Exhibitions Archive

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  • 'Anti-Photography'
    curated by Duncan Wooldridge
  • 17 January to 2 April 2011

‘Anti-Photography’
curated by Duncan Wooldridge
17 January to 2 April 2011

William Anastasi, Walead Beshty, Mel Bochner, Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin, Anne Collier, David Raymond Conroy, Jan Dibbets, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Ceal Floyer, Mario Garcia Torres, John Hilliard, Sherrie Levine, Sara MacKillop, Dan Rees, Ed Ruscha, Joachim Schmid, John Stezaker, Wolfgang Tillmans, and James Welling.

‘Anti-Photography’ brings together a selection of historic and contemporary works exploring and challenging our understanding of the medium of photography. Taking place over two venues in Southend-on-Sea; Focal Point Gallery and The Beecroft Art Gallery, and focusing on works that interrupt, challenge or rethink the image as an objective or transparent window, the survey exhibition proposes a broad look at the wider uses, often everyday or overlooked, which constitute the photographic field. Reworking Nancy Foote’s 1976 Artforum text ‘The Anti-Photographers’, which identified a strand of ‘anti-aesthetic’ or ‘deskilled’ photography outside

the orthodoxy of conventional photography, the exhibition updates Foote’s observations by drawing attention to recent work exploring interests in photography’s technology, uses and physical characteristics.

Often the site of an experiment concerning the limits of the medium, photography is rarely as transparent as we expect it to be. Drawing attention to and rupturing the experience of perception, many of the works draw the viewer into a complex relationship between depiction and surface effects. For John Hilliard and Mel Bochner, this might be found in the non-objectivity of the image or document which is destabilised as a source of authority; for Wolfgang Tillmans, and Broomberg and Chanarin, the physical use and surface of the image play increasingly important roles in an understanding of the work.

The experimental practices of photography featured in the exhibition – often integral to the development of art – are rarely hinted at in histories or survey exhibitions of the medium. ‘Anti-Photography’ addresses this expanded field of practice in which

photography now belongs, seeing this experimentation as vital in creating new possibilities for the construction and understanding of images.

Exhibition venues:

Part 1: Focal Point Gallery, Southend Central Library, Victoria Avenue, Southend-on-Sea, Essex SS2 6EX, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (0)1702 534108.

Part 2: The Beecroft Art Gallery, Station Road, Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex SS0 7RA , United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (0)1702 347418.

For further information and images on the exhibition, please contact Laura Bowen, Focal Point Gallery Exhibition and Marketing Officer: +44 (0)1702 534 108 / laurabowen@southend.gov.uk.

‘Anti-Photography’ is supported by Arts Council England and Southend-on-Sea Borough Council.