Ryan’s Return: Brian Docherty takes a thoughtful and observant stroll through Sean O’Brien’s sombre version of West London
Established in 2007, the Aimia AGO photography prize, Canada’s optimum award for contemporary photography, was the first major art accolade to hand the general public the responsibility of choosing the winner – although an expert panel has already drawn up the list of contenders.
Rembrandt, one of the greatest portrait painters of all time, portrayed himself with a feathered beret, as an oriental potentate, with his wife in historical dress and simply as himself. A modern equivalent is British artist Sarah Lucas who depicts herself with fried eggs, a skull and a salmon. You could say it’s a case of the sublime to the ridiculous and yet, the appeal of Rembrandt’s theatre must have been more direct in his day even if it was never aggressive.
Turn right inside the main entrance to University College Hospital on Euston Road, and you’ll find The Street Gallery, currently showing a collection of inket prints by Photographer-in-Residence Graeme Weston, and curated by Arts Administrator Guy Noble.
Every two years, Brussels’ Bozar art centre stages a Summer of Photography, comprising a series of events all over the city around a central theme. This year, curator Gabriele Schor has focused on the relationship between people and the public space.
Even with the distraction of the first Saturday of the summer sales, David Bowie still draws a crowd. In an arty backstreet in the Chatelain district of Brussels, tucked behind one of the most expensive shopping streets, a queue of mostly middle-aged fans, waited patiently for one of the city’s many independent galleries with erratic opening hours to unlock its doors.
Displayed are elaborate composites, built up from paintings and photographs that eventually result in portraits at once convincingly human, alien and heartless.
For British rock fans, 2016 is marked by the death of David Bowie. In the French-speaking world, it has further significance as the 25th anniversary of the fatal heart attack that ended Serge Gainsbourg’s career as a hell-raising provocateur whose lyrics prompted President Mitterrand to compare him to Baudelaire. To commemorate the poet of the French rock world, Brussels and Paris have both organised exhibitions of French photographer Pierre Terrasson’s portraits of Gainsbourg and of other major 1980s performers, including Bowie.
Andres Serrano, Uncensored Photographs, Royal Museums of Fine Arts, Brussels. Review by Barbara Lewis.
A denizen is a person, animal or plant that lives in a particular place or region. Photographer Andres Serrano, best known for causing outrage with taboo-breaking images, decided it was le mot juste to describe the homeless people of Brussels he was asked to photograph by the city’s fine arts museum.
A unique three-year street-photography project. The spontaneous, candid images – from quiet intensity to grand gesture – offer a unique and personal insight into a teeming metropolis; a positive view of urban living, celebrating the creativity, diversity, eccentricity and spirituality of Londoners and London’s visitors.
This exhibition brings together two artists successful in their own eras. Each works in a different medium yet both are similar in pushing artistic boundaries.
This is Miranda Argyle’s second show in Princelet Street. The panelled Georgian drawing room at the gallery, Eleven Spitalfields provides a sensitive context for Argyle’s subtle stitched work and luminous photographs.