T3: Mapping the Territory, v0.5

words


I've been thinking about where to go with my map. I have a board, I have images tacked to it, but what does it mean? As is, nothing. Well, nothing more than any board with images tacked to it will mean. I need to branch out more to reflect the way the mind map was going before I paused with it because it was becoming too much; too unconstrained and too complex (last version below). This fully reflects the way I've been thinking though, so it will undoubtedly be useful. But what to do with the board..?

Well, I've decided to add snippets of text in the form of questions, places, things or people. This will then add another layer to the board map. Will it work, time will tell... I think it is though. A little more work and I'm hoping it will be ready to Pecha Kucha-ise, and hopefully I'll be able to make sense of it in order to talk about it for 8 minutes or thereabouts.

mind-map

Another thing worth mentioning is the Constellations map currently at Tate Liverpool - another way of doing...

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Constellations at Tate Liverpool

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Marc Feustel talks about the metamorphosis of Japan.

Wednesday night was spent in the company of Marc Feustel (eyecurious and papercuts) as talked about the current exhibition on Japanese photography taking place at Open Eye Gallery in Liverpool. The content of the exhibition, which is based on his book Japan: self portrait covers the period from the war to the Tokyo Olympics, thus representing what was happening before the start of the "Provoke" period which garners much of the interest in the nations photography from the Western world.

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Marc Feustel talking at the Open Eye Gallery, 25/2/15

Marc is clearly a knowledgable chap on the subject, and he spoke of the radical change in the country, socially, economically and photographically, as they transitioned from Pictorialism through Surrealism in the pre-war period to a more documentary approach of social realism (Ken Domon's "unstated snapshot"). Damon's vision was for a very pure documentary aesthetic - nothing to artful, but rather providing a direct window into difficult situations and subjects (homelessness and beggars for example, but not in the same way as the "beggar photography" that swept America).

After Domon, there was a shift towards more of a French Humanist approach with Hamaya and Kimura, featuring more of HCB's "decisive moment" and generally with a more positive outlook - a different way of working, with a greater scope although remaining documentary in nature. Subject matter tended towards questions of "what is Japan?", covering the folklore and rural areas that were not so devastated by the war (these areas had always known hardship, and had avoided the bombing as they were not of military significance).

From 1956, there was a wave of newer photographers who had not been active during the war (Ishimoto for example). These photographers sought to break away from the past - the "old ways" were no longer really applicable as things had changed so much. Again, there was an increasing influence from outside of Japan, Ishimoto for example studied with Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind in America at what was considered to be the "new Bauhaus" school (Chicago Institute of Design). The compositions were becoming very meticulous, and a long way from Domon's approach.

Eikoh Hosoe produced what might be considered his signature work in the 1960s, with 
Barakei, Kamaitachi and Man and Woman. The work can still be considered as documentary, although not in the traditional sense as he is documenting a collaboration with other creatives - he's documenting ideas or movements rather than the day to day. (This work is particularly stunning...)

Also in the 60s, the photography began to take on an unsettled air and a darker edge, as can be seen in the photographs of Shomei Tomatsu and Kikuji Kawada, who both revisited the scenes of the bomb, Kawada in Hiroshima and Tomatsu in Nagasaki. Kawada's
Chizu (one of the ultimate photobooks as objects) provided a collective memory in order to try and comprehend the incomprehensible, with the well known image of the trampled flag representing the state of the nation in the aftermath of the war. Tomatsu was more symbolic as he photographed items from the peace museum, such as the watch that was forever stopped at 11:02, the time of the bombing and also the title of his book on the subject.

The photographic style was also becoming more visually chaotic, leaving the idea that documentary needed distance, poise and neutrality. Instead of blending into the background and being "invisible", he was coming more to the fore, putting himself within the scene, even if not directly within the frame. The photographer is becoming part of the world. From here. the path to Provoke is clear...
 
Whilst much of this is something I was aware of from my own interest in the subject and writing the essay as part of the degree, it was really good to hear someone talking about it, reconfirming my own ideas and actually adding extra bits of detail from his own research, talking to the photographers themselves and his own interpretation of the subject. It was also interesting to hear his view (albeit briefly) on the contemporary scene. Yes, he mentioned the well known names (Kawauchi, Homma, Araki, etc.) but also others that were beginning to make their mark - Daisuke Yokota, Go Itami, Nagoya Hatakeyama and Lieko Shiga. Yes, I know the first two (I have books by both), but the latter are potentially new to me (I may have seen them in passing, but not registered their names).

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Listening @ The Bluecoat

The current exhibitions at The Bluecoat in Liverpool go by the name of "Listening". Having had both eardrums rebuilt (one 20 years ago, the other 6 months due to a tissue eating infection), I entered with a certain amount of trepidation. I can't hear all frequencies of sound, and the stereo balance isn't perhaps what it should be, but I do like music so I thought it might be worth a punt, and Laurie Anderson appears on the list of exhibitors. However, it didn't really work for me, probably for the obvious reasons. Yeah, I liked Mikhail Karikis' SeaWomen, perhaps as this wasn't so subtle (a video accompanied by sounds of the sea and the Haenyeo making their distinctive shrieking noise), but some of the other things... I found Imogen Stidwokrthy's The Whisper Heard a little uncomfortable to experience - disorienting and confusing, probably because of the projected sounds end up where I don't expect them, either by design or through my hearing, I'm not sure which.

Still, at least I know not to expect too much from this type of thing in future, and the trip to Liverpool was actually for Marc Feustel's talk on Japanese photography at the Open Eye Gallery...
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P3 v1.0

The P3 : Personal Practice Plan or whatever it is called. It's distressing me because it is making me ask myself questions about what exactly I'm doing. Why I'm doing it. And is there really any point in doing it.

The first part of the plan (which is a working document) tries to define who I am and where I fit, and all i can think to say is that I'm an engineer and I don't really see that changing any time soon. I do take photographs though, in an eclectic range of styles that possibly prevents me from having something definable, identifiable and marketable. I'm certainly no
Peter Lik, who has created a multi-million dollar industry with his photographs (like them or not). Pushing the financial aspects aside, I do feel like I'm failing, falling by the wayside. Certainly in terms of "making" - can I be considered an artist if all I do is procrastinate?

The second part of the plan draws attention to stuff I need to be looking at. This is the useful part for me as it brings together those things that I need to be looking at - exhibition opportunities, networking opportunities and, well, just opportunities to get my work out there, which then serves to focus the ind on making some work to get out there. Something to keep coming back to so that I can ask myself that question again - am I wasting my time? Or am I progressing in any way, shape or form?

This is v1.0 of the plan.

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Discourse Analysis II

Continuing with a brief overview of what I managed to take from Rose's chapters on discourse analysis, the second type concerns institutions and power/control. This starts off with a mention of the archive and Tonkiss and Sekula:

“archives are not neutral; they embody the power inherent in accumulation, collection and hoarding as well as that power inherent in the command of the lexicon and rules of a language...” (Sekula, from Rose, p228)

There is also talk of Bentham's 
Panopticon, the power that invokes and how the subject becomes self-regulating through knowledge of surveillance: "visibility is a trap" (Foucault, from Rose, p230). Something like the panopticon would be an Institutional apparatus, whereas the blinds in the windows of the panopticon's observation "core" might be termed an Institutional technology. So what? I'm not really sure. Tagg and Sekula are referenced as discussing the inherent "truth" of photography. I was quite shocked to see the dates they were writing and still assuming the photography is a truthful media, but then this is put down to the institutional use of photography. So for the moment, lets put aside any idea that photography might be art. "Visual images and visualities are for them articulations of institutional power" says Rose (p233).

There is much said about the apparatus of the gallery and museum, institutions that allow the general public to have access to items of historical significance, culture and art in order to reshape social behaviour, much in the same way that the panopticon was designed to do (and by extension, the network of security cameras that pop up everywhere). How? Well, at a vulgar, top level approximation, art used to be something the bourgeoisie would enjoy, not the hoi polloi, so giving access (limited of course) to the great unwashed will be "uplifting". The architectural side of things can also be imposing - the façade of the building being important in letting the viewer know they're about to enter somewhere that has cultural power (this then also both inspires and controls - we whisper in libraries, we don't touch in museums...). Whatever you might think about this, the gallery (and museum) needs to attract people these days, so there must be something going on here - maybe it's because more and more are ascending to the ranks of
la petite bourgeoisie as more and more of Europe moves from a manufacturing to service based economy? It doesn't matter, the fact is that they're more accessible. And for me, herein lies much of the power as the decide what is available to view, how it is viewed, in what order and with what else around it for context, together with a set of notes on what it all means. 

The technologies in play are becoming more and more "considered", for the better or the worse. Museum's have their dioramas and display cases, more galleries are introducing "accessible" statements and guidelines for the viewer, at the danger of putting off the more educated clientele who might see it as "dumbing down". Then there's the "Americanisation" of the gallery context, with white walls and a row of images; it's different at the Louvre, which is weighted down with the history of art for many, many years and seems less concerned with these American minimalist/modernist ideas and the ability to consider things in isolation.


There's the labels and captions, panels and catalogues (all subject of the asynchronous discussions at the moment), aiming to provide knowledge about the art on show. As a personal preference, I'd opt for a panel and then, if necessary, a minimal label. A label providing the artists name might be construed as elevating the artist above the art, commodifying the creator rather than what has been created. Seems wrong to me, but then that name will also provide a degree of context as we would look at the art within the artists wider cannon... Maybe it is appropriate after all, or maybe this information should be on the panel? Context needs to be considered, just don't make it too prescriptive and/or reductive. Another aspect of the signage and leaflets is that which guides the viewer around, herding them to the highlights during a snatched lunchtime visit or whatever. It all seems quite obvious really, but then I'm not sure about it, about the discourse analysis and the research... Maybe I just need to discover that little spark that will make it all make sense. I feel like I’m losing my way a little.

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Line (Tate Modern)

 
Rose, G (2012) 
Visual Methodologies. 3rd Edition. London. Sage Publications Ltd.

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Discourse Analysis I

Reading about and then later discussing "discourse analysis" hasn't really helped me. I've no real idea why we were asked to read Rose rather than just delving directly into Foucault, which to be honest I think I would have preferred (I've done a little of this already). Well, strictly speaking, there's the "research" element, but I found the meaning I took from the reading was more about the context within which Foucault was writing - intertextuality and iconography for 'I', and power and the institution in 'II'. I'm not going to dwell on my uncertainties, instead I'll discuss the main themes I took from the reading, whether they relate to the idea of research or not.

Iconography is important, no, it's absolutely central, to how we read images from a structural semiotic standpoint, whether these be photographs, paintings or even sculpture and such. Obviously, figurative representations are more easy to read as we can see the iconography and it will have either historical or contemporary relevance. Rose gives a number of examples, the first being Jan van Eyck's 
The Arnolfini Wedding Portrait, 1434, in which specific meanings are handed to the presence of the dog (marital fidelity), a statue of St Margaret (childbirth) and the holding of hands (catholic marriage). Not knowing these signs and what they signify means that I missed much of the implied meaning - the painting is approaching being empty from an historical point of view. Coming from the moment, reading the caption it's a "wedding portrait", but the woman looks to me to be pregnant (resting a hand on the top of her belly is a sign I read...), so is this a last minute thing to cover up an "indiscretion" and avoid the child being born out of wedlock? Where are the Christian virtues in this case (the candle representing the light of Christ, the fruit of the "purity of humankind before the Fall" - p203)? A different view coming from a different set of meanings for the icons presented

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Jan van Eyck, The Arnolfini Wedding Portrait, 1434
(source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arnolfini_Portrait#mediaviewer/File:Van_Eyck_-_Arnolfini_Portrait.jpg, accessed 21/2/15)

Another example comes with the series of images of prostitutes in the East End of London, part of the residuum Rose keeps on referring to throughout the section on Discourse Analysis I. The fact they are prostitutes is not immediately apparent to me - the first image is from The Bridge of Sighs, 1878 (Gustave Dore) and shows a woman being pulled from a river by three men, another has a body of a woman being looked at by two policemen (W Gray's Found, c1870), or a woman standing on a river's edge (Hablot K Browne's The River) or simply alone and dead on the bank (George Frederick Watts' Found Drowned, 1848-50). Only one image shows a woman that is more easily identified as a prostitute to me (perhaps I'm naive), that's Lost which is presumably the precursor to Gray's Found, and shows a woman in heeled boots and showing her petticoat outside a licenced premises whilst being observed by policemen in the shadows... At least, it's an easier but still bold assumption to make - if we were to look for provocative actions such as showing one's underskirt as being a sign of prostitution in a contemporary town or city on a Friday evening, then pretty much all women could be deemed prostitutes! (Dougie Wallace and Mariej Dakowicz are worth looking at here). The series of images apparently drives home the fact that prostitutes from the "residuum" all ended up dead in the Thames after having committed suicide. Having been told this, how is it then possible to "read them and look at the with fresh eyes" (p210)? An interpretation has been presented to me and it's logical, so why expend energy and effort coming up with something different? OK, there was a "ripper" prowling the East End in those times, preying on women. Were these his victims? Oh, but they were prostitutes too, so were all women in the region prostitutes...? Obviously not (as is the contemporary case presented by Wallace and Dakowicz, just before anyone thinks that I think that way), and I guess that's where some of the research comes in. And also the ability to detach oneself for the contemporary and apply the natural, conventional and symbolic codes of the time and the region to what is being looked at.

The other thing this mini-set of images brings to the fore is the intertextuality element. Ignore the iconography for a moment (if that's actually possible), but by displaying 5 images in which one is perhaps more clearly a prostitute, then the series is about prostitutes. And the fact that in three the women are dead at the side of the river, under a bridge then it's fair to assume that the woman standing at the riverside, watched by two men in the background, is about to stride out into the waters to her death as she is ashamed of her actions... Together, a narrative forms that might not be the same if viewed in isolation, or at least without viewing the others with them - as Foucault discusses, we bring the weight of all the other images we have seen to bear when we look at the current one. And what would be the assumption if there was an image of a "royal carriage" included instead of one of the others? Adding more and more images can muddy the waters if not controlled, and it has to be acknowledged that when performing a Foucauldian analysis that his other works include 
What is an author?, something I need to return to before long. Therein lies the theory I have in a way been demonstrating, that it is not the author (or painter, or maker) that decides what things mean, but the reader (or viewer). True, a point of view can be presented and strengthened by the way that it hangs together, but cover too much ground and it all becomes too much and what might once have been more concise suddenly grows a "sore thumb" that piques at the reader and sends them off on their own tangent. Horses, water and drink.
 
Rose, G (2012) 
Visual Methodologies. 3rd Edition. London. Sage Publications Ltd.

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T3 : Mapping the Territory, v0.2

Added more… now I’ll have to do something with it. In doing that, it will change again and, as with Angela’s video, the making will allow me to think about it some more.
t3-v0-2
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Writing workshop

It’s a small room, an office, a home office. Filled with the desks, computers, printers, books and assorted paraphernalia of study, trying to be an artist and running a business. In the midst of this I sit, typing, looking intently at the large screen with my back to the door. There’s a wall of photo-books to my right and front (some of which are prized possessions) and a window to my left. The window often lets in too much light, which causes reflection problems on the screen, but not now on a cold winter’s evening.

It’s time for a coffee.


100 words on my environment, from the hangout on writing. I had lumpy Internet and there were server issues, so it was frustrating as I kept on coming in and out, but there we go. To add to the growing pile of things I have to get moving on, there's an essay to write, which will be somehow based on the
Mapping the Territory thing, support my work and probably anchor in to the P3 too. I need to get moving, need to get motivated and need to actually do something visually creative at some point.

Still, we have a week off next week. So there's time to do the reading we have to do for the week after... Oh, did I mention the P3 is due at the same time?
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There's other stuff at the Tate Modern too...

…or how to pass an hour on the cheap before heading off to the train station.

Actually, I seriously thought about heading into the Sigmar Polke exhibition, but to be honest I don’t know who he is (was?), so I was attracted to the free exhibitions which were featuring some of the artists we’d been discussing recently: Louise Bourgeois, Joseph Beuys, Nam June Paik and Richard Serra. There was also some Surrealism to see, so a quick refuel on sandwiches and coffee after the Conflict collection and it was around a few of them.

Bourgeois was first. I saw her spider (
Maman) in Paris years ago, before I’d really paid much attention to the name, but here at the Tate Modern, the current exhibition is some sketches, some gouache on wet paper, an embroidered book and others. My first thoughts, which I’m absolutely positive will be controversial, is that she couldn’t draw for toffee. I know, I know. Not everyone will draw in the same way, and that there are different styles of drawing, but I found her sketches incredibly child like and primitive. Not innocent, not at all, but just… in what I consider to be the style of a 7-year old. It really, really isn’t my thing. But that’s ok. I wasn’t a huge fan of her gouache work either, although it was what I would declare as being slightly more interesting than the sketches…
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Louise Bourgeois @ Tate
Gouache work


The book works I did actually have some interest in. Whether that was because it was a book or because there were words juxtaposed with the images I’m not sure, maybe it was both… I have started wondering how I can work something into a book form. I’ll find a way but it won’t be embroidered – it’s not my “thing” even if it is interesting to see other forms. All grist for the mill, as they say.
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Louise Bourgeois @ Tate
Ode A La Bievre


I’m not sure what I really expected with Nam June Paik, I guess I was associating him with Fluxus and the neo-avant grade of the 60s like we covered in the video lecture. But no, it was (amongst other things) a robot made of transistor radios… The sci-fi geek was momentarily enthralled, but I suppose as is the case with modern gadgetry (!), the moment passed. Whilst it would’t have been the same, I think it might have carried more retro kitsch and appealed more without the little LCD screens (although…)
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Nam June Paik @ Tate


Richard Serra’s
Trip Hammer (1998) was seen at the entrance to another group exhibit – maybe it’s just me, but the balancing act is quite impressive (not as impressive as the self supporting rocks later), but is it “art”? Ha, I’m not going there…! Something else I really liked the idea of was Giuseppe Panone’s Tree of 12 metres (1980-2) – Alberi di 12 metri. Taking a square-cut sawn timber as recovering the shape of the younger tree… there’s something, I don’t know, warming about it? Maybe there is hope…
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Giuseppe Panone @ Tate
Tree of 12 Metres


Of the rest – Twombly, Picasso, Baer, etc. – I didn’t really stop and consider for too long, although I did take some reference shots of the gallery context (with my iPhone – schoolboy error in the morning meant that the memory card of my little X100 was still in the computer). I think the gallery context could be a project to do more fully at some point, acknowledging that Thomas Struth (and probably others) has already done it. It’s something I do find quite interesting though – how people interact with the work…
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Cy Twombly @ Tate


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Pablo Picasso @ Tate


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Jo Baer @ Tate

In reality, an hour wasn’t enough time to go around the number of exhibitions I did and reflect in any depth, but it was still worthwhile seeing some of the work we had been discussing, even if only fleetingly. I’m not sure when I’ll be down in London next, and we don’t really have much in the way of big galleries locally – that’s the trouble with countryside living; all the sheep you want to see, but not so much in the way of mainstream art…
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Conflict. Time. Photography @ Tate Modern

The current exhibition of “conflict” photography at the Tate is something I shall describe as “interesting”. I can see the point of the curatorial concept, which deals with the passing of time since the conflict and the changing ways that photographers deal with the conflict. Or the aftermath of the conflict at least. I’m not sure it particularly hangs together well though – it’s disjointed and random in my eyes, despite the applied logic of the groupings. I’m sure others will disagree with me, but that’s simply my overall thought.

At the start, there’s Luc Delaheye’s 
US Bombing on Taliban positions (2001), printed large as I expected it to be (and was, if truth be told, slightly disappointed with as it was quite “soft”), next to Toshio Fukada’s The Mushroom Cloud – Less than twenty minutes after the explosion (1945) and Don McCullin’s iconic Shell-Shocked US Marine, Vietnam, Hué (1968). Three differing images (although there were 4 of the atomic bomb) , grouped together that perhaps should have been the way forward, even if this would then certainly match my “random and disjointed” opinion even more than the actual exhibition! But what you actually get is a little body of work here, another different one there, lots of images, a couple of images, something else… chop-change groups. Enough to pause and appreciate the body of work, but then the next wall was something different, time to reset the mind and recalibrate the visual receptors in my brain.
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US Bombing on Taliban Positions (2001) Luc Delahaye
http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/L03070

Having said that, if I approach it as a lot of individual exhibitions and try and ignore the time thing, there were a number of them that were a joy to view, for varying reasons. Jumping straight to the one that I enjoyed viewing the most, Kikuji Kawada’s Chizu (1965) – The Map – featured the work in 4 different sections, reproductions from the book form, together with a copy of the book (I didn’t check, but presumably from the somewhat impressive collection of Martin Parr – the other Japanese books on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were his), a small number of large prints that were also featured in the Metamorphosis exhibition in Liverpool, a copy of each image from the book displayed in a large grid and a number of large book-like reproductions of the patina from the walls of what is now the Atomic Bomb Dome that was metres from the hypocentre of the Hiroshima bomb. As with what appears to be the majority of Japanese photobook images from this era, there are rich, dark and inky blacks that draw my eye deep into the photograph. The subject matter is all relating to the war, memorial and defeat – bedraggled flags, photographs of fallen soldiers and the destruction of the city. There is nothing celebratory here, and the depth of the images is entirely appropriate and sombre. Seeing the “ultimate photobook-as-object” was a thrill, even though flicking through the pages was not a possibility. The one interesting curatorial juxtaposition was walking from this room of deep blacks to Ursula Schulz-Dornburg’s low contrast, New Topographics inspired Kurchatov – Architecture of a Nuclear Test Site (2012). Differing styles, but perhaps also a differing outlook, with Kawada (and Japan in general) heavily affected by the death of circa 185000 people in the two bombings.
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Chizu (1965) Kikuji Kawada
http://images.tate.org.uk/sites/default/files/styles/grid-normal-8-cols/public/images/ctp01.jpg?itok=GFhHO53E

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Kurchatov – Architecture of a Nuclear Test Site (2012) Ursula Schulz-Dornburg
http://images.tate.org.uk/sites/default/files/styles/grid-normal-8-cols/public/images/ctp06.jpg?itok=AAgZAYnf

Another room I was impressed with was Sophie Ristelhueber’s Fait (1992). Individually, there weren’t many images that would have captured my imagination, other than for any possible connections with mapping that comes from the aerial viewpoint of many of the images. As an installation which dominates the room with yet another grid of large images, some black and white, others colour but all predominantly monochromatic (grey or sandy brown), the effect is mesmerising. Sitting down and looking up to take in the full effect, there are multiple juxtapositions going on – the colours for one, but also of scale, with some aerial shots, others close-up. Some of the images are individually interesting, others less so. Some images sparse in detail, others not. It’s confusing amidst the simplicity of the images, but I think that’s why it works. The sum of parts – an holistic installation that I sat for a while to take in.

Simon Norfolk’s set of images are a
sublime depiction of the aftermath of war and might potentially be considered controversial. Is it the “right thing” to do, making what would be considered beautiful images if you took the conflict nature away from them? The colour of the skies, if over a more traditional landscape, might feasibly adorn the walls of “normal” living rooms across the country (as opposed to those of collectors), but above bullet riddled walls and controlled explosions, does it give a wrong impression? Or does it make people stop and think again after years of media saturation? Well worth viewing, and a potential for buying in book form at some point.

Broomberg and Chanarin make a couple of appearances in the exhibition, firstly with 
The Press Conference, June 9, 2008, The Day Nobody Died and later with People in Trouble Laughing Pushed to the Ground (2011). Both are really quite conceptual, with The Day Nobody Died being totally abstract and I guess it will appeal to some. People in Trouble is altogether more interesting to me; small details of images previously hidden under stickers in the Belfast Exposed archive of “the Troubles”. Displaced from their original context, the images (yet again arranged in a large grid – this year’s standard layout?) provide a series of port-holes into scenes we can only really guess at – random details of people fighting, abstract arrangements of furniture and body parts. Alongside this was a single large photograph of some kind of street battle with milk, and image that tickled me once I saw the four pints of milk, caught mid-flight…
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People in Trouble Laughing Pushed to the Ground (2011) Broomberg and Chanarin
http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2011/2/17/1297963027788/Broomberg–Chanarin–005.jpg

The last set of images I will discuss is Chloe Dewe Mathews Shot at Dawn. The last room of the exhibition has four of her images; they could be anywhere in Europe (and possibly further afield too), mundane snippets of landscape photographed in the early morning light which infuses them with an air of melancholy and, once the context is known and understood, of silent remembrance of soldiers executed for suffering the psychological of warfare and watching their closest friends being killed in action. Thankfully these photographs were also printed large, with a bench before them to allow the viewer to sit, take in all four at once and contemplate. So impressive were these that I bought the book of the collection in the gallery shop.

There were some that didn’t work for me, or at least asked a different type of question. Why were some of the large images printed so large? Was it to make them “feel” like art that should’ve been in a gallery (some of the black & white images in particular)? There also seemed to be a few too many that seemed to follow the style of the New Topographics, although to be fair, some of these might have been due to when the images were taken. There were also some prints in glass clip frames, which struck me as being odd, although it did allow for the images to be unbroken in their stream from one to the next – something to consider perhaps?

As a final point, on leaving the exhibition there’s a large McCullin landscape of the Somme on the wall of the rest area next to the coffee shop and bookshop. It’s dark and grainy, it carries all the weight of McCullin’s experiences as a war photographer within it. A fitting closure.

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The Battlefields of the Somme, France (2000) Don McCullin
http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/P80136
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