posted by Bridget on 25 April 2014
Retrospectives can be dull or thrilling. It all depends on the curator and their ambition to do more than just hang favourite images on the wall. The Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam is offering up a survey of Jeff Wall's work in 40 photographs dating from 1996 to present day.
This is the first photography exhibition shown at the museum since it reopened in 2012 and it is possible that the choice of Wall is to offer a block buster name. Curator Hripsimé Visser hopes that this exhibition will broaden public awareness and respect for Wall's work.
I hope that the exhibition does more and has a greater ambition for one of the great artist working in the 21st Century. One wonders about the state of photography in the Netherlands if Visser feels the need to use exhibitions to introduce artists to the public rather than produce a show that interrogates and discusses the work itself.
If you are in Amsterdam before the 3rd August it would be worth popping in to find out.
posted by Bridget on 24 April 2014
The great contemporary photographer, Philip-Lorca diCorcia is superstitious about retrospectives, concerned that "most artists' careers end up down the tubes after one."
Time will tell of course as to whether diCorcia is right to be superstitious, but the exhibition at Hepworth Wakefield including work made between 1975 and 2012, is a clear statement of why he is held in such high regard today.
The show runs to the 1st June.
posted by Bridget on 23 April 2014
Ever since The Ballad of Sexual Dependency, Nan Goldin has been at the forefront of radical and edgy photography. She openly courted controversy with images of her dissolute friends, addicts, transvestites and prostitutes. Her self-portraits revealed the violence of her life as it was then. Raw and casual, Goldin laid bare her life before the camera, forged in the fast paced and hedonistic New York of the 1980s.
So it is perhaps a surprise to discover that for the last forty years Goldin has also been taking photographs of children, mostly those of her friends, a subject matter seemingly far removed from her "hard-core autobiographical" work.
But this subject of children is beset with anxiety in the 21st Century. A time in history, when it is impossible to take photographs of children without the permission of parents or guardians. Where images of children presented in the news media are cropped at the head or shot in silhouette to provide anonymity. Where exhibitions of the work of Sally Mann and Goldin herself incur the interest of the police and images are removed from the walls of public galleries.
So Goldin is still raw and edgy and continues to court controversy with her photographs of children. This is what she does best, she uses the camera to show us what we find difficult to look at and in so doing makes it normal. We can only hope that her trail blazing diaristic style of the 1980s which has so informed the blogger-sphere, Facebook and Instagram photography, has the same result with a return to encouraging and celebrating photography of children without a fear of the bogie man in the dirty old mac.
Click here to read Sean O'Hagan's illuminating interview with Goldin for The Observer and click on the book to see a gallery of images from Eden and After.
posted by Bridget on 02 April 2014
If you are in Barcelona this Spring then pop into the Tasneem Gallery where you can see Ian Teh's etheral photographs of China, documenting the country's shift into a major industrial power.
You can also view the work in Ian's beautifully produced limited edition book. Just click on the image to go to our book shop.
posted by Bridget on 01 April 2014
Braco Dimitrijevic's work Casual Passers-By, made in the 1960s and 70s is a humorous undermining of the idea of public art celebrating famous people.
During the 1970s Dimitrijevic photographed people he met in the street and then produced large scale prints pasted onto bill boards, walls and the back of a London bus. In many countries photographs and sculptures of the powerful dominate the civic landscape and we learn to read these public displays as representations of national leaders.
When we are faced with Dimitrijevic's large portraits dotted around the city, even though we may not recognise the face on the back of the bus, we will assume it is of someone famous.
The subversion is simple but very effective.