Oh dear, where to start…
I went with little expectations to this show in terms of content, but was expecting it to be of a similar calibre to last years work which was exceptional. Because the photographer’s gallery at Ramilies Street is currently being renovated, the show is temporarily at Ambika P3 gallery just beside Baker Street. The space is a bit unusual – I think it used to be a concrete testing facility – but don’t quote me on that. Upshot is, it’s quite industrial in feel which might gel well with Thomas Demand’s work but not so well with the others in the show.
As you enter the show, a large scale image by Thomas Demand hits you front and centre and is installed as if on a large stage which complements the work nicely but strikes me as a bit odd as it’s the only one that has this degree of curation. It would have been nice to see a little more of his work in the show. If I remember rightly this was the only piece.
Roe Etheridge’s work trumpets it’s eclectic nature and the fact that there’s a mix of commercial work and personal work but leaves you with a patchy feeling as if it’s neither here nor there, a bit random but not in a good way, yet I have to say that personally I liked his work the best as it genre hops and leaves you a little perplexed but in a fun way.
Elad Lassry, the work is a bit too dry for me. It screams CONCEPTUAL all over the place in a sort of wanky art school way with nothing to grasp hold of.
Jim Goldberg, individually the pictures are impressive but the way they are curated is a mess and leaves you not wanting to engage with it at all. One whole wall is nearly empty while Roe Etheridge and Elad Lassry’s work is cramped together into one confusing cube.
Overall I was very disappointed with the show and felt that if these are the photographers who’ve contributed the most to contemporary photography in the last year then it’s in a pretty poor state. But I know that not to be the case. It’s a selection panel’s bad taste and poorly curated to boot.
I know this work is supposed to make us question what photography is as a medium but intellectual games are boring to play when the images don’t seduce. They don’t need to be pretty but show them to us in a way that makes us want to look.
Maybe next year…