Posts tagged ‘Slideluck Potshow’

June 27, 2011

The Power of the Curator

I Love Slideluck Potshow London

Last Saturday amidst the somewhat always expected, intermittent drizzle of England, kicked off episode three of Slideluck Potshow London entitled, “Visual Feast”.

The title however, found itself somewhat ironic. Had you read it on the website when booking your ticket (only £5), you might have conjured visions of bountiful imagery and a display that would be a celebration of the creative community. Though what occurred in its place were slide shows focused around the people and environments where the both the bountiful and the cause for celebration, has been robbed. This Visual Feast shrouded itself in imagery from a series of captivating bodies of work from some of the most endearing – often political – strifes  around Eastern Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

Unusual to the formula of Slideluck Potshow – where the work shown is typically from across the creative spectrum – SLPS London III was a carefully crafted exhibition with a strong curatorial thumbprint courtesy of Yumi Goto. The slide show opened up with frequent Telegraph and The Sunday Times photographer, Anastasia Taylor-Lind and featured works from an array of documentary photographers including Stuart Matthews, Paul Hardy-Carter and Brett Van Ort to name a few. As a viewer of this artillery of documentary corpses, it was easy to find the work of each artist merge into the collective through the repetition of subject topic (with at least two series from the tsunami in Japan), the tone and even the style of the imagery. Goto’s eye for rough, stark and affecting imagery turned several photographer’s work into her own, identifiable, collective.

Brett Van Ort, Minescape: Old Forest[Old Forest from the series, Minescape by Brett Van Ort]

Stood in SNAP studios, on the upper floor of an East London building with views stretching out for miles as night fell, it was difficult not to question why Goto had chosen this to be the proper setting for such a critical exhibit of work. With an unsuspecting audience of photographers, writers, students and families from across the UK, Goto found herself an audience with which to raise awareness of the plights of others less fortunate than ourselves; whether she intended to or not.

There were a few series which stood out; particularly because they provided a relief, taking on the heavy subject matter in alternative formats (perhaps offering a solution to our increasing apathy towards traditional documentary photography). Brett Van Ort’s Minescape tackled the subject of the war-torn landscapes of Bosnia, where a large portion of the country has been rendered uninhabitable  by millions of improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Minescape portrays the beautiful landscapes that have since grown in these danger zones without the hindrance of man and juxtaposes them against still life details of the IEDs. Through this work the viewer is confronted with the power of Mother Nature – growing where we cannot tread , navigating her way around these, often small, man-made and deadly devices, knowing that they are trivial to her existence.

'It's True, I'm Utterly Fascinating' Kim Jong Phil by Mr Toledano[It’s True, I’m Utterly Fascinating from the series Kim Jong Phil by Mr Toledano]

Another project of note was that of renown photographer, Philip Toledano (or Mr Toledano if you prefer) whose series, entitled Kim Jong Phil was prefaced with a humorous soliloquy into the intrinsic narcissism of the artist. Mr Toledano had commissioned copies of a collection of pre-existing dictatorial art; from North Korean propaganda posters to imitations of Saddam Hussein statues. Each replica, however, offered one small difference. In the place of the dicator’s face, was Toledano’s. Which, upon viewing at the Slideluck Potshow, provoked good humour as the majority of the audience reflected upon the truth of the piece.

This episode of Slideluck Potshow was in no doubt, a showcase of Yumi Goto’s talent as a curator and editor. However, in the forum of a SLPS where the slide show is typically as organic and dispersed as the potluck food, this narrow and specific exhibit of work was perhaps, at once, a success and a failure.