Paul Nash. Sunflower Rises — Kindred media —
The relationship between painting and photography is enduring and intimate — it’s been said for the past three centuries and will be said again in future. After David Octavius Hill, Gustave Le Gray, the Caillebotte brothers, Edgar Degas, Pierre Bonnard and Édouard Vuillard, at the same time as René Magritte, Man Ray, Max Ernst, Charles Sheeler, László
Moholy-Nagy, and before Ed Ruscha, Cy Twombly, Sigmar Polke, Gerhard Richter and so many others, Paul Nash will be / is / was one more painter to dip his brushes into photography. The history of the medium doesn’t include him in its fold – it leaves him to painting. And yet…
The eye of Paul Nash, when it becomes mineral and monofocal, acquires the accent of the best of avant-garde photography at the start of the last century. For various reasons, it may find itself closer to Albert Renger-Patzsch and Die Welt ist Schön, not far from Alfred Stieglitz’s Equivalents, or largely aligned with the problems specific to the Bauhaus, but essentially to photography in general. Even if it is an anachronism, we may say that the David Hockney of Woldgate Woodsis not far away.
We therefore wish, in these two talks, to adopt the same approach as Erika Billeter in the exhibition Malerei und Photographie im Dialog von 1840bis heute(“Painting and Photography in Dialogue from 1840 to today”), mounted in 1977 at the Kunsthaus Zurich – except that the “bis heute” will become our own today.
For an archaeological excavation of the links between these kindred media, this will be the tools employed.
Palm tree trunks, Nice(double exposure), c. 1933/34 Photograph by Paul Nash
Modern print from a black-and-white negative, 13 × 18 cm Tate Archive