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London calling !

It all started one winter night in the East End, as three photographers were attending an opening. At the time, the first info regarding the forthcoming Photo London event and its program were just starting to seep out. Agnès Villette, Elisabeth Blanchet and Mandy Williams, who live and work in London, decided to exhibit their work. Coming from very different backgrounds and exploring different visual worlds, they built an exhibition, adding to their series the work of 5 other photographers whose work they liked. From this addition, it became possible to create a coherent exhibition, to draw some links between the various visual approaches and to engage an original dialogue between the 8 different works.

The 7 Dials club is definitely an odd place, a kitsch club in the middle of Covent Garden. One of those staircases one climbs without knowing what to expect. That’s where the first edition of ONE STOP LONDON will be exhibited, between the 20 th and the 24 th of May. There, along the succession of odd shaped huge rooms, a noisy bar, groups booking for orgasm or nude drawing workshops stand the 8 series. Hybrid and strange encounters.

If two of the works depict love stories, they come from very different places, and convince us that photographic gaze and narratives are inherently subjective. In Daydreams , Emmanuelle Foussat offers dreamy landscapes, from outer limits, where a recurrent character seems to test the reality of the world around her. Whereas in Noli me tangere , Agnès Villette explores scarier dimensions; among natural surrounding saturated by water and fragile bridges, roams a man armed with a gun. There is also a woman, who in a theatrical gesture, seems to reminisce about film noir movies. Water seems a strange threat, as it is depicted in Life aquatic by Elisabeth Blanchet, though more vivid, oceanic, and energized. The photo montages evoke summer memories, sunny beaches and forgotten sensations. As in a mirror effect, Mandy Williams‘ images in Before , portray surfaces and reflections, not liquid but aerial, merging interior and exterior landscapes of a housing estate prior to its demolition . As in a form of echo, the geography from Strange country, shot by Ingrid Newton, is resolutely british. Superimposing and reworking archive shots, she captures time’s materiality, the specific quality of childhood, the defunct XX century, as reinforcing the constant will of photography, which since its invention has always been obsessed with capturing and immortalizing the past. In Barbie , from Hamid Blad, childhood is present with the portraits of iconic barbies, shot as for a fashion shoot, their wide hypnotic gazes welcoming the visitors. The dolls could have stepped out of the surreal and complex geographies of Etienne Clément’s Wendy’s world . There, as in a sort of pocket theatre, little figurines – as if escaped from a toy chest – are pausing for some strange modern world acts. Finally, as if London was inviting another city, appears Istanbul from The Purple room , from Helio Leon, a Spanish photographer living in Ireland. Nocturnal, chaotic, and saturated with violent and emotional shades, he constructs a singular travelogue.

From 20 to 24 May 2015
Opening View on May 20th 6 – 10pm

at the Seven Dials Club
Covent Garden
42 Earlham Street,
London WC2H 9LA
United Kingdom

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Hamid Blad

Hamid Blad lives and works in Paris.