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Trapped in the White Cube

Ahh, finally, my first blog post.  This post actually started weeks ago.  I’ve been patiently awaiting the return of some questions I had sent out in relation to my Flickr galleries “Trapped In The White Cube.”  The galleries are a series of images that have been captured by various photographers visiting museums around the world.  Sometimes the galleries appear to be captured in solitude, other times they are alive with a visual cacophony.

As one of the two photographers here at the IMA, I am responsible for capturing the IMA galleries in a similar fashion.  At times I capture galleries alive with its patrons.  At other times I document for posterity the space free of human distraction.  I, as those participating in my questionnaire, enjoy seeing the galleries in various degrees of these states – the sole visitor reflecting on a work of art, the mass of humanity flowing between its walls, the gallery alone asking us to reflect on the images presented, or the gallery free of any artwork or person and completely desolate.

Below are a few of those images and the responses from the photographers.  If you are interested in the photographs presented, please follow the gallery series on Flickr.

 Witold Riedel:
Witold Riedel is a creative director at one of the largest advertising networks in the world. He is responsible for a worldwide campaign, which “involves a good amount of travel.”

This image was included in the “Trapped In The White Cube” series. An excerpt from Witold’s responses to the questionnaire is below:

(via Flickr)

 What made you capture and share the image you created?

Are we talking about the picture of the nun and the dinosaur? Oh, it was just a very sweet moment at the Museum Mensch und Natur in Nymphenburg, in Munich. I had missed my flight to Moscow on that day and after visiting the BMW Welt, Nymphenburg felt like the perfect contrast. The room was very small, I had to be close to the nun to take the picture. I only had one chance to expose the photograph without disturbing the composition. I was lucky. I had set the exposure and aperture and the focus on my Leica correctly. I like that there are some parallels in the expression of the dinosaur and the nun. The picture is certainly not intended as cultural criticism. I have nothing against dinosaurs or the Catholic Church.

What type of museum objects do you enjoy the most?

I like to return to some not very loved paintings, just to discover that I have changed more than they have. And I also like to see that they are still there, in their own place. Or maybe in a new place.

I  used to stand next to the Mona Lisa at the Louvre sometimes and just look at the people coming to visit. I actually have two photo series about this on my old website. It was interesting how many visitors were not actually interested in the work, they were more interested in having a picture taken with the work. It really is about that connection sometimes. The Mona Lisa is now in a different place within the Louvre. It is now easier to take pictures with her. But it is much more difficult to see her. That might be one of the reasons why I prefer the not so loved paintings sometimes. Though they obviously must be incredibly special already, just to make it to the galleries. What percentage of the work never makes it out of storage? Some museums have created galleries that feel almost like open storage. I like that idea quite a bit.

XAM+ANNA are actually Massimiliano Matera and Annalisa Pilati, two aspiring architects, and a couple in life and work.  They live in Rome, which is its own “open-air museum.”

This image was included in the “Trapped In The White Cube” series and here’s an excerpt from XAM+ANNA’s responses to the questionnaire below:

(via Flickr)

What made you capture and share the image you created?

The photo creates a relation between the space and the visitors, with specific references from the art world (see works of contemporary artist such as Vito Acconci and Michelangelo Pistoletto, for example). For us, the link between spectator and artwork is fundamental and our research tends to show the reactions of the spectator, making him an integral part (then actor) of a new form of art, in which he’s the protagonist.

Vileinist, a.k.a. Jonathan O’Reilly is a Faculty Researcher at University of Maryland lives in Washington D.C.

(via Flickr)

What made you capture and share the image you created?

It was an interesting piece of work. You can expect avant-garde art at the Hirshhorn Museum, but this was something quite unique. When I turned the corner into the room, I was taken aback by the visual display – swirling curves of light were dancing across the wall to a soundtrack of pure silence. There were no distractions in the room, just the projector and the wall. There was a lone person looking at the piece in a state of wonder. Her placement in the frame helped me create an image that helped to reflect my own feeling of awe. An image of the piece by itself would not have been as surreal. In general, I like to photograph humans not as primary subjects, but rather as accessories to accentuate proportions or my own feelings in a given setting.

Filed under: Around the Web, Art, Photography

2 Responses to “Trapped in the White Cube”

  • avatar
    Anonymous Says:

    It is interesting to think of a desolate gallery free of people, because, of course, the photographer has to be there to capture it.

  • avatar
    Mike Says:

    That is the beauty of the photograph, as with any fiction. In the photograph, the gallery can be desolate.

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