There’s been a trend in the Contemporary Art World for the past few years where true fascination in photography has leant itself towards the more abstract, experimental techniques. The digital revolution has lead many collectors and art dealers alike to question the future of the medium. Stepping inside the 36th annual Photography Show presented by AIPAD at the Park Avenue Armory, however, rids you of any doubts regarding its future.
With over 85 of the world’s leading photography galleries all under one roof, the excitement is undeniable, the energy unscathed. Michael Shapiro Photographs served as one of the most notable booths, priding itself in promoting old techniques with works by Jefferson Hayman. Norman Seeff’s vast Robert Mapplethorpe and Patti Smith, New York print sets a cool tone of intrigue within the Fahey/Klein Gallery booth, whilst Ayana V. Jackson’s series of self-portraits shown by Baudoin Lebon Gallery, Paris evokes an air of unease yet entices the viewer to take a closer look at the subject dressed in 19th-century costume.
Grundemark Nilsson Gallery hailing from Sweden paid homage to championed artist Dawid (Björn Dawidsson). It has been argued that Dawid’s work often goes against Henri Cartier-Bresson’s belief that the photograph is an evidentiary form of truth, deeming him Sweden’s first ever post-modern photographer. The expertly curated booth reveals never seen before works, including his majestically minimal ‘BLM’ series.
Weaving through the crowds, towards the back of the fair, 798 Photo Gallery stands alone, with works by one of China’s rising stars in the contemporary photography scene, Zhang Wei. Originally a painter, in recent years Zhang experimented with photography, creating works which at first glance often resemble a recognisable icon. Upon closer inspection, it’s interesting to discover that the portrait standing before you has come to being through the compilation of a variety of different faces merged into one.
Newcomer this year, Patricia Conde Galería acted as a welcome pause amidst the bustling crowds. Work by emerging photographer Humberto Ríos catch your eye, rendering you speechless. The phantasmal Suspending Time Series depicts the haunting relationship between the life and death of a space. Ríos was inspired by photography critic, Geoffrey Batchen’s acclaimed quote,
“Photography is a fugitive one.
…Never again to be fully present, but never to be entirely absent either…”
Ríos went onto discuss this notion of the “game, to be or not to be – I’m exploring the significance of the curtain in history of art. I’m looking the passing of time – black and white seemed more poetic – it was best for this project because it’s more abstract,” thus exploring the idea of photography through the “human memory of what came before”.
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