Image

Tom Duncan. 2017


Westbeth project Statement 2013-2018 :

Westbeth Artists Housing was established in 1868. This mysterious building full of stories was open to resident artists to stay till they pass away for relatively cheaper rents since 1970. Recently, more than four hundred artists from the world are living here and nearly two thirds of them age 60 to 100 and hence the whole building is like a retirement home. The project continuing going on since 2013 to 2018.

For me, a photograph is a platform on which to create a scene, rather than capture a narrative. It is difficult to recount a narrative within a single frame, and so I instead freeze the stage on which this scene is set. Photography is thought of as a practise that is clouded by the photographer’s perspective and own act of viewing. However, I find that photography is similar to painting, the medium in which I graduated. Through using photo editing software I am able to illustrate my subject in, strangely, a more realistic manner. I consider my photographic portraits to be analogous to portrait paintings.

Westbeth has four facets, all of which tackle societal issues.

Firstly, it presents the deceptive nature of memory. A story is transformed as it passes through generations, and memory is equally liable to change, especially as you age. As a result, I must approach the Westbeth residents ‘truths’ with varying degrees of trust, filtering their narratives through my own interpretations. Due to the enigmatic nature of my photography, the viewer can decipher clues in the backgrounds of the Westbeth portraits, and interpret these narratives through their own perspective.

Secondly, I want to document the importance of independence in artistic communities and production. The current media-obsessed generation has forced the role of the artist into evolution, and the artist can no longer focus solely on their creative output, and is instead concerned with business and media identity. In an attempt to subvert this evolution, Westbeth Artist Housing provides the perfect environment for its resident artists. It charges a fifth of the typical rental price, in the same location, providing an ideal environment for artists to devote themselves entirely to their art.

Thirdly, my photographs in the Westbeth series capture each artist residing in their living environment. I wanted to capture how, after living in an apartment for over 30 years, the space becomes inextricably entwined with its inhabitant. Through my photographs, the viewer can meet the artists and observe the lack of distinction between life and artistic creation.

Finally, I hope to draw attention to the difficulties of an ageing society. The current infrastructure for elderly care is based on the ratio of 1:6 ‘elderly’ to ‘young’, but this will soon rise to 1:1, and the social welfare of the elderly has become an urgent issue for our generation. The Westbeth experience is an important reference in discussing the resolution of these issues. I have found that elderly Westbeth residents soothe their sorrow through positive thinking. Prior to my encounter with these inspirational Westbeth residents, I had not imagined this attitude would so greatly impact one’s quality of life.
Living and working alongside these residents made me examine my preconceived notion of a “successful artist”, and I want to share this shift with a wide audience.


Image

Jonathan Bauch. 2017


Westbeth project Statement 2013-2018 :

Westbeth Artists Housing was established in 1868. This mysterious building full of stories was open to resident artists to stay till they pass away for relatively cheaper rents since 1970. Recently, more than four hundred artists from the world are living here and nearly two thirds of them age 60 to 100 and hence the whole building is like a retirement home. The project continuing going on since 2013 to 2018.

For me, a photograph is a platform on which to create a scene, rather than capture a narrative. It is difficult to recount a narrative within a single frame, and so I instead freeze the stage on which this scene is set. Photography is thought of as a practise that is clouded by the photographer’s perspective and own act of viewing. However, I find that photography is similar to painting, the medium in which I graduated. Through using photo editing software I am able to illustrate my subject in, strangely, a more realistic manner. I consider my photographic portraits to be analogous to portrait paintings.

Westbeth has four facets, all of which tackle societal issues.

Firstly, it presents the deceptive nature of memory. A story is transformed as it passes through generations, and memory is equally liable to change, especially as you age. As a result, I must approach the Westbeth residents ‘truths’ with varying degrees of trust, filtering their narratives through my own interpretations. Due to the enigmatic nature of my photography, the viewer can decipher clues in the backgrounds of the Westbeth portraits, and interpret these narratives through their own perspective.

Secondly, I want to document the importance of independence in artistic communities and production. The current media-obsessed generation has forced the role of the artist into evolution, and the artist can no longer focus solely on their creative output, and is instead concerned with business and media identity. In an attempt to subvert this evolution, Westbeth Artist Housing provides the perfect environment for its resident artists. It charges a fifth of the typical rental price, in the same location, providing an ideal environment for artists to devote themselves entirely to their art.

Thirdly, my photographs in the Westbeth series capture each artist residing in their living environment. I wanted to capture how, after living in an apartment for over 30 years, the space becomes inextricably entwined with its inhabitant. Through my photographs, the viewer can meet the artists and observe the lack of distinction between life and artistic creation.

Finally, I hope to draw attention to the difficulties of an ageing society. The current infrastructure for elderly care is based on the ratio of 1:6 ‘elderly’ to ‘young’, but this will soon rise to 1:1, and the social welfare of the elderly has become an urgent issue for our generation. The Westbeth experience is an important reference in discussing the resolution of these issues. I have found that elderly Westbeth residents soothe their sorrow through positive thinking. Prior to my encounter with these inspirational Westbeth residents, I had not imagined this attitude would so greatly impact one’s quality of life.
Living and working alongside these residents made me examine my preconceived notion of a “successful artist”, and I want to share this shift with a wide audience.


Image

Neil Kaufman. 2017


Westbeth project Statement 2013-2018 :

Westbeth Artists Housing was established in 1868. This mysterious building full of stories was open to resident artists to stay till they pass away for relatively cheaper rents since 1970. Recently, more than four hundred artists from the world are living here and nearly two thirds of them age 60 to 100 and hence the whole building is like a retirement home. The project continuing going on since 2013 to 2018.

For me, a photograph is a platform on which to create a scene, rather than capture a narrative. It is difficult to recount a narrative within a single frame, and so I instead freeze the stage on which this scene is set. Photography is thought of as a practise that is clouded by the photographer’s perspective and own act of viewing. However, I find that photography is similar to painting, the medium in which I graduated. Through using photo editing software I am able to illustrate my subject in, strangely, a more realistic manner. I consider my photographic portraits to be analogous to portrait paintings.

Westbeth has four facets, all of which tackle societal issues.

Firstly, it presents the deceptive nature of memory. A story is transformed as it passes through generations, and memory is equally liable to change, especially as you age. As a result, I must approach the Westbeth residents ‘truths’ with varying degrees of trust, filtering their narratives through my own interpretations. Due to the enigmatic nature of my photography, the viewer can decipher clues in the backgrounds of the Westbeth portraits, and interpret these narratives through their own perspective.

Secondly, I want to document the importance of independence in artistic communities and production. The current media-obsessed generation has forced the role of the artist into evolution, and the artist can no longer focus solely on their creative output, and is instead concerned with business and media identity. In an attempt to subvert this evolution, Westbeth Artist Housing provides the perfect environment for its resident artists. It charges a fifth of the typical rental price, in the same location, providing an ideal environment for artists to devote themselves entirely to their art.

Thirdly, my photographs in the Westbeth series capture each artist residing in their living environment. I wanted to capture how, after living in an apartment for over 30 years, the space becomes inextricably entwined with its inhabitant. Through my photographs, the viewer can meet the artists and observe the lack of distinction between life and artistic creation.

Finally, I hope to draw attention to the difficulties of an ageing society. The current infrastructure for elderly care is based on the ratio of 1:6 ‘elderly’ to ‘young’, but this will soon rise to 1:1, and the social welfare of the elderly has become an urgent issue for our generation. The Westbeth experience is an important reference in discussing the resolution of these issues. I have found that elderly Westbeth residents soothe their sorrow through positive thinking. Prior to my encounter with these inspirational Westbeth residents, I had not imagined this attitude would so greatly impact one’s quality of life.
Living and working alongside these residents made me examine my preconceived notion of a “successful artist”, and I want to share this shift with a wide audience.


Note: The text above was written by the Artist. No modification was made by C.O.C.A.


Isa Ho

Taiwan, Province of China



Isa Ho concentrates on digital and contemporary photography. She was awarded 2013 ISE Cultural Foundation Award, 2012 and 2015 Asian Cultural Council grant, 2011 Kaohsiung Art Award (First Place), and nominated for 2005 Taipei Arts Award. Her works have been collected by National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts, Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts, Hong-Gah Museum, Gwangju Museum of Art in Korea and White Rabbit Gallery in Sydney, Australia. She was the resident artist at International Studio and Curatorial Program (ISCP) in New York in2013 and 2015, and at Cité International des Arts in Paris from 2009 to 2010. Her works were invited to exhibit in France, Germany, Spain, Czech, India, Korea, Beijing, China, India, New York, and Texas, United States.


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