Monday, 11 April 2011

Demand, Ethridge, Goldberg or Lassry?

Today I took a trip over to Baker Street to see the Deutsche Borse Photography Prize at Westminister University. Firstly what a great exhibition space they have there, it reminded me a little of the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, just without the graffiti, skaters and the Parisian culture - brilliant all the same.

As you walk into the space you are immediately faced with Thomas Demand's "Heldenorgel, 2009" against panels of wallpaper. This towering structure, in both physical and content terms dominates the room. I am, and have been a fan of Demand's work but felt a little cold after this exhibit, I felt the space could of taken more, another piece would of added just a little bit more warmth and given a greater understanding when viewing Demand's work.

After Demand's you pan across the room to see an installation of Jim Goldberg's series "Open Sea." Under the stairs are four video pieces playing at once, pauses of black interrupt and a burst of voices grows then fades. The Polaroids are beautiful and the installation of different sized, framed imagery is stunning. An added bonus, is a A1 sheet detailing objects from the project which you are encouraged to take away with you. This is the only show I have seen out of the four and I felt that the curation at P3 was superior to the original at The Photographers' Gallery, maybe it's space that let it down before.

Then in a smaller side room were both Ethridge and Lassry, where the works almost merge into one. For me, this was a real shame, I had hoped that the two artists would be separated, providing both bodies of imagery with more space to breath. Nether-less I was very pleased with what I saw.

Ethridge's playful boundary blurring examines important questions about photography and its positioning within contemporary art and culture. Juxtaposing commercial work with fine art imagery, he uses the medium to question the very nature of what the medium is and can be, something which is extremely important for the future of photography.

Lastly, Elad Lassry's photographs and 16 mm film projections. The size of these images is wonderful, they are small-scale and really invite the audience to 'look' at the photograph. Collages, overtly plastic-like imagery is so familiar, yet you view in a different way, you see through the banal and into what constitutes an image. The film projections add a new dimension, the 16 mm format is perfect as the imperfections of the film are played out in a continuos humming, as we watch colours, patterns and people pass from one side of the frame to the other.

For me, considering the point at which we are at with Photography, the important questioning that is needed and is taking place the winner is Elad Lassry. I feel he is really producing work that examines the very nature of what Photography is and can be. He bridges the gap between stills and film and examines fundamentally what it is to 'look' in an age where we see millions of images everyday. Let's wait and see!

Image copyright Elad Lassry, "Burmese Mother, Kittens, 2008."

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