Saatchi visit: part 2

For me it is important to think of these as works by an “artist” rather than a “photographer”. This is an extensive catalog of contemporary art that just happens to involve photography as the medium, and represents the current directions in which artists are using photography to bring out their creativity. One example is that where “traditional” photography or art tended to be bounded by a set frame (thinking of Daguerotypes where the frame was absolute), many of the artists here refused to be contained by the photographic frame (eg Mariah Robertson), and others look at components within the frame (Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin). We are familiar with photography representing a specific slice of time, and a known reality, so other artists here subvert that understanding by removing time (eg Luis Gisbert) and by creating their own reality (eg Sara VanDerBeek). Whereas we expect recognisable colour within a photograph, artists here have altered that perception to create a different mood , or even to lampoon traditional photographers (eg David Benjamin Sheery). Photography is understood to establish identity, so artists demolish those understandings (eg John Stezaker).
As photographs I actually hated more than a few of the images on show, but as works of art they are an entirely different experience and represent what the artist felt or wants the viewer to feel, and that takes art photography to an entirely different plane where like/dislike is secondary to intent, understanding, and even empathy.
I’ve only been able to articulate this thinking in the days after the show and no doubt further thoughts will present themselves.
In summary, “photography” is not primarily what we’re looking at, and this is not a “photography” exhibition.


About watlvry

Flaneur for my own ailments; government and corporate hypocrisy; guitar stuff; the music business; home made videos featuring home made tunes played at home; a bit of golf; and of course photography. Specifically "art" photography (doesn't exist) and contemporary photography ( sadly does exist in all its grotesque reality).
This entry was posted in Events, Exhibitions, Photographers, Reflections. Bookmark the permalink.

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