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Art

I had the pleasure to stay for a few days in London recently. While spending some time with my Londoner family, their typical sense of humour reminded of Tony Ray-Jones and Martin Parr’s “Only in England” exhibition. It explores the lasting influences of the too short career of British photographer Tony Ray-Jones on the developement of British photography since the 70’s and on Martin Parr’s work. Driven by the moto “Don’t take boring pictures”, Ray-Jones was fascinated by the eccentricities of English social customs and immortalized what he thought was a disappearing way of life. Full of melancholy and humour, his work impacted Parr’s rarely seen black and white photographs from ‘The Non-Conformists’ series. Known for his sociological and satirical point of view, Parr provided his own analysis of the modern life, documenting the social classeds of England.

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Beauty Contest Southport, Tony Ray-Jones, 1967

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Mankinholes Methodist Chapel, Martin Parr, 1975

Blackpool, 1968 by Tony Ray-Jones

Blackpool, Tony Ray-Jones, 1968

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Brighton Beach, Tony Ray-Jones, 1967

Tom Greenwood cleaning 1976 by Martin Parr

Tom Greenwood cleaning, Martin Parr, 1976

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Spring has finally sprung. Holidays are around the corner and everybody tends now to apply strategies to get the most of this beautiful weather and their spare time. I live in a touristic place in Switzerland where I have the chance to meet a lot of people from all around the world. And with the 30 degrees we are having here at the moment, there is a queue in front of the swimming pool, the beaches are crowded as are all seeking the same things: sunbathing, eating ice cream and taking pictures in front of visited sights.

These scenes remind me of Martin Parr, a photographer that has explored the theme of tourists and their behaviours on holidays. According his point of view, “visiting sites is a modern form of pilgrimage and the resulting photos the ultimate price.” His pictures show the contradiction between the places we all know such the Eiffel Tower and the reality of actually being at an iconic site.

Martin Parr, Spain, Benidorm, 1997

Martin Parr, Spain, Benidorm, 1997

JAPAN. Miyazaki. The Artificial beach inside the Ocean Dome. 1996.Martin Parr, Miyagazi, the artificial beach inside the Ocean Dome, 1996

Martin Parr, Italy, The Leaning Tower of Pisa, 1990Martin Parr, Italy, The Leaning Tower of Pisa, 1990

Martin Parr, thailand hua hin, 2012

Martin Parr, Thailand, Hua Hin, 2012

“There is no way you’re going to get a quote from us to use on your book cover”

Metropolitan Police spokesperson regarding Banksy “Wall and Piece” book, 2006

Very controversial yet subversive, street art tends to challenge art itself by situating it in non-art contexts. First known as political or social slogans graffitied onto public walls, street art now still include graffitis, but also street sculptures and installations, LED art and guerilla happening just to name a few of them. The street is not only the best way for a street artist to reach its public, but also to start conversing with it.

When some street artists use “smart vandalism” to raise awareness on a particular issue, others see urban spaces as a privileged location to express themselves and be heard. Finally, street is a cheaper canvas for people who cannot afford buying material, allowing art to be accessible for everybody. Legal definitions may consider that street art is a form of vandalism and it is still prohibited to make graffitis is some cities. Regardless this controversial vision of street art – some people see it as a crime, others consider it as art – , marketing professionals have been starting using methods inspired from it. Called “guerilla marketing”, these methods promote a brand in public areas, taking advantage from the fact that there is almost no competitors using this canvas.

Banksy, Ramallah Checkpoint, 2005

 Banksy, Ramallah Checkpoint, 2005

Banksy, Marble Arch, London, 2004

Banksy, Marble Arch, London, 2004

You and Me, Zhang Zhaohui, Dashanzi Art District, 18 April 2013

 You and Me, Zhang Zhaohui, Dashanzi Art District, 18 April 2013

Mini Countryman snowball located in front of Macy's, December 2010

Mini Countryman snowball located in front of Macy’s, December 2010

Mini Countryman, marketing campaing held during the 2010 Geneva International Montor Show

Mini Countryman, guerilla marketing campaing held during the 2010 Geneva International Motor Show