All posts filed under: Exhibitions

Holding room. From Corrections, 2015 © Zora Murff

Kid criminals: tagged, tracked and cast off by society

“My dad left us when I was four or five, and I’ve been estranged from him ever since. Things were rough for my mum trying to raise two boys on her own,” says 28-year-old Zora Murff, whose series Corrections is informed in no small part by his experiences growing up disenfranchised, with a family diminished by low income, lack of opportunity and alcohol abuse. Born and raised in Des Moines, where one in three children live below the poverty line, Zora could easily have become a write-off. His mother was forced to take jobs out of town at weekends to provide for her two boys, often leaving them unsupervised for many hours. “My brother and I were very close when we were young, and I spent a lot of time following him around, until he got to the age where it wasn’t cool to have your little brother tagging along any more. When that happened, I had to learn to be alone – I started to read a lot and draw.” As Zora got older – with …

2015-06-24T16:34:44+00:00

The New Medium: exhibiting the first photographs ever taken in India

It is a cool midsummer’s evening in Mayfair’s Cork Street – the nucleus of London’s contemporary art world. Number 33 is the professional home of Prahlad Bubbar – collector of Indian and Islamic art – and the location of his new exhibition, The New Medium: Photography in India 1855-1930. The New Medium is a neat survey of the birth and rise of photography as a major art form in the subcontinent. Twenty-five photographs are ordered chronologically around the bright, airy rooms of the gallery, each one chosen to reflect a distinct decisive moment in Indian photographic history. Driven by Bubbar’s background in art history, his recognition of context binds the project together as the beginnings of a technological and artistic revolution in the context of one distinct and, in itself, rapidly evolving culture. In the middle of the 19th century, photography took over from painting as the new mode of representing the world – hence the name, The New Medium. The exhibition frames an era in which the diverse customs of India – the temples, animals and people – could all …

2015-06-19T10:09:02+00:00

Slava in his handmade boat on the bay of Barents Sea near meteorological station.

Evgenia Arbugaeva took an icebreaker through the Arctic Ocean

When Evgenia Arbugaeva boarded an icebreaker ship in the Arctic Ocean, little did she know that the trip of several weeks would lead to a project that would have a profound and lasting effect on her. Arbugaeva, an award-winning photographer who was born in Tiksi, a settlement on the Arctic coast in northern Russia, hoped that something – a project – would come of the trip, but it would be many more weeks before she found her subject. The photographer, who graduated from the photography programme at New York’s International Center of Photography in 2009, first came across the polar north’s meteorological stations – outposts that are home to a handful of scientists whose job it is to measure temperature, snowfall and wind – while out on a husky sledding expedition with her father (he breeds husky dogs, she tells me when we speak on Skype). Bad weather forced the pair to stop at the research stations, which are located in areas that are otherwise uninhabited. Intrigued by the people who live there and their way …

2015-06-16T17:50:59+00:00

Woman Washing Herself

Delicate Demons: do women belong in the home?

Delicate Demons is a collaborative, ongoing project between Finnish photographers Satu Haavisto and Aino Kannisto, in which women are meticulously staged in domestic spaces. The spaces in the photographs are tight, with a room corner in most of the scenes, compressing the viewer and the subject into an uncomfortably proximal relationship and emphasising the sense of home as a potentially oppressive place. The women appear as mysterious characters, deep in thought. They feel heavy and complicated, physically embodying difficult emotions and experiences. The gaze of many of the women is strikingly intense. In one image, Woman on Balcony, her stare out of the frame feels somewhat over-constructed until, with a jolt, we see in a reflection she is in fact gazing directly at the camera. Face on, her look is more vulnerable, more anxious and raw. Props and settings combine to hint at troubling, ambiguous backstories: one figure clutches a kitchen knife, barely visible between her knees. Delicate Demons comes from the same vein as Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s novella The Yellow Wallpaper, in which the apparently innocuous wallpaper …

2015-06-25T16:26:40+00:00

Still from A Bout de Souffle

Breathless cool: the enduring influence of the Nouvelle Vague

The Nouvelle Vague began, more or less, with Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless (1960), and it came in a rush. Upstart and “arsehole” Michel (Jean-Paul Belmondo) is a man in motion. On the run and racing off in a stolen car before his female accomplice has time to get in with him, he speeds down the motorway, cursing anyone who dares slow his breakneck pace. Michel embodies a fugitive brand of modernity, too fast and fleeting to pin down, so even Godard’s innovative editing is jumpy and restless – and yet he will come crashing to a halt in Paris, while he waits on his American lover Patricia (Jean Seberg) to decide whether she will move on with him to Rome. Patricia wants to stay and to finish her studies – and yet far from representing the stasis of the past, she is in fact younger than Michel, sports a thoroughly modern hairstyle, and wants her own independence, rather than to play a pre-written rôle in Michel’s story.

2015-06-15T13:03:12+00:00

From Denudate 2015 © Neola Loretta McDavid

The female derobed: Neola McDavid’s untainted nudes

“Trust is very important when you ask someone to take their clothes off so you can photograph them nude,” says Neola Loretta McDavid, who will soon graduate from the University of Roehampton with a BA Honours in Photography. “Your subjects need to have confidence in you as a photographer, and they need to feel comfortable in themselves.” McDavid’s series of nude portraits, Denudate 2015, exudes strength – stripped back, it presents women in a state of undress, stoic in their own personal space, the only props being the intimate objects in their homes. Her series, like the meaning of the title itself, bares all – it strips women of the labels imposed upon them by society and returns them to their natural state, as “supreme beings” – equal to men, neither subordinate nor superior. “The women in my portraits signify empowerment. They are not obstructed by the mores of society or media in the way that influences how women are portrayed today. The women aren’t sexualised, nor are their poses meant to be suggestive. I’m not using the female …

2015-06-25T16:30:44+00:00

David Bailey © Chris Gravett

Hometown America: Chris Gravett’s undiscovered Arkansas

“I Googled myself, as you do, and accidently added an ‘e’ to the end of my name,” says 64-year-old recent graduate Chris Gravett. “The city of Gravette in northwest Arkansas came up. Wikipedia says it has a population of 2300 – 90% white, with 23 churches, in an area of four square miles. I thought it was such a bizarre demographic I wanted to know more.” And so began the making of Gravette The Heart of Hometown America, which is currently on exhibit at the Free Range Graduate Art and Design Show at The Old Truman Brewery in east London – a summer season of shows celebrating up-and-coming graduate talent in the fields of art, design, fashion, photography and architecture. Chris researched further and discovered that the city of Gravette was founded by a man named Ellis Tillman Gravett – without the ‘e’ – in 1893. A further ancestral search uncovered that Ellis Tillman was British, a settler originally from Steyling in Sussex, and that their ancestral lines cross in the early 16th century. Inspired …

2015-06-25T16:27:33+00:00

Victorian photographs of the abandoned Dreamland amusement park in Margate, Kent

At its peak in the 1960s, Dreamland Margate thronged with visitors. Millions of them, young and old, families and couples, piled into the seaside amusement park to laugh, flirt, ride the famous Scenic Railway rollercoaster, try their luck at the coconut shy, and wolf down candy floss and jellied eels. But over the decades that followed Dreamland waned in popularity, changing its name, losing its lustre and eventually shutting in 2003. Now, thanks to a local campaign and a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the park is about to throw open its doors again to the public, reimagined by Hemingway Design as a hip, vintage attraction. In the years between closure and redevelopment, Dreamland was left to rot. From 2013, photographer Rob Ball captured this Dreamland, mainly using the Victorian tintype wet collodion process. Tatty, forlorn but still oddly majestic, the empty park takes on a haunting air in his photographs. The tintypes will go on show at The Photographers’ Gallery. They also feature in a book, published by Dewi Lewis, along with contemporary …

2015-06-15T15:55:52+00:00

FUTURO

Unfathomable: Geert Goiris’ futuristic objects in abandoned landscapes

To create his expansive, understated work, Belgian photographer Geert Goiris journeys to far-flung locations – polar regions, deserts, mountain valleys. There, with a large format camera fixed to a tripod, he brings into stark focus desolate landscapes littered with modernist ruins and futuristic objects. The shots themselves are mundane yet spectacular, familiar yet unfamiliar, as if we’ve entered a not-too-distant future in which people have abandoned their homes because of some natural calamity. Exploring these isolated locations is at the heart of what Goiris does. “I’m very much drawn to open spaces and sites that are hard to live in or colonize or hard for people to domesticate,” he says. “I think these places, first of all, give us a strange mix of calmness and relaxation with anxiety and fear; they also show what existence is without human beings, when there is no infrastructure… it’s very much this detached, alien point of view as well.

2015-06-17T14:02:37+00:00

An Argentinian photographer took portraits of older men she thought might be her father

When Mariela Sancari was 14, her father killed himself. As she tried, often forlornly, to deal with his absence, sometimes denying even it, Sancari began to invent in her mind his personality, his life, his whereabouts. He grew older in her mind. As a professional photographer, Sancari decided to confront this chapter of her life. In her native Buenos Aires, she started placing adverts in local newspapers and putting up posters; she was looking for men in their 70s, the age her father would be now if he were alive. She wanted to meet, and photograph, men who might look a bit like the man she lost, to discover in them a tiny fraction of the relationship so finitely denied to her. The men she found, and whom sat for her, wear her father’s patchwork jumper. In some of the images, she poses herself in the background, or lets a stranger carefully comb her hair. It’s a heart-stoppingly simple evocation of how, through an unsaid understanding, through a sense of transference that can transcend words and gestures, we can find familiarity, intimacy and comfort …

2015-06-24T16:16:37+00:00

BJP Staff