Wednesday 25 April 2012

Out of Focus: Photography @ Saatchi Gallery, London

Just opened to the public at Saatchi Gallery is the eagerly anticipated Out of Focus, an exciting survey of contempoaray photography featuring a kaleidoscopic range of work with artists using photography in diverse and innovative ways. Artists featured include Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin, John Stezaker, Mitch Epstein and may others in what should be a fascinating and diverse look at the state of the medium.  

Out of Focus, the first major photography exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery since the highly acclaimed and controversial 2001 show I Am a Camera, presents 38 artists who offer an international perspective on current trends in photography, working with the medium in diverse, innovative and arresting ways. 

This exhibition comes at a time when the world of photography is going through one of its richest and also most complicated moments. Millions of images are being uploaded onto the internet every day making available more visual stimuli than ever before; old ideas about ‘professional’ and ‘amateur’ photographers are being upturned; the traditional boundaries between various territories within the world of photography - fashion, documentary, advertising and art - are blurring into one another in unexpected, exciting and not always tension-free ways; and even the labels ‘artist’ and ‘photographer’ are the subject of debate (Olaf Breuning responds to this thorny topic by describing himself as “a four-wheel drive, all-purpose terrain vehicle”).  

The work included in the show has been brought together to "challenge the received rules and regulations of the medium" while the artists featured within flag up shared concerns of the body and gender tensions, mind and memory, a sense of place and home, the face, bonds of family, friends, tribes and other subcultures, but display a huge range of approaches from classic documentary photography to the reworking of found images, from capturing collaborative performances to photographs of three-dimensional assemblages themselves made out of photographs. 

Out of Focus features works by Michele Abeles, Leonce Raphael Agbodjélou, Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin, Olaf Breuning, Jonny Briggs, Elina Brotherus, Anders Clausen, Mat Collishaw, JH Engström, Mitch Epstein, Andreas Gefeller, Daniel Gordon, Noemie Goudal, Katy Grannan, Luis Guispert, Matthew Day Jackson, Chris Levine, Matt Lipps, Ryan McGinley, Mohau Modisakeng, Laurel Nakadate, Sohei Nishino, David Noonan, Marlo Pascual, Mariah Robertson, Hannah Sawtell, David Benjamin Sherry, Meredyth Sparks, Hannah Starkey, John Stezaker, A L Steiner, Mikhael Subotzky, Yumiko Utsu, Sara VanDerBeek, Nicole Wermers, Jennifer West and Pinar Yolaçan. 

A catalogue to accompany the exhibition is published by Booth-Clibborn Editions with an essay by William E Ewing, former director of the Musée de l'Elysée in Lausanne. The exhibition runs until 22 July 2012.