Friday, 26 September 2014

Push The Limits Of What Photography Can Be. Weirdfest Jampacked With Genius.

Very, very, very excited to see that the reviews are already in on The Smoke House! A wonderful article in the Guardian talks about the third edition of Unseen Photo Fair in an article entitled, "Unseen photo fair: the Amsterdam weirdfest jampacked with genius." Sean O'Hagan writes about the performance,

"As night fell on Thursday, smoke filled the air outside the former gasworks. It was wafting from a barbecue bucket tended by London-based artist Melinda Gibson, who was inviting passersby to partake in a performance called The Smoke House. In four small smoke houses, copies of her new book (the latest Self Publish, Be Happy book-club offering) were absorbing wood and coal smoke. Once hot, they were sealed and sold to the public. It was, so the programme says, “a ritual act of defiance” linked to an actual fire that damaged Gibson’s studio recently – but it became a large gathering of revellers drawn to the campfire atmosphere. I went to dinner reeking of smoked photobook."

Then Unseen itself talks of the performance as, "On Thursday evening, Unseen’s programme spilled out onto a space on the Festival Ground outside the Living Room, to push the limits of what photography can be with a live performance by British artist Melinda Gibson. Always one to challenge the boundaries of contemporary photography, Gibson’s latest publication is a meditation on loss and renewal. The Smoke House intrigued and involved Unseen visitors with its ambiguous tone, slipping between destruction and renewal."

Thursday, 25 September 2014

The Debut Of Lunar Caustic Opens At The Galerie Paris-Beijing In Brussels

So another day and another city, Friday morning saw me board the Thalys from Centraal station to arrive in Brussels to start the install, and gave me a few hours to rest up before the next stage!

I arrived before midday and was soon at the gallery, admiring the incredible space and starting to unpack and look through all the shipments that had arrived for Lunar Caustic. Galerie Paris-Beijing's exhibition space in Brussels is quite extraordinary, a former Hotel; the swapping staircases, parquet flooring and wooden framing is truly stunning and provided a perfect backdrop to the exhibited series, let alone the roster of artists they hold like Wang Bing and Martin Parr!

The opening was a great success with packed rooms filled with viewers wanting to hear the tales of the mine, exploring the differing levels of the project. The ground floor provided the context, a space where the original images could be seen in all their glory. Intermixed with these were documentaries of the journey and an opportunity to delve into 5 kg's of negatives as well as Sauvin's latest idea - Beijing Silvermine beach towels!

Lunar Caustic took hold of much of the second floor, with three rooms providing a process based context right through to the final pieces. A Nitrate stained tray hovered over a plinth, a concrete slab removed from the testing area, showed the corrosive nature of the materials used and created from this tale/series and vibrant test strips start to show how the materials interact with the photographic paper. 

Then onto the next room, where three plinths display objects from the process, stained acid gloves, a bottle and in between the material compound itself - Silver Nitrate. As the sun rises and the light pours into the gallery space, the compound changes, it starts to evolve, from a clean white powder to a darkening black. As the time ticks on, so too will the Nitrate, until only black is left.

In the final room, a clean, bright space displays 12 pieces, full framed photographic prints. Each one is vibrant and saturated, the acid burns shining through and the nitrate granules dirty brown and thick. As the exhibition continues, so shall the works, as they all twist and turn from the light that pours through the windows.

The exhibition runs until the 1st November and more can be seen here:

The Embers Are Still Glowing From Unseen

I am finally back in London after quite an extraordinary week or so of airports, train stations, installations, performances and openings! From the wonders that are Amsterdam's Unseen Photo Fair to the stunning architecture and exhibition at the Galerie Paris-Beijing, there has been many highlights, fun times and debuts of collaborative projects.

Amsterdam is such a wonderful city, the people are warm and inviting and Unseen is truly a place for experimentation and pushing the limits of what Photography can be. This years edition was no different, in fact if anything more experimental than other years as that 'Festival Flair' they speak of was in full swing, with events going on in and around the festival ground, day and night!

The Unseen programme started with a wonderful Foam Museum opening of the new show, "Under Construction - New Positions In American Photography" with drinks in the garden on a warm sunny evening. The show is excellent and it was brilliant to see Daniel Gordon's work up close, a perfect start to the Unseen schedule! 

Next saw the opening of the fair, but before the fun could start, the installation of the performance piece, "The Smoke House." In the early morning of the opening, I quietly started the build of the four plywood handmade smoke houses that I made in London. Each one assembled well and before a few hours had passed they were complete and ready for the next stage - Thursday's performance!

The time dawned and the four smoke houses sat in a square in the festival ground, ready to partake in the performance, gently smoking the books. A fire was created in the centre and as the crowds grew around the fire, which turned to thick smoke, a true campfire atmosphere was created. As the light fell, the smoke grew steady, the books where placed in the houses, smoked then sealed and packed slightly warm. The idea of 'hot off the press' surely has the most accurate sense here!

Three hours of performance time passed then the books were collated, the houses de-installed, packed and ready for the next performance in London. A great little meal was had, a small time asleep and then off I went onto the next city, for the next debut.

Monday, 15 September 2014

2 Collaborative Projects Debuted In 2 Different Cities, 2 Days Apart!!!

What more can I say than, 2 collaborative projects debuted in 2 different cities, 2 days apart - Remind me never to do this again!!! First off will see the release of the SPBH Book Club Volume VI in Amsterdam at the Unseen Photo Fair, then off to Brussels to open the exhibition, Beijing Silvermine at Galerie Paris-Beijing where our series "Lunar Caustic" will debut for the first time!

It's going to be an amazing week and you shall find me in Amsterdam, in a cloud of Smoke and in Brussels covered in Nitrate, either surely not too be missed! Here are a few links to all of the happenings going on this week. See you on the other side!

Lunar Caustic In Emaho Magazine

As the week commences, the next seven days are sure to see a wealth of activity and the previewing/ debut of two of my new collaboratives series within 2 days of one another. So what a better way then starting off the week, with a wonderful editorial of the series that Thomas Sauvin and I conceptualised from Sauvin's archive of found Beijing imagery, "Lunar Caustic" in Emaho Magazine!

It's a great editorial, where the imagery really jumps from the page, the colours so vibrant against the dark background, a big thank you to everyone at Emaho!

Friday, 12 September 2014

Coming Soon... SPBH Book Club Volume VI - MG

Very, very, very, very excited to announce that I am the next artist to work with Self Publish Be Happy and produce their latest SPBH Book Club Volume - VI!!!! We were on press all day yesterday and as I write this the sheets are being printed, bound and ready to smoke.

It is soon to be released, coming out in late September and for those of you at the Unseen Photo Fair, you will be the first to see the preview of the publication in the performance, "The Smoke House" which takes place on Thursday 18th September from 18:00 pm.

More information can be found on the SPBH Editions section of the website, including an opportunity to pre-purchase your own copy, they are going fast and with an artist edition of 300 copies, don't miss out!

Monday, 8 September 2014

Miss Titus At Mt.Rokko Photo Festival In Japan

Very, very pleased to say that my second publication, "Miss Titus Becomes A Regular Army Mac" was chosen by the wonderful Director of Claire De Rouen Books, Lucy Moore, for her selection at Mt.Rokko Photo Festival in Japan! 

I was surely in great company as other Moore selects where; Joanna Piotrowska, Bruno Zhu, Tom Hunter, Clare Strand, Sarah Jones and a couple of other great artists! The photo festival ran from the 29th August and closed on 7th September, see below for more details and imagery. 

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

The Smoke House Performance At Unseen Photo Fair - Thursday 18th September From 18:00 pm

I am very, very excited to announce that for today's news, I will be performing at Unseen Photo Fair, on Thursday 18th September, debuting my new collaborative work with the wonderful Self Publish Be Happy, as I complete their new and latest Book Club Vol VI. It's going to a hot Thursday evening and something not to miss!!!
"SPBH Editions presents artist Melinda Gibson's latest performance in conjunction with the release of her latest book SPBH Book Club Vol VI.
SPBH Book Club VI is a forensic and artistic exploration of loss and renewal by Melinda Gibson. During a fire at her South London studio, Gibson watched as smoke and water poured into the space. In the aftermath, she combed through what remained, analysing and collecting material and drawing it together in the form of a book. The making of the book itself became for Gibson a cathartic process of survival.
In a live performance, Gibson invites audiences to take part in the smoke press; four handmade smokehouses continually smoking books. In a ritualistic act of defiance, each book is ‘smoked’ by Gibson – each one becoming a unique, sensorial object offering an experience that transcends the pages of the book."

Sneaky Peak here:

Monday, 1 September 2014

Lunar Caustic Takes Over Photomonitor

So September has arrived and with this month, exciting days lay ahead. So to start the month off in style - 1st September, we are very, very pleased to have Lunar Caustic take over the homepage of the wonderful webzine, Photomonitor! 

Not only is the invitation image the landing homepage for the entire duration of this month, but the project series is presented in the Portfolio section of Photomonitor along with all the imagery that we are exhibiting, as well as the statement around the project. Take some time to look at the photographs, as they may not be the same the next time you see them!

Monday, 25 August 2014

Hujar, Stewen & Thomasson

Yesterday saw a very welcome break from all the projects that are currently running at the moment, a day of pure relaxation and a time to catch up on some of the beautiful exhibitions I have been meaning to see before they finished with a dear friend, a truly traditional Sunday, like the old days. 

And what more could you want than the two absolutely stunning exhibitions at Maureen Paley, Peter Hujar's portraits and Dirk Stewen's watercolours, then onto the Chisenhale to see the Edward Thomasson's premiere of 'The Present Tense' video.

To start a very welcomed trip to Maureen Paley, I always find it such a pleasure viewing work here, the space is incredible and the curation always so tight, you really are presented with a viewing platform that offers ample space for seeing, a clarity, a cleanliness that l find so inviting. On the ground floor are the beautiful black and white prints made by Peter Hujar himself, as you walk from one photograph to another, you see his gentle, but strikingly powerful images of a New York that once was, Divine, William Burroughs,  Paul Thek, Peggy Lee in all their glory. The prints vary in their tonality, but all have this draw, it must be the touch of Hujar. There is a tenderness to his imagery, a sense that he had great respect for this sitters, that they were friends and shared in much. They are honest, delicate and no matter the subject matter, whether alive or dead, an honest approach - stunning.

Upstair is Dirk Stewen and a focus on his watercolour works on paper. I am such a colossal fan of Stewen's work, I can't really explain in words exactly what happens when I see the watercolours, but there's this sense of sublime euphoria, seeing how the muted colours bleed into one another, that gentle tactile touch of thread hanging from the paper. The meticulously cut out, added circles of colour collaged over one another, the compositions are wonderful and those thin lines that pull your view off the paper, its quite extraordinary. Alongside these are three stunning images, that incorporate pieces of thin wood, that rest so delicately over the framed imagery, it is a truly special exhibition.

Then from all the excitement and joy from Hujar and Stewen onto the Chisenhale to see Edward Thomasson's video, 'The Present Tense', the premiere of his work created and commissioned by the gallery itself and Create, (their residency programme.) The video is an excellent visual narrative where three interconnecting stories explore space and human behaviour towards one another. The use of music is very interestingly placed, as well as the use of the theatrical, in particular the scenes where police offers perform to teenagers, singing their daily routines is quite extraordinary. 

Sadly all exhibitions finished on the 24th August, but you can more about them here:  

All images are courtesy of The Estate of Peter Hujar, Dirk Stewen @ Maureen Paley and Edward Thomasson's image by Andy Keate @ The Chisenhale Gallery. 

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Collaborations To Be Launched In September!

As the weeks fly by, the expectancy of August is both full of amazing surprises as well as planned productions and schedules! With the debut of two very different, but equally exciting in their collaborative nature projects in September, every day is proving to be a production - thank god that I am obsessively organised, other such a timeline would be a bit insane! Think the south of France is calling me after all of this, for some sun and vino!

As Lunar Caustic prepares for exhibition in mid September, my collaborative project with the wonderful Self Publish Be Happy is in full swing and will debut at Unseen Photo Fair, a few days before my exhibition in Brussels. It's going to be quite a surprise, so I will be careful not to give too much away, I will of closer, nearer to the release dates, so keep checking for more updates.

For now, here is a sneak preview of some of the imagery. More to come soon...

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

New Exhibition At Galerie Paris-Beijing In Brussels Debuting "Lunar Caustic" Opens 20th September

I am very, very, very excited to announce that my new collaborative series, "Lunar Caustic" will debut later this year at the wonderful Galerie Paris-Beijing in September!!! Part of an exciting trio exhibition entitled "Beijing Silvermine" Thomas Sauvin, Lei Lei and I will have carte blanche in the Brussels space, presenting our re-workings of the archive the Silvermine. 

Here is an excerpt from the Press Release, "Hundreds of thousands of images – so many moments snapped by strangers are tirelessly salvaged by Thomas Sauvin, following a meeting in the Northern periphery of the capital city, with Xiao Ma, a recycler who collects negatives in order to retrieve the Silver Nitrate. Sauvin, a collector, curator and publisher who has resided in Beijing since 2003 gathers half a million anonymous negatives in 35 mm colour, dating from 1985 to 2005 and ultimately destined for destruction. 

Presented on the second floor, is the debut of Lunar Caustic, a conceptual collaborative reworking of the archive by British artist Melinda Gibson. Between art and chemistry, prints are burned with Hydrochloric Acid and coated with Silver Nitrate, isolating the true essence of the imagery, revealing the unstable, palpable, organic uncontrollable object. Their scientifically charged intervention gives the already digested images a new existence, poetically evolving the tale of destructive innovation and leading to ultimately rebirth. It is down to Gibson’s artistic interventions that it is as if these photographs of yesterday are propelled into today’s world." 

You can read more here: 

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