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11 JULY 2012

Maurizio Anzeri: embroidered patterns on found vintage photographs

"Maurizio Anzeri makes his portraits by sewing directly into found vintage photographs. His embroidered patterns garnish the figures like elaborate costumes, but also suggest a psychological aura, as if revealing the person's thoughts or feelings. The antique appearance of the photographs is often at odds with the sharp lines and silky shimmer of the threads. The combined media gives the effect of a dimension where history and future converge. The image used in Round Midnight is an early 20th century 'glamour shot' that at the time would have been considered titillating for both the girl's nudity and ethnicity. Anzeri's delicately stitched veil recasts the figure with an uncomfortable modesty, overlaying a past generation's cross–cultural anxieties with an allusion to our own.

'I've been collecting old photographs for a long time. A few years ago I was doing ink drawings with them and out of curiosity I stitched into one. I work a lot with threads and hand stitching, and the link to photography was a natural progression. I put tracing paper over the photo and draw on the face until it develops. Sometimes the image comes straight away, suggested by a detail on a dress or in the background, but with the majority of them I spend a lot of time drawing. Once the drawing is done, I pierce the photo with a set of needle–like tools I invented and take the paper away; the holes are obsessively paced at the same distance to convey an idea of geometry. When I begin the stitching something else happens, drawing will never do what thread will–the light changes, and at some points you can lose the face, and at others you can still see under it.'

'There's a dynamic in what happens between the photograph, the embroidery on top, and you standing in front looking at it. I try never to completely cover a face, you can always still see the face underneath. There are no rules other than I always leave one or both eyes open. Nothing is bigger in my head than a face, it's the best landscape we can look at. It's all to do with the centre, the body. Like a costume or other identity, my work reveals something that is behind the face that suddenly becomes in front. It's like a mask–not a mask you put on, but something that grows out of you. It's what the photo is telling you and what you want to read in the photos. I get my ideas from many different sources: it could be theatre, or someone dressed up on the tube, a tribe in Papua New Guinea, or Versace. It's never one specific thing.'

'Photographs from the 40s and 50s have a totally different quality from photos we're used to today. We don't recognise them as photographs now, they really look like watercolours or drawings. The images I use are anonymous, I find them everywhere; I'm really into flea markets and car boot sales, when you enter you have no idea what you're going to encounter. In everything I see there is something I am interested in, but I try to look at them as plain canvas. Art history is very important to me, it's all been done before but it's never been done by you: if you don't look into the past there is no chance to go into the future. The surrealist movement is important to my work, but I don't become obsessed by it, it's not dictating rules. I understand history in a formal respect, and think of past artists like travelling companions–making work is like going for a walk with them. At the end of the day it's about humanity.'"

(Saatchi Gallery)

Fig.1 Maurizio Anzeri, "Rita", 2011, Embroidery on photograph, 23.5 x 17.5 cm.

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TAGS

antique • antique appearance • art history • car boot sales • costumecraft nostalgia • cross-cultural anxieties • design craftdesign revisionism • elaborate costumes • embroidered patternsembroidery • embroidery on photograph • facefigures • flea markets • foundfound imagesgeometryglamour shot • hand stitching • inner thoughts • making art with recycled materialsmask • Maurizio Anzeri • modesty • needle • nostalgia • old photographs • overlaying • photographportrait • psychological aura • Saatchi Gallerysewing • sharp lines • silky shimmer • stitchedstitching • surrealist movement • textile arts • threads • travelling companions • veiledvintage

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
02 FEBRUARY 2012

Videodance: Alba Casanova's mutant anatomy

Fig.1 VIDEODANZA PARTIDA, Categoría: Videocreación, Guión y Dirección: Alba Casanova, Edición: Alba Casanova y Marc Guardiola, VFX: Marc Guardiola, LInk: http://vimeo.com/23959917, Rodado con Canon 5D mk II, Sigma 24mm 1.8, Canon 50mm 1.4, Mención Especial del Premio Nacional en la categoría de Videoarte del Festival Valencia Crea 2011. Via Bartholomew Bazaz, "Forest For Thoughts– My Journal and Diary" [http://bartholabazaz.tumblr.com/post/16882591206]

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TAGS

2011 • Alba Casanova • anatomybizarrebodycreative practicedancefiguresfreaksgrotesque • Marc Guardiola • morphingmutantnudephysiologyVFXvideo creation • videodance • visual spectacle

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
06 SEPTEMBER 2011

Riduan Tomkins' formal use of figuration

"Figuration itself is not inconsistent with the Modernist tradition since, even the most abstract of Modernist work makes references to things outside itself, yet, of all the features in Tomkins' work, the distinctive way in which he uses figuration seems to set it apart from the rest. Giacometti–like (although informed by Picasso and Matisse) troupes of figures edge around the paintings always playing some formal role but never solely in virtue of their form, scale, colour or location. Typically they point, both literally and figuratively, to formal elements in the Works, including, curiously enough, each other – but they also fly on trapezes, hold safety nets, dance and strike poses. None of the figures, however, are merely incidental to formal issues and although interdependent with them they have, as well, a life of their own. This invites interpretation, at least to the extent that we find ourselves reflecting on how and why the figures appear to us as they do – like mute vandevillians whose master, Tomkins, having rendered them onto some flattened proscenium, orchestrates their participation in a frozen theatrical tragicomic tableau. However, we cannot know the purpose of such entertainments beyond their capacity to intrigue and amuse us."

(Ted Bracey, 1987)

2) Ted Bracey (1987). Robert McDougall Art Gallery [now Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu].

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TAGS

abstraction • Alberto Giacometti • Aotearoa New Zealandauthentic residueChristchurchcolour fielddancedesign formalismfigurationfiguresfigures in spaceflat spaceflat surface • flattened proscenium • formformal elements • formal issues • frozenHenri Matisselegitimacyminimalist artmodernismmodernist traditionPablo Picassopainting • pentimenti • pentimento • proscenium arch • reflexive aesthetic practices • Riduan Tomkins • scale • School of Fine Arts • strike a pose • tableautableau vivant • Ted Bracey • theatricaltragicomictrapezeUniversity of Canterbury • vaudeville • visual language

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
02 SEPTEMBER 2011

The Daily Figure blog

"A series of daily figurative studies from my imagination. No reference material is used, which is part of the fun of the exercise."

(Kyle T. Webster)

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TAGS

artwork • daily • drawing • figure study • figuresfigures in spacegesturegesture studiesillustrationpen and inksketchsketch book

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
01 AUGUST 2011

Drawing movement: fighting and fencing poses

"To start with I made some reference by acting it out, took photos and printed them out, I drew them in my sketch book, using what I learnt in animation principals where u put a cross through the character, so you can tell where the weight is distributed on the foot and the angle of the shoulders and pelvis. Once I am happy, I drew boxes on top of the pose."

(Alexander Bax, deviantART)

F.g.1–6 Alexander Bax, fighting and fencing poses

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TAGS

animation principals • artworkchoreographychoreography of conflict • deviantART • drawingfencing • fighting poses • figuresfigures in space • force • gestureillustrationimpactmotionmovement • pelvis • performanceposereenactment • reference drawings • shoulder • sketch booksport • velocity • visualisationweight distribution

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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