Category Archives: Art shows

Photo Show: Christina Noble exhibits black and white photographs from her archive in recent show Kullu Perceived


Photo © Christina Noble. Outside the Hadimba temple in the Dunghri forest above Manali. A sheep has been sacrificed to propitiate the Devi for the potential manifestation of her gaur oracle. The Brahmin cooks attend the fire while villagers come and go. 1976

“Kullu is a very special place. Once you arrive, you are captivated. It’s fascinating to see how three very different artists have responded to one region – be it the monumental oils of Catherine Goodman, the intricate pencil drawings of temples by John Nankivell or the clarity of the light captured by Christina Noble’s photographs”
Shehani Fernando, curator of the exhibition

The show Kullu Perceived: Images of a Himalayan Valley explored the region through the eyes of three artists who have kept returning there to make work. The exhibition at The Prince’s Drawing School space in east London brought together rarely seen images from over 40 years of her archive, a selection of which I have posted here for those who were unable to see the exhibition but who may still be interested in Christina’s work.


Photo © Christina Noble. This photograph of temple and terraces was taken with a telephoto from the opposite side of the valley. It depicts exactly the same view featured in Lights and Shades of Indian Hill life 1895 by Frederick St. John Gore, which lead Christina Noble to Kullu in the first place. 1971


Christina Noble first went to Kullu in 1969 to trek from Shimla to Kashmir and ended up founding a Himalayan walking holiday business. Having lived in Kullu for the majority of the 70’s and 80’s and armed with her Nikon, her photographs reveal the relationship between the Pahari people and their dramatic surroundings.

Christina set up an artist residency programme and creative retreat, Prini Ropa in Kullu. Visiting artists, including painter Catherine Goodman, have been drawn to the Kullu Valley for over a century – attracted to the grandeur of the landscape and the culture of the Pahari people.


Photo © Christina Noble. On a bank just below the Jalori Pass 10,000 ft (3,120 metres), the girls are resting while gathering fodder for cattle to be carried home in their large baskets. Resting and chatting, they are making shoes out of hemp (charas) straw, the leaves and seeds having been saved to smoke during the long boring winter. 1971

Photo Show – The Age of Anti-Ageing by Stewart Home and Chris Dorley-Brown at The Function Room London


Becoming (M)other, Photo Chris Dorley-Brown

In a culture obsessed with the aesthetic rather than the fitness results of exercise, Anti-Ageing is more effectively achieved via digital manipulation than beauty products! From the press release

Stewart Home and Chris Dorley-Brown bring the past and the present together in The Age of Anti-Ageing which opens tonight and runs until 6 November in The Function Room. The Function Room hosts exhibitions and events in an upstairs room as the guests of the landlady of The Cock Tavern, and is run by Anthony Auerbach and Marlene Haring, with Dunya Kalantery. The latest exhibition comprises of two sets of digitally-manipulated composite family portraits merging mother and son, then and now, fiction and fact.

Becoming (M)other (set of 8 photographs, pigment giclée prints, each 584 × 690 mm)
“In 1966 Carla Hopkins took a series of fashion photographs of Julia Callan-Thompson, a club hostess who was hoping to become a model and movie actress. Julia landed a bit of film extra work and did press ads for products such as Max Factor lipstick but was soon devoting herself to a full time exploration of alternative realities in the company of such luminaries as Alex Trocchi, William Burroughs and Marianne Faithfull. In 2004, Julia’s son Stewart Home was photographed by Chris Dorley Brown imitating the poses from his mother’s 1966 modelling portfolio. A selection of the two sets of photographs were then morphed together to create a composite image of Julia at the age of twenty-two and her son Stewart aged 42.


The Age of Anti-Ageing. Photo Chris Dorley-Brown

“The Age of Anti-Ageing, 2014 (set of 8 photographs, pigment giclée prints, each 584 × 690 mm)
In 2004 Stewart Home was photographed by Chris Dorley Brown imitating poses from photographs in his mother’s 1966 modelling portfolio. More recently, after noticing books with titles such as The Green Pharmacy: Anti-Ageing Prescriptions and The Anti-Ageing Beauty Bible lying around in the flats of friends, Stewart Home and Chris Dorley Brown decided to repose their 2004 restaged photographs a decade on. The photographs from 2004 and 2014 were then morphed together.

“Rationally the result should have been Stewart Home as he would have looked in 2005, but instead of this the morphs conjure up a timeless Stewart Home. Anti-Ageing books and products have become big business among the baby-boomer generation, but photographic manipulation makes them superfluous. In a culture obsessed with the aesthetic rather than the fitness results of exercise, Anti-Ageing is more effectively achieved via digital manipulation than beauty products!” From the press release

The show is curated by Clare Carolin

Upstairs at The Cock Tavern,
23 Phoenix Road,
London NW1 1HB
open: when the pub is open
admission: free

Award-winning photographer Stuart Griffiths brings solo show CLOSER home after tour of duty

I began making these photographs as a response to my personal feelings towards war. This was long before charities started using cuddly teddy bears as a way of making serious injuries acceptable to the masses. I wanted to show the horror of war and its aftermath and realised early on that it was the young people that carried the worst scars of all. To me, when I began working on CLOSER, it was to be a visual protest against war; now the work is complete, I still feel the same way. Bringing the show back to Hastings is like CLOSER has completed its very own tour of duty and this is the homecoming.
Stuart Griffiths

Closer by Stuart Griffiths

Craig Lundberg was blinded in Iraq during Operation Telic 9. Photograph taken at his mother’s home, Liverpool. CLOSER © Stuart Griffiths

Save the Date next month if you are anywhere near the South East coast of England for the opening of photographer Stuart Griffiths‘ multimedia show CLOSER. Stuart Griffiths began taking photographs when he was a young soldier on patrol in West Belfast in the late 1980s, carrying a ‘sure-shot’ instamatic camera in his chest-webbing alongside 120 live bullets, water canisters and field dressings. This is the first time that the entire show, including artworks, has been exhibited in the South East region.

The show includes candid photos of army life taken in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s during Griffiths’ time serving in the Parachute Regiment in Northern Ireland; an installation of his illustrated and highly personal Xeroxed letters home; and large-scale colour photographs of socially-excluded veterans, accompanied by Luke Seomore and Joseph Bull’s documentary film Isolation (2009), which charts the making of these images. Griffiths’ is not afraid to expose the effects of war making the entire project a candid and unflinching document of life in the British army. CLOSER is the culmination of his complete work to date and will be shown at Sussex Coast College in Hastings from 19 September until 7 October 2014.

Closer Exhibition Photographs

Stephen Shine was injured in Iraq after driving his tank over a roadside bomb. Photograph taken at his mother’s home. London, 2008 CLOSER © Stuart Griffiths

As a body of work CLOSER looks at the consequences of the post-conflict condition. Griffiths photographed British soldiers injured in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and documented veterans hotels, care centers and squats. Griffiths’ memoir Pigs’ Disco (2013) will also be on sale for £20 at the PV and is published by Ditto Press . The title Pigs Disco refers to the monthly party at the barracks where locals girls would be invited for drinks, dancing and sex. The book is a highly personal, often humourous, journey into the heart of the British army during the time of acid, raves and violence in the late 1980s-90s, and is set against the backdrop of the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

Closer - Photographs of British Veterans, care-homes & serious i

Hayley Murdoch injured in Iraq 2004. Photograph taken at her garage in South Wales, 2007. © CLOSER Stuart Griffiths.

Letters To Bill

Letters To Bill © Stuart Griffiths

Closer by Stuart Griffiths

Television room at Combat Stress, Tyrwhitt House, Leatherhead, Surrey, 2005. CLOSER © Stuart Griffiths

CLOSER is Griffiths’ first solo exhibition and was selected by Charlotte Cotton, Val Williams and Martin Parr as the winner of the Brighton Photo Fringe OPEN 2010. It was selected from over 200 entries and was first exhibited at the Phonenix Gallery Brighton in the same year. The show has been touring nationally in its complete form, notably at Birmingham MAC and London College of Communication and is curated by Val Williams.

Closer - Photographs of British Veterans, care-homes & serious i

Jamie Cooper was injured in Iraq (Operation Telic 9),  2006. Photograph taken at his mother’s home, Bristol 2007. CLOSER © Stuart Griffiths

CLOSER runs from 19 Sept to 7 Oct 2014.

PV Friday 19 Sept 6-8pm at Sussex Coast College Hastings, Approach, Hastings, East Sussex.
CLOSER is open to the public:
Monday-Friday 10am-7pm
22 September–26 September
29 September–3 October
Mon 6 and Tues 7 October
Saturdays 10am–2pm
20 September, 27 September & 4 October

Photo News – Brighton-based art photographer pulls film from East Sussex Open 2014 exhibition


Last week, I was at the East Sussex Open 2014 running until 15 September (open submission visual art competition with judged selection) at The Towner Gallery in Eastbourne for the private view. En route to the show I came across a number of slips of paper stuck to bus shelters, a phone box and a tree.  At the opening, I saw an invigilator picking up similar pieces of paper from the floor next to a cordoned-off installation. Later, whilst talking to filmmaker Andrew Kötting and his daughter Eden about her paintings in the show, Andrew opened a book with the same slip of paper enclosed within it.


It read: Where’s Wendy Pye’s Film?
On the reverse was a website URL:

Towner6I came home, typed in the URL and found a blog post relating to her submission to the Towner Open 2014. It appears that her film Six Feet from the Edge was selected for the show but that despite repeated efforts (numerous emails sent by the artist from 28 March through to 2 May and beyond with two phone calls) to discuss how it would be viewed (a vital concern for the creator of the work) she learned that the curatorial team had decided to show the film on a screen with headphones.

Why did the curator fail to respond to any of Wendy’s repeated emails and phone call requests to discuss the work until it was too late and she had no choice but to withdraw her film just before the opening? There is also the question of how filmmakers/artists’ work gets shown in open shows and the extent to which compromises can be made by the creators of such work, without seriously impacting on the viewing experience. It is interesting to note also that Andrew’s film was shown in a sealed-off dark cube, built, I would imagine, by the Towner technical team. Did he make a similar request as Wendy when he submitted his work? Did he request ‘ideal’, as she states she did, or ‘essential’ for the viewing of his work?

She writes: “This experience has left me feeling confused about the role of the curator and I have a few questions:

  • Do curators in public galleries have a responsibility for the artists they are exhibiting and their work? 
  • If curators choose not to have a discussion with the artist for e.g about the viewing experience of moving image work, should they be concerned how their curatorial choices may affect the art work and perhaps reconfigure it?

I leave you with some photos from the opening and a link to Wendy Pye’s blog post in its entirety. I will respond with some more thoughts in a day or so. Till then.

All iPhone photos ©Miranda Gavin


Photo Show: Catch The Unseen Seen – Film in a New Light by Reiner Riedler in Berlin

THE UNSEEN SEEN, GINGER E FRED GINGER E FRED I/F/BR GERMANY 1986 D: Federico Fellini Positiv, Polyester, 35mm
Photo: Reiner Riedler, Deutsche Kinemathek, Berlin 2013. © Reiner Riedler. GINGER E FRED I 1986. Directed by Federico Fellini, 122 min, 35mm positive, act 1 of 7

If you are heading to Berlin in the next couple of months, then try and find time to pop into The German Museum for Film and Television in Berlin to see some enchanting ‘film mandalas’ created by Austrian photographer Reiner Riedler. From tomorrow until 27 April, there’s a special exhibition of his new body of work, The Unseen Seen, at the Deutsche Kinemathek – Museum für Film und Fernsehen (The German Museum for Film and Television). The work marks a shift in the focus of his work, involving a collaboration with film archivist Volkmar Ernst and a conceptual approach that allows for a dialogue to take place between the materiality (the seen) and immateriality (the unseen) of the object (film). Between the imagined, the projected and the seen. The real, the unreal, and the un-reel.

THE UNSEEN SEEN, Three Colors: Blue (orig. Trois Couleurs: Bleu), 1993
Photo: Reiner Riedler, Deutsche Kinemathek, Berlin 2013, © Reiner Riedler. TROIS COULEURS: BLEU F/PL/CH 1993, Directed by Krzysztof Kieślowski, 100 min, 35mm positive, act 1 of 6

“Some of these works look like the iris of an eye; others evoke an impression of a spinning record or of a whirligig in motion. The intricacy of design, transparence and irregularities of what is depicted do not initially disclose that these large-scale images actually depict reels of film from the Deutsche Kinemathek’s archives. The unusual project The Unseen Seen by Reiner Riedler and the film archivist Volkmar Ernst, allows the physical states of film to manifest themselves as photographic works of art. During several visits to the film archives, Riedler photographed archival film materials while maintaining their back lighting under constant lighting conditions, which ultimately emphasized the physical properties and the composition of each individual collection object.

“The film reels are radiantly displayed in a variety of colors. This aesthetic and the uniqueness of these materials, known primarily only to archivists and projectionists until now, are being made accessible to a wide audience. At the Museum für Film und Fernsehen, every visitor is invited to “project” his or her own cinematic and filmed memories onto the photographs of films such as GOOD BYE, LENIN! (D 2003, directed by Wolfgang Becker) or CASABLANCA (USA 1942, direct ed by Michael Curtiz).

Photo: Reiner Riedler, Deutsche Kinemathek, Berlin 2013, © Reiner Riedler. GESPENSTER (Ghosts), Germany 2005. Directed by Christian Petzold. 85 min, 35mm positive, act 5 of 5

“In addition to this newly discovered aesthetic appreciation, the exhibition calls the transience of analog film materials into awareness, as it is one of the greatest challenges faced by every film archive. Films have to be carefully preserved, oftentimes restored and also maintained for future use through digitalization. The Deutsche Kinemathek’s film archives have amassed more than 13,000 titles – films spanning the most diverse formats, genres and categories, markedly artistic films and films as historical documents, which include national and international productions.

“Reiner Riedler’s photographs of the DER BLAUE ENGEL (D 1930, directed by Josef von Sternberg), CITIZEN KANE (USA 1941, directed by Orson Welles), TROIS COULEURS BLEU (PL, FR, CH 1993, directed by Krzysztof Kieślowski) or GESPENSTER (D 2005, directed by Christian Petzold), which will be shown in the exhibition, also offer insights into the comprehensive collection inventory preserved in the Deutsche Kinemathek’s film archives.” From the press release.