Curated by Adam Carr
MOSTYN, Wales UK is delighted to present the first UK solo exhibition of works by Mladen Bizumic, as part of our 'Conversation Series'*.
Taking a snapshot glance, Kodak Employed 140,000 People. Instagram 13. by Austrian-based, and New Zealand-raised, artist Mladen Bizumic focuses on the company Kodak – a point of exposure in Bizumic's work – and pictures the transition from film-based photography to digital imaging as it developed.
Kodak provides a rich source of inspiration for Bizumic. It was the medium that allowed some of his first images in the early 90s and became a go-to company over the years. The company is also significant for the artist for its shallow focus and the wider image that it is part of, which his practice has been devoted to since early 2013.
The picture of Kodak Employed 140,000 People. Instagram 13. is primarily composed of a set of hand-printed analogue photographs; dismantled Kodak cameras which were made in the UK; a pattern made of hundreds of cartridge rolls of used 35 mm film and approximately two thousand shredded digital prints that show the data centre in Lulea, Sweden.
Through photography and sculpture Kodak Employed 140,000 People. Instagram 13. filters a timeline of Kodak's development, from its founding in 1880 to its subsequent demise in 2012 when the company filed for bankruptcy. Splicing in a chronological parallel – which enlarges on conservative, corporate hubris, as well as its failings and obsolescence – the exhibition also offers a salutary tale of the shortcomings of being overexposed while not being committed to full development. The pace of digital technology is relentless and its replacement of many analogue devices is undeniable. Yet, that Kodak invented the world’s first digital camera, a medium that would force the company to file for bankruptcy, is difficult to believe and brought both into focus and blurred in a number of his works. Recording a history of photography, lighting it both positively and negatively, the exhibition’s parts come to form a canon of sorts of technology's progression, and it leads right through to the present with today’s available means of taking snapshots, and sharing them.
While Kodak Employed 140,000 People. Instagram 13. zooms in on one of photography’s most iconic contacts, and the fissures of industry production, those issues come to function as a lens through which to consider a larger picture. The exhibition’s post-production uncovers how images, and the technology that enables them, influence not only aesthetic, social and economic relations, but also the resulting effects when these relations are replaced and taken out of the picture.
*The 'Conversation Series' is an on-going series of shows devised and initiated by Curator Adam Carr in 2012 that juxtaposes two exhibitions by artists connected either biographically or thematically.
With kind support from Creative New Zealand, The Arts and Culture Division of the Federal Chancellery of Austria, and Georg Kargl Fine Arts, Vienna.