Chris Littlewood

Chris Littlewood is a curator based in London, he works as the Photography Director at Flowers Gallery. Currently representing over ten established international photographers, the programme at Flowers is most recognised for its engagement with important socio-cultural, political and environmental themes. Through a dedicated photography space established by Chris in 2008, he has extended the programme to include exhibitions by invited artists and curators across a range of contemporary photographic practices. Chris is a contributing writer for Hotshoe Magazine and 1000 Words magazine, he has lectured / tutored at UK and international universities and institutions including University of the Arts London, Architectural Association, Fotografiska Museum Stockholm, National Museum Cardiff, Magnum Print Room, Unseen photo fair Amsterdam and Photo London. Most recently Chris was a jury member for the Hyères international festival of fashion and photography, 2016.

Chris Littlewood is a curator based in London, he works as the Photography Director at Flowers Gallery. Currently representing over ten established international photographers, the programme at Flowers is most recognised for its engagement with important socio-cultural, political and environmental themes. Through a dedicated photography space established by Chris in 2008, he has extended the programme to include exhibitions by invited artists and curators across a range of contemporary photographic practices. Chris is a contributing writer for Hotshoe Magazine and 1000 Words magazine, he has lectured / tutored at UK and international universities and institutions including University of the Arts London, Architectural Association, Fotografiska Museum Stockholm, National Museum Cardiff, Magnum Print Room, Unseen photo fair Amsterdam and Photo London. Most recently Chris was a jury member for the Hyères international festival of fashion and photography, 2016.

Out of Obscurity

Chris McCaw, Heliograph #28, 2013. Unique Gelatin Silver Paper Negative, © Chris McCaw, Courtesy Yossi Milo Gallery, New York

Chris McCaw, Heliograph #28, 2013. Unique Gelatin Silver Paper Negative, © Chris McCaw, Courtesy Yossi Milo Gallery, New York

Julie Cockburn, Happenstance 2, 2013, Hand embroidery, graphite on distressed found photograph, 20.4 x 25.3 cm (c) Julie Cockburn, Courtesy of Flowers Gallery

Julie Cockburn, Happenstance 2, 2013, Hand embroidery, graphite on distressed found photograph (c) Julie Cockburn, Courtesy of Flowers Gallery

 

John Maclean, Container Ships, Horizon and Sky, 2016, Chromogenic print, 79 x 105 cm (C) John Maclean, Courtesy of Flowers Gallery

John Maclean, Container Ships, Horizon and Sky, 2016, Chromogenic print (C) John Maclean, Courtesy of Flowers Gallery

Wang Ningde, Colour Filter for a Utopian Sky, 2013, Photo Installation, 200 x 144 cm (c) Wang Ningde, Courtesy of Flowers Gallery3

Wang Ningde, Colour Filter for a Utopian Sky, 2013, Photo Installation (c) Wang Ningde, Courtesy of Flowers Gallery

Summertime and a two-part group exhibition focusing on abstraction within contemporary photography.

Out of Obscurity presents a speculative journey in response to the series of cloud studies produced in the 1920s by Alfred Stieglitz titled Equivalents. From the disorienting perspectives of aerial photography to physical manipulation of photography’s material properties, the exhibition draws together visions of the sky produced by a range of international artists.

The horizon line, seen here as a subjective or symbolic point of contact between two distinct spaces, forms an initial seam running through the exhibition. On the Clouds by Boomoon, taken from a plane at high altitude, presents the dividing line between sky and cloud as though at eye-level, forming an ‘absolute horizon’, which Boomoon considers to lead to the realm of infinity. Also from an aerial viewpoint, the flattened frontal aspect and dizzying perspective of Edward Burtynsky’s Phosphor Tailings navigates a narrow path between form and content. What appears to be the sky mirrored in a lake below is revealed as the vivid hues of toxic algae blooms generated by phosphorous mining. The image functions, from Burtynsky’s viewpoint, as a reflecting pool of our times, seducing the eye to the surface and immersing the viewer in painterly details of line, shape and colour.

A sensitivity to both surface and material can be seen in many of the exhibiting artists, manifesting in images that are interrupted, deconstructed and re-assembled through both digital and analogue processes. Alliance by Chloe Sells, which captures the atmospheric patterns of birds flocking to the flooded plains of the Okavango Delta in North-Western Botswana, is constructed from two images overlaid on an irregularly shaped photographic print, offsetting the chance effects produced by chemical manipulation in the darkroom with the organic decay and transience of nature. Chris McCaw directly harnesses the power of the sun’s rays to scorch traces onto light sensitive paper negatives. His Heliograph series explores the effects of multiple exposures of the sun’s path, conflating the indelible records of time and place, and forming an indexical relationship between the subject and its representation. Letha Wilson brings the image and the sensory effects of the rugged desert landscape together by subjecting her photographs to sculptural processes. Corrugating, splicing and shuttering the photographic prints, Wilson also pours concrete into their ridges and folds, blurring the lines between photography and sculpture, representation and abstraction. An intersection of horizontal and vertical planes is present in the evocative and minimal work Colour Filter for a Utopian Sky by Wang Ningde. Graduating between the cool sunrise tones of turquoise and pink, the original representation of the sunset is deconstructed and reconfigured in three dimensions as an abstracted and inverted photographic image.

John Maclean applies a reductive process in his series Outhinking the Rectangle. In the work Container Ships, Horizon and Sky, Maclean digitally removes all but the most minimal information to evoke the sensation of a sunset in a sequence of graduated lines. In the work of Julie Cockburn, sculptural or physical manipulation can be seen equally as a process of embellishment and erasure. In Happenstance, a blizzard-like atmosphere is achieved through scratching away the photographic emulsion from found photographs, and is further masked by protruding hand-embroidered spheres.

Seeking abstraction in the man-made urban environment, Randy West photographs the spaces between the New York skyline observed during his daily walks in the city. In New York Sky, buildings are thrown into sharp relief in the long shadows cast by the September evening light, causing the negative space to form an impression of inverse skyscrapers.

Shifting both perspective and magnitude, Michael Benson’s US Cloud Sheet pictures cloud formations over the coastline of New York State, rendered from satellite data sent back to earth from space. Within this alien viewpoint of the landscape, Benson creates a counter image to the view Stieglitz captured almost a century before, extending the scope of the abstracted photograph through advancements in science and technology.

http://www.flowersgallery.com/exhibitions/view/out-of-obscurity

Ryan L. Moule, The Structure of Things, Fibre-based Silver Gelatin Print, 2015, (c) Ryan L. Moule, Courtesy of Flowers Gallery

Ryan L. Moule, The Structure of Things, Fibre-based Silver Gelatin Print, 2015, (c) Ryan L. Moule, Courtesy of Flowers Gallery

Alessandro Dandini de Sylva, Untitled (Landscape #68), 2012, Instant Colour Film Print, 10.8 cm x 8.5 cm (c) Alessandro Dandini de Sylva, Courtesy of Flowers Gallery

Alessandro Dandini de Sylva, Untitled (Landscape #68), 2012, Instant Colour Film Print, 10.8 cm x 8.5 cm (c) Alessandro Dandini de Sylva, Courtesy of Flowers Gallery

Giulia Marchi, Après Marat, from the series Dit-Mansion, 2015, (c) Giulia Marchi, Courtesy of Flowers Gallery

Giulia Marchi, Après Marat, from the series Dit-Mansion, 2015, (c) Giulia Marchi, Courtesy of Flowers Gallery

Sophy Rickett, Observation 123

Sophy Rickett, Observation 123, 1997_2013, Black & White Bromide Print (c) Sophy Rickett, Courtesy of Flowers Gallery

Murmur, by invited Curator Magali Avezou brings together five international contemporary artists who address questions of form, colour, movement and the surface dynamics of the photographic print, with two unique sound works created to respond to the space of the exhibition. Through the absorbing sensorial dialogue established between sound and sight, the exhibition explores the intuitive and metaphysical aspects of abstraction.

In Paesaggi, Alessandro Dandini De Sylva intervenes in the chemical process of developing his Polaroid images, either by interrupting or overlapping the photographic impression. The resulting images break down into sequences of colours and abstract shapes, evocative of watercolours. The ambiguous nature of the work questions the relationship between photography and reality, deconstructing and rebuilding the essence of the landscape through abstract means.

Lacan’s three orders, the symbolic, the real, and the imaginary, are the starting points of Giulia Marchi’s series Dit-mansion. The mundane scenes found in empty spaces are both mirrored and abstracted by the image, echoing the symbolic-real-imaginary triad. Marchi creates an intriguing visual lexicon through the texture and chromatic specificity of digital images.

Ryan L. Moule’s enigmatic images are both familiar and uncanny. The chemically unfixed photographs bathed in a red ‘safe light’ are on the verge of disappearing. Moule is interested in the dissolution of the photographic image and the notion of latency, praising oblivion in an age of visual saturation. Through this romantic gesture, his work has a visceral feel that questions the validity of images and our emotional attachment to them.

Tom Lovelace’s Forms in Green are ‘ready-made’ photograms, which exude a sense of evanescence and unsteadiness. The depicted forms have been created through the chance exposure of sunlight onto light-sensitive fabric in the window of a London library. Over time, the light has revealed the shapes of the paper notices fixed to the wall, indexically linked to the movements and actions of those who attached them.

With Objects in the Field, Sophy Rickett reinterprets scientific imagery to create new narratives. The series of photographic prints are made from the original negatives that Dr. Roderick Willstrop produced during the period of time that Cambridge Observatory’s telescope was operational. By printing his original negatives by hand, and altering them, she disrupts the conventions of the techno-scientific and functional discourse that produced them in the first place, opening up metaphysical questions around the notion of the “unknown” today.

Text by Hannah Hughes

http://www.flowersgallery.com/exhibitions/view/murmur-curated-by-magali-avezou

 

Boomoon

Skogar #5084, 2015, Pigment Print, 140x180cm

Boomoon, Skogar #5084, 2015, Pigment Print (c) Boomoon, Courtesy of Flowers Gallery

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Boomoon, Skogar – Installation view, Courtesy of Flowers Gallery

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Boomoon, Sansu – installation view, Courtesy of Flowers Gallery

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Boomoon, Sansu – installation view, Courtesy of Flowers Gallery

A solo exhibition by South Korean photographer Boomoon, centred around a new series of photographs produced at Skogar Falls, Iceland. The exhibition presents the powerful elemental force of the waterfall as the subject for Boomoon’s ongoing investigation into the infinite and ungovernable character of the natural world.

The exhibition Skogar brings together a selection of black and white photographs from a series of 300 exposures. Each taken from the same frontal viewpoint, they capture distinct variations of light and form within the arrested momentum of a singular waterfall. Boomoon entered the freezing water of the pool below the falls to attain a position where the ‘horizon’ would be situated precisely at the lower third of the frame, presenting an immersive view, which appears to extend beyond the limits of an individual standpoint or subjective experience.

Within the shape-shifting cascades and veils of spray, each photograph records discrete changes in focus and detail, resulting in a complex and evocative layering of the image. The photographs are composed horizontally, contrary to the essentially upright configuration of the waterfall itself, and are cropped closely to exclude all peripheral detail and sense of scale. Applying a similarly reductive approach to colour, Boomoon attributes the crystalline clarity of his monochromatic images to the stark purity of northerly light.

Poet and Critic Shino Kuraishi has likened the Northern quality of Boomoon’s approach to the pursuit of the sublime in Northern Romanticism, particularly the work of German painter Caspar David Friedrich.1 Extending beyond romantic notions of a confrontation between man and the natural world as distinct forces, and suggesting a more totalised assimilation of the self within nature, Boomoon’s photographs can also be seen to resonate with attitudes towards the sublime within Minimalism.

According to Kuraishi, Boomoon’s focused attention on the particular, dispenses with continuity or a sense of passage between past and future – delivering us instead into the ‘here and now’ of the present moment. He says: “The destination or the end of time is permanently postponed. The waterfall keeps falling self-recursively, aimlessly, and meaninglessly carrying the undetermined present. The waterfall descends defying associations of any other place and any other time. In the minimalist waterfall captured by Boomoon, I as an observer am liberated from the bondages of both the identity of the “artist” and the “work” and the identity of “another self” chained to the system of appreciation. The falling waterfall declares my freedom. “I” facing the waterfall am free.”

Also on view will be selected works from the series Sansu, including the exceptionally large-scale photographic print Untitled #18134, Inje, spanning ten metres in length, which was first displayed in the Salon D’Honneur at Paris Photo 2015. Each of the photographs on show will be displayed for the first time in London. Sansu (meaning ‘mountain-water’ in Korean) is a core concept in the representation of landscape in Far-Eastern aesthetics, centred on a metaphysical union with nature. Boomoon’s contemporary vision of Sansu evokes an attitude or philosophical state of mind. The series comprises of mountain landscapes and forests blanketed by snow, often presented at a large scale, balancing an intense clarity of detail with atmospheric passages of snowfall and mountain mist.

Text by Hannah Hughes

http://www.flowersgallery.com/exhibitions/view/boomoon-skogar-and-sansu

Photo London

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Just over a month ago the newly formed Photo London hosted its second edition at Somerset House – a neo-classical labyrinth overlooking the Thames. Throughout what people are now calling “Photo London week”, a wide range of talks, events, exhibitions and book fairs takes place with the main focus being the international and local galleries exhibiting at the fair. For us this is an opportunity to convey the depth of our photography programme.

On one side of the space we presented the type of large-format abstracted landscapes that we are most renowned for. Examples of new works by Nadav Kander were presented for the first time alongside works by Edward Burtynsky and Boomoon. In contrast, the mirrored space included artists newer to our gallery. From Appropriation and found objects to painted photography and investigative documentary, this group demonstrates a wider scope of photographic production; Edmund Clark, Julie Cockburn, Tom Lovelace and Esther Teichmann.

Photographs from Edmund Clark’s series Negative Publicity were displayed concurrently with his solo exhibition Terror Incognitus at Zephyr Mannheim in Germany. The artist’s new book, produced together with counterterrorism investigator Crofton Black brings together photographs and documents that confront the nature of contemporary warfare and the invisible mechanisms of state control.

Tom Lovelace works at the intersection of photography, performance and sculpture. Inspired by Industrial forms, his practice is grounded in a reinvention or subversion of everyday objects, materials and processes.Tom Lovelace partcipated in the Photo London satellite event Peckham 24, a 24 hour festival of contemporary photography and video art.

Esther Teichmann’s practice uses still and moving image, collage and painting to create alternate worlds, which blur autobiography and fiction. Central to the work lies an exploration of the origins of fantasy and desire and how these are bound to experiences of loss and representation. Both filmic works and photographs of turned away bodies and primordial spaces of enchantment work with the relationships between images, and the narratives these juxtapositions create.

 http://photolondon.org/

Nadav Kander

Nadav kander, The Aral Sea I (Officers Housing), Kazakhstan 2011 (c) Nadav kander, Courtesy of Flowers Gallery

Nadav kander, The Aral Sea I (Officers Housing), Kazakhstan 2011 (c) Nadav kander, Courtesy of Flowers Gallery

Fengjie III (Monument to Progress and Prosperity), Chongqing Municipality, 2007‘These images do not make beautiful what is not, they ask of us that we repurpose ourselves to accept a new order of both the beautiful and the real’ Will Self

It only seems natural to begin here – with the work of UK based artist Nadav Kander. Having published three books with Hatje Cantz to date, it was through Kander that I learnt of the photography programme run by this publisher. Nadav Kander (b. 1961) is best known for Yangtze – The Long River, for which he earned the prestigious Prix Pictet award in 2009. Kander made several voyages along the course of China’s Yangtze River, travelling up-stream from mouth to source over a period of three years. Using the river as a metaphor for constant change Kander attempted at every stage of the journey, to relate and reflect the consequences of the incomprehensible and seemingly unnatural development in modern-day China.

Qinghai Province II (Fallen Bridge), 2007Both timely and timeless, Yangtze – The Long River has enjoyed a long run of exhibitions since first being exhibited at Flowers, London in 2008. Most recently The Barbican in London included a room of seven large works in Constructing Worlds: Photography and Architecture in the Modern Age, a survey that looked beyond the medium’s ability to simply document the built world and explored the power of photography to reveal wider truths about society. Grace of Intention: Photography, Architecture and the Monument at Museum of Contemporary Photography Chicago explored how monuments champion collective aspirations and serve to cement narratives about our past. The exhibition focused on a number of Kander’s most iconic workss fromYangtze and the more recent series Dust. Priozersk XIV (I Was Told She Once Held An Oar), Kazakhstan 2011Rooted in an interest in the ‘aesthetics of destruction,’ Dust explores the vestiges of the Cold War through the radioactive ruins of secret cities on the border between Kazakhstan and Russia. Fascinated by the area’s past and driven by discovery, Kander’s photographs portray stark fact and bleak setting with a characteristic poeticism. Secrets seem to seep from the silence of the crumbling monuments, bowing under heavy grey skies. Describing what he saw as ‘empty landscapes of invisible dangers’ Kander’s images evoke his sense of awe and fear as he responded to these places and to the weight of their history.

http://www.nadavkander.com/works-in-series

http://www.mocp.org/exhibitions/2015/10/grace-of-intention-photography,-architecture-and-the-monument.php

http://www.barbican.org.uk/news/artformnews/art/visual-art-2014-constructing-wor