Evolution Explored is an exhibition of works curated from the Magnum Photos archive and presented in the public realm in Shrewsbury, from February – April 2017. The project is a Grain Projects collaboration with Shrewsbury Business Improvement District and The Hive Arts Centre.Acclaimed photography agency Magnum Photos have worked in collaboration to curate an exhibition of stunning photographs made internationally by the world’s leading photographers.
The exhibition will be on show at two locations. The event coincides with International Darwin Day and Darwin’s birthday on 12th February.
The exhibition also links to Magnum Photos’ 70th anniversary which is to be marked by a series of international events, projects and partnerships.
Magnum Photos is a photographic co-operative owned by its photographer members. Noted for its diverse and distinctive work, Magnum chronicles the world and interprets its people, events, issues and personalities. It was founded in 1947 by four pioneers, Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, George Rodger and David Seymour.
EAST MEETS WEST is an exhibition of contemporary photography and moving image by 16 emerging artists. This remarkable exhibition includes works that represent the talent and ambition of artists in the Midlands today.
The artists responded to an open call to practitioners based within the Midlands, or those who have graduated from a Midlands-based University in the past three years. The opportunity was devised in response to and was required to relate to the theme of ‘Leisure’ – a core theme explored in Doug Fishbone’s Leisure Land Golf exhibition at Quad, an installation exhibited during summer 2016.
The exhibition includes an ambitious, fascinating and diverse collection of interpretations, from projects delving into a broad range of ‘leisure’ activities and events including walking, swimming, collecting, drinking and travelling. The exhibition is a remarkable commentary on what people do today in their leisure time.
The exhibiting artists are; Jim Brouwer & Simon Raven, Jakki Carey, Theo Ellison, Attilio Fiumarella, Emma Georgiou, Anne Giddings, Daniel Hayes, Geoff Hodgson, Amy Huggett, Holger Martin, Tracey McMaster, George Miles, Marta Soul, Clive Wheeler and Dan Wheeler.
The project is a partnership with Format International Photography Festival, Quad, Derby and GRAIN Projects, supported by Arts Council England and Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery.
For British photographer Murray Responding To A Landscape is a photographic odyssey, an epic series of landscape works made over four years, to be premiered in an exhibition at mac, Birmingham in 2017 and to be featured in a limited edition photo book. Working in collaboration with Murray to produce and manage this significant project has seen ambitious new works realised that will feature in an exhibition, publication and symposium.
The project exhibited for the first time works made on Saddleworth Moor. Respresenting pictorial landscape photography, showing both the vastness of landscape and the microscopic detail of vegetation and geology; works that focus on light and texture and pay homage to Dutch seventeenth century landscape painting as well as in some cases appearing biblical and in others apocalyptic and other worldly. This is a personal series of work, where there is no evidence of human intervention or presence but a relationship between photographer and landscape. The exhibition and accompanying photobook were launched in November 2017.
Alongside the project I curated a symposium that looked at photographer’s relationship and response to the landscape they photograph, with speakers including Jem Southam and Chrystel Lebas.
Seven Day Suit is an artist-led collaborative exhibition, devised and curated by a group of emerging artists working in photography and moving image. In 2015 I was invited to mentor the group as part of the Redeye Lightbox programme. On meeting the group it was decided to work towards and propose an exhibition at Brighton Photo Biennial.
In response to the Biennial’s theme of fashion and identity the artists have taken the tracksuit as their area of research and subject to explore identity and representation – personal and projected images, influences, gender, and politics of style, subcultures and the subversion of social and cultural norms. Through the tracksuit the new photographic and moving image work features identity, subcultures, politics and social and economic impact through the fashion of one garment. The tracksuit has become part of the identity of the wearer, individual and group/tribe. It is an example of fashion that transcends class and cultures, existing in both low and high fashion. The tracksuit has become historically significant, yet has remained relevant to this day, having been recurrent within developing fashion trends. Seven Day Suit opens at Brighton Photo Biennial on 1st October until 30th October 2016.
The giant corn dolly Kern Baby is a five meter high sculpture, created by artist Faye Claridge as a result of a research residency where she studied the images and archives of Sir Benjamin Stone. The sculpture has been exhibited at Compton Verney and at the Library of Birmingham, accompanied by a series of handmade prints entitled A Child for Sacrifice.
Claridge uses folklore and reminiscence to examine our past relationships and our current sense of national and personal identity. In making this work she also worked with young people from a Warwickshire village to re-interpret customs using artefacts from the Marton Museum of Country Bygones.
The artist duo Broomberg & Chanarin were invited to respond to a Grain commission at the Library of Birmingham. Over two years they encountered, researched and questioned the photography collections at the library. In the book ‘Spirit is a Bone’ they have made connections with the archive and their own work and concerns.
The book combines a new series of portraits made with a Russian camera which was made for face recognition and surveillance, ‘non collaborative portraits’, where human contact is not made, with a new critically engaged essay by Eyal Weizman and a response to images from the Sir Benjamin Stone archive.
In the book photographs open up the relationship between technology and ideology – theories of race, class and occupation. The photographs collected by Stone in the second half of the nineteenth century, in the Library of Birmingham archive, are visual evidence of his interest in history, science, nature and cultures. Like many, widespread in the Victorian period, Stone had a need to classify, know, collect, control and own. His album no 50 ‘Types and Races of Mankind’ includes what might be called non-consensual images, made for the scrutiny of others and to increase understanding.
The book and essay prompt questions about engaging with archives and access to them.
In 2014 Grain commissioned acclaimed British artist Mat Collishaw to make new work in response to the Library of Birmingham photography collection.
In Camera is an installation created around a series of 12 crime scene negatives made for Birmingham City Police Force during the 1930s and 1940s. Collishaw discovered these uncatalogued images, made to provide evidence in alleged in actual crimes committed in the city, hidden amongst an archive of orphaned police negatives whilst exploring the Library’s photography collections.
The exhibition of new work ran from September 2015 – January 2016 at The Gallery, Library of Birmingham, in parallel with the major survey show of Collishaw’s work at The New Art Gallery Walsall.
The work prompts questions about the medium of photography, its historical role as witness and the way in which our reading of images are affected when they shift from public to private. The work sees Collishaw continuing to explore the potential for images to be both shocking and alluring.
During 2012 artists Sophy Rickett and Bettina von Zwehl were commissioned to develop new work in response to the Sir Benjamin Stone Collection at the Library of Birmingham. The artists decided to focus upon one album in particular, a miscellaneous album which did not follow Stone’s usual rules of classification, known as Album 31.
The first outcome, which included the production and exhibition of 11 Album Pages, was exhibited at the Library of Birmingham during Spring 2014. Following the positive reviews and reception the project was extended and new support and partners sought to create a major exhibition opportunity and an international outcome.
In 2015 the new exhibition of Album 31 was shown at the Library of Birmingham Gallery and at Ffoto Galleriet, Oslo, Norway. The exhibition of new work by Rickett and von Zwehl was befitting of the Stone album where images were collated apparently at random, as if the ‘rules’ that applied to the rest of the collection were temporarily waived, so that subject matters, processes, time frames and approaches co-existed, creating a kind of chaotic spontaneity full of poetry, humour, and also some darkness.
In 2013 Mat Collishaw was invited to create a limited edition as a Grain, New Art Gallery Walsall and Library of Birmingham co-commission. The print is available to purchase at a special price. Visit www.grainphotographyhub.co.uk for more information.
Collishaw makes alluring, poetic and shocking work with a visual language that embraces diverse media. Themes and subjects from histories and religion are explored, often the darker side of nature and human character, and yet the work is beautiful and awe-inspiring. He is interested in the history of photography, in its subjects, techniques and machinery and often references histories in his work, in particular the Victorian period.
As an extension to the Reference Works project, artists Andrew Lacon and Stuart Whipps were commissioned to develop a new relationship with Guangzhou Library, China. The commission was supported by Arts Council England and the British Council.
The artists developed a new proposal that interrogated and explored the shared and divergent histories of the two cities and the series of complex relationships; the relationship between the materials of the former and current library buildings, the similarities and differences that exist between the material housed in the two libraries, and the relationships between the people of the respective cities and their former and present libraries and collections. Following a period of research and making formal studies in the studio in the UK they spent an intensive period in Guangzhou in November 2014 making and exhibiting new work throughout the duration of their stay.
The work was exhibited at Guangzhou Library and gifted to their collections as part of this international Artists Exchange and Exhibition supported by British Council, Arts Council England and the two libraries.