Part of my trip include visiting The Photographer’s gallery in London, hoping to gain some inspiration, particularly how various photography works were presented differently and the ideas behind them. I didn’t know what they had on that day, but I somehow managed to get free access to these exhibitions.
In this exhibition are the works of Erik Kessels, “Unfinished Father”. In the memory of his father who suffered a debilitating stroke, which was an unexpected loss and paradigm shift in their relationship, Kessels creates an installation centred around the body and components of the car itself, accompanied by the photographs taken during its restoration. This installation offers a meditation on the fragility of the human condition, loss and memory.
How these installations were presented were a part of my curiosity. Object re-appropriated and found photographs encased in vitrines and images mounted onto thick boxes.
In “the shadows of the Pyramids” immerses the viewer in nightly street scenes from the ‘January 25 Revolution’ in Cairo, with emotionally charged portraits of protestors and pictures from her own family album, returning to themes of personal histories, transitional identities and belongings. The works of Laura El-Tantawy were mainly presented though projection and audio installation which enabled visitors to immerse themselves in these scenes. parts of this installation also include photographs in frames, propped by light boxes.
“The Octopus” presents an overview of Trevor Paglen’s practice; vast land and skyscapes from photographing drones in the Nevada desert to tracing underground fibre optic cables in the deep Atlantic Ocean. His experimental use of technology includes refractor telescopes and lenses, welcoming distortion and blurriness as suggestive additions to his rigid palette of skills.
The unique aesthetic of his landscape images, of secret government buildings at night, had captured my attention. It seems that he had received permission from the relevant organisation, a year earlier prior to photographing their respective headquarters.
Tobias Zielony’s project “The Citizen” is concerned with the realities and experiences of African refugees in Europe. The subjects portrayed are shown protesting against restrictions placed on their freedom of movement and right to work or study. As part of the project, Zielony had also worked with African newspapers and magazines, in the reverse direction of traditional journalism. He photographed in Germany and published in the home countries of the refugees. The texts wee written by African writers who reported on the situation of refugees and their protests in Germany and Europe.
In the next part of the exhibition, a collaboration between The Photographers’ Gallery and Drawing room in London, “Double Take” features the works of many participating artists and photographers, who seeks to explore the many ways mediums of photography and drawing have been combined, mirrored and contrasted to extend both practices into new arenas.
One interesting work belongs to Anna Barriball, who had pushed paper to its limits by repetitively and arduously rubs graphite onto paper positioned on architectural details such as doors, walls, and windows. The result is burnished indexical imprints that also become sculptural forms. Its textures resemble that of a black spider-man costume.
I had a great time visiting the Photographers’ Gallery. It showed me that photo images may be presented in a myriad of ways and not necessarily conform to traditional photo frames hung onto gallery walls. Photo images can also be integrated with drawings and multimedia, depending on the photographer or artists’ area of concern.
For part one of my trip, click here.
For part three of my trip, click here.