Mar 28, 2005

ashes & snow

I went to go see Gregory Colbert’s exhibit – Ashes and Snow – this weekend. It was a collection of photographs taken over the last 10 years. For those unfamiliar with his work, his pictures usually include both humans and animals in cooperative poses. The animals are usually impressive – elephants, whales, cheetahs, birds in flight. He creatively has humans enter their world in usual and often striking poses. I felt that while most of the pictures were gentle and poetic in nature, the size or potential ferocity of the animals in question lent an unnerving quality to the pictures. Seeing giant elephants standing over a little boy must invoke some fatherhood defense quality in me. The pictures are sepia toned and printed on a paper of an almost parchment quality.

Overall though I felt a little cheated by the exhibit. The pictures, while beautiful, seemed overly posed to me. There was a fake quality to some of the pictures. Almost a forced harmony that failed to resonate. I would recommend going however.

The second attraction at the exhibit was the museum itself – the Nomadic Museum (keep scrolling down for some great night shots). It was designed by Shigeru Ban and built entirely from ‘recycled’ materials. His usual material of choice is cardboard. His general philosophy being structurally strong and large buildings don't have to cost a fortune. The bulk of this foundation was made of old shipping containers to form the 4 walls. It was a long structure with very high ceilings. Walking inside you were presented with an almost cathedral quality with dim lighting and ambient chanting music in the background. It was a gorgeous site and a perfect setting for Colbert’s prints. The museum, as the name implies, will be taken apart and reconstructed in new locations; an interesting concept. All in all, I feel quite privileged to have caught this and The Gates as they came through town.

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