Discarded photographs. Unwanted and jettisoned or dropped unknowingly by their former owners in a hurried moment. Curator Karen Downey presents ‘Versions and Diversions’, an experimental exhibition showcasing the works of three contemporary artists, Maurizio Anzeri, Ruth Claxton and Mariana Mauricio.
Bringing together a selection of works, ‘Versions and Diversions’ intervenes with forgotten images that have become lost and unloved. Through several processes of intimate association with the individual artist, the found photographs are altered at surface and compositional levels reinventing a sense of modernity and improving its relation to the contemporary world.
The projects capture the concept of ‘Versions’ as a sense of adaptation of the image, recasting them in a somewhat modernised form, and ‘Diversions’ as a redirection away from the original image. Encountering images from art history, popular culture and family portraiture the viewer is challenged to divert their attention away from the original structure and ‘habits’ of the photographs and look upon the highly subjective intervention, exploring the altered images.
Anzeri’s ‘string art’ technique of overlaying geometric, threaded patterns to recast the photographs into an alien form, reinvents examples of formal, photographic portraiture. The results are often unsettling on the viewer as the images seem to reference futuristic images of cyborgs and androids as well as ancient masking techniques.
Claxton works with postcards of portrait and figurative paintings to create hybrid objects. She draws our attention away from the pictorial interest of the portraiture and focuses the viewer’s attention on the semantic and material structure of the work. The works intensify the language of the traditional pictorial interest and intensifies the images through an amalgamation of painterly, sculptural and photographic techniques.
Finally, Mauricio works with negatives and faded photographs of family holidays in 1960s and 70s Brazil. Elaborating on the already unsettling aspects of the effects of time on the photo material, Mauricio further distorts and disturbs the staged cheerfulness of the photograph. Through processes such as scratching and painting, stitching and bleaching, Mauricio revitalises our view of history and photography’s capability to capture it.
With an archive of experience the artists and projects concerned steer away from the political uses of such techniques and instead focus on a more Surrealist exploration of the unconscious and the uncanny.
Temple Bar Gallery and Studios; Friday 15th July- Saturday 20th August
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words Emma Nicholls