Selections from Paris: Dialogue
Modernists across the globe looked to Paris as the source of movements and ideas that revolutionized art in the 20th century. Photographer Jonas Yip (American, b. 1967) and his father, poet Wai-lim Yip (born in China in 1937), chose Paris to be the focal point of a dialogue between text and image, classical and modern, East and West, and father and son.
In his photographs of rain-washed streets and empty parks peopled by indistinct, ghostly figures, Jonas Yip has embraced the spontaneous and accidental. Unforeseen effects of homemade lenses, misaligned planes of focus, and light leaks have become part of the photographer’s palette—his language of expression.
Inspired by these photographs, Wai-lim Yip, influential poet, critic, and member of the Taiwanese avant-garde, composed minimalist poems that link the aesthetics of Classical Chinese poetry with mid-twentieth-century Anglo-American Imagism. With only a few words the verses conjure a mood of melancholy nostalgia, perhaps for the vibrantly intellectual Paris of the mid-twentieth century. Shown side by side, these evocative pictures and the poems presented in both Chinese and English, suggest a cross-cultural, multi-generational dialogue whereby image and text are mutually enriched.
- Sonya Quintanilla - Curator, San Diego Museum of Arts
As a photographer I have, over the years, explored the endless possibilities of traditional photographic techniques, both in-camera and in the darkroom, mastering the methods and learning the rules... even if only to break them. If anything, I've embraced the wonderful potential in "incorrect" technique. The unpredictable effects of homemade lenses, cheap film, graininess, diffusion, softness, misaligned planes of focus, vignetting, aberrations and light leaks have become my palette for photographic expression.
Although these days my camera is digital and my darkroom is a computer, I still think in terms of these same traditional methods and techniques. But given the powerful capabilities of the digital platform, I have expanded upon the processes, exploring new ways of working with and manipulating pixel data.
In the Paris: Dialogue series, the world is rendered in dreamlike atmospheres, with sparse landscapes and empty cities visited only occasionally by ghosts and shadowy figures. More interested in capturing feeling than in capturing detail, I strive to find the beauty in the mundane, the extraordinary in the ordinary: that radiance revealed not in how things look, but rather in how you look at things.
Jonas Yip is an award-winning photographer and musician based in the Los Angeles area. His fine art photographic work has been exhibited internationally and has been published in a monograph, Paris: Dialogues and Meditations (Nanjing University Press, 2008), in collaboration with renowned poet and scholar Wai-lim Yip. An exhibition, “Paris: Dialogue”, featuring photographs and poems excerpted from the book, has been traveling through Taiwan, China and Hong Kong and has also been exhibited at the San Diego Museum of Art and most recently at the University of California, San Diego. The photographs and poems from the series have been accepted into the permanent collections at the San Diego Museum of Art in San Diego, CA and the National Museum of Chinese Literature in Beijing, China.
Please visit www.jonasyip.com for more information and news.
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