17 March–30 April 2011
5 rue de la Muse
1205 Geneva – Switzerland
T +41 (0)22 544 95 95
F +41 (0)22 544 95 99
On the occasion of the forthcoming Nuit des Bains in Geneva, BFAS Blondeau Fine Art Services is pleased to present the photographs of the American artist Rhona Bitner, opening March 17th 2011 at 5 rue de la Muse.
Following her investigation of the circus and its performers in the series CIRCUS (1991–2001) and CLOWN (2001-2002), and subsequently her images of theater in STAGE (2002–2006) Rhona Bitner continues to question the notion of spectacle and performance and presents a new series of images titled LISTEN (2006-in progress), dedicated to music. A special selection of twenty-six photographs from this series will be exhibited for the first time.
In October 2006, CBGB—the iconic New York club and pillar of American underground rock for over 30 years—closed its doors. The artist explains: “As CBGB’s closed its doors in 2006, I began to think about music, primarily popular music, its wide reach and direct relationship to the human experience. I became intrigued by the notion of physical emptiness (co)existing with the memory of what had occurred there.” Criss-crossing the United States, Rhona Bitner photographs the clubs, theaters, stadiums, concert halls, churches and recording studios where American music was written, recorded and played, ranging from gospel to jazz, blues, folk, rock, and punk.
“These venues encompass a wide range but still retain the unifying significance of the place where it happened,” says Rhona Bitner. Resolutely, the artist has, to date, photographed 193 venues which represent the culture of popular music: Electric Lady Studios, the recording studio built by Jimi Hendrix in New York’s Greenwich Village; Elvis Presley’s music room at Graceland in Memphis; the Cobo Arena in Detroit where the Doors (among others) recorded a live album; Randy’s Rodeo in San Antonio where the Sex Pistols concert ended in a general riot; or Woodstock.
LISTEN is not a documentary project but the result of frank and thoughtful observation. These photographs are neither narrative nor nostalgic; they are neutral and autonomous. They reflect the attentive gaze of a detached observer. The artist focuses on the spaces as they are today, without any manipulation—still active, abandoned, closed-down or transformed. Empty of all human presence, these venues retain the resonance of memory.
Thus—through an immediate or intimate response, and with the memory of past experiences—the viewer just might be able to hear the images.
Rhona Bitner lives and works in New York and Paris. She is represented in Paris by Galerie Xippas, in Boston by the Howard Yezerski Gallery and in New York by CRG Gallery. Her photographs are represented in the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Maison Européenne de la Photographie and the Fonds National d’Art Contemporain in Paris.
A selection of photographs from the series LISTEN was shown at the Rencontres d’Arles in the summer of 2010.
Press packs and HD illustrations are available on request.
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Edition of 6 + 2AP.