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Impressions Gallery

exhibitions: past

Fig.

Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin

22nd Nov - 18th Jan 2009

Artists Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin create a contemporary take on the Victorian ‘cabinet of curiosities’ in this collection of over eighty photographs made by them over the last three years.

The exhibition features an astonishing range of still lives, portraits and landscape images made both in the UK and abroad. Subjects include fantastical objects from museum collections such as a ‘Merman’ skeleton, a single leaf blown from a tree in Tel Aviv by the blast of a suicide bomb, the hand of the world’s tallest living man, and the plastic bag collection of ‘Aunty Ethnie’, a relative of the artists.

Displayed and numbered in a pseudo-scientific way, each image has an accompanying caption written by the artists – hence the title Fig., an abbreviation of the word figure, a term used in museum catalogues. These personal captions allow them to ingeniously connect their disparate subjects, often in witty, unexpected, and moving ways.

Broomberg and Chanarin are clearly interested in tracing the links between photography and the colonial impulse to acquire, map and collect the world. They say, “the history of photography is intimately bound up with the idea of colonial power, and documentary photographers today have a worrying amount in common with the collector/adventurers of past eras. As unreliable witnesses, we have gathered ‘evidence’ of our experiences and present our findings here; a muddle of fact and fantasy”.

Fig. was commissioned by Photoworks in association with John Hansard Gallery and funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and Arts Council England.

 

 

Exhibition resources

Click here to download an information sheet about the exhibition (pdf 224kb)
Click here to download a large print information sheet about the exhibition (pdf 256 kb)

Fig.48 Discarded Photographs, Kigale, Rwanda

Fig.48 Discarded Photographs, Kigale, Rwanda

Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin

Click on thumbnail below to enlarge

Fig.48 Discarded Photographs, Kigale, Rwanda Fig.4 Guiseppe Magri's Accident, Sicily, Italy Fig.24 John, Casualty Union Volunteer, London, UK Fig.63 Red-Flanked Steenbuck Head, Wolverhampton, UK Fig.59 Musée d' Histoire Naturelle, N'Djaména, Chad Fig.15 Scale Rule, Booth Museum, Brighton, UK Fig.14 Leonid Stadnyk's Hand, Podoliantsy, Ukraine Fig.10 Basil Davidson's Magazine Clippings, Booth Museum, Brighton, UK Fig.28 Plinth, Booth Museum, Brighton, UK Fig.76 Ficus Religiosa, Tel Aviv, Israel

Comments

Beautiful work, exhibited in an intimate and thoughtful way. A must see exhibition.

As Broomberg and Chanarin have also said, obsessive collecting and cataloguing is not only imperialist, it’s also a bit of a ’male’ thing, which is maybe why I enjoyed the show so much. I’d like to think it was because I have a sense of humour though. Certainly it helps prompt you to think about understanding in terms of narrative and context...go and see it!

Tim Holt

From a cultural, historical perspective, its brilliant!

Exhibitions Visitor

Excellent connections.

Very interesting, i feel like my brain has grown!!

Enthralling...stories with such intriguing qualities woven together.

I enjoyed that, making the journey and tying the elements throughout. A fascinating narrative.

Andrew Dalton

Deceptively simple, a great puzzle.

My wife and i enjoyed the exhibition. Our children ran around the gallery pretending to be airplanes. We all had fun!!

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