Time, Place, and the Camera: Photographs at Work

Time, Place, and the Camera: Photographs at Work

National Gallery of Kosovo

August 27, 2012

12th Gjon Mili Photography Prize Exhibition
7 September–7 October 2012

The Art Gallery of Kosovo
Agim Ramadani 60
Pristina, Kosovo

T 00381 38 225627, 227 833
gak [​at​] kujtesa.com


Artists: Ahlam Shibli, Allan Sekula, Anna Artaker, Annette Kelm, Arno Gisinger, Astrit Ismaili, Blerim Racaj, Flaka Haliti, Jetmir Idrizi, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Iosif Király, Karina Nimmerfall, Kushtrim Tërnava, Lala Meredith Vula, Lulzim Zeqiri, Sabine Bitter/Helmut Weber, Sabina Tmava-Billi, Shkurte Ramushi, Tomoko Sawada, Vigan Nimani, Zanele Muholi.

The Gjon Mili annual exhibition is the most significant exhibition and competition for the photography art in Kosovo. The 12th Gjon Mili Photography Prize Exhibition is curated by Christine Frisinghelli.

In artistic practice, as in the political-cultural debate, there are few fields that have been subject to such intense discussion in recent years as the possibilities and conditions of describing economic, social and geographical conditions, and, particularly, the question of representation. Photography seems to be the perfect medium with which to conduct this debate in the context of aesthetic realization itself: the indexical nature of the photographic image culminates in the idea of being able to combine all the views of the world in a total archive, and current digital technology gives us the tools that enable us to command these archives with no apparent limitations.

The profound changes undergone by photography in the past decades impact on image production itself; even more drastically, however, the seemingly boundless availability of images, and the global circulation of images has influenced their modes of production, distribution and reception as never before in the history of technical images, changing the way we work with and our behaviour towards technical images.

We are in a situation in which it seems that we have seen it all. Gjon Mili, the Albanian-American photographer and film-maker, the intellectual mentor of this exhibition project, was able to still capture completely new, hitherto unseen images in photographs: being the first to use Harold Edgerton’s stroboscopic technology as an artistic device in the 1930s, he was able to create images of sequences of actions “which revealed the beautiful intricacy and graceful flow of movement too rapid or complex for the naked eye to discern,” as LIFE magazine wrote, on whose staff Gjon Mili worked until his death in 1984.

It seems no more possible to see the remit of the photographer today in exploring as yet unseen, improbable, “innocent” images: reflecting on context, on existing image and communication systems will always accompany a contemporary handling of technical images. Perhaps—as just one point of departure—we can tackle this task as Heiner Müller describes it based on Jean-Luc Godard’s film work: “With him, you see the film working, not just an image. You see how films are made, that films are work and not products of nature.” Photographs at work, then, work in which the visual power of the image can combine with the “exhibition” of the particular conditions of its production.

This exhibition is presenting 21 positions: Photographers from Kosovo have answered to an open call to present their works, and international photographers have been invited to join the project. Together, we think, these works can contribute to the discussion of contemporary photography’s potentials. The formal, technical and material-based decisions that define the physical presence of the works presented may be as manifold as the reservoir of memories, projections, experience and utopias from which they draw their thematic urgency.

–Christine Frisinghelli

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National Gallery of Kosovo
August 27, 2012

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