Elisabeth Tonnard

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Interview Bookdummypress

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the_gospel_BDP

Bookdummypress, run by Victor Sira and Shiori Kawasaki, interviewed me about some projects. They have some of the last copies of the first print run of The Gospel of the Photographer in stock now at their bookstore which recently moved to Mana Contemporary.

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April 12, 2014 at 1:41 pm

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A Meeting of Books

Some of my recent works will be included in A Meeting of Books and Related Works, opening on April 10 at Johan Deumens Gallery in Amsterdam. The full newsletter can be read here as a pdf.

Invitation and Newsletter april 2014-1

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April 6, 2014 at 6:18 pm

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Interview Lodown Magazine

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Lodown Magazine from Berlin interviewed me about the relationship between visual elements and written language in my work. See the interview as jpg’s on Picasa or as a pdf here.

Other recent media appearances include:

A discussion of In this Dark Wood by George Slade on Photoeye, and a discussion of the same book by Terry Pitts on Vertigo.

Plus in Dutch:
An observation about receiving the Kleine Hans award & In this Dark Wood, by Wim Brands in the VPRO Gids, and an announcement of the Kleine Hans award by Mark Moorman in Het Parool.

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March 19, 2014 at 3:20 pm

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Thanks for Writing

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Two of my books are on the shelf curated by Victor Sira for the Thanks for Writing show at 601 Artspace in Chelsea. A show on texts as art, including works by John Baldessari, Ann Hamilton and Christian Marclay. The show runs from February 27 till June 14, 2014, at 601 West 26th St. #1755, New York, NY 10001.

 

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February 28, 2014 at 3:26 pm

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Upcoming debate in Brussels

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On March 5 I am participating in a debate about self-publishing: “Bringing together the makers’, publishers’ and distributors’ points of view on contemporary publishing as a vector for works of art and as a work in itself. Artists-led books, self and independent publishing will be questioned, as well as the articulation between the self, the collective and the public. Can the book be a shared object, an alternative way of making things public? A debate with bookshop owner Andrea Copetti (Tipi bookshop) and artists Elisabeth Tonnard and Vincent Delbrouck, animated by Loraine Furter (Fernand Baudin Prize).”

It is organized by the photography department of Sint-Lukas in Brussels and open to anyone interested.
Wednesday 5 March 2014, 19:00h
Books on display from 18:30h
LUCA School of Arts, Campus Sint-Lukas
Paleizenstraat 70, 1030 Brussels
C -3.17 (small auditorium)

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February 23, 2014 at 9:53 am

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Kleine Hans 2013

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The_artist_and_her_cup

Yesterday I found myself the happy recipient of the Kleine Hans (Little Hans) award 2013. Read the announcement below (scroll down for the Dutch version or click here):

With great pleasure we announce that on February 20, 2014 in the Torpedo Theatre, Amsterdam The Little Hans 2013 was awarded to Elisabeth Tonnard.
No-one else can enliven the space between photos as she does.

Foto_Mark_Moorman

Photo © Mark Moorman

Jury Report
Elisabeth Tonnard’s work is studded with quotations from the literary classics. This choice, intentional or not, makes her work appear pretentious. Does that mean that she is in fact beyond the scope of Little Hans, too artistic? Lack of pretentiousness is, as you know, of paramount importance to the Jury.

Look at the photos Elisabeth Tonnard uses. They are anything but pretentious. She finds them everywhere: in archives, in albums, even on that epitome of triviality, the internet. It is the combination and manner in which she links text and photo that makes her work so magical, there is no other word to describe it.

Photos have tentacles. Like brain cells they can interconnect and form thoughts. Not all photos have this effect. Aesthetic photos almost never do. Aesthetic photos are hermetically beautiful, self-sufficient in their contentment. Trivial photos are all the more in touch with their surroundings. You place them next to each other, behind each other, and suddenly a thought darts from the tentacles of the interconnected brain cells.

Words give shape to thoughts. The process is very subtle. Too much interpretation and the thought becomes dull. Too little interpretation and the thought is vacant. Elisabeth Tonnard has crafted thirty books to date. In her books the accompanying words raise the photos to poetic heights. To the place where life is understood but not explained.

We mention three of the thirty books here:

In Oceanus, details of two photos of a yacht on a rough sea, with a few lines from the Odyssey. Not next to the photos as captions, but drifting on the waves.

Photos from the archives of a street photographer in San Francisco that were never collected by those portrayed. They gaze dismally into the lens. Too poor, too lonely, too unhappy to want a picture of themselves? Next to each photo in In this Dark Wood Elisabeth Tonnard places the first three lines of Dante’s Inferno. Not identical lines, they each come from a different English translation. To each his own Inferno.

The Gospel of the Photographer presents the snapshots that Jesus might have taken if he had had a camera. The text is a rewriting of the Gospel according to Mark, from which selected words were substituted with terms that refer to photography.

The Origin of the Little Hans
Many photos are not taken by well-known photographers. On the contrary, most are taken by mothers and fathers for the family album, by civil servants for archives, by scientists, even by automatic cameras such as speed cameras.
These photos can be very valuable, historically as well as personally – wouldn’t you like a pile of photos of all the cars in which you have ever been caught by a speed camera? However meaningful unpretentious photos may be for many, as a source of information, memory and even inspiration, awards are seldom or never bestowed on them.

The Jury members and initiators of the Little Hans are:

Hans Samsom, photographer
Hans Eijkelboom, visual artist
Hans Wolf, graphic designer
Hans van der Meer, photographer
Hans Aarsman, writer

They feel that their source of inspiration, unpretentious photography, should be put under the spotlight with a prize. This prize is called the Little Hans. It is awarded to photographic work which would not have been made without the elements of chance, grace and modesty.
Little, because modest.
Hans, as the Jury members are all called Hans.

Winners of the Little Hans
2007

Mr Lee, the first cat with a camera.
www.mr-lee-catcam.de/pe_catcam1.htm

2008
Udo Zeeman, the photographic historian from Farmsum.

http://www.farmsum.net

2009
Arjan de Nooy, discoverer of a singular photo-history.
http://denooycollection.com

2010

Mishka Henner, photographer without a camera.
http://www.mishkahenner.com

2011
Huib Heinrichs, earthly representative of the photographing spaceship Voyager One.
http://staff.science.uva.nl/~huib/Kleur_in_de_astronomie2010.pdf

2012
No prize awarded.

2013
Elisabeth Tonnard, poet in the space between photos.
http://elisabethtonnard.com

 

De Kleine Hans 2013 is donderdagavond in het Torpedotheater te Amsterdam uitgereikt aan Elisabeth Tonnard. ‘Niemand kan de ruimte tussen foto’s zo bespelen als zij,’ aldus de jury. De Kleine Hans is een prijs die ‘pretentieloze fotografie’ in het zonnetje zet.

Juryrapport

Overal in het werk van Elisabeth Tonnard staan citaten uit de klassieke wereldliteratuur. Of ze het wil of niet, daardoor krijgt haar werk pretentie. Maakt dat haar te hoog gegrepen, te kunstzinnig voor de Kleine Hans? Pretentieloosheid staat, zoals bekend, hoog in het vaandel van de Kleine Hans.

Kijk naar de foto’s die Elisabeth Tonnard gebruikt. Die zijn allesbehalve pretentieus. Ze vindt haar foto’s overal. In archieven, in albums, tot aan de moeder van de trivialiteit: het internet.

Het is de combinatie en de manier waarop ze tekst en foto’s met elkaar verbindt, die haar werk zo hemelbestormend maakt, we hebben er geen ander woord voor.

Foto’s hebben tentakels, als hersencellen kunnen ze zich met elkaar verbinden en maken zo een gedachte. Niet alle foto’s kunnen dat. Esthetische foto’s bijna niet. Esthetische foto’s zijn hermetisch in hun schoonheid, ze zijn tevreden met zichzelf. Triviale foto’s staan meer open voor hun omgeving. Je zet ze naast elkaar, achter elkaar, en opeens schiet er een gedachte over de tentakels van de aan elkaar geschakelde hersencellen.

Wat voor gedachte dat is, laat zich sturen met woorden. Dat luistert heel nauw. Iets te veel duiding en de gedachte wordt plat. Te weinig duiding en de gedachte is loos. Dertig boeken heeft Elisabeth Tonnard tot nu toe gemaakt. In haar boeken worden foto’s door de woorden die ze omringen, opgestuwd naar een poëtische hoogte. Daar waar het leven begrepen wordt, maar niet geduid.

We noemen drie van de dertig boeken:

In Oceanus, details van twee foto’s van een zeilschip op een wilde zee, met een paar zinnen uit de Odyssee. Niet naast de foto als bijschriften, maar op de golven.

Foto’s uit het archief van een straatfotograaf in San Francisco die nooit zijn opgehaald door de mensen die erop stonden. Wezenloos kijken ze in de lens. Te arm, te eenzaam, te ongelukkig om een foto van zichzelf te willen hebben? In In This Dark Wood plaatst Elisabeth Tonnard naast iedere foto de eerste drie regels uit Dante’s Inferno. Niet dezelfde regels, ze komen uit steeds een andere Engelse vertaling. Ieder zijn eigen Inferno.

In  The Gospel of the Photographer staan de foto’s die Jezus gemaakt zou kunnen hebben als hij een camera had gehad. De tekst is het Evangelie van Marcus waarin termen opduiken die naar fotografie verwijzen.

Oorsprong van de Kleine Hans

Veel fotografie wordt niet gemaakt door bekende fotografen. De meeste fotografie eigenlijk.

Het zijn foto’s die door vaders en moeders worden gemaakt voor het familiealbum, door ambtenaren voor het archief, door wetenschappers, door automaten zelfs, denk aan de flitspaal.

Die fotografie een grote waarde kan hebben, zowel historisch als persoonlijk –wie zou er niet graag een stapeltje foto’s hebben van de auto’s waarin ie reed toen hij door een flitspaal gefotografeerd werd. Hoe veelbetekenend pretentieloze fotografie voor velen ook is, als bron van informatie, van herinnering, zelfs van inspiratie, zelden of nooit worden er prijzen aan gegeven.

De juryleden en oprichters van de Kleine Hans zijn:

Hans Samsom, fotograaf
Hans Eijkelboom, beeldend kunstenaar
Hans Wolf, bladenmaker
Hans van der Meer, fotograaf
Hans Aarsman, schrijver

Zij willen hun inspiratiebron, de pretentieloze fotografie, in het zonnetje zetten met de Kleine Hans. Jaarlijks wordt de Kleine Hans toegekend aan fotografisch werk dat zonder toeval, genade en bescheidenheid niet tot stand zou zijn gekomen.
Klein, want bescheiden.
Hans, omdat er allemaal Hansen in de jury zitten.

Winnaars van de Kleine Hans

2007
MrLee, eerste kat met een camera.
www.mr-lee-catcam.de/pe_catcam1.htm

2008
Udo Zeeman, fotografisch geschiedkundige van Farmsum.
http://www.farmsum.net

2009
Arjan de Nooy, ontdekker van een eigenzinnige fotogeschiedenis.
http://www.denooycollection.com

2010
Mishka Henner, fotograaf zonder camera.
http://www.mishkahenner.com

2011
Huib Heinrichs, aardse vertegenwoordiger van het fotograferende ruimteschip Voyager One.
http://staff.science.uva.nl/~huib/Kleur_in_de_astronomie2010.pdf

2012
Geen Kleine Hans uitgereikt.

2013
Elisabeth Tonnard, dichteres in de ruimte tussen foto’s.
http://elisabethtonnard.com

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February 21, 2014 at 1:33 pm

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Shortlist Artists’ Book of the Moment Award

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we_are_small

Two of my books were shortlisted for the Artists’ Book of the Moment Award 2013, organized by The Art Gallery of York University in Toronto. One is The Invisible Book, the other We are small. For the 2011 and 2012 editions of this award my books were also shortlisted.

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February 12, 2014 at 9:30 pm

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PDN Magazine

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In this Dark Wood is discussed in the January issue of PDN (Photo District News) Magazine. For a readable pdf click here.

PDN_01 PDN_02

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January 15, 2014 at 3:31 pm

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End of the year lists

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gospel

The Gospel of the Photographer is listed in Best Books of 2013 as chosen by Jeffrey Ladd on Photo-eye. The book is still available (both through Photo-eye and through my webshop).

Two more books appeared on end-of-the-year lists: the J&L edition of In this Dark Wood in favorite books of 2013 by Jörg Colberg, and One Swimming Pool received a special mention by Federica Chioccetti writing for The Photographers’ Gallery in London.

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January 4, 2014 at 2:35 pm

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The Gospel of the Photographer recommended in De Volkskrant

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Merel Bem of newspaper De Volkskrant (December 18, 2013) chose The Gospel of the Photographer as one of the books of 2013 that are especially recommended.

Volkskrant_Merel_Bem_18dec2013

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December 18, 2013 at 2:43 pm

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