Wednesday 18 July 2012

Peter Fraser @Brancolini Grimaldi, London

© Peter Fraser

In the lead up to his show at Tate St Ives early next year, which will survey the artists’ work to date, Brancolini Grimaldi are currently exhibiting Peter Fraser’s latest project, titled A City in the Mind. 

Inspired by the Italo Calvino novel Invisible Cities, Fraser takes on a similar role as its fictional character Marco Polo, who describes these fantastical cities that he discovers on his travels to the emperor Kublai Khan. To overcome the problem of their language barrier, Polo uses objects from the cities, allowing each of them to inflict their own interpretation on what the other is trying to say. Fraser has dedicated the last five years to photographing his home in London, with the desired outcome being the creation of an imagined “city in the mind”. The result is an exhibition that reveals a unique, poetic and enigmatic vision of London.

In an interview with writer Jeremy Millar, Fraser explains that with his work he is essentially, “trying to understand what the world around [him] is made of through the act of photographing it.” Through his varied series of images that depict everything from miniature town models to a vibrantly coloured bowl of berries or a collection of shiny chestnuts on a table, Fraser hints to the viewer an initial insight to this unknown, mysteriously intriguing world. The images act as triggers within our own imagination that encourage the viewer to ultimately piece together their own city in the mind. As Michael Bracewell perfectly describes in his writing on Peter Fraser, (Portfolio, issue 39) his work is, “the mingling of compassionate, heightened human perception and laboratory-determined objectivity.”

Born in Cardiff in 1953, Peter Fraser graduated from the photography course at Manchester Polytechnic University in 1976. He began making work using a Paubel Makina Camera, which incidentally led to an exhibition with photographer William Eggleston in 1984 at the Anofini in Bristol. He has since produced a number of publications, including his first Two Blue Buckets in 1988, which won the Bill Brandt prize in London; shortly followed by Ice and Water in 1993; and most recently Lost for Words, which was exhibited at Ffotogallery, Cardiff in 2010.

The exhibition runs until 21 July 2012.