On our opening night of the degree show I had received some interest regarding my work. Some just general questions and I had a couple of discussions around the theme of it. But I was surprised to speak to a curator I had worked with previously, not knowing he would be turning up to the exhibition. Two years ago I featured in the 2012 Daegu Photography Biennale, in the young international photographers exhibition. The curator who had selected me to be in this exhibition appeared at the exhibition and seeing as I had only ever corresponded with him via email before it was nice to be able to put a face to the name.
When speaking to him he told me he liked my work and would be interested in potentially exhibiting it in the future. He will be traveling home to South Korea next year where he will be curating two exhibitions and wants to consider me for both of them. We had traded contact details and I intend on contacting him to follow up on this opportunity, but also to keep the lines of communication open as I am aware the exhibition isn’t in the near future.
At a later point in the evening it had come to my attention that someone had placed an application form next to my work for ‘New Arts West Midlands’. Which I am taking as a subtle hint to apply, but this has also given me the inspiration to seek out other competitions and to contact curators and galleries. The interest that has been shown in my work from this opening night has given me the motivation to try and get my work into other galleries. But if I am going to do this I need to carry on and develop my work even further. I already have ideas of where to carry on and I would be interested in further developing the photogram series. Seeing them mounted and exhibited as they are encourages me to produce more.
For the degree show I have predominantly been involved in the curatorial team. We met up on a weekly basis for the four weeks running up to the exhibition. These meetings involved organising various aspects of the layout of the exhibition from who’s work goes next to each and making a decision as to where to construct walls.
I took part in calculating the amount of wall space we had available in the gallery and weighing this up against individual requirements. From an early stage in the meetings we came to a mutual agreement that the amount of wall space everyone was requesting was not possible to facilitate. So I liaised with the group asking everyone to reconsider the amount of space they needed and created a google document for everyone to input their revised wall space requirements.
Once we had collected this information from the group we began to plan where everyone would be placed within the gallery. We visited the gallery, which helped to inform our decision making on where to build the extra walls and decided that between the pillars would be the most efficient, as this would not take up unnecessary floor space.
After coming up with an initial layout plan I helped gather visuals of everyone’s work and place them within the 3-D model so we could better visualise who’s work would work well together. At this point there wasn’t much more to be done in terms of planning ahead for the layout, but we were comfortable with the knowledge we would have enough wall space in the gallery and the arrangement of works could be adjusted during install week.
During install week I assisted several people with the mounting of their work. This involved helping to decide on sequencing of photographs, mounting text panels onto foam board and fixing work to the wall. I also helped out where I could such as sticking the vinyl to the window and general cleaning around the gallery before opening night.
This is a book by Danny Lyon called The Bikeriders.
It’s a body of work documenting the lives of a group of bikriders from 1963 to 1967 with the aim to glorify the lives of these people.
I chose this book as I remember it being one of the first photobooks that I properly sat down and read. It clarified to me the importance of seeing a body of work in its entirety, because you feel so much more grounded and knowledgeable about the work. Especially in a body of work like this where there are so many different aspects to this community in terms of characters and environments, that you might not expect to find.
Some of my favourite images of the series are those that don’t meet the expectations of the viewer, they challenge them instead. I’ve chosen one image from the series that I think epitomises this point that a body of work can re-frame your perspective of something, which is displayed below. It’s titled “Cockroach and His Family”, Cockroach is photographed outside of their suburban looking house with his wife and child, which for me sums up this bizarre juxtaposition of a person called cockroach having something so mundane and intimate. It’s also a good example of how Danny Lyon chose to photograph the lives in the background of the typically expected representation of the bikeriders. This is a vantage point he managed to gain by fully immersing himself in the community.
“The main concern of my work is questioning the relationship between photography and reality, between photographic representation and the object itself.” – Quote from British Journal of Photography
Alejandro Guijarro’s body of work ‘Momentum’ is a series of photographs taken from various institutions that specialise in quantum mechanics. He specifically photographed the blackboards he came across whilst on his visits, using a large format camera so that he could print the images to the same size as the original subject. Guijarro wanted to mimic the reality of the blackboards as best he could by leaving out the edges of the board outside of the frame. This creates the illusion once they are printed and displayed in the gallery that they are the real artefact, the only give away being that once you view the photographs from the side you can see the paper material they are printed on.
I believe this body of work is subversive as it questions photography’s ability to represent reality. By deceiving the viewer into believing this is the original artefact it awakens them to the realisation that a photograph can only mimic real life. This concept is echoed by the subject matter within these photographs, the equations written on the blackboards are another way of representing reality. So by presenting these multiple ways of perceiving the world Guijarros is questioning the relationship between the photograph, reality and representation.
On arrival to the opening of the Beat Streuli exhibition in Birmingham tonight I was immediately encompassed by the all to familiar urban world of Streuli’s work. A mixture of photography, video and sound by the artist is on display at the Ikon Gallery, which highlights themes within our modern day cultures from all over the world. The use of sounds from busy city streets add to the sensation of being plunged into the environments of the photographs and videos on display.
The way the photographs have been displayed, side by side with the edge of the frame becoming difficult to spot, means you can easily become lost in this series and have quite a fluid viewing experience. Immersed into a world of the modern day, it becomes near impossible to distinguish between different cities, the photographs look as if they could have been taken within one. The focus is so intensely on the subject that the environment becomes unrecognisable. This is a way Streuli communicates how culturally diverse our urban environments are, by placing varying cultures into what looks like a single environment.
This exhibition also highlights other themes within our modern urban culture such as consumerism. Logos, technology and clothing all became a primary focus within some of the photographs, some of the images appearing quite abstract meaning the branding was not clear but still recognisable. For me it made me more aware of just how well integrated these material objects have become within our lives.
As I moved throughout the exhibition what really stood out to me was a pair of chunky looking televisions from the 90’s. Playing on them was a series of videos recorded of people during the 90’s. It was interesting to see just how quickly technology such as these televisions has become outdated, especially when compared to another pair of recently recorded looking videos played on a modern t.v. The evolution of Streulis work as well as our culture has been mimicked by the technology it has been displayed on. To find out more about this exhibition click here for the Ikon gallery website.
9 Eyes Of Google – Jon Rafman
When viewing photography I always find myself asking what was the intention of the photographer, why that subject? Why that moment? But as these photographs were taken by the ‘9 Eyes of Google’, a machine capturing moments free of human intervention, I find myself at a loss to find an agenda to these photographs. Each frame seems to have a moment of significance but that moment seems to be captured unintentionally. Its this process of accidentally freezing a moment that has purpose but knowing there is not an agenda in taking them that baffles me.
For me, looking at this work clarifies who it is that brings purpose to the photographs, the viewer. As I begin to play with this idea that it is the viewer that solely brings the meaning to the photograph, I remind myself that someone has selected these scenes, sequenced them and framed them, narrowing our view of the location in its entirety. This person has transformed what can be argued to be a completely objective tool into a subjective piece of work. The moments are free of intention but the framing is not.
The Little Black Jacket – Karl Lagerfeld
This body of work has been created by Karl Lagerfeld, a fashion designer, stylist and photographer. The series was not explained in detail, all I knew of it was that the same black jacket features in each portrait. The styling of the sitters and the jacket vary quite drastically throughout the series, but there is one thing that remains a constant in all the photographs, that is the visual language of Karl Lagerfeld.
He uses a very similar set up in each image, the lighting and backdrop appear the same and just the sitters and the jacket vary between each frame. It is very similar to Richard Avedons work in that it isolates each sitter removing them from any social context. As a result the only individuating factors that come into play are the sitters and the slight variation in the jacket. The jacket begins to take on a life of its own by transforming itself in every different interaction the photographer has with his subjects.