Tate Modern in May 2016

The new Tate Modern building* was inaugurated on June 17. I was there in late May and much still looked like a building site, here the turbine hall:

Tate Modern, May 2016 © Jan Oberg


The main exhibit at the time was “Performing For The Camera”; curator Simon Baker talks here about it (it ended in June). It’s about how we all act – more than ever today – in front of a camera, act differently from how we would otherwise have because there is a camera.

The exhibition is very well curated, the display logic and pedagogical – covering documenting events, performances staged to be photographed, photos of actions and creative work, self-performance and selfies à la Cindy Sherman, public relations, self-portraits and performing real life – as did Amalia Ulman on Instagram.

It raises the question – why do we begin to act when a camera is around? How has the camera been serving throughout modern times as a tool to document or create art works, performances in particular.

There is an excellent review in The Guardian by a critic, Adrian Searle, who is actually participating in one of the exhibited works in which he is watching a female artist undress.

Apart from insights into the history of art – through e.g. Yves Klein, Beuys, Keith Haring – and their relations to photography, this excellent exhibition kind-of tells you what lead us up to today’s fascination with the mobile, lightweight cameras: If it is there – and it always is today with almost everyone – let’s use it for something, be it documentary, selfies, experimenting and showing others not only what we do but also who we are.

The idea and quality of sharing hasn’t changed. The quantity in which we do indeed has.

Since you were not allowed to take photos – what a pity!! – here are lots of images from Google. I still wonder why the (paying) visitor cannot take pictures when every work is already on the Internet?

Finally, about this exhibition. It wasn’t the first time I encountered the black-and-white photographic works by Francesca Woodman – as remarkable as enigmatic self-portraits, staged but nothing of the snapshot selfie-type of today.

But it was the first time I found out that she did only a few hundred photos and then committed suicide in 1981 at the age of only 22. Continue reading Tate Modern in May 2016

The Rouen Cathedral Suite

It’s all about seeing, isn’t it?

Having lived with art since I was a child, I’ve always played with the idea of doing photography with reference to the art I cherish. Since 1969, I have looked at Roy Lichtenstein’s 6-piece Cathedral Series from that year which were based on Claude Monet’s Rouen Cathedral paintings in the 1890s.

This is about my latest edition, the Rouen Cathedral Suite #1-10.

Gemini GEL, one of the finest graphic printing houses in the world, printed them. They look like screens, newspaper-like and “pop” where the Cathedral image – with the colours expressing the light as it changes over a day – was hidden under (or in) tons of small round holes.

One has to see them at a 3-4 meters distance to at all see anything but dots. And they were faily big, 122 cm high.

Here is one of them.

And who would not love to have owned one of Claude Monet’s originals? Like this one?

Claude Monet, Rouen Cathedral 1895
Claude Monet, Rouen Cathedral 1895

So why do I find this fun, interesting and challenging?

I believe that art is as much about seeing as about what you see. Here is an entrance to a cathedral which, thanks to one of art history’s greatest, has become immortalized. I have always loved Roy Lichtenstein’s series, his truly innovative idea, his re-working of classical art and his ways of making us see – as he also does in, say, the Bull Series and Monet’s Haystacks.

In a way he applied filters and reproduced/re-created great pieces adapted to contemporary printing techniques. I stole the basic idea and asked myself: What if I do the same using Photoshop?

So I took down a photo of one of Monet’s original paintings from the Internet and began to play with it. I played with shapes, filters, light, contrast, saturation, colouration/tones, contrasts, sharpening/blurring and I changed things here and there, pixel by pixel so to say. There were many many more than the 10 I finally selected.

You may think it looks like just some haphazard re-production. It isn’t. It’s a carefully processed experimenting with literally hundreds of variables in each of the suite’s ten pieces.

Here is how they appear on the wall in my studio at the time of writing:

In the studio - The Rouen Cathedral Suite # 1-10 @ 2015
In the studio – The Rouen Cathedral Suite # 1-10   @ 2015

To the left you see one of the original Lichtenstein and then my A2 format prints on fine art Canson Edition Etching Rag papers. Lichtenstein cropped the original portal, my picture is a based on the full image of the portal that Monet painted.

I guess that Continue reading The Rouen Cathedral Suite

Shoot # 25

"Door To Window" - 2015
“Door To Window” – 2015

Lund, Sweden – September 26, 2015

Whether you are an old or new friend I welcome you to Oberg PhotoGraphics.

shoot is a digital gift – a moment of meditation – with which I wish you a good weekend and “weekbegin.”

The photo above “Door To A Window” is a study in shapes, light and colours. It’s a new print exhibited for the first time at the Lund Cultural Night a week ago.

The latest project is a series of 10 works of the Rouen Cathedral after Claude Monet’s paintings of it – or rather its portal – and inspired by Roy Lichtenstein’s 6-piece series of them from 1969. More about that in a later shoot.

Let me remind you of the GlobalArt Magazine where I curate diverse and inspiring stuff. All at your fingertips in one place, articles or videos added almost daily. Just click “follow” there.

Online art sales is growing fast but human communication is still number one. If you’d like to acquire a piece on my homepage, I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have.

My best
Jan Oberg