Saturday, 15 March 2014

Brief Exhibition Reviews: London

EXHIBITION REVIEWS (brief summary)

Somerset House: Behind The Mask - this exhibition consisted of a collection of BAFTA nominated and winning actors and actresses. Photographs were all the same size and framed the same, they were all taken by Andy Gotts and were variants of colour and black and white as some were from his archive of photographs. There were various quotes from certain films on the walls over the mantelpiece in each room. There were about 10 rooms with 5 or more images in each, this broke up the mass of photographs on display and allowed for the viewer to contemplate each image rather than have their view bombarded by over one hundred photographs at once. I was a fan of the more relaxed, playful photographs that reflected the title: Behind The Mask, however there were many of them that were very posed and airbrushed, very commercial and I could imagine them in a glossy magazine. I didn't linger on these ones very often as I’d seen celebrities photographed like this before. Overall, a very flowing layout with the small rooms lending an intimacy to the work.

The National Portrait Gallery: The Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize - I felt that the small space it was displayed in made some of the photographs trapped in corners that restricted the audience’s view of it. I felt that much of the time there wasn't much space to step back and look at the image as a whole. It was also a very clunky layout with images that didn't flow together being put next to each other and the winners were placed out of a linear order of winners which made it a little confusing. The contrasting image sizes in such a small space was also a little disorientating and seemed to place importance on some imagery compared to others. There were also photographs displayed close to the floor which seemed unusual and were difficult to look at properly.  Overall, a good selection of photographs I was just disappointed by the layout of such a prestigious prize. Was also good to see that the ‘Taylor Wessing style’ of dead pan portraits and muted colours has been less prominent in this year’s show. 

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