Sunday, January 27, 2013

Geraldo de Barros, Laura Letinsky and eight collage artists at the Photographers' Gallery 

18th Jan- 7th April

Three exhibitions of Geraldo de Barros, Laura Letinsky and other collage artists are now open at the Photographer's Gallery. These exhibitions give a wide overview of the collage practice from 1950s to the contemporary time. 

Brazilian artist Geraldo de Barros (1923-1998) is one of the significant figures of Brazilian modernist art scene. In the exhibition 'What Remains’ his photographic and collage works from two series belonging to different periods in the artist's work are presented. After the completion of the first series 'Fotoformas' in 1950, de Barros abandoned photography, and returned to it only in the beginning of nineties. The resulting series 'Sobras' draws a connection between past and present through the period of over forty years.

In Portuguese 'Sobras' means 'Remains', and this series gave the name to the exhibition. What remains - is the artist’s memory of small things and events that once took place in his life. Also it is something that is left from the photograph when it is cut by the artist's hand. De Barros is undoubtedly an artist of the miniatures. While his medium-size photography focuses on visual effects of black and white abstraction, his smaller photographs and collages oscillate between the language of abstraction and figurative images. Geraldo de Barros discovered an interesting phenomenon: miniature photos no longer document reality; they modify the very content of the documented image. The change of scale is used to provoke a specific feeling from a viewer, which resides between attention to details and some kind of nostalgia of insignificant moments of life. The effort, that a viewer makes to see the details, makes him approach closer to an art work, and this ruination of borders requires certain privacy of interaction with a photograph. The artist emphasizes this privacy by adding symbolical frames inside of the picture: sometimes he draws a frame with a ball pen; sometimes he glues the black tape directly on the photo collage. This action has a definite reference to the constructivist works, but the impression produced by this photographs applies rather to emotional than to rational. The motifs that Geraldo de Barros uses are simple and reminiscent of the amateur photos. Every simple object can become an object of his interest: streets, houses, passers-by, windows, or snowdrifts. 

The exhibition of the Canadian artist Laura Letinsky (born 1962) 'Ill Form and Void Full' presents photographic works in a particular technique invented by the artist. It combines a real still life with a photographed collage. The collages of Letinsky explore the boundary between reality and illusion, material objects and their visual representations. The exhibition consists of ten photographs of the mix of modified magazine cuts-out and household objects. The white background is used to eliminate any additional context and to create a feeling of emptiness surrounding these objects. The artist’s work focuses on conceptual opposition of absence and presence. The way of naming the works follows the same aim: all of the photographs are untitled, though each one has its own number. 

In the last floor of the Photographers' Gallery the exhibition 'Perspectives on Collage' by eight collage artists concludes the tour. The participants of the exhibition are C.K. Rajan, Jan Svoboda, Peggy Franck, Nicole Wermers, Batia Suter, Anna Parkina, Roy Arden, Clunie Reid. They presented photo collages in a variety of artistic media, including installation and sculpture.
The journey though the three exhibitions at the Photographers' Gallery gives a fresh and involving perspective on the historical development of the media of collage and various approaches to it. It is a must-see for all people interested in experimental collage and contemporary photography.

The website of the gallery:

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