There is a lightness of touch to Walker Pickering‘s work which makes his photos look so simple yet also captivates.
A lot of Jamie Campbell‘s work isn’t to my taste but I do like his series Beasts of Burden.
American artist Susan Hiller uses cultural artefacts from our society, collecting and cataloguing, with an interest in “the subconscious, the supernatural, the surreal, the mystical and the paranormal”.
The recent exhibition at the Tate contained work from across her career and I found it of greatly varying quality. There are pieces here which maybe worked well as concepts but in a gallery space feel slight and dull (“Dedicated to the Unknown Artists”, “Dream Mapping” “Automatic Writing”, “10 Months” – all of which appear early on tin the exhibition). Although I liked “Recycled Works” her deconstructed paintings, cut up and sewn together as books or blocks, it is not what I would call great art. The first work which really interested me was “Monument” - a collection of photographs of plaques in London that mark heroic acts from the 1800s. The plaques should be viewed with a soundtrack – recording of Hiller – but when I was there the one set of headphones were in constant use and so I did not experience the work in its completeness.
“Magic Lantern” and “Belshazzar’s Feast” were uninspiring. But from there the exhibition picked up. The excellent “An Entertainment” consists of grainy clips of Punch and Judy shows filmed by Hiller and then distorted and edited, screened on four large walls in a darkened room, cutting between each. It is a dark, disturbing and disorientating piece of art which “highlights the forgotten mythologies embedded in this theatrical tradition”.
I liked “From The Freud Museum” – collected pieces of found objects inboxes, a lot with connections to paranormal (Ouija boards, Zena cards etc). “Homages” (to Duchamp and Beuys) failed to move me but I really liked the “Homage to Yves Klein” – a series of found photos of people mid-air, appearing to levitate. There is something moving about “The Last Silent Movie” where Hiller records the last speakers of dying languages but I admit that I didn’t stay long.
“PSI Girls” is clever – clips from well known films (Matilda, The Stalker, Firestarter) showing young girls causing objects to move through the power of the mind, projected large on to the walls through colour filters and with a soundtrack of drumming and clapping.
But it is the last two works in the exhibition which show Hiller at her best: For the “J Street Project” Hiller filmed the 303 streets in Germany that contain the word Jude and edited them into one piece. On the whole people are absent from the streets. “Witness”, pictured below, is a wonderful piece of more than 600 speakers hanging from the ceiling, beautifully lit to cast shadows on the walls. Entering the room there is a gentle murmur of voices. As you wonder throughout and bring one to your ear you hear different people, in different languages, describing their experience of UFOs and alien abduction. Occasionally one story comes to the fore and fills the room. It is unnerving and comforting at the same time.
I don’t like all of Steffen Schragle’s photography but I do like his more minimalist, abstract work.
Italian born, but New York based, photographer Pax Paloscia has an impressive portfolio of work which reminds me in parts of the likes of Ryan McGinley.
Sarah Wilmer‘s excellent photographs have a cinematic feel to them.