591 Exhibition - Abelardo Morell
Some day I would like to meet the Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675) and ask about his masterpiece "View of Delft" Did he use a camera obscura when he created this magnificent cityscape? Many experts say he did. It is a fascinating relationship between painted art and photography.
The knowledge of what light can do when entering a dark room through a tiny hole was known already by the Chinese in the 5th century B.C and for example by the mathematician Hassan ibn Hassan, born in Basra (10th Century A.D.)
I have tried to imagine what it was like when some of the great painters of history were drawing and painting in that dark chamber - the camera obscura. Then I saw the work of Alberto Morell. It completely knocked me out. So beautiful...so intelligent...a celebration of the art of photography. I hope Abelardo will go on forever making these photographs.
You should visit the site of Abelardo, where you will get to know this great photographer a bit better. I recommend you to have a look at the clip from "Shadow of the House: Photographer Abelardo Morell" It is a film by Allie Humenuk who followed Abelardo and his family for seven years.
I am truly happy to be able to show these pictures to the readers of 591 Photography as an online exhibition.
Many thanks Abe.
All images are courtesy of the artist Abelardo Morell and Bonni Benrubi Gallery, New York. Visit the site of Abelardo. It is great. www.abelardomorell.net
Havana Looking Southeast in Room with Ladder, 2002
Abelardo Morell was born in Havana, Cuba in 1948. He immigrated to the United States with his parents in 1962. He received a BA from Bowdoin College in 1977 and an MFA in Photography from the Yale University School of Art in 1981. In 1997 he received an honorary doctorate from Bowdoin College.
He has received a number of awards and grants, which include a Cintas grant in 1992 a Guggenheim fellowship in 1994 and a Rappaport Prize in 2006. His work has been collected and shown in many galleries, institutions and museums, including the Museum of Modern Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art, the Metropolitan Art Museum in New York, The Chicago Art Institute, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Houston Museum of Art, The Boston Museum of Fine Art, The Victoria & Albert Museum, The Princeton University Art Museum and over forty other museums in the United States and abroad.
He is represented by Bonni Benrubi Gallery, New York, NY. His publications include a photographic illustration of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1998) by Dutton Children’s Books, A Camera in a Room (1995) by Smithsonian Press, A Book of Books (2002), a publication of Morell’s photographs of books, introduced by Nicholson Baker and published by Bulfinch Press. Bulfinch Press has also published, Camera Obscura (2004), featuring sixty of Morell’s camera obscura photographs and introduced by Luc Sante.
Most recently, Phaidon Press released Abelardo Morell (2005), a retrospective work featuring 105 photographs and introduced by Richard Woodward. Recently, filmmaker Allie Humenuk has completed a film entitled Shadow of the House, an in-depth documentary about Morell’s work and experience as an artist. The film had its premiere at the 2007 Boston Independent Film Festival and has been shown around the world. Morell is a professor of art at the Massachusetts College of Art & Design in Boston, MA. He lives in Brookline, MA, with his wife Lisa McElaney, a filmmaker, and his children Laura and Brady.
Morell's camera obscura work
“The initial idea for the work came out of Morell's demonstrations to his photography students at the Massachusetts College of Art in the mid-1980s where he turned his classroom into a Camera Obscura. The exercise was designed not only to elicit a sense of awe and wonder, but also to connect students to the precursive roots of the medium.
It was not until 1991, however, that Morell decided to document the process on film, and he began by taking pictures in his own house in Brookline, Massachusetts. In order to capture the elusive projections, the exposures had to be about eight hours long, but the initial results charged Morell with possibilities.
The play between the inside and outside world, the tension between the right way up and upside down, the surreal contrast of buildings and beds, trees and walls, formed a miraculous and original vision of a magical but still real world.” -James Danziger