Fotoeins Fotografie

faces of home & place-story

My Berlin: Alicja Kwade, bridging art and science

Above/featured: Alicja Kwade exhibition, at the Berlinische Galerie. HL:X70.

In October 2021, I watched DW Culture’s Arts.21 feature on Polish-German artist Alicja Kwade. I knew I had to see her work and exhibition in person, but would it be even possible? My answer arrived six weeks later with a quick jump home to Berlin.

All of Kwade’s sculptural pieces in her exhibition, “In Abwesenheit” (In Absence)”, are “self-portraits.” But none of them show her face; the pieces aren’t necessarily simple, nor are they “selfies” characterized by the present vernacular. She is not physically present, and yet, every piece provides the visitor a glimpse into her mindset including questions she raises about the volatility of the human condition and about where we fit within a very large universe.

As former research scientist, I’m recognizing and I’m loving the influences on her art. She is clearly very interested in mathematics, physics, astrophysics, biology, genetics; but she’d be the first to admit she’d need multiple lives to completely fulfill all of her interests. The deconstruction of “self” into precise scientific elements is another way of expressing those (dreaded) “selfies” or self-portraits. I admire the clever play: it’s the breakdown into those elements that tell us what she is, and it’s the measured synthesis of those elements into the broad strokes of her sculptures that tell us who she is.

We’re all playing this game. Everyday things seem so important. But then you zoom out and realize that you’re standing with another billion [people] on a spinning sphere. With that perspective, you’re reminded to just be glad you’re here at all.

– 16 April 2019, Artnet News about her rooftop commission at New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.


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Fotoeins Friday: RTW10, three

10 years ago, I began an around-the-world (RTW) journey lasting 389 consecutive days, from 24 December 2011 to 15 January 2013 inclusive.

21 Jan 2012.

On the north coast of the Big Island, Hawaii route 240 stops abruptly at the Waipio Valley Lookout. Onwards the steep valley road down is navigable only to 4-wheel drive vehicles. At the bottom is a black-sand beach and privately owned land with taro fields. The lush steeply carved valley dominates the view, with Haleakalā on Maui appearing in the distance at right. This location is also at the southeast corner of the now-extinct Kohala volcano.

I made the image above on 21 Jan 2012 with a Canon EOS450D (Rebel XSi) and the following settings: 1/320-sec, f/8, ISO100, and 18mm focal length (29mm full-frame equivalent). This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins DOT com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-lwv.

Fotoeins Friday: RTW10, two

10 years ago, I began an around-the-world (RTW) journey lasting 389 consecutive days, from 24 December 2011 to 15 January 2013 inclusive.

21 Jan 2012.

I’m back on the Big Island. My 5 years working at Gemini Observatory South in Chile offered opportunities to travel and meet with my colleagues at Gemini North in Hilo. At the initial stages of my RTW, my return to the Big Island includes a more complete drive around the island’s outer edge.

We see the road sign, and turn off from the highway for the short drive down to the park by the shoreline. This is Laupāhoehoe, an idyllic spot with a small beach, some spots for fishing, and a place simply to enjoy the tropical Pacific view. Once, the town here had up to 2000 people farming and harvesting taro root and sugar cane crops during the first-part of the 20th-century, but the trauma of the 1946 tsunami and the steep decline in profit from sugar-making changed the town forever.

Now, it’s the frequent crash of ocean waves on the shore, interrupted by the squeals and laughter of children. Ghosts have never sounded better.

I made the image above on 21 Jan 2012 with a Canon EOS450D (Rebel XSi) and the following settings: 1/250-sec, f/8, ISO100, and 53mm focal length (85mm full-frame equivalent). This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins DOT com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-lwT.

My Berlin: Chinese-Canadian Commonwealth War Grave

Above/featured: Cemetery view facing west, from the shelter building to the Stone of Remembrance, Cross of Sacrifice, and Terrace in the distance (WCL-X70: 14/21mm).

There’s a presence from western Canada buried in eastern Germany.

In Vancouver, Canada, the H.Y. Louie family has long been a part of the Chinese-Canadian community and the overall merchant community. Their current business holdings include the London Drugs chain of stores and the IGA grocery-store chain; both are recognized and known throughout greater Vancouver.

One member of the family is resting permanently 8000 kilometres away in Berlin, Germany. After learning about this, an important goal in a return to the German capital city is to visit the cemetery where Q.J. Louie is buried and pay respects at his grave. It has never been a matter of if, but when I return to Berlin.

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Fotoeins Friday: RTW10, one

10 years ago, I began an around-the-world (RTW) journey lasting 389 consecutive days, from 24 December 2011 to 15 January 2013 inclusive.

1 Jan 2012, day trip from San Francisco.

On a beautiful breezy New Year’s Day afternoon in the Point Reyes National Seashore, we saw a group of free-range tule elk roaming in meadows of high grass in the southlands near Drakes Beach. The tule elk had been hunted to near extinction at the end of the 19th-century, but a program to increase numbers in the early-1980s means the population has now grown to a few hundred in total. A elk bull with a missing horn appears in the image above. The male bull has lost a fight to the “alpha” bull surrounded by a group of females. I feel kinda bad for “stumpy”, alone and half in exile …

Tule elk, Point Reyes, Point Reyes National Seashore, Marin County, San Francisco, California, USA, fotoeins.com

Alpha bull surrounded by females.

I made the photos above on 1 Jan 2012 with a Canon EOS450D (Rebel XSi). Both images were made at 300mm focal length (480mm full-frame equivalent), f/8, and ISO100; exposure times are 1/125- and 1/200-sec, respectively. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins DOT com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-lvw.

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