Thursday, 3 March 2011

People In Trouble Laughing Pushed To The Ground

Last Thursday I went to the opening of Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin's new show "People In Trouble Laughing Pushed To The Ground" at Paradise Row. The exhibition was stunning and shows a new body of work which resulted from an engagement with the Photographic Archive, Belfast Exposed, founded in 1983.

Belfast Exposed is home to half a million images and they describe the archive as "a vernacular document, a record of a turbulent historical period in the city's history, produced from the perspectives of its principal actors, the communities themselves. It is not a representative view of the city as whole but an arbitrary gathering of images and views, of and from specific parts of Belfast."

Broomberg and Chanarin have produced a series of images that attempts to re-present the emotive traces of personal intervention, in all its forms, from photo-editors, archivists to the photographers and their subjects, commenting on and "highlighting a tension between the desire to expose and the desire to remain hidden." In one series the images, examples above, present detailed sections of photographs which have been previously covered with dots, we are presented with just the dots and are left wondering what was in the rest of the frame. Other exhibits are large scale enlargements from the archive detailing the range of marks left on the images, some gentle and artistic to violent and obscuring.

The show is truly beautiful and well worth a visit. It is a must to anyone who appreciates the diversity and power of Photography used in an experimental, conceptual and poetic manner.

Images above from left to right; Untitled (Laughing, hiding, pulling), 2010, fibre print, 20.3 x 25.4 cm and

Untitled (Balloons escaping), 2010, fibre print, 20.3 x 25.4 cm - Copyright Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin

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