Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Unexpected pleasures

Today I had to take a trip to Liverpool and left enough time for a wander and a visit to the Tate.

I'd found out that there were some Keith Arnatt photographs on show in the Thresholds exhibition. The A.O.N.B series won't be to everyone's taste but it chimes with my view of the British landscape. Somehow I had missed the fact that there was other photography on show, so I was pleasantly surprised to see the work of Martin Parr and Sophie Calle exhibited.

What struck me was the different ways in which the works were presented. Arnatt's gelatin prints were mounted and framed in traditional style and hung in a row. Parr's laser prints were pinned to the wall unmounted in a grid. Calle's black and white pictures appeared to be printed as a grid on one sheet, framed behind glass, with a similar frame above of a colur picture and explanatory text. There was another work by Simryn Gill (who was new to me) consisting of 260 prints pinned to the wall in a large grid. I found that the least well presented as the prints were too small, detailed and numerous to be viewed or read easily. The lighting was also a bit dim at that end of the gallery.

None of these works seemed drastically different to viewing them in print or on the web. The image areas were no more than A3. The Arnatts a mere 8"x10". What was different was the Thomas Demand. At screen or book size the pictures of scenes recreated in card and paper look convincingly naturalistic. At the large size presented in the gallery the deception is clearly apparent. While this is no doubt a major part of the point, it made the exercise less interesting for me. I think I'd rather view the actual construction. Even so, as with much concept driven visual art, the idea is greater than the object. And when it's been done once, does it really need repeating?

The Open Eye Gallery has two new exhibitions opening on Friday, so I'll try and make longer cultural visit to the big city soon to visit that and revisit the Tate.

The rest of today's half decent stuff here.

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