In Our World. New Photograpy in Britain

20th April – 13th July 2008 Palazzo Santa Margherita, corso Canalgrande 103, Modena

Sunday 20th April at 11.30am at the Galleria Civica di Modena sees the opening of the exhibition In Our World. New Photography in Britain, curated by Filippo Maggia.

Organised and produced by the Galleria Civica di Modena and the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Modena this group show has been put together in collaboration with the Royal College of Art of London and presents the research works of 18 artists who over the last 10 years have attended the Photography Master offered by the prestigious British institution, which now seems to have taken the place of many others (Goldsmiths University, Saint Martin’s College etc.) as the place to train in Europe in the field not only of photography but also in visual arts in general.

The artists presented in the show come from various parts of the world, drawn to London by the very excellence of the College, and have been chosen by the curator, who has been given a year’s visiting fellowship for this project as a researcher by the RCA. The artists involved are: Becky Beasley (1975, UK), Bianca Brunner (1974, Chur, Switzerland), Lisa Castagner (1975, Northern Ireland), Simon Cunningham, Annabel Elgar (1971, Aldershot, UK), Anne Hardy (1970, London), Lucy Levene (1978, London), Gareth McConnell (1972, Northern Ireland), Brígida Mendes (1977, Tomar, Portugal), Suzanne Mooney (1976, Ireland), Melissa Moore (1978, Nottingham), Harold Offeh (1977, Accra, Ghana), Kirk Palmer (1971, Northampton, UK), Sarah Pickering (1972, Durham City, Uk) Sophy Rickett (1970, London), Esther Teichmann (1980, Karlsruhe, Germany), Heiko Tiemann (1968, Bad Oeynhausen, Germany), and Danny Treacy (1975, Manchester).

The exhibition includes photographs, videos and films: a range of expressive media and a sufficient number of works to make the artistic development of each artist clear. Many of them have already exhibited in galleries both in Britain and around the world: in London, the Maureen Paley, the National Portrait Gallery, the Whitechapel and the Tate Modern among others; in Europe, to name but a few, the Fundação Colouste Gulbenkian in Lisbon, the Musée de l'Elisée in Lausanne, the Fotomuseum Winterthur in Winterthur, the Centre Pompidou in Paris; and in Italy, at the Nepente Gallery in Milan, at the Galleria Alberto Peola in Turin, as well as at the Venice Biennale.

Housed in Palazzo Santa Margherita, in corso Canalgrande 103 in Modena until 13th July, the exhibition is accompanied by a detailed catalogue published by Skira, the first of a new series dedicated to the young blood emerging in various countries of Europe and beyond. The catalogue features a rich selection of images for each artist, along with a statement on each artist’s work and a complete bio-bibliography.

In Our World provides an up-to-date and extremely contemporary overview of photographic research in England. The presence of artists from a variety of nations (Germany, Portugal, the United States, Switzerland, Ireland etc.) yet who have been living in London for some time, underlines the key role played today by the capital of the UK in contemporary arts, and in particular, by the Royal College of Art, which (as mentioned above) has become a new point of reference.

Although it is hard to pin down a dominant current or trend that characterises all the works on show, all the artists present in the exhibition share a strong sense of interaction with the world around them. Not content with merely representing it, in a certain sense they act as a sort of filter, giving it a new and personal interpretation, transforming, inventing and putting together the pieces of a tangible reality, or providing a first person account (in some cases featuring directly as protagonists of the works) of their own relationship with life and society at large.

Despite dealing with personal experiences, in many cases very different from one another, there is a shared sense of melancholy, one of the here and now needing to be lived to the full, faced with eyes wide open and then pieced back together through their images. Another feature common to many of their works is their reconstruction of precise situations in which the photographic act defines and redraws the lines and proportions of a new sense of reality, one made up of intimate relationships, multiple meanings that the photographer tries to put across through a pondered and selective gaze.

This may certainly be said of Mooney’s work, focused on a reconsideration of the modus vivendi though which we are used to looking upon the world; Rickett seems to go beyond this, in her attempt to reveal that which is not immediately obvious in her film Auditorium; Pickering’s research moves along the thin and fragile line between the real and the imaginary; the human figure performs an act of metamorphosis in its moulding into different spaces in the works of Moore; while the figure is in movement, and interacts both with itself and the space around it in the works of Cunningham; Levene’s images of the couple constitute an outright act of non-conformism; while Castagner’s images become a manifesto against the glossy glamour of a false femininity. The place and its history, its cultural and anthropological identity are the key to the research carried out by Palmer in his poignant videos; and the origins of cultural roots also lie at the heart of the reasoning on which the work of Mendes is based, with images straddling fiction and reality; while Tiemann approaches photography as a means of observing and decoding the world, based on experience and waiting; while the constitution of a means to foster communication between different cultures fills the video works of Offeh, who often interacts with the characters portrayed; images are treated as a visual epic poem in McConnell’s slide show, a long personal story lived from within; just like the highly personal and intimate relationships, or rather the emotions, portrayed in the works of Teichmann. Startling, disturbing figures are those that take on human connotations in the works of Treacy; and it is also an imaginary world that forms the backdrop to the works of Brunner’s research, in which it is the objects that mutate and change form; just like in the relationship between the objects and their representation as photographic objects underpins Beasley’s research; a reflection on the use of photography as a creative instrument that induces us to take on new forms of perception is that which leads Hardy to put together environments which are full of details and different elements, yet ones in which man is absent; an absence interpreted in terms of vulnerability in the characters and images of Elgar, in whose work the details are in actual fact symbols that provide us with the key to interpret the work.

The artists

Tipo di evento Mostra
Periodo 20/04/2008 al
Sede Palazzo Santa Margherita
Inaugurazione Sunday 20th April 2008, 11.30am
A cura di Filippo Maggia
Organizzazione e produzione

Galleria Civica di Modena
Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Modena in collaboration with Royal College of Art, London

Preview per la stampa Friday 18th April 2008, 11.30am

from Tuesday to Sunday 10.30am – 1pm; 4pm – 7.30pm
closed on Mondays

Ingresso free

Galleria Civica di Modena, Canalgrande 103, 41100 Modena tel. +39 059 2032911/2032940 - fax +39 059 2032932

Ufficio Stampa

Ufficio Stampa Studio Pesci, Bologna,, tel. +39 051 269267 Ufficio Stampa Galleria Civica di Modena tel. +39 059 203 2883,

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