Monday, 9 December 2013

Dayanita Singh & Ana Mendieta

Before I flew to Australia, I had a wonderful trip to the Hayward Gallery with a collector/ friend to see these two extraordinary female artists, Dayanita Singh and Ana Mendieta. As I realise that these exhibitions are due to close on 15th December, I would wholeheartedly recommend everyone, anyone who shares a passion about photography, photo books, truth, innovation, ritualism and design and the body must see these shows before they close, they have to be some of the strongest exhibitions I have seen throughout they year. 

The Hayward for me is always a beautiful space to see major exhibitions and again they did not fail in producing and curating two empowering shows, that guide you through the lives living and lost of the two artists, Dayanita and Ana. As you walk into the ground floor, you open the door into the Mendieta show, knowing very little about this artist, I was straight away griped by the intensity, the power of her works, as she uses her body as a medium in very sense. Striking photographs depict her breasts, buttocks, stomach pressed against a piece of glass, re -enactment's of rape scenes and abstract films dominate the first few rooms. Paintings with Ox blood, the use of the tactile as Ana Mendeita puts all her strength into painting with her hands, scrapping paint down the paper, her extraordinary passion ignites every part of you.  The use of her body within her works is stunning, wrapping, positioning and covering her naked body ritualistically into the natural environment, but also her defiance, determination to record every artwork in such a archival, informative manner was so interesting to see. A truly prolific female artist and such a tragedy she died so young, its a must see show, with an energy difficult to put into words.

Then onto the wonderful Dayanita Singh and her show, as the Hayward states, " a landmark project" and it was surely that. "Go Away Closer"  is a stunning exhibition that physically visualises Singh's use of Photography as a medium. Using her imagery, intermixed with incredible design, Singh creates large wooden structures called museums that hold between 70-140 photographs in compartments that open and close, can be moved and positioned, folded and packed away. Each museum  has a curated theme and Dayanita's strong black and white imagery sit within these framed sections creating an inspiringly new way to see her imagery and the narratives that are within them. These structures are not small and the dark wood has a warm, yet slightly domineering element to them, a strength that states, we are here to stay.  It was a truly exciting and fresh way to see her works, using photography as a tool, that can be fashioned into design and where you can see in a different way. Beautiful!  

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