Friday, 4 February 2011

Stezaker at the Whitechapel

The new John Stezaker exhibition opened last weekend at the Whitechapel Gallery, so I wondered down on the opening sunday to take a look. What initially struck me was just how busy the show was, I hadn't anticipated so many people and found myself quite surprised by the turnout. The exhibition is stunning. I have always been a great fan of Stezaker and seen much of his work through his gallery The Approach, but this is quite an experience.

The show brings together over 90 works from 1970 up until the present day and each and everyone is beautifully crafted and offers up the audience new ways of seeing. The Whitechapel explains “His ‘Dark Star’ series turns publicity portraits into cut-out silhouettes, creating an ambiguous presence in the place of the absent celebrity. Stezaker’s way of giving old images a new context reaches its height in the found images of his Third Person Archive: the artist has removed delicate, haunting figures from the margins of obsolete travel illustrations. Presented as images on their own, they now take the centre stage of our attention.” This series I found to be very inspirational and very good research material when thinking about the notion of the Punctum. For me, these pieces were one of my favorites as well as "Stolen Sky, 1976" and "Sublime, 1987-1998."

If you haven't yet been to the Whitechapel to see this exhibition you must, also there is a great show by welsh artist Betham Huws which is also worth a visit, her textual pieces I found to be very inspiring.“A series of wall texts show Huws’ research into the French idiomatic expressions she has found in the work of Marcel Duchamp, offering both a possible interpretation of his work, and an indirect way of understanding hers.”

Image above, Love XI, 2006, collage. Private Collection, Switzerland. © The Artist.

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