Monday, 14 June 2010

Where's the Photography?

Newspeak: British Art Now is the new exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery displaying works that are representative of the best of contemporary British Art. For me, this is where it has failed, where was all the Photography?

As I wondered through the maze of rooms filled with Burberry handbags, Versace face lifts and champagne giggles I soon realised that Photography hadn’t been offered a place in this exhibition. Apart from one room, which was filled with, what appeared to be magazine cuttings and photocopies, actual photographs, were all but lost behind the mass of paint and installation. What dawned on me was how separated the Art world is from the Photography world.

As I walked around the exhibition, from one painting to another, to another (positioned rather lower, I guess they work to a child’s eye level) I felt a real sense of sadness and agitation. How can you represent, present a true survey of British contemporary art in 2010 when you leave out a medium?

I feel it is important to look back at the Sensation exhibition in 1997 as photography played a more prominent role with artists like Gillian Wearing, Richard Billingham and Sam Taylor-Wood all exhibiting photography. How can it be that thirteen years have passed and photography is becoming more accepted as an art, but yet it still doesn’t have its place among the paintings?

I hope the time comes where both worlds meet and not run parallel to one another, but where photography is really understood, appreciated and exhibited as a form of contemporary art. 

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