On Photography, and more
As its name, taken from British band Procol Haram’s 1967 hit single ‘A Whiter Shade of Pale’, alludes, A Shade of Pale curated by Carrie Scott is a kaleidoscopic passage through the visions of 10 artists, both emerging and established alike in the realm of photography. Consciously noted by Scott in the curatorial note, the exhibition is not to be mistaken as a group show, for the works bear no distinct associations in its making and are to be experienced individually; yet, any likeness or reverberations that exist across the works are by ‘a happy accident’ or credited to the space, where The Store at 180 The Strand graciously affords to the works. But this caveat aside, the artists do in fact pull the onlooker into worlds so unique on their own that every encounter with each of their work in the space is different, and breathtakingly so.
John Pawson, widely known for his architecture, presents a photographic series of 320 images that from afar, is a rainbow housed indoors. True to its name, ‘Spectrum’ is not only a poetic study of colours but also a curious compendium of worldly sights and textures, from stunning aerial views over Kazakhstan to the peculiarly familiar architectural details of Kings Cross Tube station in London. Perceptively arranged in a series of rows that you can stream in and out of, Pawson’s photography brings serendipitous delight as one discovers the various affinities that transverse the images.
Whether it be the moon, seas or the sky, nature and our interaction with it through colour is a resonant theme. Bindi Vora’s landscapes of the seas, whose characteristics are muted out by a vibrant palette, is a play on our sensorial and sensory perceptions; while Ellie Tsatsou’s minimalistic study of the moon and Frederico Pastelli’s candy skies fragmented by pixels form otherworldly observations about the remotely omnipresent. The others, however, look more closely to home. Walter and Zoniel reminds us of the weight of our existence, documenting the physical baggage that simultaneously defines and limits the individual; whereas Luca Anzalone’s ‘Tenero’ manifests the delicate in nature and of the human body through his innately tactile photography. Tom Munro, Lorena Lohr, Marina Shacola and Marco Walker each investigate deeply into a city and its unique personality, from Munro’s72Tokyovicariously capturing the amatory in Japanese culture including the notorious Shinjuku Golden Gai District to Walker’s dizzying lost era of Hollywood chic with life-size cut-outs of fifties glamour.
While the works themselves are enlivening to varying degrees, the way in which the works were presented in a sculptural manner certainly pushed the artistic experience of photography beyond the banal. Where a linear wall-hang is almost always the default for photographic works, the works of Pawson, Anzalone, Vora and Munro gave the pulse of the exhibition greater visual rhythm. In this regard, one easily forgets what we see are just images. Yet they are defiantly more than simply photography: our understanding of the everyday is ultimately transformed by these intimate surveys in an uncanny shade of pale that collectively, seem to come to us in a reverie.
A Shade of Pale
24 May – 3 June 2018
The Store X, 180 The Strand