Philagrafika 2010: Temple Gallery
Temple Gallery at the Tyler School of Art on the Temple University Campus in Northern Philadelphia has commissioned a range of very smart and compelling new work for their Philagrafika 2010 exhibition. Tackling the theme of Accessibility and Dissemination in print, the independent curator, Sheryl Conkelton and gallery director, Shayna McConville have crafted a very smart exhibition. Commissioning work that embodies their theme; often bringing international artists to North Philadelphia to work with and for the community on different projects. The curatorial statement says,
From early broadsheets to new electronic media, print has been not only the vehicle for news but the very arena in which information has been publicly debated. With the significant changes that have constellated around globalism—migrations of populations, differently developing economies, political shifts and confrontations—new means of informing, creating and mobilizing audiences have developed, and relationships of individual to information and consensus forms, such as history and its authority, have rapidly evolved. Projects by Thomas Kilpper, Carl Pope, Francesc Ruiz, Superflex, Swoon, Barthélémy Toguo, and YOUNG-HAE CHANG HEAVY INDUSTRIES engage and expand the strategies and effects of public media. Most have been commissioned for this exhibition; installed in and around Temple Gallery, they generate new dynamics of exchange with innovative and reconfigured media platforms, rewritten histories and new imaginaries of place.
The following is an photo essay of the exhibition with quotes from the curatorial description of the artists’ work.
Copy Light is a workshop that produces paper-shaded hanging lamps, each printed with the image of a famous copyrighted lamp design. The lights are constructed and hung in the gallery as they are made, gradually filling and illuminating the space. Conceptually, the lights occupy a position somewhere between an original and a copy, in the words of the artists “an in-between mode of working that has the potential to disrupt convention.”
Above you can see Tyler students working on the lamps.
For many of them of them, this is their first experience fabricating work for international art stars.
Ruiz sees the local newsstand as a place to make new discoveries. The arrayed magazines and periodicals construct accidental but compelling narratives; each is, in Ruiz’s words, both “a sculpture and an expanded comic.” Following a period of research, Ruiz created dozens of covers for imaginary periodicals about Philadelphia. Arranged in a kiosk designed after a Philly newsstand, the covers reveal details about the city’s public life as well as generate new imaginaries.
Clearly, I really fell in love with this piece.
Finally, Raul gets his own publication!
Heart Beat (Philadelphia), 2010
A project well suited to installation in different places, Heart Beat examines the usefulness of information while proposing new imaginaries that enhance, contradict or reinvent. Responding to what he sees as information overload, Toguo, working with students, has marked up pages of the local newspaper to alter the local public discourse and narrative “of record,” to remake and reclaim it as something personally meaningful.
YOUNG-HAE CHANG HEAVY INDUSTRIES
Using mostly jazz musical forms, a plain typeface (Monaco) and Flash animation technology, Chang and Voge have built a body of Web-based works that present seductive, acerbic and sophisticated narratives. Clicking on a title or a link activates a story that unfurls as type in the browser window, each work experienced at its own pace without stopping, providing an experience somewhere between a reading and a movie. Their work dispenses with the usual interactivity and other characteristics of Web-based media; most works are offered in several languages and the socio-political consciousness of the text is emphasized via the screen’s material effects—type size and weight, velocity and duration. The works engage modernist structures, the intelligibility of language, notions of text and subtext, and both evoke and update print-based experiences.
State of Control, 2009
Using a floor at the former GDR Ministry for State Security (MfS), accessible to the public for the first time, Kilpper carved a matrix for a print that reveals a history of surveillance in East Germany from the Nazi period to the digital present. The resulting print, the largest in the world at more than 1000 square feet, presents a history of the two German states in portraits, dramatic scenes and texts and provides a portrait of resistance to systematized injustice.
Klipper’s work took the form of a video about his opus woodcut project.
“The Wall Remixed: The North Philadelphia Small Business Advertising Campaign”, 2009-10
Carl Pope and Mari Hulick with Homer Jackson
Pope’s project brings the unseen small businesses that define neighborhoods to the scale of public advertising with this project. Working with students from the Mural Arts Program, he has collaborated with business owners in North Philadelphia to develop a brand for each as well as advertising materials, and placed them in locations usually occupied by the images of multinational corporations. By insinuating neighborhood anchors with great local significance into these commercial marketing spaces, Pope celebrates the dynamics of community and substitutes their productive values for easy consumption.
Carl Pope’s piece is one of the more compelling and unfortunately it’s still in it’s early stages of deployment, but we’ll check back in month or so and see how the collaboration is coming along.
In different locations around North Philadelphia, Swoon has installed printed paper figures, meant to be discovered by accident, left to be acted upon by their surroundings, to disappear in a strange, morphing beauty all their own. They are gently provocative reminders that artifice and art can be found anywhere and everywhere. They are, as Swoon says, “a moment of recognition, a wink from another human presence which is there and not there.”
As soon I am able to get photographs of her work around the neighborhood I’ll post it here.
Sheryl Conkelton (curator of this exhibit) and John Caperton (curator at The Print Center) get ready for the opening reception artist talks and try not to grimace as their photos are taken.
From left to right, Jose Roca’, Artistic Director of Philagrafika, Sheryl Conkelton, independent curator and Shayna McConville, Director of Temple Gallery
Franscesc discussing his work.
Togou discussing his work.
Heavy Industries making wry jokes about their work.
Carl Pope giving a powerpoint about his project.
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