The ease of digital photography = every one is a photographer.
Many don’t remember those scary moments when you waited to develop a roll of film. Did you wind the film on right, are you sure you heard the click? A time when taking three pics of the same thing was an extravagant waste of your limited roll of 24. A time when you were rarely in your own photos.
With Photoshop like apps there is no need to learn how to measure, mix, dodge, expose, burn or develop. With everything touch screen there is no need to print to share. Slowly film is becoming a dying art form, a lost function of a dominant media. A ‘video killed the radio star, photography killed painting, photography is dead’ kinda thing.
I have a friend who has a stockpile of unknown rolls under her bed. Unable to print them due to a lack of funds, she is on my lotto list of friends to help out. When she talks about taking photos you can see she loves working the camera. Manipulating frame and light to capture the essence of what she can see. The quality of the moment, or the experience. Last time we spoke you could see the gleam in her eyes as she chatted about the process of film photography, you could see the anticipation she had for those lonely rolls of film.
It was a similar gleam I saw in Renate Rienmüller’s eyes when I happened upon her at STACKS Projects recent group show, As if by Magic. My review is a little late but as I said in my first post I am writing about artworks I want but also, ‘continue to muse upon, reminisce about or years later still suffer from non buyers remorse.’ Renate’s work already makes me remorseful.
Her Lunar Caustic Study chronicled the life, thus far, of 10 palm sized aluminium photography plates. The intimacy of the small plates, housed in gorgeous velvet lined coffers, hark to the Victorian age with its obsession with death and science. Covered with 19th century photochemistry the plates were exposed directly to sunlight, without a camera and without a fixative. Because of this the metals and chemicals continue to individually react to the light around them. Growing and evolving like a chemical snowflake or a tiny metal fungus on a pathology slide. They are beautiful and inviting to view.
The smart little boxes of living chemistry were contrasted against large digital photographs of the plates at 304 days old. These large opal like discs set against black, coupled with their Lunar Caustic title evoked the mystical moon and the art of alchemy. Whilst chatting with Renata it was evident she revels in the role of artist alchemist and through these experiments plays amongst the visual boundaries of old school photography.
What I love about the work, other then the lovely organic petri dish forms and contrasting blacks, gold and silver, is the notion that the work will continue to evolve. The idea of them as a lifetime artwork, a work that evolves during the lifetime of the artist, owner and material. A work that is never the same and becomes aged and weathered by the curve of light.
AS IF BY MAGIC
12 - 29 July 2018
191 Victoria St, Potts Point, NSW, 2011
Thursday to Saturday 11 - 6, Sunday 11 - 4