figures usually look a bit off during making. I am no expert in religious statues, prostitutes are easier for me. (Ahh, Foujita-san, why didn’t you stick to the naked ladies and cats?!) I hope I can pull this one off…
And then Mike came over showing off his finally completed flying space aliens, which was great as we could try them as cherub substitutes…
Josiane Keller “black Madonna and Mike’s flying aliens” (2015)
Compare with Jean Fouquet’s:
Jean Fouquet “Virgin and Child Surrounded by Angels, right wing of the diptych” (1452)
and whilst we’re at it, compare also with:
Petrus Christus “Madonna of the Dry Tree” (1465)
Compare with one of mine:
Josiane Keller “MOM” (2010)
April 11, 2015
So far stage two, the basics are modeled, I still need the fifteen cherubs, if I bother, perhaps I will do something different, we’ll see.
Josiane Keller “black Madonna stage two” (2015)
Not sure about that fabric either. We’ll see how it goes. The hands are a tic to high up. Shall I leave them there or re-arrange them? Hmm.
(* Maybe I should just do that: model Madonnas. Where I’m from that is an actual profession, although they are mainly carved from wood, here and there a Saint Christopher chucked in, too. Hmm, again. maybe not for everyday and always.)
Oh gosh, still need to get them fifteen cherubs done. Is there a way to cheat? Anyways, so far this.
Comments (0) | Tags: black Madonna stage two
A sketchbook page with a rare reproduction of Léonard Tsugouharu’s Foujita 藤田 嗣治 “マドンナ /Madonna”, the quest for an image of a black Madonna – homage to Foujita – Stage One
April 9, 2015
Almost three years ago now I was working on the “Each reflection”-project, and as many times stated now started writing this BLOG as a production diary.
One post was this one on the making of Koala’s figure, and in context with this I put up a picture, or rather a print of a photograph of a painting originally painted by Japanese painter Léonard Tsugouharu Foujita 藤田 嗣治. The picture shows a beautiful youthful black Madonna encircled by fifteen black cherubs, the title is only “Madonna” or in Japanese “マドンナ”.
This is the original post:
I took another photograph of it today including my own hand, to make it visually clear that is this actually a page in a sketchbook, which looks like this:
© Josiane Keller “sketchbook page: Léonard Tsugouharu 藤田 嗣治 Foujita’s ‘Madonna’ マドンナ” (1962, 2011, 2015)
(* Just for fun as well as symbolism: I put a copyright symbol here. Not that would do anything about it.)
The original painting, as I found out by now, is in a private collection, although I have not managed to track it down (yet) in which collection and where.
It seems my photograph to my surprise is the only online reproduction of this painting. (!?)
The painter himself, born in 1886 in Tokyo, went in 1913 from Japan to France, befriended the local avant-garde of Parisian artists, among them Modigliani, Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse, famously so painted Man Ray’s kinky lover Kiki de Montparnasse (Alice Ernestine Prin) several times, inclusive enjoying her bossing him, allegedly because he specialized in painting ‘near white skin’ in a specific technique, as far as I know of mainly the whitish skin of young ladies with sparse clothing on. Kiki was known to him for particularly white skin. Among the many paintings he did of her is this one:
Leonard Tsuhugaru Foujita “nu couche a la toile de Jouy” (1922)
which did so well back then, and in the Wikipedia article it says also two years ago in NY at Christie’s, but the image they have on their site looks nothing like a Foujita at all and different from this very famous one, which makes me very skeptical that they got their data right and so I don’t even show it here, but of course you can check for yourself if you are interested.
Anyways, Kiki was modelling for other artist, too, particularly Man Ray, which is great as now we have photographs of her to compare with the paintings, and this is a famous one of it:
Man Ray “Black and White / Noire et Blanche” (1926)
Foujita married three times, did many paintings and lived a very eccentric life, did various travels worldwide, particularly to Latin America, where he painted and showed his work, spent some time back in Japan, eventually returned to France, converted to Catholicism, finally died in Switzerland and was eventually buried in the Foujita Chapel in Reims, France, he had designed himself and decorated with religious fresco.
And because that chapel, Chapelle Foujita, is very special I will also add a link to some pictures, so you can see it, for example this person went there in 2009 and took some photos:
Some links with information on him as I posted it on him on the initial post I will repeat here once more:
His English wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsuguharu_Foujita
to compare, here the Japanese wikipedia site: http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/藤田嗣治
and some museums hosting his work, for example: ブリヂストン美術館 Bridgestone Museum of Art in Tokyo:
http://www.bridgestone-museum.gr.jp/en/, as stated: this museum will be closing next month on Monday, May 18, 2015 for construction of a new building, and will remain closed for several years; (*you have one and half month to go see it!)
there is also this one: 東京都現代美術館 Tōkyō-to Gendai Bijutsukan in Tokyo: http://www.mot-art-museum.jp/index.html
and this one: ポーラ美術館 Pola Museum of Art in Hakone, Kanagwa Prefecture:
Still, the very specific painting of his black Madonna is a mystery, and not just that, since I put the picture up it has been passionately copied from my BLOG and put on pinterest seemingly multiple times, and from there made its way on other websites and BLOGS, only in one case I got the credit for this photo, and I am not even sure what to think about that, as I did not paint the picture, Foujita did, but I took the photo and the thing is also a bit from one of my sketchbooks. So I suppose some credit should go to me, no?
Then again, there seems to be no other online image of this specific painting than the one I put up, which is easy to recognize by the handwriting around it and the crease in the paper close to the upper edge, where the picture was folded before I glued it into my sketchbook.
One thing is clear from the online statistics on my website: there is a great need for an image of a young, beautiful black Madonna, it seems particularly among the African-American community, although the picture was probably painted with a North-African-French immigrant modelling, this is only my guess, I have currently no fact at hand that actually confirms this.
And so, although I am against organized religion, which is that I think some things should stay free instead being boxed up, instead of sending complaint e-mails to people who download this picture from my website putting it sometimes in the wildest context with their own stuff (even some sort of TV preacher from the Carolinas has it up!) without giving me any credit for it, which half is fair, as I didn’t paint it, and half not fair, as it is after all a corner from my sketchbook, I decided to produce a new, nice image of the same thing, so my next figure is supposed to be another black Madonna, inspired by Foujita’s painting, because it is indeed an interesting painting and I actually like it, too, very much, (which is the reason why I put it into my sketch book in the first place.)
To begin with we need some clay, that as opposed to my work so far contains iron oxide, which gives it deep reddish brown colour. The last time I used this particular clay was years ago, so by now my remaining material is hardened and needs to be worked over.
So right now the Madonna, Stage One, looks like this:
Josiane Keller “red clay” (2015)
Doesn’t look like much right now, if anything than probably more like a bowl of Mousse au Chocolat, but then again all my figures start out that way. A direct parallel to various creation mythologies involving forming creatures from clay cannot be denied.
April 8, 2015
One more time every flat surface in the studio seems covered with large format test prints. This time in colour, looks very uplifting:
Josiane Keller “colour test prints” (2015)
Comments (0) | Tags: colour test prints, photography
April 7, 2015
I started overworking the tons and tons of pictures I took during the photo shoot with Chloë Bass, “Alice with crutches”.
And since its Easter and spring and I survived yet another horrible winter, and since I am originally a painter and did now really a ton of black and white photographs I suppose it is time to think a little bit about colour.
This also, since recently I am wondering if it would be actually not such a bad thing to make some photographs that are intelligent but also attempt to be beautiful, just like that, how bold!
Grayson Perry said that in an interview, “perhaps it’s OK sometimes to make something just beautiful”.
Actually I am not exactly sure how he phrased it. But I think that was what he meant, or at least that is what I picked up from it.
Also Richard Long after years of grey, white and black is all in colour, and what is good enough for Richard Long should by all means be good enough for me, too.
Richard Long “The Spike Island Tapes @Alan Cristea Gallery” (2015)
And finally my favourites, the Expressionists, so colour, anyways.
The title of this series is “the grass is always green”, which has to do with teaching painting, where in the first class many people automatically paint grass green, without much thinking if there might be another, possibly more true option.
Here is what I have so far:
Josiane Keller “the grass is always green” (2015)
Josiane Keller “the grass is always green 1″ (2015)
Josiane Keller “the grass is always green 2″ (2015)
Josiane Keller “the grass is always green 3″ (2015)
this would be actually green grass:
Josiane Keller “the grass is always green 4″ (2015)
Looks quite “real”, although the grass that day was still much more brown and yellow after a long, cold winter, so this just to show.
Instead, more interesting, almost black & white:
Josiane Keller “the grass is always green 5″ (2015)
Josiane Keller “the grass is always green 6″ (2015)
Josiane Keller “the grass is always green 7″ (2015)
well, sometimes the grass actually can be green:
Josiane Keller “the grass is always green 8″ (2015)
Josiane Keller “the grass is always green 9″ (2015)
Josiane Keller “the grass is always green 10″ (2015)
Josiane Keller “the grass is always green 11″ (2015)
Josiane Keller “the grass is always green 12″ (2015)
Josiane Keller “the grass is always green 13″ (2015)
These are the images from last Sunday, taking Chloë Bass along, who is currently working on her own project “The Book of Everyday Instruction, Chapter One: you + me together”:
Even though I had planned to do something with colour next, it is interesting to see, what a drastic turn my work took that day I worked together with another artist.
Photo shoot with Chloë Bass and Alice in the park – “The Book of Everyday Instruction”-Project – Chapter One: you + me together
April 5, 2015
Chloë Bass, SPACES artist in residence of this month, was so very kind to come along with me to day for a photo shot with Alice (wearing crutches) in the park.
Her site is here: http://chloebass.com/
this is a photo of Alice:
Josiane Keller “Alice mit Krücken / Alice with crutches” (2015)
and this is Chloë Bass:
Josiane Keller “Chloë Bass in the park” (2015)
(*Ironically so only a few days ago I had just written on this BLOG… ‘I will not do community projects ever again, well: lesser so, a bit, occasionally’ … fine…. I was interested in her project, as it sounded to me her focus in this project is accompanying another person and integrating herself into another one’s life, besides that the photo-shoots are easier if I have someone helping, and more fun to go with someone else than alone.
Of course, technically, it could also go wrong, which would have been not good, wasting work time, but instead it was perfect, we got a lot done and at the end of the day (literally) I came back with hundreds of shots, left to working them over now. Thank you so much for your help, Chloë, it was great!)
If you are around til April 30th and want to work with her you can book her, see this link:
April 1, 2015
Josiane Keller “cluster photo – das Grabloch” (2015)
Finally the ground is thawed and we could bury Vanilla, the mouse, who had been since her death stored in an airtight container in my freezer, because the ground had been frozen and was too hard to bury her.
Everybody came, well… almost everybody: Josette, Jenny, Angel, Lee and Gilberte. The others were at work or overslept. It was nevertheless a very festive event and we all cried a lot. Rest in peace.
Comments (0) | Tags: Angel, das Grabloch, Funeral, Gilberte, Jenny, Josette, Lee, Vanilla
April 1, 2015
Alice made it safe through the bisque firing and is currently busy in the “glaze” firing , although as usual, no glaze, only iron oxide. I was searching for a good name for her, I think I end up calling her Alice (celebrating my Lewis Carroll infatuation and expressing that with the MaryJane-shoes she is wearing), but I was going back and forth between that and Maxine. Not sure yet.
If all works out well she will be ready in time for the Easter Sunday photo shoot with the ‘surprise artist’ from Brooklyn. If not, well, that’s were the famous Plan B comes in. As usual.
Josiane Keller “Alice in the kiln I and II” (2015)
Comments (0) | Tags: Alice in the kiln
March 28, 2015
Well, as said above, looks like this:
Josiane Keller “drying time – front” (2015)
Josiane Keller “drying time – back” (2015)
Same as with Madeleine, she has to speed-dry and all has to be finished inclusive 2nd firing by Easter.
And just for the heck of it, a photograph by Gautier Deblonde of Ron Mueck’s atelier. Ron Mueck makes, as we all know, sculptures, but I like this picture by Gautier DeBlonde of all the bits, bobs and parts together better:
Gautier Deblonde “Atelier de Ron Mueck” (2013)
here is the site of the photographer: http://www.gautierdeblonde.com/, who was so very nice and let me use his picture on my BLOG. Thanks again!!
Once again I am wondering about the question: what is the difference of a picture of a human being and a picture of a doll of a human being?
And: what is the difference between looking at a sculpture and looking at a photograph of a sculpture?
On a BLOG it is impossible to illustrate this question, because every sculpture I show will always be shown reproduced in 2D as a photographic image or drawing.
Anyways, here a link to some work by Ron Mueck, as far as I could see he has no website of his own (doesn’t need it):
Interesting to me, that the article calls the sculptures “hyper-realistic”. As in more real than real. Overly real. Too real. Scroll down in the article to the third photograph, a close-up of Ron Mueck’s sculpture “Two Women”, photographed by Fernando de Sousa.
This photo, blurr and composition, turns the originally “hyper realistic” sculpture in a realistic photograph. To me it comes closer how your sense of vision perceives our environment.
Back to my own models. It’s sanding time (very dusty, by the way):
Josiane Keller “sanding” (2015)
March 26, 2015
All photographs and texts on this website are the copyrighted property of their authors.
No part of this website or its content may be copied or reproduced without its author’s permission.
Thank you. Remember: texts included. You’re welcome to ask, though. Thanks again.
Back to real life on this planet, as perhaps it applies to many more of us. Pretty boring. Some of it happy, some of it sad.
Josiane Keller “road in sunset” (2015)
and up again:
Josiane Keller “sunrise with green lights” (2015)
Josiane Keller “Aurelian’s drawing wheelchair cup holder” (2015)
now, for now:
Josiane Keller “Mark laughing in March” (2015)
when shit hits the fan .. .
Josiane Keller “cancer meds” (2015)
Josiane Keller “green yellow houses” (2015)
Comments (0) | Tags: back to real
March 26, 2015
This is the colour of the skin of my friend who is dying of bone cancer, as it was on March 25th 2015.
Comments (0) | Tags: 2532015, SKIN OF MY FRIEND
March 25, 2015
This looks like an empty post depending on the background color of your computer screen, but it is actually WHITE. Please view explanation at the bottom of the post.
This BLOG is a work in progress. It is not my main work, that would be the images I am making, but it started as a production diary to communicate the progress of work I was doing in collaboration with a group of people too far to see otherwise.
I kept writing it since as a production diary of other work I made later and as a form of note- and sketchbook. Since its beginning I went through various stages in my life, because I am also teaching art and at times working on collaborations and commissions.
I originally wrote about artwork in relation to the work produced in the collaboration that started the BLOG, to demonstrate its context to contemporary and historical artwork. I am sharing my time between various very different places and depending to the specific situation where I am at the moment my circumstances may be vastly different.
In 2013 I worked on several commissions. Two out of three were extremely enriching to my own work and and worthwhile the effort, although the budget was limited and the pay was low. One seemed to constantly grow and change, the boundaries of these project floated and its nature constantly transformed, whilst I was involved in it. To my knowledge this project is still, seven years after it had been started, not completed. Ironically so the particular project had a realistic budget and my considerable salary had been the reason why I had agreed to it. I learned from that experience, if affordable at all, the pay should not be the indicator if one takes on a commission or not.
I have come across people who hide some very negative motivations in seemingly comical or banal imagery. I have also come across people who seem to create deliberately offense and conflict in order to realize their own agenda, may it be just drawing attention to their persona; the artwork they produce in such a case generally lacks clarity and apparent purpose, and it seems to be produced not for its own sake but as a pretense.
Where in 2013 I would agree to many projects partially for the fun of being a part of it and used to be very active in community projects I have now moved away from this, also to have more time concentrating on my own work. I am still open and very grateful for commissioned work as well as the occasional collaboration, but I learned that not just anything is necessarily a good fit for my own character and the expectations of others.
The colour WHITE resembles for me clarification, reflection, new beginnings, but also endings and dissolving of boundaries.
I used it in form of a full white screen for several seconds in my film “I anyways live until I die”:
The emotional effect it communicates only comes to its full development if the film is being watched on large screen in a closed, dark screening room of a cinema.
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March 24, 2015
New project – ten trees in the park – collaboration project about sharing time and “thank you for your time”
March 24, 2015
For the next project I need a nice rural image, meadow with some oak trees.
Luckily there are plenty of them around me, if one knows where to look, that is, not just so in the open. (That would be nice! But better than nothing.)
The trick is to get the dimensions right and to avoid hikers or their dogs running through. It can be good, in some rare occasions, but in most cases it is not ideal.
There will be a surprise artist coming along for the next photo-shoot in two weeks, at least that is the plan right now, and her project is somewhat similar to the now so much discussed last one. The project she is working on is accompanying various people (free of charge) along on an occupation they usually do with another person.
I love it, also love the idea of meeting someone and connecting through an occupation together, sharing with each other, but of course, as long as we have not done it yet nobody knows what the future beholds.
She will come along for a photo-shot, which is great. Usually I grab my own people, who are ‘trained through experience’, so there is another difference: it is not quite something for the ‘untrained’, but then again I will provide basic training on the day, and after all it is not difficult.
For now I need the right scenery. Here some tree test shots:
Josiane Keller “ten trees” (2015)
Hmmm. Not easy. The leaves on the ground are in my way. Or might be. But we will see, perhaps with combined forces I can come up with something decent.
This artist ends her communication with “I’m really looking forward to our time.” It may only be a casual phrase, but the expression of valuing other people’s time invested in her own art project and the will to support this is making her very sympathetic to me.
March 23, 2015
Haven’t read my spam in a while, today I took the time, as I had just 7 of them, and came across this little gem, too precious to just delete it before sharing:
This locate is extraordinary to me. I have never tried such things, so I don’t in actuality be aware what to write. Anyway…
I’m Jessica. I’m unmarried and I believe abandoned and abandoned. I would like to meet an attractive and ingenious guy to making up dour relations. No swift-flowing relations! I don’t call for to be forward. So, do not force on me. I only after to contain a season or two to find at fault whether we liking costume each other.
I’m shrewd and off-the-wall, and diverse reveal that I’m graceful cute. I give birth to lots of entertaining things to tell you about.
If you are interested charter out’s try and find into public notice how we will take care of it. I hope we’ll net elevated benefits from our fellowship.”
‘No swift-flowing relations’, that’s right! Make sure you wear liking costume when you date her, or it will be one season only, even though she is shrewd, off-the-wall and gracefully cute. AND: she gives birth, and lots of that, to entertaining things.
(Just like me!)
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Why can’t it be about my gaze? A new figure, photographer Nina Leen and “the male gaze” versus “a woman’s viewpoint”
March 20, 2015
Josiane Keller “new figure” (2015)
Finally, I am working on a new figure. (How fun! – No irony, btw. The figure-making, when I get to it, is incredibly enjoyable.) So far it doesn’t look like much, but I admit I have a fortune cookie wisdom on my laptop sticking that reads “Begin… the rest is easy.” That should tell you all there is to know…
I spent a lot of time as I placed an ad in a certain photography magazine and… they messed it up. How, do not even ask. So after a lot of flipping and fighting I get a new ad, which will be a little odd, one weird one and one hopefully nice one, this time. This is where for example the Dutch designer Gerrit Noordzij’s could be most helpful.
Anyways, now I will write about “the male gaze”. Unless you are refurnishing a strip-club, a most peculiar topic, if you ask me. But I am no man. And that is EXACTLY THE POINT.
(Here, I will make a “point”, right here, look: • That is a point, see? Fine, I stop goofing around and will try to explain…)
Recently I had a tiny review written about my work, the person writing it, God bless, was specifically interested in the “Haifischflossen”-album. His original text had a headline that read: work on “women’s issues, and the male gaze” and as explanation he stated, ‘feminist theory being a main interest of his’ and further “the inclusion of provocative and distorted semi-nude hand-made models definitely strikes that chord for me.”
He further explained the part of my artist statement had lead him to this:
- why are we taking photographs of women?
- what is the difference of men taking photographs of women versus women taking photographs of women?”
Stop right there. Go back to “perspective” and “stand point”. Start again. Drive the opposite direction.
Why can’t it be about my gaze?
I can see why he would think so. But then again, if my work should be about “the male gaze” then one could also say, since I went a few years ago doing my duty and went to the Louvre staring at the “Mona Lisa”, the “Mona Lisa” is about “the gaze of Josiane Keller”. There, I am staring right at her, it must be about my gaze, right? I have been staring since minutes now.
I am not sure, (how could anyone be sure of anything, anyways?), but I assume it is not.
Leonardo da Vinci “Mona Lisa” (1503/1505)
It certainly is about Leonardo da Vinci’s gaze, that I think would be safe to assume. And famously so, in this particular case, the painting is also about the model’s gaze (Lisa del Giocondo), since the model somewhat looks back at the artist and makes eye-contact. Eye-contact to some is interpreted as an invitation or even a provocation, for example silver-back gorillas are said to have this reaction. (That was mean, I totally admit it. Sorry. But I don’t take it back.)
Let’s make one thing clear: I am most grateful to anyone, who is interested in my work, and I am very happy, if they find it triggers any of their own interests, and I even more grateful to anyone who is willing to even write about my work! Absolutely and how wonderful!!! But I would really like it very much, if people who write about other people’s work do keep in mind, that they can’t possibly “just know” what it is about and for that reason I would go the easy route and please make the effort and ask the artist, instead of assuming, even if you are very sure you still might get it wrong after all.
There are people out there publishing “interviews”, what they understand by that is they write some text up that reads very beautifully and elegant, questions by the interviewer, answer by the artist, they almost include description of little laughs and gestures. Then they send it to the artist for an “OK” one night prior to publication.
I am not joking, that really happened to me, and since then I am very suspicious of “interviews” with artists published anywhere really, that read so very nice and elegantly.
It is extremely bad journalism and I honestly do not understand why in the field of fine arts the rules should be any different from other journalism. All their lives long artists, or at least me, spend so much time effort and money to clarify what they are really thinking, over and over again, re-thinking, re-evaluation and finding good ways to communicate that visually. And all of a sudden, just because one was lucky enough to get a review somewhere, one is supposed to be so endlessly grateful that all that should not matter anymore, and one is happy to throw it all overboard only to give the reviewer’s ego a chance to write about whatever he anyways wanted to write about, no matter if it actually applies or not?
I care very much about in what context my work is being represented, because it is a lot about context and lesser so about pretty pictures, in fact the problem is: I am trying to communicate a certain context in images. Of course then that is a form of abstraction, and that can be interpreted or mis-interpreted, and that leaves space for misunderstandings. But if you take my intentions away and use my work to communicate something what I had not in mind saying through it, which is easily done in i.e. an article, then you practically hijacked my work. I am awfully sorry, but as far as I am able to stop such bad art-journalism if it applies to my work, I will do that. If you have no interest in what my work is about then do not feature it.
If you have an interest in making an “interview” with me then PLEASE ask me, I am happy to answer truthfully to all your questions, which you are happy to publish; PLEASE do not override what I say. No matter how badly you wish to write about this or that other topic that interests you and you thought it could fit with it, but ultimately doesn’t. If the urge to express your own issues is so pressing, please have the guts and become a free-lance writer, where you can write about whatever you please.
Or another, maybe even more interesting alternative: IF you think you wish to write about my work and at the same time want to write about a specific topic you are very much interested in, and you think it may (or may not) have anything to do with my work, then set up a real interview. I will happily make myself available for that, and it will probably take less time and work that composing an essay based on things harvested from e-mail communication or web statements made here and there over time, that ultimately do not belong together. Or, even more easy: write all your points down in a questionnaire and send it, and I will fill it in and send it back well in time prior to publication.
[*But do not ask me to send material and then fabricate a “fake” interview written as if we had a lively discussion, you asking, me responding, if that did not take place, even if you are very much convinced you know what I would have replied. There are probably plenty of people out there who are able to write in a language way more elegant and intellectual than I ever could, but it is still not reason to hijack a place that people assume was mine to explain myself. Sounds bizarre, but indeed has happened to me once, see above.]
Instead of bickering, let’s try another one, (I am really not here to insult people, but I am trying to explain something.) So for example Ingres is always big on eye-contact:
Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres “La Grande Odalisque” (1814)
(Sexy, isn’t she? Well, at least I think she is sexy…) Anyways (- although NOT anyways: sexy or not sexy does play a role in this discussion!), so this painting about… what? Ingres’ gaze, and the model’s gaze.
Does it count to conclude: everyone who looked at this pictures then can be counted in the list of people and their specific gender this painting is allegedly about?
But this painting was not created free-lance, it is a commission, and it was commissioned by a woman: Napoleon’s younger sister, Queen Caroline Murat of Naples (or full title: Marie Annonciade Caroline Murat, née Bonaparte).
And the lady was married twice with children. Why possibly would a woman, who is not even openly gay, want to look at a sexy naked lady, and so badly that she orders one painted by an expensive painter? Oh dear, how terribly confusing! What does it mean?
So, now that everyone is successfully confused… let’s briefly go back to the statement this writer made, one of his main interests is “feminist theory”.
Wiki knows this: “Feminist theory is the extension of feminism into theoretical or philosophical discourse. It aims to understand the nature of gender inequality. (…)”
I hesitate calling myself a “feminist”. I live at several different communities not exactly at the same time, but shortly after each other, for various reasons. These communities vary very much from one to the other and living like that has probably clarified my own identity much more than if I had stayed only in one and the same place.
The situation of women within society varies very much from place to place as well as time to time as well as women in general. At some place I experience a relatively clear inequality between genders, at other not so much, but by changing my environment automatically I gain a different position, more disconnected on focusing on who I am outside of any community. If I am not clear about that my life style would be very stressful. Also my own age and stage within society changes.
Luckily, for once currently I do not feel so suppressed that feminist topics would be so pressing for me to base my main work on this topic.
And further, I am very much opposed to labels that in some ways put things into context, but then also limit work and people to grow beyond that when it is time and stay within boundaries that I find more more stifling than clarifying.
To be honest, the term “feminism” creeps me out a bit. I am not sure if I understood it all, as at the time it was big I was a tiny girl spending most of my time on trees in the woods. By now, as a grown up woman, it seems to be like, let’s stick to the woods for the sake of making an analogy, I was walking around freely in the forest, and right there, when I pass up that huge fir tree, I see that clearing, there is a strange set-up of a kind I have never seen before. So I go a little bit closer, and there is a stick, and some branches and leaves on the floor and over that hangs from a string a frilly apron, dangling in the wind. And I make a step towards the whole thing and reach my hand out to take a closer look, as I have actually never before seen a frilly apron, and whooommm, I fall into some form of booby trap. Once inside some strange people jump out of the bushes and grab me, stick me in a built-in kitchenette and leave me there for life, with nothing but a filled fridge, a book shelf full of how-to-decorate-muffins-books and a husband, who does customer service in the main office of a bicycle courier company.
Currently I don’t care so much about men or about their gaze. Let me re-phrase that: if I take a nude-photograph, posing with a funny (or is it?) sign-board in my hands, and this particular photograph sky-rockets my site views and the source of these particular views are sex-related sites and online-dating sites then I might after careful consideration chose to take this photograph down again from my website, because although the sociological experiment I never intended to make, but that took place more by default, was very fruitful and gave me new insights about men that at the same time I am only to a very tiny level, if at all, interest in, then perhaps my work to some extent does have something to do with ‘the male gaze’.
But I do not make it intentionally for that, it happens by default. In fact, after I found that out I did take the particular photograph off my site, as I feel we already know that sexual attraction is a very powerful motivation for all things living, but at the same times there are other topics to research on as well, that currently I am more interested in.
I am truly interested in why take a photograph and the fetish-effect a photograph does take on, which does also include the option of being a sexual fetish, but that is not my main interest at all, and if there is a difference in taking a photograph of a living person versus taking a photograph of a doll of a person.
The question I am asking is: can one say my work is about ‘the male gaze’, only because men may look at it even if I did not intend to make the work for specifically men to look at it?
In reality I think it is very important to stick to this part of my artist statement:
- why are we taking photographs of women?
- what is the difference of men taking photographs of women versus women taking photographs of women?”
But doing so, when looking at my photography depicting women, even naked ones, particularly my constructed photography, for which I make the models myself, keep in mind in the first instance I am a woman. I am the same (gender) that is depicted in my pictures, not ‘the opposite gender’. Hans Bellmer and Morton Bartlett both created female dolls based on the idea of “the object of their desire”. But Mark Hogencamp builds a city (“Marwencol”) populated with men and women, interesting enough the women-dolls saving the doll symbolizing himself. There are practically no male dolls in my constructed photography.
As a woman I go through different stages in my live and make various typical, perhaps even stereo-typical life experiences, childhood, youth, sexuality, the question of beauty, childbearing, relationships, age. And when I take my clothes off, I swear to God, under these clothes is a totally naked women, what a surprise! Every morning looking in the mirror in the bathroom I am so surprised and my upstairs neighbours can hear me shout: “Oh my God! There is a naked woman in my bathroom!” No, fooled you. My upstairs neighbours leave the house before me, they can’t hear anything.
I fully admit, whilst I actually do spend some thought on not annoying my neighbours, I simply do not think so much about the situation of men in general. Sorry about that. Then again, why should I care?, I am a woman.
There are plenty of male artists out there, that make tons of art about men and a man’s world, and I would not even be able to name any who is willing and able to make art-world about “women’s world” making an effort to portray it from a “woman’s viewpoint” and why would he?
Why should I be any different from that? What do I care what men think and feel, I am sure they will try to communicate some of it to me and then I can discuss, but I am not making artwork that automatically comes from a viewpoint of another person’s situation, that would be a man’s situation, even if I depict something that seems particularly interesting to men.
Josiane Keller “breast” (2014)
I am making images about “my world” from “my viewpoint”, naturally that is “a woman’s viewpoint”, but it is also “a human’s viewpoint”. Same as men make work that comes from a “man’s viewpoint” and can also come from “a human’s viewpoint”.
Besides the work in the “Haifischflossen”-project, I am not always dealing with the SELF and my own gender. I make other work with different topics and at times, when there is the chance, do shared projects, where I am trying to express the situation of others, for exactly the reason to try and relate to others. For instance the “Each reflection”-project would be a project I was making specifically about the experience of other people, in this case street youth, and I tried my very best to go as far as possible to merge into their feelings, experiences and conclusions, as if they were my own, trying to take my ego completely out of the process as much as that is even possible and making myself deliberately a tool for the participants in this project in order to express something through the images we come up with combined forces together, exactly the way they would want to say it to as close as possible to that:
I try the same thing when I interview someone, I make a conscious effort not to use another person’s work or statements a vehicle for my own concerns, although naturally so it happens often enough, and some artists out there do not mind and some welcome it. Personally, particularly in the situation of being interviewed I do not like that to happen, same as if at all possible I try not to allow it to happen with interviews about my own work, that is why I always double-check with people if they are happy with what I wrote and I wish people interviewing me would do so, too. At the end of the day (* a very British expression!) one can’t know for sure what another person is about.
I am only saying, even if you are a man, and have certain ways of approaching life, do not forget to consider that work made by a woman may be not about the same topic as if you as men would have made work that might look similar.
Which finally brings me to the gorgeous photographs of LIFE photographer Nina Leen,
who has a show coming up at Daniel Cooney Fine Art in New York from March 26 through May 15:
and so there are currently articles about are spooking around the internet, for example this one:
so she is “surreal”, “mysterious” and “weird” . Is she? Perhaps I don’t get it.
Nina Leen “Miami” (1955)
Is that a photograph about “the male gaze” or “the female gaze” or what is this about?
How about this one: male or female gaze, or any gaze, really?
Nina Leen “Teenagers at a party, Tulsa, OK” (1947)
To me it she a woman, taking pictures of people, some of them being women. Or photographs of women in situations, to me very much from “a woman’s viewpoint” (as opposed to “the male gaze”):
Nina Leen /LIFE magazine “with model” (date unknown*)
Then she did this series on the dancer Margaret Severn:
Nina Leen “Mask Dances /Margaret Severn” (date unknown*)
Unfortunately despite my best efforts I can’t seem to come up with a reliable *date for these ‘mask dance’-photographs, but since Margaret Severn did her mask dance around 1921 I guess the photographs must stem from about this period, too.
By the way, compare this gorgeous picture of hers, again showing Margaret Severn with mask:
Nina Leen / LIFE magazine “mask dance by Margaret Severn” (date unknown*)
coincidentally similar, compare with:
Josiane Keller “Agnes with mask” (date known: 2014)
Listen also to Margaret Severn, talk about the masks and the dance in this video:
Interesting: a female dancer, using masks.
Here you can see some more mask photos from this series:
So far about this for now. Surely more will come up, but enough for tonight, I am going to bed. Happy Spring 2015, male and female gazers!
In this context, one more thing: my ‘prostitutes’- photographs:
are in the first instance not literally about ‘prostitution’ as in the sense of ‘sex-work’, nor are they exclusively only about ‘women’, or even ‘women’s issues’ , but instead they are about the ‘discrepancy an artist may or may not find himself or herself be in, attempting to market one’s work and having to put up with quite a lot of loss of control, to various extents’, where to draw the line is up to the individual artist. That would include for example being confronted with a review that does not seem to truly represent the artist’s concerns for whatever reason that may be, but because an artist is generally in great need to get publication and exposure of any form in order to work as professional artist he or she may easily accept these kind of situations that otherwise he or she might object to.
In connection to this problem I am planning my next project to be on “Circus Life”, similar issue: the partially ridiculous tricks artists find themselves doing to show and market their work. Coincidentally again Nina Leen took a gorgeous series of photographs featuring female (damn, again that bloody male gaze!!) Circus artists, for example this one here:
Nina Leen /LIFE magazine “Ringling Brothers – Circus” (1949)
(At last I have a date for her work!) Good night for now.