David Jones, artist and poet (1895-1974) begins his PREFACE TO THE ANATHEMATA :

'I have made a heap of all that I could find.' (1) So wrote Nennius, or whoever composed the introductory matter to Historia Brittonum. He speaks of an 'inward wound' which was caused by the fear that certain things dear to him 'should be like smoke dissipated'. Further, he says, 'not trusting my own learning, which is none at all, but partly from writings and monuments of the ancient inhabitants of Britain, partly from the annals of the Romans and the chronicles of the sacred fathers, Isidore, Hieronymous, Prosper, Eusebius and from the histories of the Scots and Saxons although our enemies . . . I have lispingly put together this . . . about past transactions, that [this material] might not be trodden under foot'. (2)

(1) The actual words are coacervavi omne quod inveni, and occur in Prologue 2 to the Historia.
(2) Quoted from the translation of Prologue 1. See The Works of Gildas and Nennius, J.A.Giles, London 1841.

12 January 2009

regarding Harry Shunk

The previous post showed one of Harry Shunk's constructed photographs of Yves Klein. The best known of these, which usually goes under Klein's name, is Le Saut dans le Vide (Leap into the Void).

Here's how the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York) labels its coming-into-being there :
Leap into the Void, 1960
Yves Klein (French, 1928–1962)
Harry Shrunk (American?, 1924–2006)
John Kender Gelatin silver print; 10 3/16 x 7 7/8 in. (25.9 x 20 cm)
Purchase, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation Gift through Joyce and Robert Menschel, 1992 (1992.5112)

Here's how Wikipedia captions it :
Photograph of a performance by Yves Klein at Rue Gentil-Bernard, Fontenay-aux-Roses, October 1960, by Harry Shunk. Le Saut dans le Vide (Leap into the Void)

The Metropolitan Museum of Art online site The Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History says of this action/image/propagation:
As in his carefully choreographed paintings in which he used nude female models dipped in blue paint as paintbrushes, Klein's photomontage paradoxically creates the impression of freedom and abandon through a highly contrived process. In October 1960, the American photographer Harry Shunk made a series of pictures re-creating a jump from a second-floor window that the artist claimed to have executed earlier in the year; the figure and the surrounding scene were then collaged together and rephotographed to create its "documentary" appearance. To complete the illusion that the event had actually taken place, Klein distributed a fake broadsheet at Parisian newsstands commemorating it. It was in this mass-produced form that the artist's seminal gesture was communicated to the public and also notably to the Vienna Actionists.
Half-Truth: Performance and the Photograph by Robert Morgan at the Sidney Mishkin Gallery site provides further background and comment :
The famous photograph of Yves Klein leaping into the void, taken more than three decades ago in Paris, has been the subject of much controversy and discussion. It resonates with a mysterious and disarming allure, as if something existed beyond the image itself. In observing Klein's action, there is a premonition that the truth is hidden somewhere in the spectacle-that the viewer is being given a half-truth. More than a document, it is a sign that compresses time in a way that embodies the premise of Klein's visionary art. It operates as a conceptual ideogram, a logo signifying the Void-what the artist understood as the basis for his immaterial pictorial sensibility...(More...)
For years Harry Shunk has seemed, at bLOGOS/HA HA, a neglected contributor, worthy of some documentation and consideration. This entry, again from the MMA site, sadly illustrates his present status : his name spelled wrong, his nationality undetermined.

So it's great news (ARTDAILY.ORG report here) that in October 2008 the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation, which has a fun Flash website entry, then an intimidating CAVE CANEM,

acquired the Shunk archive of 100,000 items, including 60,000 prints, which it will allow for study and museum distribution.

At bLOGOS/HA HA we are always interested in the nuances of Labels (and we duly pray the Roy Lichenstein Foundation dog will not mind this "educational use" quotation).
Here's how the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation labels the image shown at the start of this post :

Yves Klein
Le Saut dans la vide
Artistic action: Fontenay-aux-Roses, October 23, 1960
Photo Shunk-Kender
©Yves Klein, ADAGP, Paris
Photo © Roy Lichtenstein Foundation