One of the many highlights at the opening weekend of Photomonth Krakow, but one that really resonates in my mind was the Alias. Survey exhibition at The Bunkier Sztuki Contemporary Art Gallery where Broomberg & Chanarin gave a talk about the concept behind the curation. What was very interesting was the reasoning behind the use of installation shots instead of the original pieces for all the artists’ works in the exhibition. Originally from the constraints of budgetary requirements, came this new use of imagery, installation photography being propelled to a new level, seen worthy as a gallery exhibit in its own right.
Each piece was a copy of the original. None of the artists in the exhibition existed; rather the works existed as copies of the fictitious , anonymous, experimental and alternative personas that each artist in the exhibition had wished to inhabit to produce work outside the realm of reality. As you walked through the exhibition you had a little book detailing the biographies of the artists, all of which were fictitious. This itself could be seen as an exhibit as when you viewed the pieces you spent much of the time reading the text, trying to work out what was truthful, or even more interestingly, knowing nothing was truthful but believeing what you read. One image, which really demonstrated this beautifully for me, was a piece showing Gillian Wearing’s exhibition at Maureen Paley I believe. This installation shot, blown up to over 60 inches and printed as a poster then installed into the gallery perfectly posed the questions; what makes a photograph photography, who is the artist – does it matter, what’s the notion of the original and where is the medium headed?
For me, this survey, incomplete as it said it was has propelled forward some very interesting and exciting concepts surrounding the notion of what constitutes the medium in this changing time. Broomberg & Chanarin have created an opening, a space whereby questions that need answering, but are hesitantly suggested, or more commonly not mentioned at all, come into play. Interesting times, there is a space here, I wonder who takes it to the stage.
Read more here: http://bunkier.art.pl/en