After Mallarmé

12 Apr—19 Jul 2024
Part 1
the page…the place…
12 April–11 May
Joëlle Tuerlinckx 
Peter Downsbrough
Marine Hugonnier
Glenn Ligon  
Part 2
...contingency, the operator…
16 May–15 June
Toby Christian
Susan Morris
Hendl Helen Mirra
Peter Downsbrough
Joëlle Tuerlinckx  
Part 3
…perhaps...a constellation
 21 June–19 July
John Murphy
Cerith Wyn Evans 
Florian Hecker
Emma McNally 
Joëlle Tuerlinckx  
Three rolling exhibitions will trace aspects of the legacy of the poet Stéphane Mallarmé in contemporary art, drawing on his poem 'A throw of the dice will never abolish chance' and his posthumously published notes towards a 'book performance'. Mallarmé has had a great influence on visual art, ranging from text and newspaper collage in Cubism, through Marcel Duchamp and John Cage, to Marcel Broodthaers. Rather than direct influence, these exhibitions will 'read' the work of certain contemporary artists through Mallarmé.

The exhibitions will open with an exploration of the page as a place and the place, including the gallery, as a page, on which and in which the work of art becomes an event and a journey. Could these 'pages' form a book, and what, then, would be the relation between book and world.

Contingency is a state of potential, where things could turn out otherwise. Chance may be the outcome of a procedure, like throwing dice. The work of art becomes an 'operation'. During Mallarmé's speculative book performance, an 'operator' was to place pages at random on the shelves of a lacquer cabinet. Might the art work achieve a condition of necessity without abolishing chance?'

A throw of the dice' moves from shipwreck in a stormy sea to a constellation where the stars in the night sky are reflected by the letters on the page. The reading of the constellation follows catastrophe, the experience of nothingness and the abyss. It asks the question of how we find meaning in the face of disaster, of the past, and to come. As in Mallarmé's book performance, art takes place as the 'entr'acte' between world and cosmos.

After Mallarmé is curated by Michael Newman.

Michael Newman is Professor of Art Writing in the Art Department at Goldsmiths, University of London. He has published numerous essays on modern and contemporary artists as well as thematic essays on the wound, the horizon, contingency, memory, drawing, and nonsense.

Glenn Ligon’s work appears courtesy Thomas Dane Gallery, London.
Cerith Wyn Evans’s work appears courtesy White Cube, London.
Toby Christian, Peter Downsbrough, Cerith Wyn Evans, Florian Hecker, Marine Hugonnier, Glenn Ligon, Emma McNally, Hendl Helen Mirra, Susan Morris, John Murphy, Joëlle Tuerlinckx

Notes on After Mallarmé Part 1
Notes on After Mallarmé Part 2
Notes on After Mallarmé Part 3

press: press
sales: sales
other: LG

Art Monthly no 477: ‘After Mallarmé Part One - the page... the place...’, Deborah Schultz, June 2024

︎︎︎  ︎︎︎

Francesco Neri: 
19 Jan–16 Mar 2024

This exhibition marks Italian photographer Francesco Neri’s London debut and the first presentation of a body of work made over the last two years in the tiny hamlet of Boncellino near to his home town of Faenza in the northern region of Emilia-Romagna. Faenza is surrounded by an abundant, cultivated landscape, farmed since Roman times with fruits and vegetables, vines and cereals. Increasingly, though, its rural villages are experiencing the deadening effects of depopulation and ecological degradation.

Boncellino is the latest iteration of what has become a prolonged study of the agrarian communities of Neri’s native region. The study was catalysed in 2009 by an encounter with a local farmer Livio Papi. With their meeting, Neri found the key to unlock his own deep sense of connection to place. Through the portraiture of the region’s people, and more specifically, his photographic interaction with them, he saw the route “to understand where I am from”. Like many photographers who focus on what is closest to them, the project is in one sense also an evolving self-portrait. Neri returns to photograph people - and the buildings they have made - again and again, “to retrace my steps and see how things and people have changed. I too have changed in turn.” As the work grows, the photographer and his subjects age together, and the photographic project itself becomes a record of the passage of time. 

Excerpt from the introduction written by Kate Bush.

Part of the exhibition is a new portfolio, ‘Wooden Tool Shed’, comprising 8 gelatin silver contact prints and an accompanying book with further illustrations, alongside a new text by David Campany, produced by Imagebeeld Edition, Brussels.

Kate Bush is an independent curator and writer. Her previous roles include Senior Curator of Photography, Tate Britain; Head of Media Space; and Head of Art Galleries, Barbican.

Francesco Neri

press: Large Glass
sales: Charlotte Schepke
info: Large Glass

portfolio: Imagebeeld Edition

Financial Times Magazine: ‘Gallery, Photograph by Francesco Neri’, Baya Simons, 24/25 February 2024

︎︎︎  ︎︎︎

Paris Photo 2023

9–12 Nov 2023
Guido Guidi: View Into Landscape

Large Glass (London) and Viasaterna (Milan) presented a solo presentation of works by the renowned Italian photographer Guido Guidi at Paris Photo 2023. With a focus on landscape, we made a selection in collaboration with Guidi encompassing 50 years (1972- 2023). Guido Guidi is one of Italy’s most respected photographers, with a career spanning more than five decades. Neorealist film and conceptual art have played a significant role in shaping his unsentimental but also intensely personal vision. He has mostly focused his lens on rural and suburban geographies close to his home and occasionally wider afield in Europe.

“View into Landscape” draws on the underlying vision in his work, the transformation of contemporary landscape, the rural and urban terrain near his home in Cesena and around Italy. Guidi is a key figure in a group of photographers, born in the 1940s who in the 1970/80s were establishing links between photography and other disciplines from literature to architecture, from city planning to sociology and anthropology in order to consciously shape the cultural significance of Italian photography. We take a journey through Guidi’s rural, industrial and personal landscapes, shot on 35mm, medium and large format 8x10” film, and presented here as C -type and Gelatin silver prints (both vintage and contemporary).

Main Section, Booth B06
Grand Palais Éphémère, Paris
Guido Guidi

press: Large Glass
sales: Charlotte Schepke

︎︎︎  ︎︎︎

Stepping Stones: Three Photographic Journeys

27 Sep—10 Nov 2023
Extended to 30 Nov
Stepping Stones: Three Photographic Journeys connects the work of three photographers: Gerry Johansson, Guido Guidi and Mark Ruwedel. Focusing on a specific journey by each artist, three distinct conceptual, and personal, approaches to capturing place unfold – whether with a care for the overlooked, finding intimacy in one’s everyday surroundings, or surveying humankind’s effect on the landscape.

Gerry Johansson realised his series Motel Prints (1983) during a coast-to-coast long trip, beginning in Los Angeles in May 1983 and ending in New York, via Utah, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Arkansas to Memphis, meeting with renowned photographers of the time, Robert Adams, Richard Benson, Gary Winogrand and William Eggleston, among others. Taking photographs daily with his 8x10” camera, he would develop film in the evening in his motel rooms, making contact prints from select negatives by placing a glass plate on top of the printing paper and turning on the room light for a few seconds. This significant year of experimentation and artistic research across the US led Johansson to dedicate his career full-time to photography.

Central to Johansson’s presentation is a new portfolio, ‘Coast to Coast’, comprising 10 gelatin silver contact prints and an accompanying booklet produced by Imagebeeld Edition, Brussels. These images, shot in black and white, pay careful attention to the varying landscapes and architectures Johansson encountered on his journey. In an excerpt from the booklet, Johansson asks: ‘Did I learn anything during this process? Yes, I think so. For the first time, I was able to spend a lot of time photographing and evaluating my work. It is one thing to believe that you have taken some good photographs and something else to be confronted with lots of mistakes and bad choices and the occasional interesting picture.’

In May 1974, a newlywed Guido Guidi travelled to Sardinia with his wife Marta, instinctively capturing an unfamiliar landscape, shooting with his Nikon camera. While his peers were focused on portraiture, Guidi immortalised bollards, the backs of flaking houses, old gates, external doors, bushes and stones. As Irina Zucca Alessandrelli writes, Guidi’s ‘truth is anonymous and invisible to the eyes of the majority.’ And as with Johansson’s unconventional means of processing, Guidi also experimented with solarising his images, using lemon juice for instance to transform his black and white images into fluorescent colours, or using cardboard sheets with small holes in them to direct light onto certain parts of the print. As Antonello Frongia writes of the series:

‘Seen side by side, coupled by the black frame which joins them, these simple sequential snapshots look like impersonal records of a nine-teenth-century topographer, or like experiments in description, or even like two meditations on photography's genres and styles: elevation and cross section of a landscape, perspectival narration and formal reduction, reportage on the road and analytic abstraction.’

Mark Ruwedel describes his Ice Age series (1995-2003) as ‘a study of human activity in the context of the Pleistocene lakes which once covered large portions of the arid American West.’

It brings together photographs that record the evidence of both prehistoric and contemporary cultures within the landscape as well as the ways in which these settlements and activities have left visible marks on it. Ruwedel focused his camera on prehistoric trails, sleeping and ceremonial circles, and intaglios, all of which were shaped by the placement and displacement of stones in vast, open plains. As Ann Thomas writes:

‘Ruwedel's superb narrative about the land is a journey through time. It is about historical memory and geological evidence. It uses the essential human tools of the imagination and the making of inventories to situate us in a new relationship to our place and time. Unlike geological diagrams which fill in with hand drawn lines the missing information about separated continental plates or dried up inland seas, and direct our attention to particular areas of interest with arrows, Ruwedel's photographs challenge the human imagination to make the links between the past and the present independently.’

Throughout their journeys, walking as much in the footsteps of their predecessors as finding new pathways in photography, these three artists focus on the signs of a human presence, whether implied, evoked, or documented. Their distinct styles come together through their dedicated observations of the places they, and we, move through, looking closely and attentively to capture what is left behind, overlooked and unnoticed.

Stepping Stones: Three Photographic Journeys is co-curated by Jean-Paul Deridder.

Jean-Paul Deridder writes and teaches on art and photography at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Brussels. He was the co-founder and Director at Fondation A Stichting, Brussels from 2012 to 2020 where he curated numerous exhibitions including Judith Joy Ross, Mitch Epstein, Lewis Baltz, Bernd & Hilla Becher, Lee Friedlander, Jo Ratcliffe, Facundo de Zuviria, Guido Guidi, Paolo Gasparini and Nicholas Nixon. In 2022, he founded Imagebeeld Edition, a new publishing project of portfolios and books.

︎︎︎  ︎︎︎

Ursula Schulz-Dornburg: Memoryscapes

13 May—1 Jul 2023
Memoryscapes is a solo exhibition by the German artist Ursula Schulz-Dornburg, realised in collaboration with Lucy Rogers.

In 2012, Ursula Schulz-Dornburg travelled to north-eastern Kazakhstan to photograph the remains of the Soviet Union’s largest nuclear weapons programme. Located in a vast area south-west of the city of Kurchatov, Opytnoe Pole was once a top-secret open-air laboratory, used to measure and record the devastating effects of nuclear weapons. Taken almost twenty years after the closure of the facility, Schulz-Dornburg’s photographs portray a desolate landscape, devoid of life and still suffering the effects of radiation. The area was looted after its closure in 1991 – an act which inadvertently dispersed radioactive material across the continent – and later subject to an intensive clean-up operation by the Kazakh, Russian and US authorities. It is a landscape still laden with the artefacts of an architecture built to be destroyed.

Born in Berlin in 1938, Schulz-Dornburg grew up in the aftermath of the Second World War – in a divided Germany and an era defined by new borders in Europe and elsewhere. Since the 1970s, she has sought out places of transit and borderlands, locations geographically and politically caught up in a state of in-between, where multiple layers of history intersect, co-exist and collide. Reflecting the lands in which she has travelled, her archive reveals a constellation which extends beyond the scope of individual images – an entanglement of narratives which overlap in time and space. Exhibitions and publications become a method for thinking through the archive, bringing together new and familiar works into new combinations and sequences.

In 2000, Schulz-Dornburg visited the Russian State Museum of the Arctic and Antarctic, carrying with her a small ixus camera. Here she encountered elaborate dioramas, carefully constructed scenes taken from the history of polar exploration. The museum first opened during the boom in Soviet Arctic exploration in the 1930s. Like the space and arms race which followed, the polar regions were subject to fierce rivalry and competition in the rush to colonise and exploit their valuable natural resources. The scenes photographed by Schulz-Dornburg depict the USSR’s technological prowess through their involvement in ‘heroic’ rescue missions, feeding into a nationalistic narrative. Yet ships like the one seen in these photographs were used to transport prisoners, many of whom suffered or lost their lives in uninhabitable conditions. 

In 2023, these works resonate with new meaning in the echoes and reverberations of the past as it appears in the present. Recent years have seen a return of the same hopes, ambitions and anxieties experienced in the 20th century, albeit in new forms and under new conditions. Reading Ursula Schulz-Dornburg’s work in the cold light of the present reveals not so much a prediction of the future but an anticipation, a speculation on factors which may (or may not) fleetingly coincide, and the need for resistance.

Lucy Rogers is currently writing her PhD on the archive of Ursula Schulz-Dornburg at University of Westminster. 

Ursula Schulz-Dornburg

press: Edward Ball
sales: Charlotte Schepke
other: Large Glass

Financial Times Magazine: ‘Gallery, Photograph by Ursula Schulz-Dornburg’, Josh Lustig, 24/25 June 2023

︎︎︎  ︎︎︎