A Rabbit as King of the Ghosts

FELIX TEYNARD "Grand Speos, Statues Colossales Vues de Profil, Abu Simbel"

From the press release:

A RABBIT AS KING OF THE GHOSTS

Curated by Justine Kurland and Dan Torop

This is a photography exhibition about magic. For us, the photographer is a seeker of mystery and the act of photographing casts a spell that turns the banal into the supernatural. The works displayed here propose a history of photography which emphasizes the spiritual over the rational.

We begin with images of the pre-modern idyll, when Magic did not yet know how to hide from the photographic mechanism. Soon, though, photographers became entranced with how the clarity and resolving powers of the lens could describe the knowable world. The notion of magic went underground, present only in exceptions, such as Clarence Kennedy's scholarly studies of Renaissance sculptures, or in Joseph Sudek's determined romanticism on the fringes of the canon. An anonymous group portrait of the Shriners presented here suggests it might not have been buried so deeply, but kept in the care of secret societies, during these, the dark ages for magic. We bypass the great mid-twentieth century photographic tradition and look to documentation of performances carried out in the 60's and 70's. These revelatory acts mark a resurgence of magic in photography.

The first part of the show examines the cosmological. Objects owned by science return to poetry. Becquerel, Madame Curie's collaborator, made cameraless photographs of radioactive materials. The resulting images are ominous black suns. A Muybridge motion study shows a hand beating time: disembodied it dances ritualistically on the page. The astronomer W. F. Swann made a photograph of the Network Nebula so beautiful that it overwhelms any scientific objective. Training the same camera on a day moon, Roe Ethridge transforms a common vision into stark romanticism. Susan Jennings' light abstractions conjure the x-rayed auras of spirits just beyond our perception. Will Wendt uses glass beads and prisms to break the light from a landscape, revealing a second world. Through the mechanical act of performing a set of gestures for the camera, the artist creates an alternate world. In an atypical Darius Kinsey we see three sisters turned to sirens on the Pacific shore of Washington State. Bas Jan Ader, throwing himself bodily against the unknown, is levitated between the sky and ground. A still from Joan Jonas's "Twilight" shows the wizard at rest. In Kenneth Anger's "Invocation of My Demon Brother" the albino, Moon Beam, is transformed into a Miltonic Lucifer. Annika von Hausswolff uses the raw language of the snapshot to stage enigmatic moments in which her sitters become metaphysical sculpture. Alice O'Malley's formal portrait and David Benjamin Sherry's collaged rhapsody are collaborative fantasies in the ecstasy of being in-love. The ecstatic is carried into Angelblood's documentation of an incantatory pagan ritual. Adam Putnam's uses a room as a camera to photograph a furnace projecting a phantasmagoric image of an uncanny room.

The prelapsarian landscape is a stage upon which photographers can breach the division between themselves and the universe. Félix Teynard, at the dawn of photography, made the voyage to Egypt, the birth place of magic. Robert Macpherson revealed the grotto of Sibyl deep below her Temple. Eugene Atget set his taxonomic vision against mythic Paris. Hired by surveyors to promote the American West, Carleton Watkins projected the utopian dream of the New World onto the coast of Northern California. William Balch transplanted Vermont orchids into studio tableaux, while Simone Nieweg found deep sorrow in the wintry gardens on the outskirts of German towns. The landscape is a portal to transcendence in Corey McCorkle's photographs of pilgrims walking through the fog on Mount Fuji. Victoria Sambunaris looks into the belly of the earth from the top of a volcano in Hawaii. Matt Keegan silhouettes the absent figures on a beach.

Modernist photographers comprehended a shared, knowable world to produce objects of intrinsic value. In contrast, we have gathered works in which the artist, encountering a fragmentary and obscure world, gleans an intoxicating and mysterious image. We advocate a practice where the camera, used as art-making tool, touches on a vast unknowable rather than delimits the real.

- Justine Kurland and Dan Torop, May 2006

 

Here is the checklist:

A Rabbit as King of the Ghosts
June 27 – August 11, 2006
Mitchell-Innes & Nash, 534 West 26th St., NY, NY 10001

  1. CLARENCE KENNEDY
    Plate XV: Head from Figure of the Cardinal; Vol. VIII: The Tomb by Antonio Rossellino for the Cardinal of Portugal; Studies in the History and Criticism of Sculpture
    1934
    Gelatin silver print mounted on paper
    Mount: 19 by 13 7/16 in.; 48.3 by 34.1 cm; Sheet/image: 10 9/16 by 6 5/8 in.; 26.8 by 16.8 cm

    Collection of Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, MA.  Gift of Mrs. Lester A. Talkington, in honor of Clarence Kennedy

  2. CLARENCE KENNEDY
    Plate 53: Tympanum. Head of Cherub to Observer's Right; Vol. V: The Tabernacle of the Sacrament, San Lorenzo, Florence; Studies in the History and Criticism of Sculpture
    1929
    Gelatin silver print
    Mount: 19 1/2 by 12 in.; 49.5 by 30.5 cm; Sheet/image:
    10 3/8 by 6 5/8 in.; 26.3 by 16.8 cm

    Collection of Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, MA.  Transferred from Hillyer Art Library

  3. CLARENCE KENNEDY
    Plate XXVIII: Hair, Veil and Wing from Hope; Vol. VII: The Unfinished Monument by Andrea del Verrocchio to the Cardinal Niccolo Forteguerri at Pistoia; Studies in the History and Criticism of Sculpture
    1932
    Gelatin silver print mounted on paper
    Mount: 19 1/4 by 13 3/8 in.; 48.9 by 33.9 cm;
    Sheet/image: 6 1/2 by 10 5/16 in.; 16.5 by 26.2 cm

    Collection of Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, MA. Gift of Mrs. Lester A. Talkington, in honor of Clarence Kennedy

  4. CLARENCE KENNEDY
    Plate I: Head from Christ as the Redeemer; Vol. VII: The Unfinished Monument by Andrea del Verrocchio to the Cardinal Niccolo Forteguerri at Pistoia; Studies in the History and Criticism of Sculpture
    1932
    Gelatin silver print mounted on paper
    Mount: 19 3/8 by 13 1/4 in.; 49.2 by 33.6 cm;
    Sheet/image: 10 3/16 by 6 5/8 in.; 25.8 by
    16.8 cm

    Collection of Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, MA. Gift of Mrs. Lester A. Talkington, in honor of Clarence Kennedy

  5. DAVID BENJAMIN SHERRY
    You are your Mother’s only son and a desperate one
    2006
    C-print, ed. 1/5
    30 by 40 in.  76.2 by 101.6 cm

    Courtesy Team Gallery

  6. EADWEARD MUYBRIDGE
    Movement of the Hand; Beating Time
    c. 1887
    24 by 30 in.  61 by 76.2 cm

    Collection of Andrew Szegedy-Maszak and Elizabeth Bobrick

  7. ANNIKA VON HAUSSWOLFF
    The 21st Century Transitional Object
    2004
    C-print, ed. 4/4
    47 by 60 in.  119.4 by 152.4 cm

  8. ALICE O’MALLEY
    Kenny Kenny, NYC  
    2003
    Silver gelatin print
    Edition of 10
    12 7/8 by 8 ¾ in.  32.7 by 22.2 cm

  9. EUGENE ATGET
    Mercury Par Milo
    Circa 1916
    Photograph
    8 1/2 by 7 1/8 in.  21.6 by 18.1 cm.

    Collection of Andrew Szegedy-Maszak and Elizabeth Bobrick

  10. KENNETH ANGER
    Icons (Invocation of my Demon Brother)
    1969/2004
    Ultrachrome Archival Photograph, edition of 5 + 2APs
    19 3/4 by 25 in.  50.2 by 63.5 cm

    Courtesy Walter Cassidy

  11. ANGELBLOOD
    Axe in the ass, St. Gallen Switzerland
    2004
    C-print, ed. 1/77
    8 by 10 in.  20.3 by 25.4 cm

  12. UNIDENTIFIED PHOTOGRAPHER
    Women with long hair
    1860-70s
    Tintype
    3 ½ by 2 ½ in.  8.9 by 6.4 cm

    Collection of ICP, Gift of Steven Kasher Gallery, 2005

  13. UNIDENTIFIED PHOTOGRAPHER
    Shriners’ Group Portrait
    1930s

  14. F. JAY HAYNES
    ‘Bicyclists’ group on Minerva Terrace.  James A. Moss, It. Missoula, Montana, Yellowstone National Park
    Oct. 7, 1896
    B&W exhibition-quality fiber print  
    16 x 20 in.  40.6 by 50.8 cm

    Haynes Foundation, Collection Montana Historical Society

  15. DARIUS KINSEY
    Woodcutters, one in tree
    1906
    13 by 10 ½ in.  33 by 26.7 cm

  16. DARIUS KINSEY
    Three Sisters, Sekiu, Washington
    1925
    10 by 13 in.  25.4 by 33 cm

  17. VICKY SAMBUNARIS
    Untitled (Haleakala Crater – 22), Maui, Hawaii
    2005
    C-Print, edition of 10
    20 by 24 in.  50.8 by 61 cm

  18. VICKY SAMBUNARIS
    Untitled (Haleakala Crater – 29), Maui, Hawaii
    2005
    C-Print
    20 by 24 in.
    Edition of 10

  19. ROE ETHERIDGE
    Moon
    2003
    C-Print, AP
    24 by 30 in.  61 by 76.2 cm
    Edition of 5 + 1AP

    Courtesy Andrew Kreps Gallery

  20. COREY MCCORKLE
    Untitled
    2005
    C-print, ed. 3/3
    20 x 24 in.  50.8 by 61 cm
    Edition of 3 + 1AP

  21. COREY MCCORKLE
    Untitled
    2005
    C-print, ed. 3/3
    20 x 24 in.  50.8 by 61 cm
    Edition of 3 + 1AP

  22. COREY MCCORKLE
    Untitled
    2005
    C-print, ed. 3/3
    20 x 24 in.  50.8 by 61 cm
    Edition of 3 + 1AP

  23. BAS JAN ADER
    Broken Fall (Organic)
    1971/1994
    Black and White photograph, ed. 3/3
    15 by 25 in.  38.1 by 63.5 cm

  24. MATT KEEGAN
    Untitled (Beach) study
    2005
    2 C-prints (collaged)
    4 by 6 in.  10.2 by 15.2 cm

  25. JOAN JONAS
    Delay Delay (New York City)
    1972
    Gelatin silver print
    18 by 14 in.  35.5 by 45.7 cm

    Courtesy the Artist and Yvon Lambert, New York and Paris, photograph by Gianfranco Gorgoni

  26. JOAN JONAS
    Jones Beach Piece (Jones Beach, New York)
    1970
    Gelatin silver print
    14 by 18 in.  35.5 by 45.7 cm

    Courtesy the Artist and Yvon Lambert, New York and Paris, photograph by Richard Landry

  27. JOAN JONAS
    Twilight
    1975/2005
    Archival gelatin print, edition 5/5 + 2AP
    AP 2
    8 1/2 by 13 in.  21.5 by 33 cm

    Courtesy the Artist and Yvon Lambert, New York and Paris, photograph by Gwenn Thomas

  28. SUSAN JENNINGS
    Untitled
    2006
    Silver gelatin print, edition of 5 + 2 APs
    ed. 1/5
    16 by 20 in.  40.6 by 50.8 cm

  29. SUSAN JENNINGS
    Untitled
    2006
    Silver gelatin print, edition of 5 + 2 APs
    ed. 1/5
    16 by 20 in.  40.6 by 50.8 cm

  30. ADAM PUTNAM
    Untitled Pinhole 3
    C-Print mounted on aluminum, unique
    2005
    30 by 40 in.  76.2 by 101.6 cm

    Courtesy Sandroni Rey, Los Angeles

  31. ANTOINE-HENRI BECQUEREL
    Various Rays Emitted From a Radioactive Substance Through a Slitted Screen
    1903
    Gelatin Silver Print
    4 7/8 by 3 ½ in.  12.4 by 8.9 cm

    Courtesy Hans P. Kraus, Jr., Inc., New York

  32. ANTOINE-HENRI BECQUEREL
    Various Rays Emitted From a Radioactive Substance Through a Slitted Screen
    1901
    Gelatin Silver Print
    5 by 4 in.  12.7 by 10.2 cm

    Courtesy Hans P. Kraus, Jr., Inc., New York

  33. JOSEPH SUDEK
    Ruins of stone ramparts with mountains in distance
    Gelatin silver print
    4 7/16 by 6 3/8 in.  11.3 by 16.2 cm

    Collection of ICP, Gift of James Ellman, 2005

  34. WILLIAM BALCH
    Arethusa (arethusa bulbosa)
    1917
    Black and white photographs made from glass plate negatives
    6 3/8 by 4 ½ in.  16.2 by 11.4 cm

    Collection of Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium, VT

  35. W.F. SWANN
    NGC 6692 Network Nebula
    c. 1930
    Silver gelatin print
    16 ¼ by 13 ¼ in.  41.3 by 33.6 cm

  36. FÉLIX TEYNARD
    Grand Spéos, Statues Colossales Vues de Profil, Abu Simbel
    1851-1852
    Salt print from a paper negative
    12 by 9 7/8 in.  30.5 by 25.1 cm

    Courtesy Hans Kraus, Jr., Inc., New York

  37. ROBERT MACPHERSON
    Cataracts at Tivoli
    1850s or 60s
    Offset print from a portfolio
    20 by 16 in.  50.8 by 40.6 cm

    Collection of Andrew Szegedy-Maszak and Elizabeth Bobrick

  38. WILLIAM WENDT
    Hanging Serac
    2005
    Fiber-based silver gelatin print, ed. 1/10
    26 5/8 by 41 ¼ in.  67.6 by 104.8 cm

  39. CARELTON WATKINS
    Seal Rock, Pacific Ocean
    c. 1868-69
    Mammoth-plate albumen print
    15 ¾ by 20 5/8 in.  40 by 52.4 cm

  40. SIMONE NEIWEG
    Stangenbohen, Duisburg-Ungelsheim
    1993
    C-Print, ed. 3/8
    12 by 16 in.  30.5 by 40.6 cm

  41. SIMONE NEIWEG
    Larche am Ackerrand, Willich
    1991
    C-print, ed. 1/5
    40 by 60 in.  101.6 by 152.4 cm