Friday, 21 January 2011

Having a LAF

Terrible title... couldn't resist though...

Last night I went to visit the London Art Fair. Based in the Business Design Centre in Islington, it is a chance for contemporary art galleries to show off their wares, many of which I found uninspiring. I found the people more interesting than the art; gallerists are a strange breed, and many of the punters were those sort who have too much money to know what to with, and think they are cool by investing it in art.

And I couldn't help noticing a curious lack of photography features in this type of gallery. Is the art vs photography question still burning? Do photographs have a place in a fine art gallery? I don't know the answers to these questions, but I can speculate... I think that, due to the ubiquity of photography in our day to day lives, people are so familiar with the medium that they find it difficult to place a value on it. Add to this the fact that we are not sure how the new digital papers are going to stand the test of time, and the fact that photographs can be reproduced over and over, thus giving the photographer the possibility to re-print and make more money at any time, de-valuing the work in question, and we have many reasons why collectors are dubious. It seems that it is only the Gurskys and the Shermans of this world who will ever sell. And yet photographers are asking more and more for their work.

©Aliki Braine

But there is a kind of counter attack occuring in the shape of online print sales, which was outlined by Miranda Gavin in the current edition of BJP. It seems that, over the last few years, it is online galleries which are selling photographs, and at really reasonable prices. Troika Editions (who represent Aliki Braine, above) and Contact Editions in the UK for example. And it was nice to see Troika present at the fair, making their mark amongst the over-priced, almost corporate world of contemporary art.

In addition to all this commercialism was an excellent curated exhibition called Photo50. It brought together many famous photographers, including the wonderful Helen Chadwick. The highlight for me, however was a photographer who I had never heard of before...Scarlett Hooft Graafland. Her images are humorous, surreal and beautiful...




"A very jolly show" as my friend Leila put it... and she was right. It's not often that's the case these days...

1 comment:

  1. Wow some great pieces of work, love it!

    ReplyDelete

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