New frontiers of image-making

By | Art & Design
Guy Bourdin, French Vogue, May 1970 Fujiflex Crystal Archive print, courtesy of The Guy Bourdin Estate and Louise Alexander Gallery

For the second time Los Angeles, homeland of Hollywood production, will host one of the most important events showcasing the recent developments of photography and moving image. The 2014 edition of Parisphoto LA, opening at the end of this week between April 25th and 27th, presents an outstanding programme of exhibitions and events including 81 exhibitors, 31 solo shows and 37 group shows. The event will take place at The Paramount Pictures and will offer the challenging and unusual location of the historical soundstages and the movie sets of New York Street backlot as the setting for exhibitions and events.

Parisphoto started in 1996 in Paris where it takes place once a year and only recently has launched its LA edition. It is one of the most important art fairs dedicated to the medium of photography, featuring both historical material and contemporary practice.

Stephen Shore, Winslow Arizona, 2013, Courtesy of 303 Gallery

Stephen Shore, Winslow Arizona, 2013, Courtesy of 303 Gallery

The LA context, other than just offering a colourful background for the show, will be the topic of inspiration for exhibitions and events as well as curatorial work designed around the movie industry. Remarkable for this edition is the showcase of a collection of photographic material from LAPD from 1925 to the mid-60s that will be exhibited to the public for the first time, and the solo show dedicated to actor and artist Dennis Hopper.

Unedited! The LAPD Photo Archives is the title of the exhibition curated by Julien Frydman, director of Parisphoto along with Robin Blackman and Merrick Morton of fototeka. Produced in collaboration with LAPD the exhibition features rare photographs taken by police officers and criminologists for the Special Investigation Division. These images evoke the scenarios of Hollywood dramas and noir films, a collection where fiction and documentary is constantly intertwined resembling a condition typical of the city of Los Angeles.

The Dennis Hopper exhibition, organised in collaboration with The Hopper Art Trust, presents a collection of the actor’s photographic work. Pictures taken by the artist during the 1960s portraying movie stars and artists such as Andy Warhol, Peter Fonda and Jasper Johns offer an interesting window on the pop culture of those years. Along with the pictures, there will be the screening of the 1971 film and Venice Film Festival Critics’ Prize winner The Last Movie, at the Paramount Theatre. The film, directed and interpreted by Hopper, experimented with the medium and language of filmmaking itself, offering a significant example where the blurred definition between fiction and reality becomes the implicit subject matter of the production. For the first time, the re-mastered version of the film will be screened to the public on April 26th.  If related to contemporary photography and video, Hopper’s work assumes an important meaning for many artists and photographers.

The solo shows feature an international portfolio of figures such as Uta Barth, Abigail Reynolds, Cristina De Middel, Edward Burtynsky, Brian Bress, Luz Maria Bedoya, Katharine Cooper just to mention few, while the group shows will include the 313 Art Project (Seoul), Angles (Los Angeles), De Roussan (Paris), Equinox (Vancouver), Feroz (Bonn) and more.

Stephen Shore, Winslow Arizona, 2013, Courtesy of 303 Gallery

Stephen Shore, Winslow Arizona, 2013, Courtesy of 303 Gallery

In addition, the public programme will include the section Sound and Vision and The Screenings. Sound and Vision brings together artists’ conversations and video screenings, combining moving and still images to present the role and power of both media in contemporary culture. The conversations will be curated by Douglas Fogle, giving the public the chance to interact with curators and artists. The Screenings, curated by Kevin Moore with the support of FotoFocus, Cincinnati, will showcase video and film work from the 1930s. They will present paired film works related to topics historically and technically part of the medium of photography such as social documentary, and they will emphasise the perspicuous linkage between film and fine arts.

Either if we look at photography as the extension of film or at film as the logical consequence of photography, it is challenging to get the chance to see them showcased together, especially since in the contemporary practice they often tend to merge to give birth to borderline innovative outcomes in both fields.

How does the contemporary practice highlight the importance of the historical legacy and origins of photography and film?


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