During our exhibition visit we went to take a look at the following exhibitions:
The Photographers’ Gallery
The Easter Rising 1916 Sean Sexton Collection
Saul Leiter Curated by Ingo Taubhorn and Brigitte Woischnik
Rosângela Rennó: Rio-Montevideo
Edel Assanti Gallery
People sometimes die – curated by Jesse Hlebo
Under Suspicion, Mykola Ridnyi
Frith Street Gallery
Bridget Smith: The Eye Needs A Horizon
The body of work which I found most interesting was by Saul Leiter. What drew me to his work was the subject matter, the selection of images and how they were presented. I am a big fan of street photography and so I found his images of unspectacular moments very visually interesting in the way they were composed. When looking at his work he seemed to take frames within frames to an advantage to get the viewer to focus on one person/subject. I also thought how he used the weather to his advantage was fascinating, especially his images looking through windows with rain dripping down then, making it almost impossible to see what it on the other side. This technique was similarly used with snow as he captured it falling down, focussing on it rather than the world around. Shown below are some examples of the type of work I am referring to from the exhibition.
The images were presented quite small with a white border and thin black frame. They were sectioned so that all of his colour images and black and white images were grouped together. There was also a section with his work for magazines grouped together with displays of the magazines; showing how the images would have been presented within the format of the magazine it was taken for.
The exhibition which I found had the most affective presentation was Bridget Smith’s The Eye Needs A Horizon (images shown above). This is due to the size of the images shown and how they are spaced in the exhibition. By having the images of the cinema seats so large it makes them appear more abstract and like waves in the see, at first glance of the photograph of the exhibition they do resemble waves. This is because of the shape of the seats in the cinema and also due to the blue tone of the images themselves. The video spread across several screens shows an unseen projector creating the light source. By not showing the source the viewer is left to guess what they are looking at; the specs of dust seen in the light resemble stars, carrying on the theme of something man-made appearing as something natural. Lastly there are prints hanging down the gallery wall like a curtain, just as the actual curtain would be falling in the cinema making it a very interesting mixture of installation and photograph.
By using different forms of presentation it changes the way we experience the work. When the images are small within frames hung on the wall we are forced to get closer to see the image; to inspect it. With projections of images onto the wall I feel you are more part of the work, you can walk in front of the image and you wouldn’t be able to see it. This is especially true with Rosângela Rennó’s work as you can press the button on the projector to allow you to see the image when it turns off, making you in control of what you see and what you don’t.
The text panels/titles in the exhibitions can have a big influence on how you view the work. With most of the exhibitions you were able to see the title and date of the image, but with some such as Bridget Smith and the work at the Assanti Gallery you were not given the information as on panels but rather on sheets of paper, I think without context; especially with the work at the Assanti Gallery it would have been difficult to understand what the work was about.
Each exhibition had a different purpose, The Easter Rising 1916 had a historical purpose as a documentation as to what happened in Ireland leading up to the Irish independence and how photography played a role in this; the audience for this exhibition would be people interested in this period of time. Saul Leiter’s exhibition included his photography work made during his career as a photographer and so is a celebration of this. His work would perhaps have a wider audience, especially of people interested in his work, or who have an interest in photography. Bridget Smith’s work I think would have a similar audience and would be viewed by an audience interested in art.
Compared to the previous exhibitions discussed Rosângela Rennó used projectors to display images by photojournalist Aurelio Gonzalez which were lost. By using the analogue projectors Rennó has taken the viewer back in time to view the images how they would have been presented when they were taken. The Assanti Gallery exhibitions had similar purposes and were used to make the viewer think about certain social and political issues.
I found all the exhibitions interesting to view and certainly opened up different ways of which you can present your work in a gallery space.