Tuesday, April 14, 2015


Herero Cadet in Kilt, 2012

Series Title: Herero
Number of artworks at AIPAD: 8
Edition: 10 + 2APs & 3 + 2APs
Size: 24" x 20” & 50” x 41”
Medium: C-Type
Year: 2012

The photographer, Jim Naughten, has an abiding interest in collective perceptions of history and relationships with the past.  With this series of portraits, he is not so much interested in the individuals themselves as subjects, but the costumes being worn and their significance in forming a cultural identity.

In the case of the Hereros, it is the adoption of 19th Century European clothing, originally introduced to the Herero people by German missionaries, traders and immigrants during the time of Deutsch-Südwestafrika. Taken out of the context of the subjects’ everyday lives, the portraits are photographed against the stark backdrop of the Namib Desert. Each figure is isolated, bringing forth the vivid colors of voluminous petticoated gowns, cattle-horn-shaped headdresses and colorful military uniforms, to center stage in a spectacular fashion. The unusual vantage point presents the subjects—although anonymous—as empowered, stoic and regal.

Gibbon, 2014
Series Title: Animal Kingdom
Number of artworks at AIPAD: 2
Edition: 10 + 2APs
Size: 18" x 23"
Medium: Archival Pigment Print
Year: 2014

"Jim Naughten is an artist who understands the transformative effects that photography can have on a subject. In each of his previous projects he has been concerned with reanimating  history. His latest images of Victorian and Edwardian zoo-logical specimens continue this overarching visual enquiry  but incorporate in addition a fascinating venture into three-dimensional imaging. They are captivating enough even when  seen in two dimensions. But once you plunge into the marvel  of their stereoscopic depth you are transfixed. Through the  act of viewing, an intangible transformation takes place. While  the photographs exist in physical form on paper, they also live as an experience, a beautiful illusion held in the mind. 
Naughten embodies the fertile marriage between nature  and art in his Animal Kingdom. He dedicated a year refining  the project, solving technical challenges and gathering images during visits to numerous museums. The photo- graphs are individually coherent, but form part of a typology, a comparative study of types. Embracing the aesthetic and working reality of the archive, he shows the patina of time and handling in the fading labels, old typefaces and peeling black backing paint of the specimens in fluid. He also echoes museums’ classification systems, arranging his final edited  fifty images into five groups — Marine, Reptile, Mammal,  Avian and Primate – reflecting the sequential and chronological evolution of man."—Martin Barnes Senior Curator of Photographs, Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Jim Naughten (b. 1969) is an internationally-exhibited artist, including a solo show at the Imperial War Museum in London and inclusion in the UK’s Royal Academy Summer Show (2012). He is the recipient of several awards, including a commendation from The National Portrait Gallery’s Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize. His first series of photographs, Re-enactors, was published as a monograph (Hotshoe Books, 2009), with several photographs acquired by The Imperial War Museum (UK). The Hereros series was published as Conflict and Costume (Merrell, 2013).

To learn more about Jim Naughten's newly released Animal Kingdom series, view a video HERE, in which the artist talks about the work. 

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