17-18 Golden Square, London W1F 9JJ
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The exhibition brings together major works by artists who are not usually known for their work in the photographic medium. Their photographs represent a personal approach to photography’s mimetic role and reveal further aspects of their work.
The relationship between painting and photography has been an important aspect in the work of Sigmar Polke and Gerhard Richter. Over the last 25 years, Polke has made a wide range of photographs which reflect the camera’s ability to communicate both inwards to the retina and the brain and outwards to reality. By exposing film in the darkroom, enlarging sections and subjecting them to chemical and mechanical manipulation, he explores and reveals the process of seeing. Gerhard Richter’s photographs are apparently small personal snapshots of friends or places he has visited. Yet their subject is obscured by the thick impasto paint applied across their surfaces, denying the viewer access to personal experience.
Mike Kelley’s photographs from 1981 embody the transgressive yet poetic quality of much of his work. His photographs tackle some of the standard obsessions of American society: religion, natural history, notions of the body, adolescence, family relationships, sexual identity. In a similar way, Rosemarie Trockel’s heliogravures challenge us to reconsider the dominant meanings of cultural forms which authorise sexual, cultural, biological and historical heirarchies. The photographs seem personal and intimate but are characterised by blurriness or strange juxtapositions. With their sepia tone, they take on the air of archival photographs, yet their subject matter and composition seem to confute this interpretation.
The two photographs by Isa Genzken are X rays of her own skull – they allude to the medical and diagnostic role of photography and extend her investigation of three dimensional space and bodily experience. Roni Horn’s photographs are a document of her travels to Iceland, a destination which holds special meaning in her exploration of place and space.
Felix Gonzalez-Torres’ huge photographic image reflects his continuing interest in the permeability of our collective existence. It symbolizes both the stillness of introspection and the publicness of outward thrust. Smaller, deeply personal images such as love letters or photographs of trips have been commercially transformed into jigsaw puzzles. Made concrete as memories or souvenirs, these puzzles together make up a diary of the artist’s life.
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