Wednesday 31 August 2011

Alejandro Chaskielberg @Michael Hoppen Gallery, London

Image ©Alejandro Chaskielberg

The exhibition season is clearly back in full swing here in London. Opening next week at Michael Hoppen Contemporary is High Tide, an exhibition of new work by the fantastic Argentinean photographer Alejandro Chaskielberg, who I tipped as my name to watch ahead of the Brighton Photo Biennial 2010 for a piece in the Telegraph last year. Chaskielberg was also the overall winner of this year’s Sony World Photo Awards.

High Tide is a series of colour photographs taken in the remote Paraná River Delta, Argentina, where Chaskielberg lived and worked from 2007-10. His subjects are local residents of this isolated community who rely on the river for food, work, travel and communication with the wider world. His portraits are ethereal, dreamlike images that convey the everyday life of those photographed - lumberjacks shifting heavy timber, an aged hunter sitting by an open fire in contemplation, lovers walking under the stars.

Working at night under a full moon, Chaskielberg documents the relationship between the inhabitants of the delta and their environment in startling technicolour using techniques that push the boundaries of the medium to transform our natural perception of light, colour and space, whilst still referencing the aesthetic of nineteenth century photographic portraiture.

Chaskielberg requires his subjects to pose still for up to ten minutes in order to distinguish the image from the thick darkness, relying on the natural light from the moon and supplementing this with a variety of artificial lighting tools - torches, flashes and lanterns, creating imaginary scenarios with real people and situations.

"My intention is to use photography to occupy a border between document and fiction and imbue the islanders with a strange timelessness. Photography can transform reality and produce a magical view of people and of life."

This will be the first solo exhibition by the artist in Europe and as such is a great opportunity to view and acquire a group of prints from an artist who is quickly crystalising his reputation as one of the bright new talents of his generation. Michael Hoppen Contemporary will be celebrating his success at the Sony World Photo Awards as well as the release of La Creciente, a monograph of Chaskielberg’s photographs newly published by Nazraeli Press.

The exhibition runs from Thursday 8 September to Saturday 1 October. Michael Hoppen Gallery, 3 Jubilee Place, London, SW3 3TD.