Friday, 29 August 2014

Interview with Laura Jean Healey

Interview with Laura Jean Healey 

Laura Jean Healey is an artist-filmmaker who works with holographic film to produce haunting and powerful pieces, where the presence of the actor is strongly felt in the room with the audience. The Siren (2012), shot underwater in one sequence, is perhaps the most striking of all of her works to date.

Anna McNay: We met at the beginning of the year when your film, The Siren (2012), was being exhibited in the Winter Pride Art Exhibition. I then came to experience it to its full effect at the Musion Das Hologram studios. How did you come to be working in this way? What led you to Musion?

Laura Jean Healey: I originally contacted Musion late 2008. I had an idea about creating an installation, using life-like projections that would only exist within the plane of a large – floor to ceiling – mirror. A friend recommended looking into the Victorian theatre trick, Pepper’s Ghost. At the time, Musion was offering a free course introducing students to their digital reworking of Pepper’s Ghost and allowing them to experiment with their EX3 camera to create small holographic art projects. During the course, I became friends with the course leader (and now art director), Oliver Gingrich. It was Oliver who introduced my work to the directors of the company.

I then got another film job and went to work as a camera trainee on the feature film Gulliver’s Travels, where I got to work extensively with the Panavision Genesis, the camera that Musion favour for high profile projects. I had kept in touch with Oliver and was asked back to assist on a music shoot. Will-I-Am and Cheryl Cole had just released their single, 3 Words, and were supposed to be performing at a German music awards ceremony. Unfortunately, Will-I-Am was going to be touring with the Black Eyed Peas when the event was due to take place, so we filmed him performing his half of the duet and then he was projected on to the stage, next to Cole, who performed live at the event. The shoot went well and I was asked to work on several international projects, including the holographic film installation – in which a Ballerina turns into a crystal swan and then explodes into butterflies – for the Yota after show party for the premiere of Mikhailovsky’s Swan Lake at the London Coliseum; filming Portuguese music artists for the holographic stage at the Optimus Alive Festival 2010; consulting on the very first holographic opera, Telesio, for the Italian composer Franco Battiato; and assisting on the Burberry Body installation, directed by Mario Testino, at London Fashion Week 2011.

Since then, I have been working on my own projects and funding my practice by working in the film industry as a camera technician.

To read the rest of this interview, please go to: 

Review of Rossetti’s Obsession: Images of Jane Morris at Lady Lever Art Gallery

Rossetti’s Obsession: Images of Jane Morris
Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight Village, Wirral
20 June – 21 September 2014

“All the world knows the masses of dark hair, the ivory complexion and exquisite features, the beautiful hands and the great grey eyes which were so unique and overwhelming in their beauty.”

On the centenary of her death, this small but enchanting exhibition brings together more than 30 paintings, drawings and photographs of Jane Morris (1839-1914), chief muse for the later works of Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828–1882), and the recognisable embodiment of Pre-Raphaelite beauty. “The Lady Lever Art Gallery has one of the best Pre-Raphaelite collections in the world so we're delighted to tell the story of the relationship between two of the movement's chief protagonists,” says Sandra Penketh, Director of Art Galleries. It was a love story, but, unfulfilled and heartbreaking, since Jane, who became embroiled in the Pre-Raphaelite circle after meeting Rossetti in 1857 at an Oxford street theatre, went on to marry his friend and colleague, William Morris (1834-1896), with whom she had two daughters. After her affair with Rossetti began, however, Morris and Rossetti agreed to share the tenancy of Kelmscott Manor in Oxfordshire, so that Jane and Rossetti could spend time together without attracting scandal. During the years that followed, Jane sat for many of Rossetti’s greatest works. He was truly obsessed by the unconventional beauty – or handsomeness – of his model, and she, in turn, loved and cared for him after his breakdown in 1872.

Review of Not All Documents Are Records: Photographing Exhibitions As An Art Form at Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool

Not All Documents Are Records: Photographing Exhibitions As An Art Form
Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool
5 July – 19 October 2014

In 1959, art student Hans Haacke helped out with the installation of documenta 2 in Kassel. On the side, he took a series of photographs of the event. Looking back, Haacke often refers to these images as his first accomplished body of work, igniting the issue of whether an artist, who is ostensibly using photography to document an event, can simultaneously – or perhaps instead – produce creative, artistic output. Photography as a medium is ambivalent in nature. On the one hand, the most reliable documentary form we have; on the other hand, it offers purely the vision of the artist behind the camera. Certainly Haacke’s series includes some incredible compositions – arguably ones that only an artist’s eye could capture – both reflecting society of the day and juxtaposing the art works on display with the audience before them.

To coincide with the eighth edition of the Liverpool Biennial, for which Open Eye is a partner gallery, director-curator Lorenzo Fusi has taken Haacke’s series and the question it raises as the starting point for an intriguing exhibition looking at the documentation of and artistic response to three key art world events: documenta, the Venice Biennale, and the Liverpool Biennial itself.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Review of Gego: Line as Object at the Henry Moore Institute, Leeds

Gego: Line as Object
Henry Moore Institute, Leeds
24 July – 19 October 2014

“Here we’ve only got one job,” explains Lisa Le Feuvre, head of the Henry Moore Institute. “And that’s to write the future of art history with sculpture at the centre. And I want Gego right at that centre.”
Gego (1912-94) was born Gertrud Goldschmidt in Hamburg, Germany, but she emigrated to Caracas, Venezuela in 1939, immediately after graduating from a degree in architecture and engineering in Stuttgart. There, she became an artist, and spent the rest of her life, quite simply, “taking a line for a walk”.
“There is no danger for me to get stuck,” she wrote in 1966, “because with each line I draw, hundreds more wait to be drawn. That is the circle of knowledge with the ring around, you enlarge the inner circle and the outer becomes greater – no end.”

To read the rest of this review, please go to:

Monday, 18 August 2014

Interview: Ed Atkins

Ed Atkins: interview
Serpentine Sackler Gallery, London
11 June – 25 August 2014

Since graduating from the Slade School of Art in 2009, artist and film-maker Ed Atkins has been busy. He’s been selected for New Contemporaries and short-listed for the Jarman award. He’s co-curated at the ICA, been commissioned by Frieze Film and Channel 4, and had a solo show at Tate Britain – among other things.

We spoke to him about his current exhibition at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, where his film Ribbons (2014) is showing alongside related installations of text and image. The entire gallery, previously a 19th-century gunpowder store, reverberates with the film’s soundtrack: music as diverse as Bach’s Erbarme Dich and Randy Newman’s I think It’s Going to Rain Today, along with swearing, shouting and exaggerated sounds of drinks being put down and cigarettes being rolled – noises of everyday life writ large. The exhibition is described by the gallery as “part musical, part horror and part melodrama”. Atkins told us why he finds such categorisations interesting, but limiting. He explained why we should dislike the character (as if we wouldn’t) and why there are recognisable features of him, the artist, in the avatar.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Review of Louise Bourgeois: A Woman Without Secrets at Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art

Louise Bourgeois: A Woman Without Secrets
Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, Middlesbrough
18 July – 12 October 2014

“When does the emotional become physical? When does the physical become emotional? It’s a circle going round and round.” Louise Bourgeois (1911-2010) posed these questions in 1991, speaking about her series of sculptural works, Cells. “Fear is pain,” she went on, before admitting that emotions are the primary subject of her work – emotions, contradictions and the childhood trauma of living with the knowledge of her father’s affair with her English governess.

The feisty and widely read artist, born in Paris, but an American citizen from 1955, died not long before reaching her centenary. She left behind a great body of work examining the interplay between such opposites as male and female, father and mother, soft and hard, exterior and interior, vulnerability and strength. Her recurring motifs at first appear simple, but, as her assistant and friend for more than 30 years, Jerry Gorovoy, says: “The more time you spend with her work, the more complex it is.” Rather like a spider’s web, one might suggest.