Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Marc Serra-Happy People @Galeria H20, Barcelona

©Marc Serra

Marc Serra´s Happy People at Galeria H20 is a timely antidote to the stylistic trends that beset portrait prizes and their subsequent exhibitions where year in year out images of anonymous people stare vacantly into the camera, sombre and subdued. In fact the whole show flies in the face of any such depiction of people practiced in contemporary fine art photography. Favouring what is now perceived as an old-fashioned element, the smile, this photographic project muses reflexively on the idea of how we feel obliged to appear happy or express happiness to the world.

In order to produce the portraits for Happy People Serra set up a temporary photobooth in H20 and for one week in January and invited passers-by to come in and get their picture taken. Shooting his subjects with a digital camera in a mode that incorporates an automatic smile detection system, the shutter can only be released and the photo taken when the model smiles. What emerges from this entertaining series of intimate photographs is a portfolio that hovers somewhere between a conceptual play with the processes involved in image making and a questioning of the ways visual culture projects and perceives ‘the other’.

Marc Serra Happy People
Until 14 Feb
Galeria H20