Sunday, October 28, 2012

A major photography show in London show tracks past and present of the art form

A new exhibition at the National Gallery in London tries to explore early photography techniques prevalent during the mid-19th century and also some of the most exciting contemporary photos, juxtaposed with historical painting.

The organizers take a holistic albeit provocative look at how the photographers from different eras including Old Master painting employ fine art traditions for exploring and justifying the possibilities of their practice. Work by top photographers like Martin Parr, Sam Taylor-Wood, Craigie Horsfield, Julia Margaret Cameron, Gustave Le Gray and Richard Billingham are  on display apart from many paintings chosen from the gallery’s vast collection.

Paintings as well as both early and contemporary photos are on view, presented according to traditional genres like portraiture, nudes and landscape, and still life that highlight the universality of the influences and themes across all these works, both present and past.

Drawing the visitors’ attention to one specific and significant strand of the history of photography – that of the inspiration and influence of historical painting, the exhibit features captivating pictures by some of the greatest French and British photographers alongside works by an array of international contemporary artists. It is comprised of new photos and video commissioned specially for the exhibit.

Exceptionally, three separate ‘interventions’ of contemporary photos by Craigie Horsfield, Richard Learoyd and Richard Billingham are to be displayed within the Gallery’s collection, skillfully juxtaposed with many 19th-century paintings by Degas, Ingres and Constable.

The show includes close to 100 photographic works and selected paintings from the gallery collection. Key photos are from the Wilson Centre for Photography, Tate; National Media Museum, Bradford; Fundació La Caixa, Spain; and Victoria and Albert Museum, with some sourced directly from the contemporary photographers. ing exhibition

The exhibition is set to travel to CaixaForum Barcelona (February– May 2013) followed by CaixaForum Madrid (June 2013 – September 2013). 

The National Gallery, for record, has in its collection major Western European painting from the 13th up to the 19th centuries. Its aim is to study and look after the precious collection as well as to encourage the public appreciation of these pictures.

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