CHRIS FREMANTLE

What Art have I seen?

Posted in Exhibitions by chrisfremantle on October 15, 2010

Walid Raad‘s exhibition at the Whitechapel including the Atlas Group Archive manages to address the condition of conflict through the construction of fictions that draw out the banality and give the banal new meaning. The careful judgement exercised, that neither belittles nor glorifies, but rather makes the everyday, the personal, the experiential, seem significant. The fiction of the police agent #17 turning his camera away from the cafe’s where he’s meant to be documenting the conspirators, and instead recording sunsets is curiously powerful. It’s the story that makes the banality of the sunsets, not even well filmed, into something that keeps the attention.

Rachel Whiteread’s Drawings at Tate Britain emphasise her interest in focusing on absence.  Like the Atlas Group Archives’ Sweet Talk File, the process of exclusion renders the abstract qualities of ephemeral reality into an aesthetic object.

Cameraless Photography at the V&A, curiously focuses on the opposite of Walid Raad’s work: where the work in the Atlas Group Archive uses the camera to question the nature of documentary, these artists, as at least one of them says explicitly, choose to avoid the camera precisely to avoid its implication of the documentary.

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