The gallery website state the following about Sugimoto whose work I have seen before, recently at The Constructed World’s exhibition and also in Arles 2013 …
I have missed the talk (see below) about the main exhibition at The London Art Fair but still want to see the exhibition which is called “Against Nature” which for someone like myself is provocative and hence requires closer inspection. Goethe has been credited with the statement, “Anything against nature is good!”
The talk was called, “Photography as Object? Explaining Hybrids of Photographic Art Explored in Photo50″ and carried the following introductory text … “Are photographic processes and applications more than pixels of digital information? A printed image was physically made by hand, and constituted an inherent physicality which is nowadays absent. From the early photographic developments, artists have been intrigued by the processes and materiality of photography; experimenting in between the axis of the photograph as image and the photograph as object. Realising these critical and experimental results, what kind of possibilities does this hybrid art form hold for the future of the photograph as an object?”
This is something that occupies me as I like to make photographs that have a physical presence even though the process in doing so is digital. However, what value does the physical object have in today’s world and might not the digital form be of greater value since it can be stored in multiple locations and as well as being enjoyed in a more singular format such as on a plasma screen. Probably, people are going to feel more reliant when buying, on the physical object rather than a pixelated one that is easily copied and more fragile to preserve.
There is a wall sized board telling the visitor what the exhibition is about. “Against Nature” does not use Goethe as it’s cue but Joris Karl Huymans who has written a book by that name in which he suggests “a spatial experience aligned with reflections on the function of images and representation.” The exhibition focuses on “new ways of interpreting an intrinsic sense of object hood.”
Tom Lovelace shows a print of a colour negative hence the colours in the image, of a door in a wall, are all reversed.
Adax Hannah uses video snapshots for their instantaneity and shows “Blackwater Ophelia” a reworking of a Pre-Raphealite painting.
One room of the makeshift gallery is taken up by Nikolai Ishchuk who shows a photograph of a rock in a plain studio background under which a lizard is held, apparently squashed. A lot of the work is sculptures.
Hassan Hajjaj has created a colourful room with Arabaic looking script on the wallpaper. A series of portraits are hung around the room which looks like a cafe as there are tables and chairs.
I quite enjoyed The London Art Fair and would happily have spent more time there although one does feel a little pressurised; one woman offered me the chance to look through a box of small prints. I was interested in the way they were being presented since the box doubled as a frame through which the photographs could be viewed. Apart from being pressed for time, I did not think an much of the prints being shown and hence might well have felt compromised at being shown and encouraged to buy them.
There was some work in the fair that I did like though such as a Spanish woman who had caught birds in flight including a line of cranes.
The art fair seems concerned with conceptual work that usually needs some kind of explanation to understand it, an explanation that can often double as a selling point. It is not easy to enjoy art when one is being pressurised!
There is a commercial element to the fair that extends to the entry which is not free although once in, the talks are. At the reception desk, I was initially refused entry because I did not have the correct documentation although my registration had gone through; then someone tried to take my ticket off me and had to have it pointed out to him that it was a six day ticket even though I was only attending for one day.
It was however possible to photograph inside and so I was able to document the photographic exhibition and make one or two other images such as one that contains the word FREE which is of interest to OCA tutor, Robert Enoch.
There seems to be no title to the talk. On entry, we are confronted with a screen that shows the cover of a book recently updated about Martin Parr by Val Williams and published by Phaidon. On the cover, is text referring to the controversial nature of Parr’s work.
I have seen her work exhibited a couple of times before and so made my way to London to hear her talk; the OCA who arranged this also made a video of the event.
My first question I have about this exhibition is why select 18 of the world’s exceptional photographers rather than find work by eminent architectural photographers? The answer is soon found in the introduction to the catalogue by Alona Pardo and Elias Redstone who are the curators of the exhibition; they write … “The understanding that photography which takes architecture as its subject matter has the ability to communicate wider truths about society is fundamental to the work presented …” This is opposed to conventional notions of making an accurate representation of the building. The photographers here are not concerned with “interpreting the intentions of the architects” rather giving a sense of the lived space and “the symbolic value of our built world.”
This exhibition is called “Mediterranean: the continuity of man” and at the entrance there is a quote by Ernle Bradford, “The Pacific may have the most changeless ageless aspect of any ocean, but the Mediterranean Sea celebrates the continuity of man.” I do not understand the relevance of this quote. Maybe the exhibition will reveal it to me.