The Photograph as Contemporary Art
The appropriation of iconic photographs by Cindy Sherman, Corinne Day and Juergen Teller feature in a new conceptual photography book by British artist Melinda Gibson. The project, originally inspired by the book by the same name from international curator Charlotte Cotton, Gibson has trasformed her collages in a unique book collaboration with Dutch design duo Kummer & Herrman.
Gibson's new book features the rearrangement of images from familiar photographs to create multilayered compositions. Each series of collages and accompanying texts have been printed as stickers, which Gibson then fixes into a unique book by hand. Every editions takes the artist up to three hours to complete, and is numbered with the exact time and date of completion. Amsterdam’s much-anticipated Unseen Photo Fair recently played host to a live performance based launch of the book which involved Gibson showcasing this labour of love by constructing one live.
“I think Melinda’s collages work brilliantly, much better than anything I could write, at showing how art photography as a subject is full of contradictions and visual pleasures. Photography as contemporary art is an continual argument of terms and values and Melinda’s making of precious, unique collages from the reproducible reproductions from The Photograph as Contemporary Art embodies the disagreements and misunderstandings that are essential characteristics of the subject. When I first saw Melinda’s work, I was amazed at how she seemed to have literally dissected the way that I think. One of my earliest visual memories is sitting under my mum and dad’s office table picking up the cut-out scraps of illustrated pages from Ladybird Peter and Jane books, with which my sister and I had learnt to read. My dad was writing his PhD on the psychoanalytic and semiotic subtexts of the Ladybird reading skills books, removing with a scalpel Peter and Jane from their highly gender-specific mis-en-scene, in order that their cultural narrative could be literally seen. My dad told me recently that while he was writing his PhD, he went to meet the teacher William Murray who had developed the system of key words and phrases for the series. Murray was really encouraging to my dad but entirely unwilling to analyse either the impact or metonymic possibilities of the Peter and Jane books. I feel strangely sympathetic to Mr Murray as I look at Melinda Gibson’s body of work, unable to see The Photograph as Contemporary Art as an analysable entity and a volume of raw material that can be separated from who and what I am. I can’t contextualise the project within photography as contemporary art, and I’ve enjoyed not being able to.”
The Photograph As Contemporary Art
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Melinda Gibson was born in 1985 in the UK, and currently lives and works in London. She studied for a BA (Hons) in Photography at the London College of Communication and after graduating in 2006 she assisted various photographers, notably Martin Parr, while continuing to develop her own photographic practice.
In 2010, The Magenta Foundation selected her as one of the British winners of the Emerging Photographers Award and she is 1 of 15 winners of the annual FOAM Talent Call 2010.
Melinda has been published in numerous publications, online and in print including NOWNESS.COM, AnOther Magazine, Harpers Bazaar, Marie Clare, FOAM magazine, 1000 Words Photography magazine, British Journal of Photography, PHOTO+ Korean Photography Magazine, Objektiv, the “Everyday Catalogue” by Studio Blanco and a portfolio of her work was part of Foam Museum’s 10th Anniversary project “What’s Next.”
Melinda participated in the European Capital of Culture exhibition, “Alice in Wonderland” Finland’s largest contemporary photography exhibition held in Turku, Finland throughout 2011, which is toured to the Centro del arte Contemporáneo de Cadiz in Spain in March 2012. Exhibitions throughout 2012 include Photo50 at the London Art Fair, Hijacked III AUS/UK at Quad Gallery, Derby, Hijacked III AUS/UK at PICA, The Griffith University Gallery in Brisbane, ACP Sydney and The Houston Centre of Photography, Texas USA.
Melinda has also been named as inspiration for the HUGO by Hugo Boss Spring/Summer 2012 Collection, "Poetic Tailoring" launched at Berlin Fashion Week in July 2011. Melinda was commissioned to produce 6 unique pieces for Yohji Yamamoto’s 40th Anniversary of his Y’s Collection launching in a bespoke website in the autumn on 2012.
Melinda is interested in the changing perspectives of the photographic medium, how images are viewed and understood through the technological advances in photography and the help and hindrances this begins forth into our contemporary culture.
The featured photographer for October 2012 was Melinda Gibson