At times, an archive that permanently enters into a repository perennially captures this reverse shot that is the life itself. It can preserve, beyond its historical character, a trace that is still alive, like a radioactive particle travelling across time.
Testamentary wager, battle against finitude, testimony in extremis, rearrangement of time and other time related equations are all at the heart of The Hidden Side of the Archive, which invites us to put aside our habits of analytical reflection and instead embrace a perception that is both emotional and empathic. The challenge here is no longer to define or to demonstrate, but to feel. The archive is then, beyond a memory, a mirror that is held up towards us.
In the wake of the 2017 exhibition Annie Leibovitz, The Early Years: 1970 - 1983, Archive Project # 1, the first exhibition of the Living Archives, The Hidden Side of the Archive offers an intimate and immersive dive into the works of Nan Goldin, Diane Arbus, Annie Leibovitz and Derek Jarman. Alongside these artists, the contemporary avant-garde magazine Parkett unveils its special relationship with the eclectic artist Sigmar Polke.
With this new type of exhibition, the intention is to revitalise the archive and to give it a special reach in which time, the objective ally of the archive, imbues contents that are often tragic with the soothing softness of a murmur, of a confession.
In parallel, LUMA is honoured to host the personal and obsessive archives of Hans-Ulrich Obrist in the context of an inspiring and moving presentation dedicated to Édouard Glissant.
Cookie Mueller Portfolio, 1976 – 1989
In the manner of writers who take notes for future novels, Nan Goldin quickly seized the photographic medium to make an uninterrupted chronicle out of her life. Along her path, Cookie Mueller played a particular role, as recounted in the work Cookie Mueller Portfolio (1976 - 1989).
A vibrant and captivating icon, Cookie Mueller was walking in equilibrium the tightrope of her own existence. This exuberant young woman, both muse, actress and poet, had decided to live unfettered like a heroine of a Beat Generation novel.
They met in 1976, in the artistic communities of Provincetown, Massachusetts. It was impossible for Nan Goldin to overlook such a magnetism. As the terrible years of AIDS were unfolding, the two women had an intense relationship in the underground circles of New York of the 1970s and 1980s, sharing parties and drunkenness, loves and disappointments.
Without really being aware of it, Nan Goldin put together a photographic collection in the form of a storyboard that marked the important moments of Cookie Mueller’s life until her death in 1989, only a year after she was diagnosed with HIV. Compiled a posteriori, Cookie Mueller Portfolio is a heartbreaking testimony where life and death keep intertwining.
A box of ten photographs, 1970
A neutral reading of A box of ten photographs (1970) is a difficult thing to demand. It is, in fact, delicate to dissociate the biography of Diane Arbus, who ended her life in 1971, from this portfolio of ten photographs compiled shortly before her death. It is simply impossible not to see in this ultimate selection of ten prints, the factual and dramatic shadow of a testament.
In the early 1970s, Diane Arbus was going through a period of depression and great loneliness. Despite the prospect of exhibitions, including one at the Venice Biennale, a sense of dissatisfaction was overriding. Nevertheless, it was during this dark period, interspersed with a few interludes of light, that A box of ten photographs was conceived and was then priced at $1,000 each.
This box made of plexiglass by the artist Marvin Israel contained ten prints, each measuring 40 x 50 cm, that were supposed to sum up the author’s frontal, literal and ambiguous approach. The virtue of this project was threefold. It could have brought in some resources, asserted an influence on collections and institutions, and above all, established the equation of a style and a nuanced and complex thought. Only four of eight portfolios were sold during Diane Arbus’s lifetime.
There is the fading beauty of something that is in the twilight of its existence in this portfolio, this idea of an accomplishment and, therefore, of a completed cycle. Sometimes the movements intensify to such an ultimate and radical degree that they end up turning in on themselves as if the end had its own beginning as an extension. As Diane Arbus expires, A box of ten photographs signals a revival. It embodies both the end and the beginning of a story, that of recognition.
Portraits in Time
Derek Jarman, painter, gardener, writer and film-maker, first picked up a Super 8mm camera in the early 70s and over the next seven years produced a large body of work which he filmed and edited. His Super 8mm work breaks down into three distinct periods, the first relating directly to his paintings of the time, the second uses costumed figures and multiple image layers while the third, in many ways the most masterful, a series of portraits of friends and lovers intimately captured by his handheld camera. He utilised a combination of a low frame speed, slightly wide lens and (minimal) in-camera editing to capture the flow of the moment. The result is disarmingly intimate, gently erotic portraits. Here are presented a series of three, which are accompanied by a non-synchronous musical score by his regular collaborator Simon Fisher Turner.
Parkett et Sigmar Polke
Parkett is a contemporary art periodical published from 1984 until 2017 in Zurich and New York. It was a bilingual publication in German and English. Its one hundred and one issues with two hundred and seventy artists’ collaborations reflect an intimate and in-depth engagement with artistic communities and constitute a living manifesto for the art of our time. The adventure has lasted thirty-three years, a period of considerable expansion of the art world and dialogue between the diverse trajectories of artistic traditions, lifestyles and discourses.
Sigmar Polke has been a close friend of Parkett and its makers from the start. At the launch of the first issue, he was present and documented the event with his 16mm film camera. For the second issue of Parkett, he made a now-legendary edition of unique photographic prints in a groundbreaking collaboration. Its production process, which took place on the night of 11 - 12 May 1984, is documented here with extensive and precious documents. Over the decades, Parkett has worked with Sigmar Polke on two subsequent occasions. These exquisite contributions took the form of inserts in the publications. Parkett and Polke is the story of a long-standing friendship that culminated in the inauguration of the stained glass windows in the Grossmünster in Zurich in 2009, less than a year before the artist’s death. The Parkett editors accompanied this outstanding work during its genesis and realisation.
A Photographer’s Life: 1990 – 2005
A Photographer’s Life: 1990 - 2005 was created from two inherently distinct strands of Annie Leibovitz’s work: pictures that she made on assignment – primarily portraits of public figures – and intimate photographs from her private life. Many of the juxtapositions were startling. But, as Leibovitz wrote, ‘I don’t have two lives. This is one life, and the personal pictures and the assignment work are all part of it.’
The project was assembled over the course of several weeks during the summer of 2005. Leibovitz set up a workshop in a barn at her home in upstate New York. She pinned rough prints and photocopies of pictures made for magazines and commercial clients on a long wall of fiberboard panels. Personal photographs were pinned to a parallel wall. Assembling the personal work was an exercise she has described as an archaeological dig. The assignment work was edited and organized, but she didn’t even know how much personal material she had.
Susan Sontag, Leibovitz’s companion during the years the material encompasses, is a central figure in A Photographer’s Life. Sontag and then Leibovitz’s father had died a few months before she began working on the project, which became a narrative forged from both grief and the solace of personal history. The final family photograph is of her two youngest daughters, taken on the land in upstate New York where their mother was editing photographs in the barn. They were two months old.
Nan Goldin was born in Washington D.C. in 1953. She lives and works in New York City. One of the most important and influential artists of her generation, Goldin has revolutionized the art of photography through her frank and deeply personal portraiture. Over the last 45 years, Goldin has created some of the most indelible images of the 20th and 21st centuries. Since the late 1970s her work has explored notions of gender and definitions of normality. By documenting her life and the lives of the friends who surround her, Goldin gives a voice and visibility to her communities. In 2017 Goldin formed the activist group P.A.I.N. (Prescription Addiction Intervention Now) which stages protests aimed at US pharmaceutical drug companies.
Goldin’s work has been shown recently at the Tate Modern, London (2019); the Château de Versailles, France (2018); Château d’Hardelot, Condette, France (2018); the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2017); the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2016); Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam, Netherlands (2010); Louvre Museum, Paris, France (2010); and a major traveling mid-career survey which began at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York in 1996 and travelled to Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Germany; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherland; Fotomuseum Winterthur, Winterthur, Switzerland; Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, Austria; and the National Museum, Prague, Czech Republic.
She has been the recipient of many awards including the Ruth Baumgarte Award, Sprengel Museum, Hannover, Germany (2019); the Centenary Medal, London (2018); the Hasselblad Award, Gothenburg, Sweden (2007); the Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres, France (2006); and the DAAD, Artists in Residence Program, Berlin (1991).
Diane Arbus is one of the most original and influential photographers of the twentieth century. She studied photography with Berenice Abbott, Alexey Brodovitch, and Lisette Model and had her first published photographs appear in Esquire in 1960. In 1963 and 1966 she was awarded John Simon Guggenheim Fellowships and was one of three photographers whose work was the focus of New Documents, John Szarkowski’s landmark exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art in 1967. Arbus’s depictions of couples, children, female impersonators, nudists, New York City pedestrians, suburban families, circus performers, and celebrities, among others, span the breadth of the postwar American social sphere and constitute a diverse and singularly compelling portrait of humanity. A year after her death, her work was selected for inclusion in the Venice Biennale, the first time any photographer had been so honored.
Arbus’s photographs can be found in the collections of numerous institutions around the world, including Art Gallery of Ontario, Canada; Art Institute of Chicago; Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris; Fotomuseum, Winterthur; J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Pompidou, Paris; National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo; National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Tate Gallery, London; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
Derek Jarman (1942-1994) was an English artist, film maker, stage designer, diarist, author and gardener. He was educated at the King’s College London and at the Slade School of Art. In 1967 Jarman exhibited his paintings in Young Contemporaries, Tate Gallery, London; the Lisson Gallery, London and Fifth Biennale des Jeunes Artistes, Musée d’Art Moderne, Paris.
Jarman worked as a set designer on Jazz Calendar, The Royal Ballet, London (1968); Don Giovanni, ENO, London Coliseum (1968) Ken Russell’s feature film The Devils (1971) and Savage Messiah (1972); The Rake’s Progress, Maggio Musicale, Firenze (1982) among others.
In the early 70s Jarman began an extensive series of film works made Super 8mm followed by his first full-length feature film Sebastiane in 1975. He then went on to make a further ten feature films including Jubilee (1978); Angelic Conversation (1985); Caravaggio (1986); The Garden (1990) and Edward II (1991). His final film Blue was first shown at the Biennale Arte, Venice in 1993.
Selected solo exhibitions: Sarah Bradley’s Gallery, London (1978); Edward Totah Gallery, London (1982); ICA, London (1984); Richard Salmon Ltd., London (1987); Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester (1994); X Initiative: Phase I, New York (2009); Derek Jarman Super 8, Julia Stoschek, Dusseldorf (2010).
Jarman also wrote several books, including the autobiographical Dancing Ledge (1984) and two volumes of memoirs, Modern Nature (1992) and At Your Own Risk (1992). Derek Jarman’s Garden, which documents the creation of his extraordinary garden at Dungeness, was published in 1995.
Simon Fisher Turner
Simon Fisher Turner is a composer and musician noted for his film soundtrack work which started in collaboration with Derek Jarman, scoring many of his films, including Caravaggio (1986); Last of England (1987); The Garden, 1990 and Jarman’s final work Blue (1993) ; as well the score for restorations of three silent films, Un chant d’amour, dir Jean Genet (1950), The Great White Silence, dir Herbert Ponting (1924) and The Epic of Everest, dir. Captain John Noel (1924). He received the Ivor Novello Award for the soundtrack to The Epic of Everest. As well as composing for films, he has performed extensively and released many albums the most recent of which is A Quiet Corner in Time a collaboration with the artist and author Edmund de Waal.
Jacqueline Burckhardt is co-founder and editor of Parkett. She is a conservator, art historian, critic and curator specialized in site-specific art.
Bice Curiger is co-founder and editor-in-chief of Parkett and was curator at the Kunsthaus Zürich for 20 years. In 2011, she was responsible for the 54th Venice Biennale. She is Directrice artistique de la Fondation Vincent van Gogh Arles. Sigmar Polke (b. 1941, Oels, Silesia—d. 2010, Cologne, Germany) is one of the most influential painters of the postwar era. He founded the movement “Kapitalistischer Realismus” (“Capitalist realism”) with Gerhard Richter and Konrad Fischer, a reaction to “Socialist Realism”, the art doctrine from the Soviet Union. Sigmar Polke experimentally renewed painting, photography, and printmaking. By emphasizing the material aspect of the media, he set free their own life. A constant in his painting is the halftone dot of offset printing, which he meticulously reproduces by hand, while at the same time pouring varnish, pigments and chemicals onto the image carrier. And behind humor and post- modern openness hides erudition. His work was presented as solo exhibitions in major venues internationally, including Musée d’Art Moderne Paris, Tate Modern London, MoMA New York, MCA Chicago, Carré d’Art Nîmes, Museum Ludwig Cologne and Palazzo Grassi Venice. He participated in three dOCUMENTA in Kassel and several Venice Biennale.
Dieter von Graffenried is publisher of Parkett (from 1984-1993 jointly with Walter Keller). He is an advisor in art and publishing and has recently completed Parkett’s digitization.
Annie Leibovitz began her career as a photojournalist for Rolling Stone in 1970, while she was still a student at the San Francisco Art Institute. Her pictures have appeared regularly on magazine covers ever since. Leibovitz’s large and distinguished body of work encompasses some of the most well-known portraits of our time.
Leibovitz’s first major assignment was for a cover story on John Lennon. She became Rolling Stone’s chief photographer in 1973, and by the time she left the magazine, ten years later, she had shot one hundred and forty-two covers and published photo essays on scores of stories, including her memorable accounts of the resignation of Richard Nixon and of the 1975 Rolling Stones tour.
In 1983, when she joined the staff of the revived Vanity Fair, she was established as the foremost rock music photographer and an astute documentarian of the social landscape. At Vanity Fair, and later at Vogue, she developed a large body of work—portraits of actors, directors, writers, musicians, athletes, and political and business figures, as well as fashion photographs—that expanded her collective portrait of contemporary life. In addition to her editorial work, she has created several influential advertising campaigns, including her award-winning portraits for American Express and Gap. She has also collaborated with many arts organizations. Leibovitz has a special interest in dance and, in 1990, she documented the creation of the White Oak Dance Project with Mikhail Baryshnikov and Mark Morris.
Exhibitions of Leibovitz’s work have appeared at museums and galleries all over the world, including the National Portrait Gallery and the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.; the International Center of Photography in New York; the Brooklyn Museum; the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam; the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris; the National Portrait Gallery in London; the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia; and the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow.