I was at London Art Fair recently at the Source stand to sell and promote the magazine. It was also an opportunity for me to catch up with a number of photographers, curators and Source readers. In my coffee breaks I was able to take a look round at what the galleries had on show in their spaces.
We were located in the Arts Projection section for ‘solo shows and curated exhibitions’, upstairs from the main floor of the Fair. The first work I spotted was Tom Lovelace’s new work at Beers Lambert Contemporary Art alongside a print from the series that had appeared in Issue 57 of Source. The new work uses frames from a Gilbert and George photo-piece decommissioned by the Tate which Tom had managed to get hold of. I bumped into Tom at the stand and he told me about his recent show Gouge at Galleri Image in Denmark which specializes in up and coming photographers, they are currently showing work by Irish Photographer Miriam O’Connor.
Across the way in our section were Hoxton Art Gallery showing work by Turkish photographer Guler Ates. The gallery works with a number of young artists, many of who have studied at London colleges. Their next group show includes photographic work by Chelsea College graduate James Bacchi-Andreoli. Nearby were Rise Art who where showing work by Ting Ting Cheng a graduate of the MA Photographic studies at Westminster. I had seen earlier work by Cheng at the Rhubarb festival and it was interesting to see the new work and to find out it had also recently been shown at Kiállítás Elott Galéria, Budapest. Rise Art is slightly unusual in that it uses a board of curators to select work from submissions by artists.
Galleries on the main floor showing photography included Purdy Hicks with work by Tom Hunter, Jorma Puranen, Anni Leppala and Bettina Von Zwehl. While at The Ricard Saltoun Gallery you could purchase work by Alexis Hunter, Keith Arnatt, Victor Burgin and Jo Spence (a film about the Jo Spence archive will feature in the new Source Archive Season in March). Over at GBS Fine Art there was photographic work by Veronica Bailey former Jerwood photography prize winner, Emily Allchurch, Susannah Baker-Smith and Helen Sear’s new work Sightlines. A book of Sear's work is being published by Ffotogallery with the launch on the 25th February.
Among those calling by the Source stand were Andy Fallon, one part of a recently formed collective of music photographers who have just opened their new gallery Rock City Art in Bedford. Their aim is to protect their image rights, offer mentoring to younger photographers, run workshops and program exhibitions of music photography related exhibitions.
Peter Ainsworth, who I had met at the Rhubarb and Format festivals, had just finished packing his new prints for participation in State of the Art Photography at NRW-Forum Duesseldorf. Peter is one of the movers and shakers proposed for the show by a panel of photoworld Illuminati that included Andreas Gursky, Thomas Weski, Klaus Biesenbach, Udo Kittelmann, FC Gundlach, Thomas Seelig, Andrea Holzherr, and Werner Lippert.
Like so many gallery photographers Peter balances making his own work with teaching. From his Nottingham campus he reported a new focus amongst students on what they could expect for their increased fees in terms of technical resources, along with an overall decline in applications.
Irish artist Emer Gillespie who I'd met at Arles had been busy in 2011 exhibiting at RUA Red in Dublin alongside Irish artist Simon Burch and her work had been included in the international group show Altered States at the Foley Gallery in New York. Also moving beyond the UK, Gina Glover was looking forward to taking part in the Sense of Place exhibition in Beaux de Arts in Brussels curated by Liz Wells.
Photo 50 the dedicated photography exhibition within the Fair was curated this year by Sue Steward, writer and regular contributor to Radio 2’s Arts Show. The exhibition included work by Esther Teichmann who featured in issue 55 of Source and Michael Wolf whose book Real Fake Art by is reviewed in the current issue. Steward was on hand to discuss the work with visitors to the Fair and speaking to her briefly she revealed she hopes to curate an exhibition at a gallery in Northern Ireland in the near future.
In the quiet moments I managed to speed read Elizabeth Edwards excellent new book The Camera as Historian, published by Duke University Press which is out in March. Her exploration of Amateur Photographers and Historical Imagination, 1885 -1918, provided a perfect counterpoint to the contemporary photography at the Fair.