SEEING WITHOUT A SEER, exhibition and symposium
Looiersgracht 60, Amsterdam
20 September 2018 - 30 September 2018
/// Finissage: Sunday 30 September, 14 – 18 h ///
The art cooperative Radical Reversibility and Looiersgracht 60 cordially invite you to the finissage of the exhibition Seeing without a Seer this Sunday 30 September at 14 h.
For this occasion Radical Reversibility (RR) has invited two highly original authors, Peter Delpeut and Taco Hidde Bakker, who both published a book recently. In an informal conversation with RR they will talk about their respective projects in which they address topics revolving around ‘the act of seeing’, imagery and various photographic practices.
This conversation will be followed by a guided tour by graphic designer Hans Gremmen, and RR founders, artists Martine Stig and Elodie Hiryczuk who will comment on their new art works on view in the exhibition.
|12 h||Exhibition open|
|14 – 15 h||Peter Delpeut and Taco Hidde Bakker in conversation with RR|
|15 – 16 h||Guided tour of the exhibition with:
Hans Gremmen on his work Lookout Point, The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
Elodie Hiryczuk on the photo series One Moon in a Thousand Seas
Martine Stig on her video work Walking in the City
|16 – 18 h||Drinks|
|20 h||End of programme, exhibition closed|
Peter Delpeut’s novel In the Black of the Mirror tells the story of a filmaker who suffers from a mysterious eye condition that narrows his field of vision takes this creed literally. Seeking comfort for the indefinable sense of loss that overcomes him, he goes in search of landscapes – painted landscapes that broaden his vision. The half-blind filmmaker travels through Europe in the footsteps of seventeenth-century landscape painter Claude Lorrain. As if in a time machine, he is joined by aristocratic art collectors, quirky painters, imaginative landscape architects, and art-loving cardinals and spies. Travelling companions who, without his realising it, mirror his own past, in which a long-lost love never gives up her secret. In the Black of the Mirror is a unique, hybrid novel, with a melancholic and contemplative tone. A novel about love, memories and friendships spanning centuries. A book that teaches you to look, encourages you to go outside, and proves that life means nothing without art. Peter Delpeut is a man of multiple talents: originally a filmmaker, he surprised as an essayist with the collections A Brief Philosophy of Cycling and In Defence of Dawdling, and won recognition as a novelist with the acclaimed The Forgotten Season. In the Black of the Mirror is his magnum opus: love story, travelogue, art history, and essay masterfully combined into a beautiful, inspiring novel.
Taco Hidde Bakker’s book The Photograph That Took the Place of a Mountain is a diverse collection of writings on the philosophy, politics, and art of photography. Its topics range from the tension between artist and model to the landscapes of the American West, the surfaces of a second-hand New York City, and the predicament of transcultural photography. Taco Hidde Bakker has selected and revised sixteen pieces of writing from a variety of publications spanning the past decade of his journeys through photography and art. In addition, Bakker has written four new pieces for this volume. Often engaging in close collaboration with the artists about whose work he writes, Bakker explores different literary forms in response to their views. The recurring reference to poetry informs the productive friction between images and the words that accrue around them. The Photograph That Took the Place of a Mountain contains writings about artists such as Witho Worms, Onorato & Krebs, Dirk Braeckman, Renato D’Agostin, Tom Callemin, Mariken Wessels, Ken Schles, Stephan Keppel, and Francesca Woodman. Taco Hidde Bakker is a prolific writer on the arts and photography. Bakker’s writings have been published internationally in magazines, catalogs, artist’s books, and on blogs and websites.
Hans Gremmen’s project Lookout Point, The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, is the latest part of his ongoing research about the iconography of the American Landscape. The work consists of a series of seven paintings and a publication. Hans Gremmen is a graphic designer and founder of publishing house Fw:Books, based in Amsterdam. He works in the field of photography, architecture and fine arts and has designed over 200 books. Gremmen won various awards for his experimental designs, among them a Golden Medal in the Best Book Design from all over the World competition. He also edited and curated various books and exhibitions on his ongoing research about the American landscape including the exhibition Objects in Mirror, the Imagination of the American Landscape, in Centraal Museum, Utrecht. Gremmen made a five-hour movie about Route 66, The Mother Road, which was recently on display in the MoMA in New York. The book Edges of the Experiment, the Making of the American Landscape (2016, editor) was on the ICP Shortlist Infinity Award (category ‘critical writing & research’).
Exhibition and symposium
In the context of an ongoing research programme the art cooperative Radical Reversibility organizes, in collaboration with Looiersgracht 60, the exhibition and symposium Seeing without a Seer. The programme explores alternative ways of looking, thinking and image-making that evade the central position of the viewer. Seeing without a Seer is set up as a cooperative, imaginative and speculative exercise to grasp what is at stake in the act of seeing.
In this (post)digital era new imaging technologies call the very concept of ‘being human’ into question. In which ways will ‘machine vision’ influence our worldview? What is 'seeing' and where is it located? Can we imagine how nonhumans like plants, stones or bacteria ‘see’ their surroundings?
Since the Renaissance, human visual perception has been transformed into an all-encompassing mathematical structure based on the laws of optics and Euclidean geometry. The development of linear perspective established a clear distinction between viewer and viewed, each situated on opposite sides of the ‘picture plane’. This seemingly objective system of representation also constituted the technological origin of lens-based devices such as photography and film cameras.
As an alternative to this model of representation, the exhibition embraces the concept of ‘seeing without a seer’ developed by the Japanese philosopher Kitaro Nishida (1870-1945). This idea describes a ‘place of nothingness’ which envelops not only the object seen, but also the seeing action and that in which both are established. ‘Seeing’ is not a subject's act defined in opposition to an object, but is an event prior to the distinction between the two.
The exhibition Seeing without a Seer presents artistic strategies that playfully challenge visual representation in our post-digital era. Delving into the barely visible and the microscopic the participating artists introduce alternative concepts of seeing: polyperspectives, machine vision, a self-seeing world, or vision attributed to nonhuman agents. They attempt to reverse the construct of anthropocentric vision, aiming at a radical expansion, if not the full reformation, of our habitual ways of seeing.
The symposium presents lectures, visual case-studies and conversations by artists and researchers who will present works and ideas related to this subject matter.
Artists: Anouk De Clercq (BE), Tom Callemin (BE), Marjolijn Dijkman (NL), Hans Gremmen (NL), Hiryczuk/ Van Oevelen (FR/NL), Toril Johannessen (NO), Taisuke Koyama (JP), Tuula Närhinen (FI), Juuso Noronkoski (FI), Martine Stig (NL), August Strindberg (SE), Mikko Rikala (FI)
Symposium contributors: Alena Alexandrova (BG/ NL), Basje Boer (NL), Marjolijn Dijkman (BE), Hiryczuk/ Van Oevelen (FR/ NL), Steven Humblet (BE), Toril Johannessen (NO), Adam Loughnane (CA), Tuula Närhinen (FI), Henk Oosterling (NL), Ali Shobeiri (IR), Martine Stig (NL), Frank van der Stok (NL)
The exhibition at Looiersgracht 60 is on view Wednesday – Sunday from 12 – 20 h