briefs

2018-08-03

‘folded eggs’

Pre-order artist book with print!

I dawdle around a street corner in Valparaíso, the old left-wing city where the 1973 Chilean coup d’état dreadfully erupted, to a street blanketed with neatly folded second-hand clothes under a hot morning sun.

“Valparaíso’s flea market where lengths of fabric — the same lengths each week, I suppose — are placed on the ground as you would lay a table, each neatly spread with used clothes for sale.”

Without deliberation, I pull out my camera and methodically make images of these used clothes, and sometimes objects, along every long row, one stall-on-the-ground after another, smiles returned, for a full three hours, meaning, elegance and eloquence, fieldwork as research, and only a restrained sense of other work where history was an element in my mind. I focus on aesthetics, an unmannerly lean across each tablecloth of clothes to do justice to their layout.

“I make images without mindful thought of politics, history or even memory. Only later, when I peer with purpose at these clothes, objects and panoramas, does the undoing of Salvador Allende gather in my mind.”

Two excerpts from ‘folded eggs’, my new artist book, a modest mediation on history and memory, images from Chile and a succinct essay across Allende and Pinochet to the New Zealand Wars.

Pre-order a copy now with a print of the image above, a NZ$55 super deal with free shipping worldwide .. see books & shop

continue reading

briefs

2018-08-15

‘folded eggs’

Typhoon weather chart

Yesterday, our Hong Kong printers emailed this hand drawn, typhoon weather chart (see below), to reinforce why ‘folded eggs’ is yet to leave port. For those who have already pre-ordered, the artist books will arrive, holy smoke, they must arrive, I’m to launch with PhotoQ at Unseen Amsterdam, 6.00pm, 21 September. Until then, still taking pre-orders—www.bruceconnew.com/books/.

A modest meditation on history and memory, images from Chile, and a concise essay ranging across Allende and Pinochet to the colonial New Zealand Wars.

Abstract cover typography @studiocatherine

continue reading

briefs

2018-05-25

‘folded eggs’

‘folded eggs’ pre-launch special prices.

‘folded eggs’ printer’s proofs are back to Hong Kong this week .. first launch of my new artist book somewhere in New Zealand around mid-July .. today spent figuring out corker pre-launch special prices, especially the special edition with artist print .. pre-order at books&shop .. of course, this message will be repeated more than once over the next month or so! 

A modest meditation on history and memory, images made in Chile, a concise essay, a single line centered through the book, ranging across Allende and Pinochet to the New Zealand Wars.

continue reading

briefs

2018-06-24

‘Body of Work’ and ‘I Saw You’ at {Suite}

‘Body of Work’ / ‘I Saw You’ exhibition

Before ‘folded eggs’ ships from Hong Kong (pre-order), ‘Body of Work’ (2015) shows at Wellington, New Zealand gallery {Suite}, a 38-image grid of the series “recalibrating” the metaphor of the horse, opposite a 52-image grid of the surveillance series ‘I Saw You’ (2007) ... a dialogue.

open until 7 July 2018 ... come if you dare!

 

 
A Paris publisher friend said last year of ‘Body of Work’, hand over heart: “Always in art and literature, the horse is the magnificent, romantic beast ... your book is not romantic.”
 
Brad Feuerhelm, American Suburb X, said in his super 2016 review of ‘Body of Work’: “What Bruce Connew’s [book] recalibrates is the very interesting and historical metaphor of the horse.”

Do they say the same thing? For one, it is a reason to reject the work; for the other a reason to celebrate.

 

‘I Saw You’ first showed in 2007 at Mary Newton Gallery, Wellington. The book showed recently at the Paris gallery Le Bal: ‘Performing Books #1’, 10-27 January 2018, as part of Mark Ghuneim’s ‘Surveillance Index’ photobook collection from NYC ... Mark’s avant garde book of the collection, and website too, were designed @studiolin. ‘I Saw You’ was designed by @studiocatherine and myself on a bed in a Verona pensione. See also an installation image from Le Bal.

continue reading

briefs

2018-06-04

‘Poetics of Music’

... a short story of an art school library

The odious proposal to cast out the library at the University of Auckland’s Elam School of Fine Arts brought to mind the other day my skirmish with an art school in Guildford, just south of London 45 years ago ... for the nine months of my truncated art school tenure, with complete disregard for tutors and their exasperating assignments, I hunkered down in the school’s prodigious library, kicking-off in one corner and reading my way round the shelves for months and months, anything and everything, books of photography, books about photography, and plenty beyond: Henri Cartier-Bresson images, Robert Frank’s ‘The Americans’, not quite grasping either, to a swashbuckling David Douglas Duncan’s ‘Yankee Nomad’, to ‘Words and Pictures’ by Wilson Hicks, and R. Smith Schumann’s ‘Photographic Communication’, which led to Frazer’s ‘The Golden Bough’, and Koestler’s ‘The Sleepwalkers’ … Man Ray, Callahan, Minor White, Brassaï, Cunningham, Dorethea Lange, Walker Evans, Uelsmann, Koudelka, Weston, Stieglitz, Eisenstaedt, McCullin, Eugene Smith, Gordon Parks and many, many more, a bringing to light.

The ‘Poetics of Music’, a paperback book of a series of lectures delivered by Igor Stravinsky at Harvard University 1939-1940, presented itself one morning. While the philosophy of music was very far from my capacity, I flicked open the pages and read (my copy still has its underlines): “Whatever diminishes constraint, diminshes strength.” I embraced this book hard, read and re-read it, sometimes only to replace the word ‘music’ with ‘photography’, a book about the sheer miscellany of the photography and texts on these shelves, a beacon, a lexicon almost, for understanding the bounty of this uncommon library.

 

When I told this story to the late Pete Turner, bon vivant, exile, and very smart and quick-witted editor of the now defunct, but then important, ‘Creative Camera’ magazine out of London, he said he too went to this art school in Guildford, only a few years before me, and then the library had been meagre, until the students brawled for it during the mighty political upheavals of 1968 .. a library is worth a good dust-up.

continue reading

reviews

2016-05-10

‘Body of Work’ review, photo-eye Book of the Week

Daniel Boetker-Smith reviews ‘Body of Work’, photo-eye Book of the Week.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

This week’s Book of the Week pick comes from Daniel Boetker-Smith who has selected ‘Body of Work’ by Bruce Connew from Vapour Momenta Books.

 

“Today Radiohead released their first new song in years. I’d set aside the afternoon especially to write this review of Bruce Connew’s newest publication ‘Body of Work’, with no idea that the quintet from Oxford who have crafted the soundtrack of my adult life would inadvertently tell me how to read and understand Connew’s book.

‘Street Spirit (Fade Out).’ I can remember the lurid lines: ‘Cracked eggs dead birds / scream as they fight for life / I can feel death / can see its beady eyes.’ These words have been etched into my psyche since I first heard them in 1995. Hearing these lines again today after a number of years it seems that nothing can more accurately describe Bruce Connew’s new book. Connew has been around, making books, since the late 80s, and he is somewhat of a national treasure in New Zealand; a prolific, smart and eminently generous artist. But he’s never made a work like this before, and I’m not sure he ever should or could again. This is his ‘Heart of Darkness’.

continue reading

reviews

2016-09-20

‘Body of Work’ review, American Suburb X

Truly obliged for Brad Feuerhelm’s adamant, high-order take on ‘Body of Work’.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

‘Pascal Invented Horse Porn From the Void’
Brad Feuerhelm

What do I know about Premarin? What do horse hormones have to do with the birth of my children and the balance of my aging wife’s hormonal level? Is Premarin really contrived of horse urine? “Yes”, she whispered, and “all theatres must end in tragedy or the glorification of banality to succeed in the minds of their small audiences”. And how do we contemplate our various theatres? What discipline is there to be measured in the copulating muscular mass? Binary adventures are regulated by need and avoidance in equal expenditure. Every family is still connected and is tethered by some small ribbon tied around their collective and imaginary finger to keep their memories bright while wading through the present, darkly. There are the gnashing teeth, the hair pulled tight to the neck, in which sturdy vertebrae and shivering musculature are dripping in foamy lather in warm barns smelling of harvest hay and pre-harvest Premarin.

The theatre of bliss and the theatre of cruelty are inseparable. The year of the horse has past and yet the species continues its coupling with the aid of human intervention. Why won’t that horse fuck? We had put him back in the stable with the other males where he was chewed up a bit. He became angry and by default the winner by the violence that life and his brothers had accorded him. Only when his gait was strong and his loins were swelling did we release him to the mare waiting in an apprehensive and receiving grace. Strong and willful, he was still blinded by fear of the fight. The steed as it were, attempted to mount and failed his first attempt for the fear still coursing through his veins. He mounted again and was aided by the gloved hand of man directing his lumber towards the wet female. Rife with anticipation she quivered, hooved and moist. The hand gloved in some other animal’s skin had glided the steed’s heft inside and there was a continued biting from his mouth, jaws clicking. The mare is in transference of his fear and pleasure. This was the beautiful cycle of life in the theatre of the absurd for many of the species. Here awkward and spot lit stages from which to uncoil their fear, pleasure, grimly or dimly alit from overhead and not dissimilar to an operating table. She still takes it standing.

continue reading