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? THE IMAGE AS QUESTION
‘Rire faux (False laugh) from Mecanisme de la physionomie humaine, 1862’
© Dr. Duchenne de Boulogne. Courtesy Michael Hoppen Gallery

? THE IMAGE AS QUESTION

AN EXPLORATION OF EVIDENTIAL PHOTOGRAPHY

Max Aguilera Hellwig » Anonymous » Takashi Arai » Peter Beard » Guy Bourdin » Harold Edgerton » Melanie Einzig » Axel Haas » Alfredo Jaar » Valery Khristoforov » Sergio Larrain » Man Ray  » Etienne-Jules Marey » Enrique Metinides » Jim Naughten » Simon Norfolk » Weegee » & others

Exhibition: 28 Sep – 26 Nov 2016

Michael Hoppen Gallery

3 Jubilee Place
SW3 3TD London

+44 (0)20-73523649


www.michaelhoppengallery.com

Mon-Fri 9:30-18, Sat 10:30-17

? THE IMAGE AS QUESTION
‘Life Magazine, April 19, 1968’ © Alfredo Jaar. Courtesy Michael Hoppen Gallery

?
THE IMAGE AS QUESTION: AN EXPLORATION OF EVIDENTIAL PHOTOGRAPHY

28 September - 26 November

Part of the fascination with all photography is that the medium is firmly grounded in the documentary tradition. It has been used as a record of crime scenes, zoological specimens, lunar and space exploration, phrenology, fashion and importantly, art and science. It has been used as ‘proof’ of simple things such as family holidays and equally of atrocities taking place on the global stage. Any contemporary artist using photography has to accept the evidential language embedded in the medium.


In this exhibition the Michael Hoppen Gallery exhibits a myriad of different images including 19th, 20th c. and contemporary works of art. Seemingly disparate these images have a shared gravitas, a weightiness that emanates from their documentary function. Many of the images were originally taken to provide empirical evidence of a theory or record of an event. Dislocated from their original context and distanced by time, they do not so much provide an answer, rather question the viewer afresh.

? THE IMAGE AS QUESTION
Burnt filing cabinets, Iraqi National Archives, Baghdad, April, 2003 © Simon Norfolk. Courtesy Michael Hoppen Gallery

It is interesting that the majority of photographs in this exhibition were never intended as beautifully crafted or well-composed images. They were required to prove a point, solve a mystery or simply to inform with clarity. The identity of a face, the location of a cell, the shape of a skull as confirmation of evolution, the coaxial lighting down a gun to show the twist of the barrel. All these images were made to illustrate a fact. Even a picture of a Russian schoolgirl’s calculus covered thighs provides amusing evidence of her cheating in a math’s exam. The image was taken as proof of her misdemeanor but isolated from its original context, as with many of these images, it acquires a beauty and significance independent of it’s original function.


Most of these images once served a specific purpose, which has now passed. What therefore makes these disparate images still so important and also so collectable? One understands very quickly how extraordinary some of these pieces are, not only from an informative point of view, but also aesthetically. Many are unique and the chances of them having been saved in good condition, for posterity is often just pure chance. The minds that thought up ways to record this evidence, sometimes in the face of cultural or academic adversity, was also an achievement. Look at Jules Etienne Marée’s series of the naked man walking. This is possibly the earliest ‘giff’ in the world! What he was able to do is still being practiced today in cinema special effects.


Equally, the photographs Francis Bacon used to create some of his great canvases could have ended up in a waste paper bin, but are here for all to see. Scholars need this material to work with and it is this search for the truth that leads us neatly to where we are today with a plethora of fascinating pictures to sample, savor and marvel at.


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For all sales enquiries please contact the Michael Hoppen Gallery on Tel: +44 (0)20 7352 3649 or

? THE IMAGE AS QUESTION
Cribs, the faculty of journalism of Moscow State University, 1984
© Valery Khristoforov. Courtesy Michael Hoppen Gallery
? THE IMAGE AS QUESTION
Inspecteur Pagneux’s private album of French criminals, 1895 - 1904.
Unknown photographer. Courtesy Michael Hoppen Gallery
? THE IMAGE AS QUESTION
A Maquette for a Multiple Monument of the Wristwatch Dug Up from Ueno-machi, Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum. From the series Exposed in a Hundred Suns, 2014 No.2. © Takashi Arai. Courtesy Michael Hoppen Gallery
? THE IMAGE AS QUESTION
An American Police identity line-up photograph of a man dressed as a woman, 1933. Unknown photographer. Courtesy Michael Hoppen Gallery
? THE IMAGE AS QUESTION
Sheldon Hine, Pistol Lit by Coaxial Lighting, c.1950. View 4
? THE IMAGE AS QUESTION
Melanie Einzig, September 11th, New York, NY 2001, © Melanie Einzig