As part of our project we have to provide a review of some exhibitions that we have visited. So the majority of us went to the Photographer’s Gallery and the Royal Festival Hall (World Press Photo).
At the PG we saw 3 exhibitions:-
BURDEN OF PROOF: THE CONSTRUCTION OF VISUAL EVIDENCE – http://thephotographersgallery.org.uk/burden-of-proof-the-construction-of-visual-evidence-3
NOÉMIE GOUDAL: SOUTHERN LIGHT STATIONS – http://thephotographersgallery.org.uk/future-exhibitions-2
EVGENIA ARBUGAEVA: ARCTIC STORIES – http://thephotographersgallery.org.uk/print-sales-gallery-sebasti-o-salgado-other-americas
Now, Burdens of Proof I really liked. The write up in the downloadable guide opens with “This exhibition examines the way experts, researchers and historians
produce images as evidence in instances of crimes or acts of violence
suffered by individuals or groups.”
The forensic scene of crime photography undertaken by Alphonse Bertillon in the early 1900′s was simply fascinating for the technique used and the precise measurements made by him when the photographs were taken, to clinically demonstrate the scene of the crime. This of course has some professional resonance with me, for reasons I need not go into.
There were other “exhibits” which caught my eye and some that made me think a little more, such as the Nuremberg Trials – where they used a film to show the horror of the concentration camps. More importantly, the film of their work demonstrates the evidential and presentational manner in which they sought to take and present the photographic evidence.
There was also Mengeles’ Skull and the Gaza Book of Destruction. What was interesting with both these exhibits was the presentation of the pictures. Mengeles’ Skull was linear across the wall, with same sized monochromatic portrait pictures of a face/skull, evenly spaced against a white wall (either face on or profile). This was contrasted with the Gaza exhibit which were colour photographs of buildings destroyed in the Gaza conflict against a blue background, with detailed captions. The pictures were not very big in size and were set out in a very clinical format of 7 columns by 6 rows… as if they were a photographic representation of (exam) results… which in fact they were – the results of conflict. For me, this exhibition is a definite go see, but the subject matter is not pleasant – you have been warned.
Noémie Goudal was actually present giving a talk on her work, but as we looked and moved like an pack of elder-aged school kids on a trip we moved off the floor and returned afterwards to view the work. “Southern Light Stations is a new body of work by Noémie Goudal (b.1984, France). It builds on her practice of creating ambiguous geometric
constructions placed within a landscape and explores the artist’s enduring
interest in our historical, scientific and symbolic relationship with the skies”.
For me, it was ok, but as I stated to my tutor Zig, I didn’t get it… I think after seeing the more personal even though it was clinical and forensic exhibition of burden of proof, the abstract nature of Goudal’s work was lost on me… and in particular I was unmoved by some of the tower pieces – see the example below. I found the pictures to be very flat However, her work with the spheres, spoke to me much more…. who knows why.
© Noémie Goudal
The final exhibition we saw was in the print sales gallery and that was the work of Evgenia Arbugaeva and I really liked her work, both the Tiksi and the Weather Man photographs. Tiksi for the whiteness of the pictures even when there was colour and the aged feel of the Weather Man work. Interestingly the framing of the Weather Man work added to the feel – a simple beveled brown frame… Ohh if only I had the spare cash… I would have jumped on one her pieces straight away.
© Evgenia Arbugaeva