Sunday, 14 February 2010

Fox, Leonard, Ristelhueber or Wylie?

Yesterday I went and visited the Photographer’s Gallery to see the new Deutsche Borse Photography Prize that opened on Friday. After hearing this years nominations I was very keen to see the exhibition before the winner was announced, I wanted an unbiased view.

Before visiting I read a rather damning report in the Guardian by Adrian Searle, on 9th February stating that the prize itself is suffering due to the gallery’s move as the artists are,

“……barely given enough space to mount significant displays. The Photographers' Gallery, which moved to a building off London's Oxford Street two years ago, closes this summer for a major rebuild. This is desperately needed if the prize, which has been running since 1996, is to retain its status and credibility. Just as importantly, it needs to generate a show worth looking at.”

This was something that also interested me greatly and must admit, I did find myself agreeing with. The new space at the Photographer’s Gallery lacks that warm and soul the previous space had, which in turn I feel becomes problematic when, curating any new show, let alone a prize like this.

Having said that one artists work that stood out for me were the works by Sophie Ristelhueber. Exhibited alone on the ground floor, the works were given enough space to breath and invited us to ponder over the large-scale images of childhood memories and digitalised conflicts. These works left me with many questions surrounding modern day photojournalism and media representations of conflicts. Not only these, but posed questions to me about the truthfulness of such representations in our digitalised era. These works left me feeling uneasy and wanting more, which I did not get from the other nominees for these reasons I feel she is a worthy winner.

Images from top left to bottom right; Anna Fox "Hampshire Pram Race, 2006"  Zoe Leonard, "Income Tax, Rapid Divorce, 1999/2006" Sophie Ristelhueber, "Eleven Blowups #5, 2006" and Donovan Wylie, " The Maze Prison. Sterile, Phase 1. 2003."

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